The T-28 is suitably different don't you think?
I took receipt of the kit and made a preliminary forage into the box to confirm that all the bits were present. The model, a North American T-28A Trojan, wasn't an aircraft I was familiar with but it certainly looked neat and very chunky in appearance.
Before diving into the build I wanted to learn more about this hitherto unfamiliar aircraft and duly got stuck into the history books. Designed as an advanced primary flight trainer and a replacement for the T6 Texan, the North American Trojan first took to the air during 1949. The T-28A entered service in April 1950 (using the 800hp Wright R-1300 turning a two-blade prop) and during the following decade around 2,000 of the aircraft had been made operational.
The US Navy (always quick off the mark) asked for some modifications to be made, these culminating in the T-28B, which had a more powerful 1425 hp Wright-Cyclone R-1820 and a three-blade propeller. Later Navy models featured landing hooks and a smaller prop for carrier deck operation. Eventually, several hundred surplus A models were sold to the French, these seeing service in Algeria and Laos. Its interesting to note that the later T-28D had hard weapon points installed for guns, rockets, napalm and 500 lb bombs. North American produced over 2,000 T-28s in total, and the aircraft saw service in 24 countries. There are still 400 flying today.
The Black Horse company make some excellent kits and at first sight the Trojan appears to continue the tradition, using laser-cut components for a superb fit underneath an excellent finish. There are some nice little touches, with a nod to the eco-warriors by way of including a mount for an electric motor along with pre-installed battery holders. Still, I resisted the temptation to save the planet by reducing my size 8 carbons and opted for a fuel-burning ASP .25 instead. A delightful motor, the little ASP starts easily, has plenty of oomph and costs a penny less than forty quid from Just Engines. After a furtive fondling of all the bits I set about putting them together.
The Trojan wing is slim and small, so there's not much space for the aileron servos. Standard servos are too big and micro servos are too small. Hmm. I measured the ready-made servo boxes, noted the details and, during a shower break at the Weston Park Show, approached Shaun in the bespoke servo department at Al's Hobbies. Using Ali Seniors official rule, Shaun personally measured each and every servo before suggesting the Hitec HS225 MG (MG stands for metal gear). Since they had four servos on the stand and I needed five, Shaun got on to Finchley Central and requested that the crew, who were destined to travel up for the Sunday session, bring some extra stock to complete my requirement. Now that's service!
The early finish of the Weston show (due to poor ground conditions) meant that I could get home a little earlier and try the fit of my new servos. Alas, whilst they eased into their boxes, the wing possesses such little depth that the bottom of the servos creased the film covering on the top side. To resolve this I carefully removed a piece of film and glued in two short pieces of hardwood to raise the servos by 1/8. With this, I added extension leads to the units and fed them into the wing.
Epoxy is used to glue the wing panels, the joint strengthened by a stout aluminium tube and a dowel incidence peg at the rear. Once the glue was dry I sealed the joint with some delicately shaded white insulation tape. The fixed undercarriage mounting positions are hidden beneath the covering, which must be slit as appropriate before adding the piano wire legs. The undercarriage doors (neat though they are) are made from sharp plastic, so I nipped off the bits that could spring back and pierce the wing covering before part-securing them with tie wraps. The addition of a Y-lead completed the wing, save for the application of a few scale decals.
The fuselage is a joy to behold, with plenty of room for servo accommodation. Removing the film from the relevant marked areas, the tailplane and fin were duly glued into position. Black Horse include paper hinges for the control surfaces but they looked a little flimsy to me, so I replaced them with others of more sturdy construction. The pre-installed pushrods (Black Horse think of everything) were then hooked up, and the operation of the controls checked with a temporary lash-up of the receiver and Rx battery.
Most of my experience with steerable nose wheels is emotionally distressing. Therapy sessions have helped, but aren't the real solution. Mind you, I felt more confident with this one, especially after bolting the nose leg clamp in place rather than using the supplied self-tapping screws, that will inevitably come loose! Fortunately the Trojan has all the holes pre-drilled for the steering arm and after fine-tuning the wheel alignment in conjunction with the rudder, it worked first time.
Next on the list was to fit the fuel tank, which goes together with relative ease. Said tank should be secured with foam beneath, and on both sides, for a good, snug fit. Engine installation was also a breeze, the ASP 25 being a comfy fit with only a little of its hardware hanging out in the breeze.
The Trojan comes complete with a beautiful fibre-glass cowl so in an attempt to do it justice I spent some time cutting and filing out holes for the nose wheel, silencer, needle valve and glow plug. If you don't already own some, I strongly advise that you get a few Perma-Grit tools as they save both time and effort, and help create a really professional job.
I must confess here that I made a cardinal error. Perhaps I was distracted, or maybe the impending editorial deadline made me rush? Anyway, believe it or not I fitted the (almost) symmetrical cowl upside-down with the anti-glare strip on the underside. Oo-er! Fortunately I was able to paint another anti-glare panel on the top using Humbrol matt black. Still blushing, I affixed thin ply plates to the fuselage in four places to ensure a snug and firmly fixed cowl, then inserted suitable self-tapping screws.
With the box almost empty (just decals to add) I reassured myself that everything was in place and operating properly, prior to checking the C of G in readiness for the maiden flight.
It just so happened that this near-completion stage coincided with a gap in the club meeting schedule, which provided the opportunity for me to talk about the kit before a captive audience. The decals supplied with this sport-scale model are of high quality and I fitted them in keeping with the picture on the box in preparation for the club night. A number of members were impressed with the Trojan, commenting favourably on the laser cutting, hardware quality, covering and decals.
Three days later the Trojan's wheels sat on grass for the first time at the club patch, whereupon I test-ran the ASP prior to the first flight. Here, I noted that the throttle setting needed a little adjustment and that the engine appeared to be revving a little fast. Nothing to worry about, though, as I have a three-bladed 10 x 6 prop that may quieten it down whilst also converting the model into a T-28B. During this testing period almost everybody at the field sidled up to ask about the Trojan, attracted by its cute, chunky and attractively rugged frame. Even Delyn jet jockey Nathan Farrell-Jones came up and asked about the neat model.
With the Trojan headed into the light breeze I throttled up and sent her down the strip. On rotation she leapt into the air, immediately proving to be pretty responsive and sprightly (full rates being used here). The only trim adjustment was to reduce the elevator movement, which was clearly too much judging by the Trojans rocket-like take-off!
With those slim wings the model covers the sky quickly, but shes very steady at low speed. A number of slow passes were demanded by the assembled paparazzi and the model didn't disappoint, being very predictable. Great for a pilots self-confidence, which I needed as I hadn't flown for some time. After a few more passes it was time to set up for a landing. In the event, this was a little fast and the nose dipped as it hit some... er... debris (we fly on a sheep field), however the Trojan was safely down.
For the second flight I added a bigger prop and reduced the rates; control was definitely a lot smoother, and I began to enjoy and explore the Trojans flight envelope with some smooth rolls and loops. The landing was more sedate this time around, allowing me to flare properly and complete a near perfect three-pointer.
This isn't the first Black Horse model I've put together, and there's no reason to suggest that the Trojan will be the last. The products from this stable just get better and better. The formula used in providing high quality hardware, excellent covering, laser-cut parts and interesting designs is certainly a winner. With the Trojan, Black Horse has moved away from the saturated .40 - .46 market, providing instead for the once huge .25-size market.
My clubmate's were certainly impressed by the quality of the kit and the appearance of the finished product (save for my inversion of the cowl!). That said, the sight of the Trojan in the air was the clincher for their seal of approval, with sparkling performance from that diminutive ASP 25 two-stroke.
Name: T-28 Trojan
: Sport-scale ARTF
: Black Horse
: Ripmax Ltd. Tel. 020 8282 7500. www.ripmax.com
: 49" (1250mm)
: 41" (1040mm)
: 392 sq. ft.
: 3.8 lb (1.75kg)
: 22oz / sq. ft.
: Aileron, elevator, rudder, throttle
Recd engine: .25 - .32 two-stroke or AXI 2826/10 brushless electric
Flown this model? Don't forget that you can leave your own review using the link below - Ed.