Sig Four-Star 60
by Adrian Wall
From my building board comes yet another full build kit from the masters of traditionally constructed wooden model planes, SIG, and this time the Four-Star 60. Essentially SIG make 3 versions of this same design, the 40, the 60 and the 120, and I must say that they all fly brilliantly. Aimed at the intermediate modeller this model will impress even the Space Shuttle flyers out there!
Those that are regular visitors to these pages would recall I recently reviewed this models smaller brother, the SIG Four-Star 40, and converted that to EP (Electric Power) which turned out to be a very pleasant combination, especially for those that just love the sound of a whirling propeller being spun by electricity only. Well I haven’t forgotten the ‘noise’ fans out there so this build will be fitted out with a Saito 80 Four stroke, just a perfect combination!
In the box report:
Being a full build kit there is a LOT of wood, mainly light ply and numerous laser cut balsa parts along with a generous accessory pack to complete the model ready for the owner – builders final fit-out. This is quite a large model so you had best make room if you are contemplating building this fine model. The kit includes two large rolled, full size plans with numerous drawings, and everything is well labelled on these plans. A couple of large decal sheets, pre-bent aluminium undercarriage and a nicely moulded clear plastic canopy; all good. Now where’s my glue?
Wing Span …71 inches (it’s an American Kit remember) 180cm
Length ….57 inches – 145cm
Wing Area…..920 sq. in.
Weight …7- 8 Lbs
Engine ….60-65 two stroke or 65-90 four stroke
Radio gear ….4 Channel with 5 x Standard servo’s
As you can see from the above it’s a good size model with a light wing loading, which would make a great second model after, say, a basic high winged trainer or the perfect Sunday flyer for those looking for some relaxed flying.
Instruction Manual …..
As usual, SIG produce a brilliant instruction manual which has plenty of reading for the novice builder. Even if you hate going through these, there’s always something to learn or pick-up on.
Nothing is left out with this well written and illustrated assembly, lots of pictures, hints & tips along the way. A breakdown of what tools and glues are needed, and the additional bits and pieces that is required to have a well built and ready to fly model plane come off your building board. The idea is to read it all the way through, have a large flat clear building board ready and a few bottles of ZAP thin & medium glues, along with two part epoxy adhesive. From here on, this review is just an abbreviated build as the full build detail would take too many pages.
Starting off with the two main wing panels built directly over the full sized plans, which might look like a lot of work but with glue in hand and a pre-read of the instructions manual and you will soon have two completed skeletal wing frames ready to be joined to make one large, yet very light structure. The joining of the wing panels is also strengthened by gluing some light fibreglass cloth (supplied) to the centre section. Numerous photo’s guide you along the way. As a guide, tick each step as you go and before you know it a dozen (actually 19+ steps) or so pages have been read and the necessary building steps completed. All pieces pretty much lock into each other, making building fast and accurate. The secret here is to make sure the wing panels are kept well secured to the building board during construction.
The Fuselage Build…
This part of the model builds much like the main wing, fast and accurate with interlocking parts throughout. Made mostly of light laser cut parts with lightening holes all through the structure, it almost of looks fragile to the uninitiated, but when built it is light weight and quite robust.
The instruction manual starts out showing the fitting of the desired engine you plan to used (due to some firewall construction at this point) and in this case a Saito 80 four stroke will power this craft through the air with ease.
A pair of engine mount beams is supplied and should fit all engines in the suggested range. Having no cowl, the engine installation is dead easy and it very accessible whilst in service.
A mirror pair of fuselage sides needs to be built first meaning one left side & one right side. All the fuselage formers lock into place and are then glued once aligned over the top of the plan. Now is a good time to fit the throttle control for the intended motor before the fuel tank is fitted. The fuel tank fit out is next, and a 12oz tank (350 ml) is perfect for this model. Don’t skip on the glue during this whole process as glue is cheap compared to a model falling apart whilst airborne. Like the wing, there are many steps to be followed in sequence so don’t get too adventurous here and get ahead of yourself, SIG know what they are doing when it comes to how to go about all this. Two outer push-rod tubes are glued in place as shown at this stage. The whole structure comes together very fast and requires minimal sanding to get covering ready.
The tail group is another build directly done over the plan; the tail-plane and the fin have framing covered by 1/16th balsa sheeting, light yet strong. The rudder and two elevator halves are solid balsa with various lightening holes cut out. The two elevator halves are joined by a piece of pre-bent piano wire. A tail-wheel wire is added directly to the lower part of the rudder as shown and the rest of this set-up is screwed to the bottom of the rear fuselage; a simple and effective arrangement and the manual pictures tell all.
The wing mounting to fuselage is via the conventional method of forward locating dowels and two nylon wing bolts (supplied). Again a simple and effective arrangement commonly used on models of this design. All of the above is very straight forward and should take around two to three nights of construction and fun.
Finishing the model.
At this stage we have a structurally completed model ready to be covered and then finally assembled. I used three rolls of iron on heat shrink plastic covering brand name ‘Sundland’. This stuff is tough and very easy to apply, each roll coming with instruction and there are also numerous tips on how to cover this model in SIG’s instruction manual. Bright red was used as per the box art and it looks stunning, so I went with this scheme also.
Once all the parts are covered, the tail section can be glued in place using epoxy glue only, which gives extra strength to this vital join. All control surfaces can be hinged (after covering) using the supplied SIG Easy Hinges. These are wonderful and so easy to install with a step by step procedure mentioned in the manual. I painted the engine bay using bright red enamel paint after it was covered, making the wood structure now fuel proof.
The fitting of the radio gear is a standard configuration here using three servos for the rudder, throttle and elevator. A servo tray is supplied and can be positioned in varying positions to help with the centre of gravity. Supplied are nylon control horns for all control surfaces and the inner pushrods can be cut to length for the rudder and elevator. The aileron servos are hidden under plywood hatches, one in each wing. Direct servo control to the control surfaces is the way to go where with a fairly large model such as this is involved.
There is ample room within the fuselage for the flight battery and RX (receiver) as well as the battery switch which should always go on the opposite side to the engine exhaust.
The Saito 80 four stroke hauled this bird around with real authority, so don’t be tempted to put in some monster of an engine as this airframe is light and simply doesn’t need any more power. Seeing as there is no cowl designed into the Four Star 60, the engine fitment and access couldn’t be any simpler.
The main undercarriage is bolted directly to the lower part of the fuselage. Wheels and spats need to be supplied by the owner. I used a set of spats and wheels off another recent SIG Review, the Rascal 72. I guess I was getting keen to fly this bird but this combination added a nice classy touch, in fact the SIG Rascal is one of my favourite models.
To complete the models looks SIG have provided their almost trade mark decals that can be found on all their SIG Four Star series planes. Star type decals with long tails giving the plane a smart and streaky look. A pilot (owner supplied) sets off the semi racy looks of this bird, and being under a large clear plastic canopy (supplied) shows we are almost done here. All suggested sizes for additional items are mentioned in the instructions such as pilot, wheels and spinner, so no guessing needed.
The all important balance of this model sees the CoG measured at the main spar of the wing. Balance the model upside down with an empty fuel tank, as being inverted means it balances easier (as in like a pendulum) and with an empty tank means if you run out of fuel in-flight it’s still balanced. Control movements are shown and they are adequate for a first flight. A note here if using a similar type motor as I have (Saito 80), keep all the radio gear as far forward as possible, this model has a long tail moment which means weight may need to be added forward to get the balance right. I placed the RX battery under the fuel tank and the RX as far forward as possible and it worked out just right.
Test Flight …
It doesn’t get any better than this, a dream model to build and the knowledge that it will be a joy to fly. The Saito was swinging a 14”x 6” prop so full power really wasn’t needed in the strong breeze blowing on the day. The model lifted off almost straight away and tracked out spot on with only a few clicks of down trim needed when under full throttle. In level flight just above idle was all that was needed to maintain a relaxed flight speed as the wing produces a lot of lift. At full power and turning very tight the model was well behaved, in fact it felt like it was on rails and grooved more like a pattern style type model which are known for their accurate flight path.
Loops are almost never ending as the model went round and round several times chasing its own tail. Rolls where pretty good considering the dihedral built into the model. Stalls are very soft and docile and easily recovered from by just by letting go the sticks and applying power as required, having sufficient height that is. Spins? You almost have to force the model into one, it’s that stable, and is a trait a novice really wants. Inverted flight was a non event, with a little down elevator and you could fly it ‘till the fuel ran, it is so stable.
Landings, and the Four Star 60 seem to just float on in, a legacy of that large prop still producing considerable thrust even at idle. If you have a computer radio, using maximum up elevator deflection upon landing along with a little power, the plane can just hang there at what appears walking speed prior to touch-down, especially in a decent head-wind, such is the advantage of a light airframe. Ground handling is excellent.
Well another SIG model has come and gone across my building bench. This one was like all SIG kits, very predictable from box opening to landing, and even thought this is a relatively simple aircraft, I still get a lot of joy from this easy to build and great flying model. I’m sure you will to. Model and accessories supplied by The Hobby Headquarters in Sydney, the importers of SIG kits and other fine products to suit.
This was your Captain speaking.