TigerKitten (oz15060)


TigerKitten (oz15060) by Bob Benjamin 1996 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

TigerKitten. Radio control sport model. Wingspan 54 in, wing area 450 sq in. For electric power with geared Astro Cobalt 05 motor, or glow power with .20 - .32 engine.

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Note see kit review by wahrhaftig on RCGroups at: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?331825-A-Review-of-the-ACE-Tiger-Kitten-Electric

Quote: "A Review of the ACE Tiger Kitten Electric.

When I first saw the Tigerkitten E, as published by Bob Benjamin in Model Aviation, September 1991, it was love at first sight. First there was the appeal of its looks, a graceful 1930's-style low wing monoplane with open cockpit and big streamlined wheel pants. That's my kind of airplane, all right. Then there was the quality of its engineering. Here was a plane specifically designed for electric by someone who obviously knew what he was doing. Nowhere is there a mite of excess structure, unnecessarily heavily material, or artless structure. Also, the many photos were dynamite, clearly showing important features of the design and showcasing a quality of craftsmanship that I envied, and still envy. I sent away for plans, but never built the 'kitten at that time because I had seven cell battery packs and a seven cell charger and wasn't ready to invest in equipment for the nine cell packs that Benjamin recommends for an Astro cobalt .05. Now ACE R/C has kitted the design, I have taken the plunge and built it, and our story can continue.

Even if you decide to build the kit, I recommend that you obtain the original construction article, if possible. Dispensing with specific instructions on how to build the plane (these are supplied with the plans), the article is instead crammed with information on the philosophy underlying this design and a lengthy discussion of appropriate equipment - batteries, speed controls, connectors, propellers, and so forth. Also, you can see two versions (Astro .05 and Astro .15 powered) of the Tigerkitten flying in promotional videotapes issued by AstroFlite. The video convincingly demonstrates the aerobatic capacities of this design Your local hobby dealer may be able to lend you a copy. Mine did.

The Design: We are talking about a 54 in wingspan, 450 square inch beauty which will weigh 50 to 65 ounces depending on hardware and builder skill. This airplane has been designed for a geared Astro cobalt .05 and 9 cells or a geared Astro cobalt .15 and 12 cells. To this ACE has added instructions and motor mount material for a MEC Turbo 10.

The design is unusual in several respects. The Tigerkitten kit is available in electric or glow versions. Unlike many contemporary electric kits which are conversions from glow designs, the glow version of the Tigerkitten was derived from the electric. Modifications for .25 glow largely consist of substitution of hardwood or ply for balsa in critical places. Glow instructions are added in italic type to the original electric instruction manual and are obvious paste-on added to the original electric plans.

Accessibility has obviously been an important design consideration. Removing the cowl exposes the motor and motor mount for inspection and adjustment. A hatch, retained by one spring loaded latch, runs from the firewall to the rear of the cockpit, making battery pack changes quick and easy.

Most of us know that in a crash, our heavy battery packs thrust forward, obliterating everything in their path, and often what is obliterated is an expensive radio receiver (do your really want to know how I know that? nahhh). Something I particularly like about the 'kitten is that a 1/16 ply deck runs from the firewall to the rear of the cockpit, supported by longitudinal rails and retained by wood screws. The battery packs are mounted on top of this deck, and the radio switch, arming switch, and charging jack protrude upwards through it at the rear where they may be easily reached through the cockpit. The receiver, speed control and receiver battery are all mounted to the underside of this deck where they are protected from flying battery packs. They can be reached for servicing by removing the wing, or the entire deck with all equipment can be unscrewed and lifted out. Fine idea!

The Kit: To begin with, this is an excellent kit. My local hobby dealer hates ACE kits because the parts are protected by shredded scrap paper - lots of it - which loves to jump out and mess up the floor no matter how carefully you open the box. Friend dealer would rather you just took the kit home and looked at it there. ACE rather defensively puts in a slip of paper pointing out that putting this waste paper to good use is ecologically sound. Well, OK: nuff said about that.

Within, you will find excellent and consistently light materials and a very complete array of hardware. Many parts are laser cut while others are cleanly die cut. There are well drawn plans,a 16 page instruction book illustrated with both photos and drawings, and enough decals to provide two or three choices of color for each. With two exceptions, I was satisfied with the kit material and felt no need to replace any of it. In the original Tigerkitten design published in Model Aviation, the ailerons are built up. In the kit, solid ailerons a full 1/2 inch thick are supplied. Although the wood is light, I see no need to haul such hefty chunks through the sky. My solution was to drill a series of wide holes and cut out the material between pairs of holes. This produces the near equivalent of a built up aileron and, additionally, looks rather pretty under transparent covering.

Where the original plan shows a rather graceful landing gear of .090 aluminum, the kit supplies a broad and hefty gear of 1/8 aluminum. I don't like the idea of hauling that much metal around and was sorely tempted to get out my drill and apply the good old swiss cheese approach, but on the advice of people who answered my query about this on an e-mail conference I refrained. I suspect you might want this much gear if you are going to use 12 cells, but I'm not convinced it is necessary for the 9 cell version. If you feel a need to shave weight, here is a place to start..."

Update 25/1/2024: Added build article (3 parts), thanks to rocketpilot.

Quote: "The TigerKitten fuselage construction is about as traditional as it gets - two identical side frames built up from balsa strips with a few shaped pieces in critical areas, but we get to combine state of the art stuff because those shaped pieces are laser-cut. We could also use a more traditional adhesive like aliphatic resin glue that is applied to each joining surface before the part is assembled in position, but again I’ve chosen to go with the newer approach and use ZAP cyanoacrylate products which permit “dry” assembly to ensure that everything is aligned perfectly before I stick any of it together.

I chose to begin laying out the first fuselage side frame by positioning the laser-cut balsa wing saddle and landing gear mount reinforcement. These two parts are positioned in reference to a 3/16 sq balsa upright which I have fitted in place here. Thin (instant) ZAP is the adhesive of choice here as it allows me to locate and pin each of the parts involved in exactly the position I want, then add adhesive.

Here I have fitted the top longeron to the 3/16 sq balsa upright that supports F-1, as well as the 1/8 x 3/16 balsa diagonal brace that lies directly behind it. This is an example of the way you should make all the joints in a model structure fit. It doesn’t make sense to have the advantage of precision laser cut shaped parts and not have the joints you fit yourself match that level of accuracy..."

Supplementary file notes

Build article (3 parts).


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TigerKitten (oz15060) by Bob Benjamin 1996 - model pic

  • (oz15060)
    by Bob Benjamin
    from Ace RC
    54in span
    IC Electric R/C LowWing Kit
    clean :)
    formers unchecked
    got article :)
  • Submitted: 10/12/2023
    Filesize: 1341KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: theshadow
    Downloads: 580

TigerKitten (oz15060) by Bob Benjamin 1996 - pic 003.jpg

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User comments

For anyone desiring a slightly bigger version of this one (and rounder/prettier IMO, not having to be simplified for kitting) take a look at Tigercat MkII (oz12478), although conversion to electric, if desired, would be up to each individual.
RC Yeager - 21/01/2024
Hi Mary and Steve, I hope the New Year is doing well for you. Opening up Outerzone, which I do before even opening up my email, had Bob Benjamin's "TigerKitten" kitted by Ace R/C. And, you "electrically" charged me.
The “TigerKitten” was [also] featured in R/C Sport Flyer magazine. I purchased plans from the now shuttered magazine and immediately built it, as several years earlier, I had built Bob’s “Tiger Cat II”. The “Tiger Cat II” was a beautifully designed airplane that was one of the most honest flying models I had built.
I was excited about Bob’s “TigerKitten” as it was electric, and a little smaller. As I am more of a builder than a flyer, our club’s chief instructor, also a really great builder, did the maiden flight. His raving of the airplane was so great, that he immediately offered me a price for the plane that “…I couldn’t refuse.” I never flew this plane, however, I immediately started my second “TigerKitten”. It was a magnificent and honest flying airplane. Before I left southern California for the east coast, I gave my “TigerKitten” to my close friend.
Bob would later have the “TigerKitten” kitted by Ace R/C, which you are featuring now.
Bob, a master designer and builder, has a really great website, http://www.rcmodel.com which also features the building of the “Tiger Cat II” and “TigerKitten”. I continually refer back to it in my building projects.
Bob also did a “TigerKitten” build feature for the magazine. I have also included the three part article.
A “TigerKitten” using current electronic technology has been on my build list for some time.
Keep up the great work of your wonderful website, and, thanks for your great contribution to our hobby. Best to you both in the new year,
rocketpilot - 25/01/2024
One thing I forgot to mention is, on Bob Benjamin's website, he has a 15 article series on the fabrication and flying of the TigerKitten. See: http://www.rcmodel.com/category/return-of-the-tigerkitten/
rocketpilot - 25/01/2024
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  • Plan File Filesize: 1341KB Filename: TigerKitten_oz15060.pdf
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  • Supplement Filesize: 1066KB Filename: TigerKitten_oz15060_build_article_2.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 559KB Filename: TigerKitten_oz15060_build_article_3.pdf
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