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Old 05-24-2011, 01:46 PM   #1
Wrongway-Feldman
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Default Trying my hand at kit building

The last time I built anything from a kit and balsa was in the late 70's when I was twelve. It didn't turn out well. It was a Guillows Stuka that folded when I wound up the propeller.
But putting together foam arf models is getting to be a bit boring and I'm not really learning much while doing it.
So, I picked up another Guillows kit. The Aeronca Champ. I know they aren't the best, but the price was right and should help with my building skills.
And I'm converting it to Rc. Maybe after a few kit builds I can tackle a build from plans during the long winter months.
The old Stuka took forever to build as most of the build time was waiting for the glue to set. This time ill have the help of ca glues which should not only decrease build times but weight as well.
This should be fun

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Old 05-24-2011, 04:11 PM   #2
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The main problem with Guillows kits is that the wood supplied is usually hard and very heavy. They are also tend to be overdesigned using more wood than is really necessary, so they often end up being too heavy to fly very well, especially on the smaller scale Guillows models. The larger stuff is more tolerant of a little excess weight.

Most 'balsa stick and tissue' builders still don’t build with CA. Personally I prefer Aliphatic Resin wood glue. It might take longer to dry but that gives you chance to position the parts and it doesn’t glue your fingers to the wood. CA also tends to soak into balsa and add quite a bit of weight. The other disadvantage of CA is it's hard to sand whereas Aliphatic sands quite easily so achieving a smooth structure for covering is much easier.
Each to his own though. With care and practice I'm sure you can do a perfectly acceptable job using CA. I'd avoid the thin grades though as that really is hard to control and gets everywhere.

What span is the Champ?

Steve
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Old 05-24-2011, 06:51 PM   #3
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Don't judge building by the Guillows model.

Try one of the RC laser cut kits first - then move on.

Herr, Mountain Models, Stevens Aero Models are several good ones to start with.
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:36 PM   #4
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Dumas laser cut kits are pretty decent quality too, and there are a wide range of models to choose from. The larger ones would be ideal for R/c conversion, in fact i've got the Bearcat and Sparrowhawk and Helldiver in my pile of 'projects to do'.

Balsa quility and laser cutting on the Dumas kits is beyond any comparison to the die-crunched orange crate wood found in a typical Guillows kit.

IMHO if you are going to spend many hours of your precious time building then it's worth investing a few extra $ in a kit that gives you a fighting chance of producing a successful project. Apparently 90+% of Guillows models are built for static display and to be honest that's where most of them are at their best.

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Old 05-24-2011, 08:24 PM   #5
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+1 on the suggestions above. And also anything by Pat Tritle, or anything available at Manzano Laser Works.

Pat Gagnon

Owner - Nico Hobbies

Your source for micro pusher jets!
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:21 PM   #6
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Just a reminder about ca glues ,if you get it on any balsa you have to sand ,the ca is hard and balsa is not so try not to get ca on any sheeting or any other thing you will have to make look smooth . I use tight bond 11 yellow glue on most every thing ,yea it dont dry in a instant but it holds joints better and costs alot less and i sands easy. All of the companys listed above make great kits . good luck joe
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by crxmanpat View Post
+1 on the suggestions above. And also anything by Pat Tritle, or anything available at Manzano Laser Works.
Agree excellent kits laser cut and ultra light but generally for more advanced builders.
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:42 PM   #8
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Pat trittles cub tri pacer and his super cub has been whispering at me in my dreams . I was going to plan build another big sea plane but the tri pacer might get put on my work bench first. joe
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Old 05-25-2011, 02:40 AM   #9
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Thanks for the great advice guys.
The champ was the only Guillows model I was planning on building. Just to beat that personal gremlin from my past.
The hardest part with kits is choosing what to build. There are so many more choices than what's available as an arf.
Once I start on the builds ill remember to take pictures.

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Old 05-25-2011, 02:56 AM   #10
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Wrong way here is a site to help learn about most building problems and about balsa.http://pldaniels.com/flying/balsa/mo...op-howtos.html . happy building wrong way. joe
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by road king 97 View Post
Wrong way here is a site to help learn about most building problems and about balsa.http://pldaniels.com/flying/balsa/mo...op-howtos.html . happy building wrong way. joe
Great resource there. Thanks Joe.

----------------------------------------------------------
Dumas Ecroupe, MM EVA, E-flite L4 Grasshopper, Sig Kougar, Sig Kobra, Top Fight Contender, top flite mini contender, Carl Goldberg Skylark mark II, M&H Sportster 40.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:44 AM   #12
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Wrongway,
For building balsa 'stick and tissue' type models there is a site you should visit: http://www.ffscale.co.uk/
Included in that site is a excellent step by step beginners guide to building a balsa stick and tissue model: http://www.ffscale.co.uk/comper.htm

Steve
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Old 05-27-2011, 04:05 PM   #13
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I recently built my first kit plane from a mountain models kit, the L-4 grasshopper. It was very easy and a ton of fun. The plane is a great flyer and I highly recommend it!

http://mountainmodels.com
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:16 PM   #14
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Also, alphatic ("TiteBond") resin/glue doesn't smell, and I have yet to hear of anyone having or acquiring an allergic reaction to it. Plus the longer cure time does make it easier for fumbling new builders hands to get everything right before it locks the pieces in place.

However, there is one thing I don't like about the idea of a first time builder working with a laser cut, or even die cut kit for that matter. You mess up a part and you're screwed. My first build was a stick and tissue build, literally. It was a Tom Hunt design, and 98% of the parts were sticks. Literally, sticks that I cut to length out of common size balsa stock, available at any place that sells balsa.

And yes, I did screw up at one point, and had to trash the original pieces. fortunately in my case the kit came with enough extra stock that I was able to finish it with the supplied materials, but even if it hadn't, I could always have gone to my LHS and buy new stock of the correct size and kept right on building. I doubt I could have done that with a complex laser cut part.

Well, maybe I could have, but only because I have a lot of wood working experience. Do you?

Just my $0.02

"Give a man a plane and he'll fly for a day.
Teach a man to build a plane and he'll fly for a lifetime"
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Old 05-28-2011, 03:51 PM   #15
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I'll tag along with Flywheel here. A truly 'stick built' model is the easiest thing going.

Cut a stick to a little over-long. Trim it with sandpaper until it fits. Glue in place, pin down.

Repeat until you run out of places to put sticks.

Will not, however, carp about laser cutting Few years ago, got a set of ribs laser cut for a symmetrical section wing with tapered planform. Way too easy !

The best laser cut kits I've built have been from Sig and a now-defunct smaller kitter. No fancy-dancy shaped parts 'just because we can do them'. Just rock solid accurate shaped parts and good quality strip wood that fitted great into where it went.

Oddly enough, when I went to High School (which was a while back...) the male half of the class was split to do one year of metalwork, then a year of woodwork. After that, you got to choose. I loved woodwork so much I couldn't wait to get out and do metalwork!

Despite that self assessment of my more traditional woodworking talent, few of my model aircraft have self-destructed in flight and the odd ones even fly fairly well.

D
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Old 05-28-2011, 05:27 PM   #16
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I am a terrible builder. I lack patience, and haven't a clue on how to properly use glue.
But. I am determined to learn.
I have poured over everything I can read on the subject and viewed hours of YouTube to see how its done.
I will conquer this Guillows kit. It may never fly, but it shall be built.
I need to learn to work with wood. I get the feeling that if I get a perfectly fitted laser cut kit that ill be good at assembling parts but still may never be good at working with wood.
After this kit is done I'm going to try building from plans. There are terrific plans available for free and there is just something really special about the vintage ones.
By building from plans I will have to learn to pick the proper wood, the single most important thing to learn IMHO.
Ill start with smaller rubber powered free flight models and work my up to bigger more intricate plans as my skills progress. I can't think of a better way to get my but off the couch at night.

----------------------------------------------------------
Dumas Ecroupe, MM EVA, E-flite L4 Grasshopper, Sig Kougar, Sig Kobra, Top Fight Contender, top flite mini contender, Carl Goldberg Skylark mark II, M&H Sportster 40.
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Old 05-28-2011, 09:15 PM   #17
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A little off-beat, but go have a look for some of the older publications on 'real' aeromodelling. Much of the good stuff is still around in those strange things called 'books' !

'Flying Models' magazine is presently the tops for true aeromodelling, as opposed to RC - which has drifted onto a different plane (groan ).

http://www.flying-models.com/

and especially in this case:

http://carstensbookstore.com/

and

http://carstensbookstore.com/baofracoaiby.html

The late Randy Randolph, who I had the pleasure of knowing pretty well, was one of the best aeromodellers on this continent. Treat yourself to that one, and maybe another one or two that peak your interest and read up from the masters.

Regards

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Old 05-29-2011, 05:12 AM   #18
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I now remember just how bad these Guillows kits are.
Mismatched wood. Terrible cutouts. Poor instructions.
I forgot how badly everything fits together.
I thought that when I was twelve I was just really bad at building.
Turns out its just a really lousy kit.
Maybe if I had started with a better kit when I was young I wouldn't have quite after the first one.

----------------------------------------------------------
Dumas Ecroupe, MM EVA, E-flite L4 Grasshopper, Sig Kougar, Sig Kobra, Top Fight Contender, top flite mini contender, Carl Goldberg Skylark mark II, M&H Sportster 40.
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Old 05-29-2011, 12:47 PM   #19
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Yes i would say after building both guillows kits and good rc plane kit the rc kit was alot better to build. There were some companys back in the day that made kits and would hand you a balsa chunk and a templet and tell you to make it, but since lazer cutting has come into its own you dont see that any more. Wrong way i would start out with a nice lazer cut rc kit and you will have a better time. joe
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:25 PM   #20
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Again just like we said don't judge kit building by that kit. You really should start with something else.

Mike
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Old 05-29-2011, 04:00 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by rcers View Post
Again just like we said don't judge kit building by that kit. You really should start with something else.

Mike
Already got my eye on a kit for when I finish the champ. Way ahead of you.
Thanks for the encouragement though. I do appreciate it. Especially when I'm holding two formers with the same part number that only slightly resemble each other in shape. Lol

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Old 05-29-2011, 08:27 PM   #22
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One of my better moments in kit-building was the first electric kit I built that eventually acted like I expected. It is, however, so memorable that its name completely escapes me.

Its 'star turn' was a set of die- cut wing ribs that were mostly slightly different, but thanks to the die-cutting, pretty much indistinguishable from each other.

The solution was easy. I carbon-papered the wing section onto the back of the plan and sort-of re-designed the model around that. The 52" wing with dihedral became 48" with no dihedral, for one trivial shuffle.

Kits can be fun! I have one of the first ever electric 'aerobatic' kits made in England, but still swither between (A) just build it, (B) copy it, and keep the kit for the heck of it, or (C) admit I'm out of model hangin' space and seek out a kit collector (perhaps after carefully removing the Graves Hobbies price tag ?)

D
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:29 AM   #23
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"Repeat until you run out of places to put sticks."

I LOVE it! :lol:

Posted via Mobile Device
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:58 AM   #24
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http://parkscalemodels.com/shop has a line of Cessnas that are perfect for first time builders. Kits are laser cut lock together and use no plans, just down load the assembly manual and follow the build sequence.
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Old 05-30-2011, 04:58 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by crash-rc View Post
http://parkscalemodels.com/shop has a line of Cessnas that are perfect for first time builders. Kits are laser cut lock together and use no plans, just down load the assembly manual and follow the build sequence.
Boy, they've got some nice kits there. Thanks for the link.

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