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Old Mar 16, 2014, 06:29 PM
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United States, PA, Wilkes-Barre
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Build Log
Stevens Aeromodel FullHouse 500 Balsa Kit

This will be a build thread for the Stevens Aeromodel FullHouse 500 balsa kit.

I usually don’t write build threads but wanted to share my joy with this kit. I have been building balsa models since my control line days back around 1973. I have built more kits over the years than I can remember, control line, static, RC, gliders, you name it. I am also a full scale pilot. That being said, you might wonder why I would choose to build a trainer? I was considering several StevensAero kits since recently completing my Axis480. I was so impressed with the Axis kit that I wanted to try another. One look at the instruction booklet for the FullHouse500 was all it took. The design struck me as innovative, different and clever, especially the fuselage. I also want to try a float plane because I have never had one before. One other thing that I like about both of these kits is the design of the landing gear. I'm not a fan of rubber bands but this idea is truly unique. Hard landings will most likely only transmit a very small amount of stress to the airframe.

There is already another build thread for this model, and there is also a detailed instruction manual freely available for download so I’m not going to give a blow by blow. This will be more of a “boatload of pictures” type of build thread with me commenting along the way. I’m hoping that the pictures might help others who are building it eliminate any potential confusion and to promote this fine model. There are never enough pictures to look at when you are considering buying a kit.

In the other thread I read several comments about the price of these kits being a bit high. My comment on this would be that it’s a matter of perspective. The old adage “you get what you pay for” certainly applies with the two kits I got from Stevens Aero. They are without a doubt the best kits I’ve ever seen. The quality of the wood is impeccable. The laser cutting is crisp and flawless. The kit includes EVERYTHING you need sans motor, ESC and servos. There is even a printed instruction manual and rubber bands included. These kits are not just CAD designed, but smartly CAD designed. It’s obvious that a lot of thought went into the shape and locations of the dovetails and other connecting points, to not only make mistakes almost impossible to make but also to pull the model together into a self-squaring dry fit dream. As I write this paragraph I have already built the fuselage. You can build a few steps ahead of yourself, simply dry fitting parts together, letting the model square itself, then scratch your head a few times before going at it with glue. Just this afternoon I assembled nearly the entire lower half of the fuselage with no glue, no tape and had a tight fitting square fuse. I love it! All you really need is a flat surface to work on and follow the directions. It is truly a balsa jigsaw puzzle.

For me, this is worth a few extra bucks. Also, I got free shipping on both kits. In the Axis480 they threw in a free sanding pad. In this kit they threw in a bunch of free stickers and even a free ball cap. They didn’t have to do that. Now really, it this kit overpriced? I think not. I’m already looking at my next kit from them, most likely a Daddy O.

Anyway, on to the build now. Here is a couple of photos showing how it came out of the box. The coffee didn’t come with the kit, that was compliments of my lovely wife who has put up with this hobby for so many years.
I’m planning on using the recommended SA Park450 motor along with a FrSky receiver. The only telemetry I will be using in this model is lipo voltage sensor as I have been doing with all of my planes.

I start by pre-sanding both sides of every sheet. I also do this with every model. SA was thoughtful enough to run a piece of tape across sheets where parts drop out by their own weight. Its details like that I love.
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Old Mar 16, 2014, 07:03 PM
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The build continues by removing the fuselage from the board, inverting it, and then constructing the lower half. I was able to dry fit everything but the stringers including the servo / battery tray.

I opted to install the rear landing gear block as I plan on building the float kit for this airplane in the future.
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Old Mar 16, 2014, 07:39 PM
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Old Mar 16, 2014, 08:07 PM
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 03:07 PM
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I managed to get some more work done on the lower fuselage last night.

First was the installation of the hatch magnets fore and aft. Then, the firewall was put in place and solidified with the two nose doublers.

There are six doublers that comprise the block in the lower nose section. The image shows all six ready to be inserted. I know I've said it before but the fit was frighteningly accurate. Having already pre-sanded the sheets, these 6 pieces fit in perfectly. Watching it dry I had to resist a very strong temptation to go at it immediately with shaping tools and sanding block! I would recommend holding off on the rough shaping of the lower nose block until the hatch is constructed and trial fitted. The hatch will be constructed after this assembly is complete.

Next the nose sheet is constructed from three parts and windex-bent into place. What a beautiful plane. The construction of the hatch is next.
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Old Mar 23, 2014, 09:28 AM
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I constructed the hatch yesterday. Like everything previous, all parts fit perfectly. The hatch assembly consists of 14 balsa parts, 4 basswood stringers and 2 magnets. It builds into a beautiful assembly that includes two large cooling slots.

Its easy to construct. Just follow the instructions carefully to make sure that the magnets are installed with the correct polarity and that the entire assemble fits the fuselage properly. The magnets have more than enough power to securely hold the assembly in place.

I held off with the rough shaping of the lower nose block until I had the hatch in place and saw how everything flowed together. I would recommend doing that.

On to the tail section next.
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Old Mar 23, 2014, 12:49 PM
Stevephoon
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United States, MI, White Lake
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Great Pictures! Thanks for posting this. I love my Steven's Aero kits as well. The hatch design and landing gear mounts look a lot like the ones in my Daddy-O. You are correct in saying the Fuselage construction being innovative. I stared at your picts for quite a while. Some cool things going on!

I'd also like to hear some reports on flying impressions as well when you get that far. Keep up the good work.

Steve
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Old Mar 23, 2014, 01:40 PM
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Thank you for the comments Steve. I want to do the Daddy-O too.

I love building on a lazy Sunday afternoon, especially with my wife lost in a good book. It's still a bit cold outside to be flying but I do have my eyes to the sky. It's been a brutal winter and the weather is just now starting to break.

Continuing on to the tail section, I ran into my first difficulties with this kit but it wasn't too big a deal. One of the sheets containing the vertical stabilizer parts was warped and provided a bit of a challenge. I suppose that most people would have just requested a new sheet of wood but I'm old school and just fixed it myself. Windex is your friend in situations like this. In the end I managed to get a fairly straight vert-stab.
I also had to trim a bit here and there on the ply doublers for the rudder, but again no biggie.

The last few pictures show the assemblies taped together. This thing is starting to look like an airplane. The wing construction is next.
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Old Mar 26, 2014, 10:13 AM
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So great to see another FullHouse going together. This was my first build ever and I still bring it out to the field. My FH bore the brunt of my learning to fly RC and has more than a couple of dings, but it still flies beautifully and looks great on floats as well.
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Old Mar 26, 2014, 03:08 PM
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Thank you. It's nice to hear that you had a good experience with yours. I'm in the middle of building the wing now. I'll have more pictures soon.
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Old Mar 26, 2014, 08:41 PM
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Hawk570,

Thanks for your comments, I was following your build. It looks like the warped sheet may have relaxed and caused a bit of mis-registration with the parts. Specifically in reviewing your vertical fin build. There should have been no fitting to do with the tail gear pocket and ply side doublers. In the end this doesn't appear critical to the build but it's obvious that something bad happened to that sheet.

Drop me a line sales at stevensaero.com and we'll get it corrected for you if you like.

I'd blame our new laser monkey but this seems like a sheet relaxed while cutting or a bit of chad caused the cut head to skip.

Enjoying the build glad you are having fun with the kit.

-Bill
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Old Mar 26, 2014, 08:47 PM
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Thanks Bill. It wasn't a big deal and easily corrected. Thank you for an excellent kit. Ill be back for more
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Old Mar 30, 2014, 12:57 PM
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The wing is now completed. Here are pictures taken along the way. I found it easy to construct but being careful not to build in any wash out etc. The left side is done first, then the right, and then the middle section.
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Old Mar 30, 2014, 03:24 PM
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The ailerons are constructed from 16 parts that went together very easily. After they were assembled they were shaped with a plane and T bar sander.
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