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Old Mar 17, 2012, 12:08 PM
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United States, WA, White Salmon
Joined Mar 2012
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Want to learn how to buil balsa planes

Ive been flying foam planes for several months now and am wanting to get into balsa planes and was wandering if anyone has any good pointers for a good beginer rc balsa wood plane kit to buy so I can learn the inside of a planes airframe. That way on my spare time and the weather is to crappy to fly outside I could build that and fly the foam while the weather is nicer. And by the time I finish building the balsa plane I would be descent enough to fly it.
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Last edited by NicholasIrwin; Mar 17, 2012 at 12:09 PM. Reason: new to the hobby
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Old Mar 17, 2012, 12:47 PM
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United States, NY, CENTRAL VLY
Joined May 2011
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I don't know what your experience is, but if you have a Horizon/Parkzone UM or Champ in your lineup, you can use those bricks and motors is some great kits.

Stevens Aero has a few fantastic ones that practically fall together and are basically a class on building. You will learn a lot towards future designs or conversions, regarding servo placement, etc... I have 5 now, but my first was their Hummingbird. I built it in 3-4 evenings, spent another few hours covering and adjusting and it has been my hands down best flyer.
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Old Mar 17, 2012, 11:11 PM
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Australia, QLD, Ipswich
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Ausf mentioned Stevens Aero kits or also Mountain Models along with Park Scale models will all teach you alot about the basics of building.
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Old Mar 17, 2012, 11:55 PM
CP heli ≠ 3D heli
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United States, NJ, Point Pleasant Beach
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Find a VERY flat table first, or get a building board. I can't stress a straight surface hard enough, else your plane will come off that surface crooked.

Then get lots of glue, white wood glue is best as far as being forgiving, CA (super glue) will bond instantly (my personal favorite), but it can make you really sick, so ventilate GOOD. Get 30 and 5 minute epoxy too, and something to mix in, especially if you fly nitro. You should only use CA when you know what you're doing, because if you slip or your mind wanders, your hands will be stuck to the plane, and the plane will be stuck to the table (sometimes, your face will be stuck to your hands too, don't ask how I know).

Sanding blocks, files, drills, wax paper, lots of covering (ultracote, Monokote etc.) a good iron with a sock, heat gun, sharp blades, razors.... anything else I forgot? Oh yeah, time, lots of it.

Sometimes you have to wait for things to dry for 24 hours, so plan ahead, prepare things to be glued, make sure it's aligned, pin it, mix the glue, slap it on and go to bed.

In the recent years, ARF is not only faster, or more convenient, but it's cheaper too. Apart from a learning experience, building a plane from scratch or a kit is not the most efficient option, unless you enjoy doing it, which I do.
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Old Mar 18, 2012, 03:24 AM
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United Kingdom, England, Dorset
Joined Apr 2010
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Look on ebay for some classic kits which are still boxed and unmade.You can get models 50 yrs old or so.They'll prob fly good, as radio was rough and ready in them days.
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Last edited by alibongo; Mar 18, 2012 at 03:30 AM.
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Old Mar 18, 2012, 07:23 PM
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Joined Jan 2008
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Get a Mini or Micro Telemaster, a pack of single edge razor blades, Elmers white wood glue, some straight pins, wax paper and start building.

Here is a thread on the build.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1594974
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Old Mar 21, 2012, 06:13 PM
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United States, WA, White Salmon
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Thanks for all of the pointers.
Ausf im leaning towards getting the hummingbird does it have ailerons.
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Old Mar 21, 2012, 06:50 PM
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are the guillows airplane kits able to be used as rc electrics or are the for static display and rubber band power
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Old Mar 21, 2012, 07:00 PM
CP heli ≠ 3D heli
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United States, NJ, Point Pleasant Beach
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Some people convert some of those planes to RC, but they are not intended to be RC and because of that, are not good for a beginner.
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Old Mar 21, 2012, 07:09 PM
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If this is it, it looks 3 channel:http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1481828Stevens kits look like the kind of quality a beginner to building needs, a bit pricey but very high quality.Reminds me of the old Pilot kits of 20 years ago.
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Old Mar 21, 2012, 07:17 PM
CP heli ≠ 3D heli
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United States, NJ, Point Pleasant Beach
Joined Mar 2009
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This looks like a cool plane, don't know how exactly easy for a beginner it is, but looks like a nice one to build.

If you don't want to spend tons of time building and want to go flying instead, look at the telemaster suggested above. Those have a nice boxy construction with an open structure wing, no D-boxes or any of that other balsa block shaping stuff on the fuse. Rubber band restrains on the wing. I think the only epoxy on the nitro telemaster is in the nose, if you're into nitro. Boxy ones are also easy to fix when you have to learn those rookie piloting mistakes. Just my humble opinion.
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Old Mar 22, 2012, 05:41 AM
222 km/hr Parkjet flyer
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Latvia, Ventspils pilsēta, Ventspils
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alibongo View Post
If this is it, it looks 3 channel:http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1481828Stevens kits look like the kind of quality a beginner to building needs, a bit pricey but very high quality.Reminds me of the old Pilot kits of 20 years ago.
Sad to say that when Pilot Kits hit UK - it rang the death bell for many local kit makers .... Lite Ply, best diecutting ever seen, scale and accurate.

I had various of their kits ... HB10, HB40 - sport planes that flew great ... Nieuport 28 WW1 scale - came 8th in Southern UK champs with that ... Zlin Akrobat ...

Pilot kits were that good ... the Zlin I literally built without jigging in my hands. I slotted it together, zapped with CA the joints .... covered it and bingo had a scale, accurate, true aligned model. OS20 up front ... beautiful model. Sadly I flat span her in while practicing for a scale comp.

If any kit maker now is as good those were then - must be good !
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Old Mar 22, 2012, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicholasIrwin View Post
are the guillows airplane kits able to be used as rc electrics or are the for static display and rubber band power
Depends on the model...the free flight/rc ready ones will list an engine size so you can try and approximate what size electric might work. Some of the for u-line kits I built as a kid (including some sterling and goldberg kits) had airfoil wings while others had flat balsa stock. The package will be marked as "Flying Model Kit" and/or "Multi-Purpose Model"...waaaaay back then, if I recall correctly, radio gear was rather large and heavy so I "think" only the biggest planes were marked "rc ready". Some of the smaller ones were marked as uline/rubber band/or free flight...I had a Folker DR-I that I converted/flew U-line with a .020 "babybee" glow engine....always thought it would be have been fun to "RC" that one


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedexas View Post
Some people convert some of those planes to RC, but they are not intended to be RC and because of that, are not good for a beginner.
I could see where getting proper CG, balance, etc. would make it challenging...plus being a balsa kit...
pilot error + gravity = dustpan needed for retrieval
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Old Mar 22, 2012, 07:26 PM
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United States, WA, White Salmon
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thanks i think im going to get the stevens aero hummingbird plane model
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Old Mar 22, 2012, 08:54 PM
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Joined Dec 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicholasIrwin View Post
thanks i think im going to get the stevens aero hummingbird plane model
You will *NOT* regret it! The parts practically drop out of the sheets, and fit together just about perfectly.

I just built one of those over Christmas. My prior experience with balsa kits was a Guillow's Corsair back in the 70's or so. The result: I'm now finishing up a second Steven's kit (Swift 100), with a 3rd one waiting it's turn on the bench. I am *hooked*. Heck, that Hummingbird even hooked several other guys in the local club, too. Goes together with amazing ease. Toughest part (for a newbie like me) was covering.

I swear, if all wood kits went together like those Steven's kits... I'd never buy another ARF.
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