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Old Aug 31, 2014, 06:41 AM
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RECOMMENDED - Ben Buckle Kits!

I'm sure the OP of the 'Don't EVER buy Ben Buckle kits' thread had his reasons for his comments - but personally I have had several BB kits (printed and cut parts) and never had a problem either building or flying any of them, other than the usual tweaks that you get with any kit.

I've also found Colin to be most helpful and always return an email or call (I most recently spoke to him last week and he gave plenty of his time to give me advice). BB's service is way better than a couple of UK based vintage model suppliers I've dealt with who have now (unsurprisingly) gone out of business or been taken over by new owners.

Of course, we have all had poor service from time to time, but the thousands of BB kits out there must mean that they are doing something right. (I'm not related to or connected to Colin in any way other than being a satisfied customer )
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Old Aug 31, 2014, 08:12 AM
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Well said Sir.
My experience is similar to your own and I agree entirely.
I intend to build a BB kit through the coming autumn/winter and I was thinking of putting a build log on the thread you mentioned.
Now I shall be able to put it on this one!
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Old Aug 31, 2014, 09:00 AM
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I've been uncomfortable with the fact that a thread with such a pejorative heading should keep being bumped back to the top of the page every time anyone posted anything, even something complimentary, about BB kits. Most stuff posted here comes in the form of personal views, and a fairer heading might have been "I've had a bad experience with BB kits - anyone else?" So at least the heading of this thread will redress the balance a little.
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Old Aug 31, 2014, 10:21 AM
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Yes George, I had exactly the same feeling.
Such a title says more about the writer than about the subject.
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Old Aug 31, 2014, 10:23 AM
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Duplicate post - Sorry!
My Internet is so slow that I thought the post hadn't worked (again!).
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Old Aug 31, 2014, 03:35 PM
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Of course this thread's subject heading is just as subjective and just as much personal opinion as the other one. But now there's a choice it will be interesting to see which of the Ben Buckle threads gets bumped to the top most often .

Steve
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Old Sep 02, 2014, 06:25 AM
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Some BB kits are better than others.

Its that simple really.

Many of the older kits whose source goes back years are 'of the quality of the age'

I had the same problem with upgrading many printwood kits to laser cutting.

Sometimes the plans and parts outline simply didn't fit together.

Sometimes the plans didn't show the same dimension in two different ones..fuselage top view didn't match side view.

Even allowing for that fact that sides built flat and bent in at the stern shave a few mm off the length.

The plans are, to quote Pirates of the Caribbean, more 'guidelines'.

And that was the prompting of the humour in the other thread. Back in the day a kit and a plan was a helpful nudge towards the right solution, not a flatpack fast assembly job.

You were expected to cut parts oversize, and sand to exact fit, and no two models were expected to be exactly the same either.

'Carve propellor from supplied block' were considered adequate and complete instructions.

Buckles kits are what they are. Any value judgement you place upon them is entirely down to your expectations.


From my own POV designing as I was for laser cutting, I tended to try and make my designs 'flatpack' with as little fettling as possible.

Otherwise why laser cut at all?
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Old Sep 05, 2014, 02:13 AM
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Over the years (not recently) I purchased from Ben several kits and all went together very well. I suppose that nowadays modellers assume everything will just "click" together perfectly only to require a drop of cyano to finish the build.

I can only say that talking to Ben used to be a pleasure and likewise with contacts to Colin. I could never knock what they have done as 30 + years ago they helped give a great lift to the "old Timer" cause. The occasional trimming and fettling for me was more a pleasure than a chore.
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Old Sep 05, 2014, 03:10 AM
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Here we go again....trimming and fettling is fine and I'm happy with print wood because then I can cut things to the right size myself (or take the blame if I mess it up).

The problem I had with a couple of kits was cut parts so badly cut that they were useless. Throwing away most of the kit wood is a bit more than "occasional trimming and fettling". And the attitude when I talked to Colin about it was not pleasant, though perhaps he was just having a bad day.

But I'm still hopeful that this thread will fill up with reports about excellent quality of the current kits and how all such problems are in the past.

Steve
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Old Sep 05, 2014, 03:46 AM
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One obvious comment that needs to be made is that Vint1 is considering the production of "modern technology" kits for vintage aircraft. Whereas, Ben's printwood kits were (and still are) vintage kits reproduced as they were made at the time, which isn't the same thing at all.
Secondly, Ben "started it all". He pioneered everything, making kits by hand, at his home, and ended up virtually creating the UK vintage RC activity, almost on his own.
Ben's writings (in RCMW) taught me a lot, and his vintage plans and kits have given me a considerable amount of pleasure for more than three decades.
That others can produce easier to build stuff, using modern technologies (twenty or thirty years later), seems normal to me, but it will never detract from Ben's achievements.
Of course, some of the kits reflect their "cottage industry" origins... so what?
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Old Sep 12, 2014, 08:36 PM
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My take

I've followed both threads with interest, and with sympathy on both sides of the like/ dislike fence.

Making an accurate model from BB kits can be frustrating. As has already been stated, the drawings have heaps of dimensional discrepancies, making experienced builders of the range check and double check everything before building. The added problem is that the cut part, and especially the ply parts, often have unacceptable errors between the plans.... So you are left with inaccurate plans and inaccurately cut parts

As an example, I'm attaching a shot of the two ply formers in a Super Scorpion kit I am currently building. Drawing centre lines down the formers, and projecting equal 90 degree lines to the sides shows big symmetry errors. If built with these the result would be a twisted and misaligned fuselage. The model might fly okay with trimming... but from a purists point of view wouldn't look right.

And therein lies the rub.... vintage designs can absorb a lot of this and still perform to a degree as the performance envelope is very benign.

I do find the fact that that these kits and plans have been going for so long without correction disappointing, and am not surprised that customers feel let down and frustrated.

Goodness knows how beginners get on... ,

But having said all that, the rest of the S Scorpion kit is great.... With very nicely chosen wood and well cut shaped pieces. In spite of the niggles with the ply parts, the BB range are still great fun, and I for one would recommend them to anyone who takes them for what they are, and who is prepared to understand that extra work will be required.

BB kits I'm sure have no pretensions to compete with the modern CAD laser cut brands. But having said that I have a modern BALSA USA kit which is really appalling...


Regards
Chris
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Old Sep 13, 2014, 05:36 AM
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Hi Chris,

I too am in the process of building a BB Super Scorpion at present and have found exactly the same problems with the two ply formers not being symetrical about the vertical centrre line. I actually finished up making a new one of the formers that the U/C fastens on to.

The wood selection is fairly good - better than I remember from previous BB models I have built. The only real problem with the wood has been that the 1/16th sheeting supplied for the leading edge was not 0.062" thick but was actually 0.077" which meant that it actually sat 0.015" above the top of the ribs. This may not sound too much of a problem, but it is as there is a spar already glued in place on to which the back edge of this sheeting attaches meaning that the ribs cannot be further relieved to accept the extra thickness.

In the past I have built a Junior 60, a Buccaneer Std and a Quaker Flash all of which I seem to remember went together well, particularly the Quaker Flash which I built about 25 years ago and still have, although in these earlier models the wood selection was possibly not as good as todays kits.

Having said all this I am really enjoying this build which, with the odd tweak here and there, is coming along very nicely. I have found that, especially the fuselage, it is slightly more challenging than it first appears to be - enjoyable though.
I'm not sure what to cover it in yet as I don't want a glossy or transparent finsh i.e. Oracover or Solarfilm, but think Solartex, which I love and have always used on past models, is really a bit on the heavy side. It would be nice if there was a 'lightweight' Solartex.

Regards,

Dave.
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Old Sep 13, 2014, 05:57 AM
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Scorpion

Hello Dave,

Great to hear from you, and to hear about your Super Scorpion. You are a bit further forward than me, but yes, I think the only solution will be to cut new ply formers. In fact I've already drawn up some templates for doing just that so great minds think alike

Yes, the fuselage looks a bit tricky, it's going to be fun drawing the after part together methinks. But for sure, if the formers aren't true then it would be a nightmare.

Ref the sheeting on the wings, I have seen plans where the top of the ribs had 1/16th capping strips...I was actually thinking of going that way, so maybe a solution for you ?

Yep... I've built the Majestic Major (half way through a replacement at the moment), the Falcon, Junior 60's and the standard Buccaneer mainly from BB plans as opposed to the kits though.

Keep me posted on how you get on with the SS. I'm powering mine with a Saito 30 four stroke. Covering will definitely be Solartex.

Cheers
Chris
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Old Sep 13, 2014, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DACH View Post
Hi Chris,

I too am in the process of building a BB Super Scorpion at present and have found exactly the same problems with the two ply formers not being symetrical about the vertical centrre line. I actually finished up making a new one of the formers that the U/C fastens on to.

The wood selection is fairly good - better than I remember from previous BB models I have built. The only real problem with the wood has been that the 1/16th sheeting supplied for the leading edge was not 0.062" thick but was actually 0.077" which meant that it actually sat 0.015" above the top of the ribs. This may not sound too much of a problem, but it is as there is a spar already glued in place on to which the back edge of this sheeting attaches meaning that the ribs cannot be further relieved to accept the extra thickness.

In the past I have built a Junior 60, a Buccaneer Std and a Quaker Flash all of which I seem to remember went together well, particularly the Quaker Flash which I built about 25 years ago and still have, although in these earlier models the wood selection was possibly not as good as todays kits.

Having said all this I am really enjoying this build which, with the odd tweak here and there, is coming along very nicely. I have found that, especially the fuselage, it is slightly more challenging than it first appears to be - enjoyable though.
I'm not sure what to cover it in yet as I don't want a glossy or transparent finsh i.e. Oracover or Solarfilm, but think Solartex, which I love and have always used on past models, is really a bit on the heavy side. It would be nice if there was a 'lightweight' Solartex.

Regards,

Dave.
There is plenty of light weigth transparent Oracover but not sure if they've got light weight in the non tranparent. I still do have some white Micafilm think I've got a complete roll. If not familiar with that, it is half transparent and unlike the name suggests NOT plastic but looks like the old paper covering. If you are interested... My Comet Clipper was done with it in red and yellow.
I had a look on the Coverite site and they still do sell the same ? stuff but as far as I understand it is now pre-glued where the rolls I have one has to use Balsarite or a similar adhesive. I do have red yellow and white left may be complete a matter od measuring. Could be I also have some blue. By the way Graupner did have a similar fabric again very very light but also very tough, I do have some of that as well, only their rolls are about half the width of Micafilm.
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Old Sep 14, 2014, 06:37 AM
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Hi Reginald,

Thanks for the reply and information about Micafilm and also the Graupner fabric which doesn't appear to be on their web-site now.

I thought I had found a light fabric-based covering from World Models in China which they call 'LighTex'. It weighs only 58g/sq metre but after more investigation I found that it is in fact a 'film' and not a 'tex' - a rather misleading name I think.

I have two new 2m rolls of Polytex (which which is lighter than Solartex) and was marketed by Powermax here in th UK some years ago. One roll of yellow and one of blue - the two shades look really good together but, unfortunatey there is not quite enough yellow, to cover the wings and tailplane and Polytex is no longer available.

I don't like to rush my builds and so this model will most likley not be ready to fly until next year now as I started it rather late and our flying field will quite soon be getting too wet to use for the coming winter months. So plenty of time to sort somthing out - could even be Polyspan and dope.

Many thanks again for the reply Reginald.

Best regards.

Dave.
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