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Old Sep 01, 2009, 12:29 PM
Fly, crash... repair, repeat.
ramron67's Avatar
United States, NC, Chapel Hill
Joined Nov 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoFlyZone
The real builders haven't gone away.

The real builders are doing what they've always done, which is to build, and not whine about the lost art of building.

And they have far more choices of kits to build today than when they were younger.

Chuck
OK, Chuck got me excited to build a model. I used to build lots of the Guillows kits as a kid.

I would like to build a small (<40") electric WWI model. The kits from both Aerodrome RC and Manzano laser look intriguing.
What do they really mean when they say the skill level is "intermediate"?

Ram
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Old Sep 01, 2009, 01:00 PM
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vintage1's Avatar
East Anglia, UK
Joined Sep 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramron67
OK, Chuck got me excited to build a model. I used to build lots of the Guillows kits as a kid.

I would like to build a small (<40") electric WWI model. The kits from both Aerodrome RC and Manzano laser look intriguing.
What do they really mean when they say the skill level is "intermediate"?

Ram
In my parlance a really easy model is all tab and slot, hardly needs a plan, and requires no cutting at all, just a bit of sanding.

Intermediate means - gasp - some sticks have to be cut, and some basic lining up of stuff over the plan is called for.

This is a typical intermediate from my stable..also available from manzano.
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Old Sep 01, 2009, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramron67
OK, Chuck got me excited to build a model. I used to build lots of the Guillows kits as a kid.

I would like to build a small (<40") electric WWI model. The kits from both Aerodrome RC and Manzano laser look intriguing.
What do they really mean when they say the skill level is "intermediate"?

Ram
Hi Ram,

At the risk of getting shot right out of the sky by guys with wayyyy more know-how and experience than I (a relative newcomer), it's my opinion that intermediate kits would have a lot of "stick construction" to them, and would require a more delicate touch when applying covering.

Personally? my recomendation to a guy who was itching to get his feet wet would be something like the Mountain Models Dandy or the StevensAero Squirt 400.

Both are 3 channel planes, both have excellent instructions and are laser cut to fit like a glove, and both can be covered in Solite for a nice finish.

No stick construction at all, and the biggest benefit of that (in my opinion) is that it lets you take all the time you need to practice your technique of laying out parts in a nice, super straight manner.

I'm anal about building things straight, whether foam or balsa, and this really is the key to nice flying planes.

Here's both of these perfect 'first beginner kits'...

Chuck
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Old Sep 01, 2009, 02:12 PM
Fly, crash... repair, repeat.
ramron67's Avatar
United States, NC, Chapel Hill
Joined Nov 2008
156 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoFlyZone
Personally? my recomendation to a guy who was itching to get his feet wet would be something like the Mountain Models Dandy or the StevensAero Squirt 400.

...No stick construction at all, and the biggest benefit of that (in my opinion) is that it lets you take all the time you need to practice your technique of laying out parts in a nice, super straight manner...

Chuck
Chuck,

Thanks for the advice. I just finished a StevensAero Mudbug, which flew great until I lost the set screws for the brushless motor. I ordered some replacements and need to wait to get it flying again.

Perhaps I am overestimating my abilities (and time) but I would like something with a little bit more craft to it, but not something that requires a master craftsman's touch. Although I am still a relative newbie to covering, I am not that frightened about stick construction. At least I used to do a lot of that as a kid. I am however worried about getting a set of plans and several hundred pieces of balsa with the expectation that I will end up with an airplane at the end...
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Old Sep 01, 2009, 02:40 PM
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If you did it as a kid, I think you won't have trouble and can probably pick out an airplane kit that will challange you as well as reinforce your knowledge about your abilities! Welcome to the fasinating hobby of building R/C Model Airplanes, keep us posted!!
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Old Sep 01, 2009, 02:42 PM
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East Anglia, UK
Joined Sep 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramron67
Chuck,

Thanks for the advice. I just finished a StevensAero Mudbug, which flew great until I lost the set screws for the brushless motor. I ordered some replacements and need to wait to get it flying again.

Perhaps I am overestimating my abilities (and time) but I would like something with a little bit more craft to it, but not something that requires a master craftsman's touch. Although I am still a relative newbie to covering, I am not that frightened about stick construction. At least I used to do a lot of that as a kid. I am however worried about getting a set of plans and several hundred pieces of balsa with the expectation that I will end up with an airplane at the end...

Intermediate it is, then.

I'd stay with the prettier sport models, as scale models get fiddly with detail by and large.

Its nice to get a model done on a few days, rather than weeks.

Plenty of build threads of that sort of model in the vintage forum..http://www.rcgroups.com/vintage-and-...r-designs-209/

Check out FrannyB's amazing geodetic model. That is what we call 'advanced'

Also her Shereshaw Cumulus..quality to aspire to.
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Old Sep 01, 2009, 03:20 PM
a.k.a Frank Campbell
Long Beach, CA, USA
Joined Jan 2007
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Just stumbled across this thread. I haven't read all the posts but I think I get the gist of what is being said.

The title of the thread is a bit unfortunate in that it, and the first post starting the discussion, doesn't define what "model building" means. It would appear to mean using kits that are mostly balsa wood which is fair enough but a little narrow.

When you look at threads like Joe Manor's first generation D160 (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=480273) and then the second generation (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=778363) it is hard to say that model building is dead. Guys like Joe Manor, Jason Lilly, Spencer Lisenby and others routinely do their own research, design, fabrication and flying.

When I was flying slope at the Hughes site near Marina Del Rey a decade or more back there were a group of slope racers who were doing the same thing. Designing and fabricating their own designs using state-of-the-art techniques and materials.

These guys are and were doing what we used to do. Building from scratch because they couldn't buy what they wanted.

My other comment is that to me building and flying are two totally separate things. I don't enjoy a model any less because somebody else built it. Quite often the reverse is true.

When I do build, I build balsa kits because it is a wonderful material to work with and you can achieve some quite beautiful results.
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Old Sep 01, 2009, 06:04 PM
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if the planes shown above are classed as intermediate, what is building just from plans called?
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Old Sep 01, 2009, 06:07 PM
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East Anglia, UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -james-
if the planes shown above are classed as intermediate, what is building just from plans called?

No different really. All plans I would say are at least intermediate, because all need some jigging and care to get accuracy.
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Old Sep 01, 2009, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintageFan
Just stumbled across this thread. I haven't read all the posts but I think I get the gist of what is being said.

The title of the thread is a bit unfortunate in that it, and the first post starting the discussion, doesn't define what "model building" means. It would appear to mean using kits that are mostly balsa wood which is fair enough but a little narrow.
There's the problem, just defining what building is, is controversial! There are those who feel putting together an ARF, is building. What do you feel building is? Scratch building is building, scratch building from plans is building, building from a kit is building. Leaving out what the materials used are, allows the choice to be up to the builder and certainly doesn't stipulate that the material has to be balsa!
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Last edited by Mode One; Sep 22, 2009 at 01:16 PM.
Old Sep 01, 2009, 06:35 PM
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Cromer,Norfolk, UK
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Quote:
if the planes shown above are classed as intermediate, what is building just from plans called?
Once the parts are cut out, its a kit

Some plans are a piece of cake, others are fiendish.

Modelling difficulty is, at is basic level, dependant on the tools you have to hand, and your skill in using them.

Trying to build a competition scale masterpiece may be horrendously difficult if all you have is a scalpel and a sanding block, yet, equip yourself with a better set of tools, and some time spent learning to use them, and the difficulty level decreases.

The main skill required for building from plans, in my experience anyway, is being able to decifer what the plan is asking you to do, without a comprehensive instruction book telling you.
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Last edited by MCarlton; Sep 01, 2009 at 06:41 PM.
Old Sep 01, 2009, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mode One
There's the problem, defing what building is, is controversial! There are those who feel putting together an ARF, is building. What do you feel building is? Scratch building is building, scratch building from plans is building, building from a kit is building. Leaving out what the materials used are, allows the choice up to be up to the builder and certainly doesn't stipulate that the material has to be balsa!
Excellent question. I think, for me anyway, that 'building' is what I'm doing when I'm problem solving (in a way).

If I'm putting a foamie together and I notice that the fuse is maybe not formed right, and wants to go together with a banana shape... then 'building' is what I'm doing when I start coming up with ways to solve the problem.

If I'm putting together a balsa kit and I want to come up with a new kind of jig to ensure all my ribs are parallel, then 'building' is what I'm doing when I'm figuring it out.

Building to me is coming up with a way to make a hatch door for my batteries when none is called for in the plans.

Anytime I do a plane the second time (because I destroyed the first plane), then I'm just assembling parts, and not 'building' anymore.

Great question!

Chuck
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Old Sep 01, 2009, 07:38 PM
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United States, WA, Hoodsport
Joined Mar 2008
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Mode One asks:

“So, The Question is, what can be done to bring model building back?”

(My understanding of The Question is that “building” means to construct a flying R/C model aircraft from a kit or from plans, and that a “kit” is defined by a box of which contents DOES NOT resemble an airplane. That this is NOT meant to be an argument of building -vs- ARFs, RTFs, or RTCs, or to detract from the later. That the objective of The Question is to promote building.)

I’ve thought a lot about this question for the last few days, and am still having a hard time with it. The Question supposes that building is waning. I don’t think that it is. There are too many businesses still manufacturing products that are specific to our hobby that supports building to argue that building is on the decline. This would not (and could not) be the case if folks were not building. We have several wood suppliers that offer plenty of the wood types that we need to build, milled to whatever dimensions we need. We have all the “bits-and-pieces” hardware that we need. Need a spinner, metal or plastic? There are several manufacturers offering a selection of sizes. There are several manufacturers that offer landing gear, fixed and retractable, as well as fabricators of fiberglass engine cowls, wheel pants, tail cones, wing tips, and more for kits and plan-built models. All the above to support the model builder’s needs. If there was no market (i.e.: model building) there wouldn’t be manufacturer support we presently enjoy.

We still have a number of catalog and internet merchants offering building materials. We have several merchants that will fabricate a kit from plans, by hand, laser, or CDC outer machine. More and more of these operations are popping up. Some of them may be tiny home garage operations, but again, this would not exist if building models was heading off into the sunset. They exist because there is a demand for what they produce.

I think because more ARFs, RTFs, and RTC (call them “pre-built”) models are seen at the field and overwhelmingly advertised in the periodicals (over kits) that it makes it easy to assume that former is “taking over”. I don’t see it that way, I see our hobby as a newer and larger pie which represents more people being involved in it. The pre-built models may outnumber the kits/scratch built models in the newer pie, but I offer that the number of builders have grown over the years. Take a look at the RAMS Toledo show reviews.

I think that some are being selfish when they consider The Question. If you became involved in this hobby thirty years or more, you cannot help but to consider what was available to you back then. First, you had to build your first model in order to be a radio control model flyer. No matter how the model came out, you put time and money into learning how to build. Because you produced it with your own hands, it was your baby and you were one proud papa.

Let’s stay with the time period of thirty (and more) years ago. Industrial arts were still a required part of secondary and high school curriculums. There was wood shop, metal shop, print shop, architectural and mechanical drafting. These classes drew out and allowed the broadening of our mechanical aptitudes. These classes are no longer offered (at least in the case of the U.S.) because of litigable liability, budget restraints, a claim of no interest and of no need. Everything is available at the Big-Box Mart...

For those of us over fifty, through the wood shop semesters of our industrial arts classes we had acquired the basic building skills and confidence in making napkin holders, sewing boxes (now extinct...) chess boards, and garden benches to tackle a wooden model airplane. Understand, again, that is gone. We now have a society where the vast majority of it’s members has never driven a nail into a piece of wood in their lives and have to call a certified electrician to change the bulb in a household desk lamp.

My hat is off to the younger (post industrial arts) model airplane builder. It has to be an intimidating project to take on.

So, how do we “bring model building back?” Though a matter of semantics, I think The Question should also be read as “how can we promote building?” Building is not dying nor declining, we just have a generation-gap that needs filling is all, which can be answered by those that build. How? BUILD! Show those here on the forum that it can be done. It’s that simple.

EJWash
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Old Sep 01, 2009, 10:21 PM
Two left thumbs
Muncie, IN
Joined Sep 2006
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Sometimes if just runs in families

http://www.forsythnews.com/news/article/3261/
From the AOPA newsletter.
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Old Sep 01, 2009, 11:25 PM
I survived La Bajada!
United States, CO, Thornton
Joined Nov 2006
145 Posts
To develop interest in building I think there needs to be incentive for people to build them versus buying them. The kits or plans need to be of planes that stand out in some way from the ARFs. That is a tall order as some of the nicest model aircraft around are commercially produced.

I think building is highly rewarding, but it's a personal choice. If someone does not want to build then he should still have the opportunity to enjoy flying. Your hobby is your choice.

Clear skies!
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