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View Poll Results: Have you built a balsa plane from a kit in the last 12 months?
Yes 392 75.82%
No 125 24.18%
Voters: 517. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Aug 27, 2012, 10:46 AM
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Does Anyone Build Balsa Model Airplanes From Kits Anymore?

In discussion with other modelers here on RCG and at my field, there seems to be a declining interest in building model airplanes from kits these days. Of course there are as many reason why people don't build their own planes from kits, but I am wondering how many folks here visiting this forum have actually built their own balsa plane from kits in the last 12 months.

I understand that ARFs are extremely popular and there is nothing wrong with them, but I am trying to gauge how many folks actually build anymore vs. those who don't.

For those that are placing a "YES" vote, please let us know what kit you built.

Thanks for voting.

Frank

PS I voted "Yes" and I built a MM Switchback Sr last month.
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 10:53 AM
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In the last 12 months, no. In total I have built 6 balsa kits. I've also done countless foam builds from scratch.

I think these days cost is a factor as well as time. If it takes a month or 2 to put a balsa model together why do that when you can purchase a foamie that looks just as good in some cases. ARF's are pretty much ready or take much less time than a complete buildup. Then you have added cost of extra tools, heat gun monokote iron. There's also know how. I'm not sure how many people that fly the current line of foam models would know where to start in building up a balsa kit.

I think building at least one balsa kits should be done by every pilot though.
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 11:49 AM
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Many people build their own model planes...I've built quite a few in the last year but they've all been foam. I'm interested that you don't seem to count that as building. Why the prejudice ?

I have a few balsa kits lying round including one I started about a year ago but I have no idea when or even if I'll ever finish it. I'm having too much fun with the foam .

(Posted when the subject line just said "Does anyone build Model Airplanes anymore ?")

Steve
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 11:56 AM
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Didn't know how to answer the question in the poll. I design and scratch build most of my planes, not from a kit. I do have one kit that I'm in process with right now. It's a Balsa USA EAA Bipe, which I'm modifying quite a bit including ailerons on the top and bottom wing and "redesigned" tail. Won't be an EAA Bipe when I finish.

You are right. Building is indeed a lost art, except in the foam category. Still quite a few builders in this neck of the woods, but nowhere near the number there were even 5 years ago.
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 11:56 AM
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I agree with Steve, why the prejudice toward anything that is not balsa? I have built 6 planes (from scratch, not a kit) this year and none of them were balsa. I would argue that scratch building is more challenging than kit building but obviously my choice of building materials don't meet the standards of the original poster for building a model airplane.
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 12:07 PM
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Prejudice? Wow, you guys are too thin skinned. This poll happens to have nothing to do with foam so that is why I did not mention it. Plain and simple. Nothing to do with foam. If I wanted to include foam I would have included it.

Funny how every time a thread about balsa is created, there is an uproar about foam not being included. Everyone loves foam but this thread has zero to do with it.

Make sense?
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Myers View Post
Didn't know how to answer the question in the poll. I design and scratch build most of my planes, not from a kit. I do have one kit that I'm in process with right now. It's a Balsa USA EAA Bipe, which I'm modifying quite a bit including ailerons on the top and bottom wing and "redesigned" tail. Won't be an EAA Bipe when I finish.

You are right. Building is indeed a lost art, except in the foam category. Still quite a few builders in this neck of the woods, but nowhere near the number there were even 5 years ago.
Ken,

I'm just focusing the poll on balsa kits so in your case I would vote "No" or not at all. I understand there are a number of folks that only scratchbuild, and that is awesome, but I am only looking for a general consensus of kit builders.

My quess is that in time the "no" votes will far outweight the "yes" votes.

Frank
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 12:13 PM
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I think the title is to blame.

We see "Does Anyone Build Model Airplanes Anymore?" and the poll is asking specific about balsa models.

I've not built a balsa kit in years, I did recently do a balsa rework though.
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CorruptDB View Post
I agree with Steve, why the prejudice toward anything that is not balsa? I have built 6 planes (from scratch, not a kit) this year and none of them were balsa. I would argue that scratch building is more challenging than kit building but obviously my choice of building materials don't meet the standards of the original poster for building a model airplane.
You are correct. It does not meet the standard in this poll. Again, nothing wrong with foam or scratchbuilding, but in this case it is not the question I am asking about.

Frank
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 12:14 PM
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You will find a lot of build threads in the scale electric plane forum . It is true that building vs buying RTF and ARF models has fallen off. Hobby shops now cater to RTF and ARF model buyers and often do not keep adequate stocks of covering materials, sheet balsa and ply, music wire and paints, bagged accessories, etc. Dedicated builders must often order and set up supplies from online sources, BTW, there is a thread in the Parkflyer forum starting up to encourage would be builders try their first time builds and to give them advice on what to do and how to do it.

Oops, just realized that Murocflyer is oraganizing the help new builders thread.
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dedStik View Post
I think the title is to blame.

We see "Does Anyone Build Model Airplanes Anymore?" and the poll is asking specific about balsa models.

I've not built a balsa kit in years, I did recently do a balsa rework though.
Thanks. Title changed.

Frank
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by dedStik View Post
In the last 12 months, no. In total I have built 6 balsa kits. I've also done countless foam builds from scratch.

I think these days cost is a factor as well as time. If it takes a month or 2 to put a balsa model together why do that when you can purchase a foamie that looks just as good in some cases. ARF's are pretty much ready or take much less time than a complete buildup. Then you have added cost of extra tools, heat gun monokote iron. There's also know how. I'm not sure how many people that fly the current line of foam models would know where to start in building up a balsa kit.

I think building at least one balsa kits should be done by every pilot though.
I bet most anyone could put together a Mountain Models or Stevens Aero kit together in a week. I know I have done it.

And you mention the "know how." Funny you bring that up because starting 29 Sep we are hosting a building clinc right here on RCG. For those that would like to be involved or learn more, click here: Model Airplane Building Clinic >> Begins 29 Sep. All Skill Levels Welcomed

Frank
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 12:50 PM
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And just so you guys know that I am not a "foam hater" I am currently working on a 16 pound foam and glass Warbird as I type this.

Frank
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 01:04 PM
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Sadly no, not since being a kid and building a rudder band powered plane.

Bought a .60 size sopwith pup balsa, sold it a month or so ago. No real space or time, and truthfully no desire to build it.

I find that an ARF is plenty of work for me anyway (as I take my time usually) especially if it gets paint and detail work.

Now with the mass of RTF rx ready, I find that is all I'm buying.

Our club is very small, but we had a show and shine last sat. 2 of the older guys had balsa builds, one scratched B17, one 1/3 beaver on floats and a 30% tiger moth in the works.

We all appreciated the models and the outsatnding work, but the rest of the tables (mine too) were pretty much arfs and mostly foamies.

I do hear comments from guys saying they just want to buy and fly, and smaller with no assemble time at the field.

Even the club instructor (long time in the hobby and has built a few at least) said to me the other day "no more building I just want to buy something I can pour out of the box and fly".

It's simply a sign of the times I reckon.
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 01:16 PM
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I voted "yes" because I missed the word "kit", which is only actually mentioned once in the question. I DO build my own balsa planes like you asked (four in the past 12 months); they just don't come from a box.

If you're only looking specifically for kit builders, it might make sense to make that more clear.
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