Cost of Guillows Kits vs EP Scale Kits - RC Groups
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Dec 09, 2011, 01:46 PM
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E-Challenged's Avatar

Cost of Guillows Kits vs EP Scale Kits

I have converted a number of Guillows and other rubber powered scale kits to electric powered RC models but looking at current $50 prices for 35-36" wingspan kits, I wonder why beginning scale modelers/fliers don't buy and build the many kits and short kits for larger, lightly wing loaded, more flyable models, that are designed for EP RC.

For 20 to 40 dollars more you get a larger model,laser cut, (not die-crunched) parts sheets, ABS cowls, and plans that include a list of power system and RC components and show where to mount them to achieve the proper CG placement. With many of Pat Tritle's designs, and others there are detailed build threads on the Scale Electric Plane forum as well as building and covering instructions on Pat's Custom Models website.

I don't have an axe to grind but recommend beginning builders and low time fliers take a look at short kits available from Pat Tritle, Dumas, Manzano Laser works, Aerodrome, Mountain Models and others before buying and trying to convert smaller rubber powered model kits out of habit or being unaware of better options.
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Dec 09, 2011, 05:00 PM
Registered User
I cannot speak for others but for me I just like the Guillows designs. The new laser cut kits come with much better wood then the old days and one cannot beat the vacuum formed parts and details. The only issue with Guillows is having a game plan to convert to electric, but I think there is enough information on this website to help people. Guillows designs are sturdy and much simpler to build than some of the Dare kits that can be fragile. Now don't get me wrong, the Dare kits are great designs and make nice flyers since they are so light. Some of the short kits you mentioned are also great, but they lack directions and much of the build is up for interpretation, once again not a bad thing. Also Guillows is going to all laser, they just finished up the 300 and 400 series and now working on the 800 series. I think the larger birds are going to make great electric RC builds and I am patiently waiting.
Dec 09, 2011, 05:18 PM
Two left thumbs
Marketing! Guillows is in all hobby shops - or all that sell kits anyway.
Dec 09, 2011, 05:32 PM
srt8madness's Avatar
I partially built a guillows until I got on here. On your advice and others like danrc, I bought a mountain models balsa kit to build first. I also got another of the exact same guillows kit to build after, the right way this time. I dont give up easily

Those die crunch parts are a major PITA though!! The molt models kit I got has a 44 page instruction manual, much easier to build/follow than the Guillows plans(to a newbie at least). I also got a high winged foam plane for cheap to learn how to fly before I even think about flying my balsa models. I think your post is good advice. I personally have wood/machining/CAD background, so it is a little bit easier for me to build these planes than someone without(imho)
Last edited by srt8madness; Dec 09, 2011 at 05:38 PM.
Dec 09, 2011, 05:45 PM
Registered User
Maybe they're like me -- Fifty years ago I was a kid, trying to build those Guillows/Sterling/Scientific kits and not having any success. Finally, now, I can!

Who totally agrees with you, but still likes seeing those particular dragons being slain!
Dec 09, 2011, 07:23 PM
It flew once before...
jofrost's Avatar
Must be the challenge ...
Dec 09, 2011, 08:28 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
Guillows kits have an attraction that derives from our childhood or young adulthood, for those of us who dabbled in models back then. We used to poor over them and the Comet kits in the typical hobby and department stores, deciding which one to build next and which one might actually fly well. I used to hoard my allowance to get a kit or two a month.

Being a touchstone from our childhood, being fairly inexpensive (in todays money), some folks cannot resist the occasional conversion, despite the fact that few were really designed to fly well.... They take SO MUCH extra work to become good flyers with some structural integrity. Heck, we all wanted to be able to control the flight of our stick and tissue models from our yunger days!

I actually prefer models designed for electric power like the OP mentions, but I get why some people love to go for the conversions.
Last edited by Thomas B; Dec 10, 2011 at 01:54 PM.
Dec 09, 2011, 10:24 PM
Or current resident
glewis's Avatar
Originally Posted by jofrost
Must be the challenge ...
Yep.. That's what does it for me.

Better yet, convert a display model to electric RC.
Dec 09, 2011, 10:34 PM
Registered User
Beats me
As a kid I built most all of the Guillows line. It was Crap back then.
I at least have no desire whatsoever to revisit the 'joys' of Guillows
There are literally ..Hundreds ...of decent downloadable plans online these days.
ALL submitted by Fellow RC groups members:
Dec 09, 2011, 11:51 PM
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E-Challenged's Avatar
Interesting replies, i.e., nostalgia, second chance at success, challenge, and availability of kits in LHS and on Ebay. I have a theory that beginners mostly want to build a cool looking model, and if they can get the thing through the maiden/trim flight successfully so much the better. Some E-Zoners have learned how to convert Guillows kits through the school of hard knocks and their models look great and fly very well. I'll bet that many beginner's rubber kit conversions do not survive the maiden flight and don't become everyday fliers that repay the building effort and expense like larger, lighter wing-loaded models can do. I like to see beginners have a good chance at success and get lots of fun flight time.
Dec 10, 2011, 12:47 AM
Registered User
ausf's Avatar
Guillows was the only game in town back in the day and there is definitely a bit of nostalgia as well as the challenge to successfully convert.

Then I tried out a Stevens Aero and my days of struggling with sub par kits were over. It was like stepping into the 21st century from the steam age. A good quality kit is a real eye opener, departing valuable design ideas in the process.

I'd much rather grab good plans and nice wood now if I want a challenge and shop for a good kit if I don't.
Dec 10, 2011, 11:01 AM
Registered User
As others have mentioned, Guillows and Dumas kits are often stocked at local hobby shops, whereas kits by Mountain Models or Stevens Aero are most often purchased online. There are well-informed and uninformed buyers and all shades in between. Those who buy MM/SA kits have most likely seen them fly, or read about them on forums like RCG, where the reviews are almost 100% positive.

Note, I'm not saying buyers of old-school kits are uninformed. Just differently-informed, if you will.

A former flying buddy bought stock from a dying hobby shop, for pennies on the dollar, and ended up giving away much of his haul. That's how I ended up with my Herr PT-17 kit. It's not quite Guillows/Dumas -- and it is nicely laser cut -- but pretty much the same idea. Rubber band and tissue paper covering were included in the box. I presume if built according to original design it would have a flying weight of 3 or 4 oz., tops.
Dec 10, 2011, 11:08 AM
Registered User
I had a couple of guillow's planes that flew well (after some messing with): 20" Cub, SE-5, Fokker D-8. Always wanted them to fly longer; with rc, they do.

Dec 10, 2011, 11:51 AM
Übung macht den Meister..
Deuce's Avatar
It is a bit disappointing that Guillow kits are about the only kits universally found in hobby shops. Dumas and/or Dare are the occasionally-stocked kits it would seem.

From what I've heard of the laser cut versions of Guillow kits, the wood selection is better, though. I've been tempted more than once to check out one of the laser kits. I'd likely be much more inclined to attempt a conversion with one of those.

Frankly, my biggest gripe about Guillow is their apparent refusal to release any great number of Comet kits after they purchased that concern (I recognize only one or two, non-scale models). There's more than a few subjects Comet produced that would not compete with anything Guillow offers, so that can't be the issue... Buy the competition and bury them?

Dec 10, 2011, 01:56 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
Originally Posted by Bare
Beats me
As a kid I built most all of the Guillows line. It was Crap back then.
I at least have no desire whatsoever to revisit the 'joys' of Guillows
There are literally ..Hundreds ...of decent downloadable plans online these days.
ALL submitted by Fellow RC groups members:
Bare can always depended on for an uplifting moment...

There is still joy to be had with the Guillows kits....the amount depends on your attitudes and your approach to them.
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