Does Anyone Build Balsa Model Airplanes From Kits Anymore? - Page 5 - RC Groups
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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Aug 28, 2012, 06:01 PM
Registered User
I built a few Guillows when I was a kid, and I absolutely loved it - my mother says it was one of the few things that would keep me in one place for any stretch of time. I got away from it in high school and college, but now that I'm married, have a kid, and space to set up a shop (I'm 36), I have really gotten back into building planes. In fact, I think i like building more than flying.

I think the secret to enjoying building is to do it for the sake of building, not finishing. Every hinge, or seam, or piece is a chance to get it just right, and if you don't, who cares, its only you who will see it, so you learn from your mistakes and go onto the next steps.

I still fly ARF too, but here in new england, where the winters and nights are long, having something to do for a few hours after my family is asleep is very relaxing after a stressful day in the office.
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Aug 28, 2012, 06:03 PM
Registered User
Oh, and the kits have gotten SO good. Park Scale Models, Herr and others are turning out kits that just go together so easily. It removes the frustration of ill fitting parts, crappy wood, etc.

If you have not built a kit, or have not done so in a while, definitely give it a shot.
Aug 28, 2012, 06:49 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by Kimber
Is that like making all the pieces and selecting all the strips and flat stock
before beginning construction?

That's how we did this one. Brad cut a lot of the pieces on the band saw,
I did some on the scroll saw, we had most in place before I started building.
There was still some looking for odd pieces, but I think even kits require some
of this?

Sweet ! And where would one get all this balsa and plan,s ?? When i was building kits,they were ALL Great Planes (long before electric) and we used nothing but Futaba gear
Aug 28, 2012, 07:02 PM
Rocket Programmer
jasmine2501's Avatar
KIMBER, where did you get those wheels for the yellow plane?! I LOVE those
Aug 28, 2012, 08:39 PM
God is my pilot
JimTMich's Avatar
Yes, I built a mountian models switchback Sr. I'm in the middle of a hous lots of house projects and not much build time the last nine months...
Aug 28, 2012, 10:14 PM
Hobby King Hater
Kimber's Avatar
Originally Posted by jasmine2501
KIMBER, where did you get those wheels for the yellow plane?! I LOVE those
Those are home made. We started with hardwood disc from Hobby Lobby,
the craft store. Found the center, marked them off in 1/6ths and drilled
a large hole on the outer part and a smaller hole in the inner part. Do this
with a paper pattern first, Then cut the part between the holes and
sand smooth. Paint as needed.

Could have done some more sanding to get them smoother, but...
Aug 28, 2012, 10:18 PM
Hobby King Hater
Kimber's Avatar
Originally Posted by fastfwd
Sweet ! And where would one get all this balsa and plan,s ?? When i was building kits,they were ALL Great Planes (long before electric) and we used nothing but Futaba gear

We printed the plans to 150%
Aug 28, 2012, 11:10 PM
Airliner Builder
WAGliderGuy's Avatar
I'm almost 16 and started building models from balsa when I was 13. Although I feel lucky there are a few builders in my club, I wish there were more, especially under the age of 60.

I think most people are just daunted by the task or give the excuse they don't have much time. Of course I know that some seem to work 24/7 but I have found building a kit really doesn't take much time if you just sit down and get 'r done The simple laser-cut kits offered by MM and StevensAero go up faster then your average .60 ARF.

Framing a structure is not hard as long as you have a #11 knife, CA and simple tools like a straight-edge. Again, it really isn't that hard if you just try!!

I also wish people weren't so scared of covering...yes the first time is daunting and the last 5% feels like the last 95% but there are plenty of tutorials and if you don't use Monokote (why is it such a popular brand when it sucks at shrinking!?) because its the most un-forgiving stuff I have ever used. After my third build I got a smooth and tight job done every-single time with a simple 21st century iron, a heat gun and a quality covering such as Ultracote, Parklite or Microlite etc.. Just sit down, turn on some good tunes and you will be surprised at how much you can get done!

This is my latest build (7th mainly-balsa kit I have put together), a Pat Tritle 60'' DC-6B short kit:

With some practice even a kid can do it!

[rant] Also, it annoys me when I see users (mostly adults too) having fits over the whole foam vs. balsa thing. They are DIFFERENT materials that are used for DIFFERENT purposes! I use foam all the time as stands, plugs, cowls, nose-cones etc. Who the heck cares what the plane is made out of as long as it looks good? Same goes for fiberglass which I also use on my builds! So mamy pointless posts here! [/rant]

Anyways my point is that even if you are a little interested in building you should give it a try.

Aug 28, 2012, 11:25 PM
Registered User
I'm a bit of a builder myself, but have no issue with picking up an ARF to fly as well.

Last 12 months have completed a Stevens Aero Edge 540, and a Diddlebug.
Currently completing a 25% Pitts Model 12 (Dennis C design).
Aug 28, 2012, 11:55 PM
shafferama's Avatar
I voted no but only because my last build was from scratch. Love Pat Trittle designs and Mountain Models kits.
Aug 29, 2012, 12:06 AM
Registered User
I build balsa kits from, they're awesome kits and fly well over 100mph.
Aug 29, 2012, 12:08 AM
Registered User
Herman Munster's Avatar
I like to build as much as I like to fly. The kit I'm still in the process of building is the MR Aerodesign CL-415 with an operational water pick up/drop.
Aug 29, 2012, 01:15 AM
Registered User
MikeRx's Avatar
I have enjoyed dozens of arfs, but still enjoy building.
Some things special must be built, and since it doesnt have to cost much or take much time, I will be building many more.

I can build these and other quality kits in around 20 hours or less RTF.

Radical R/C "Das Mini Low Stick" (5oz auw with 10 oz thrust)
RBC "Microjet" (reached 100mph on 13 amps static)
Nanoplanes "Balsa Baby Shark" (130mph + on 400w)

People have come up in wonderment after seeing the Stick fly in public places..
Seems wherever you go, someone knows a stick!
Last edited by MikeRx; Aug 29, 2012 at 01:26 AM.
Aug 29, 2012, 03:47 AM
Registered User
I'm not against any sort of model building or assembling but I will make a couple of comments.

For assembling (ARFs) I could probably ditch half of my tools.

I enjoy the building process and putting in my modifications and alterations.

I enjoy designing models from scratch.

I'm happy to purchase an ARF if it is well thought out and flies well.

Building is no longer the "cheap" option. Good quality accessories and covering (iron on or dope and paint) are quite expensive.

Laser cut kits are escalating in price. I understand the reasons but a bag or box of cut balsa can cost twice the equivalent ARF.

I'll keep buying or building whatever it is that I want but I can see both sides of the arguments.
Aug 29, 2012, 07:24 AM
Balsa Builder. With some foam.
ArneHu's Avatar
Always a Balsa project. Either on the board, or in the hangar for repair. And some not finished.

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