Seems like building from scratch or kit is for us old guys - RC Groups
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Feb 22, 2013, 02:16 AM
Registered User

Seems like building from scratch or kit is for us old guys

I remember when the hobby shop had a hundred kits, nowdays its all ARF. When I started flying in 1992 I don't remember seeing any ARF planes. My first plane was a Great Planes PT .40 kit and I built it and covered it all the way to flight.
I enjoyed building and how everyone had a different trim scheme. Now all the models look the same. It seems alot of the younger flyers are missing out on the other half of the hobby, the pride in building a plane. Then again when I started flying if you had a .90 size airplane it was considered big.

Anyone else?
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Feb 22, 2013, 03:58 AM
Registered User
Selective memory I'm afraid. There were many ARFs available by the early 90s and probably most people started flying with a .40-size ARF trainer.

Plus I guess you've missed all the busy discussion in places like the Foamies(Scratchbuilt) forum and others where many younger modellers are designing and building their own models from scratch. They're just not making them out of balsa .

There are less hobby shops now and it's true that those that are left stock more ARF (and RTF models) and less kits. Gotta stock what sells. But there's also a whole World-Wide Web now where anyone who really wants to can find kits, plans etc.

I think this is a brilliant time to be in this hobby and I really can't see it as a bad thing that someone starting out no longer has to spend months doing what they're not interested in (building) before they get to the bit they are excited about (flying) .

Feb 22, 2013, 07:32 AM
Registered User
Unfortunately, building requires an attention span greater than that of a Goldfish. Adulation by ones peers is directly proportional to the size of ones wallet.

Regards Ian.
Feb 22, 2013, 09:13 AM
What, Me Worry?
edbu1's Avatar
I do agree that it seems like it pretty much is us older folks that take the time to enjoy building from kits or from plans. There have always been those who do not like to build, though, and would pay someone else to build for them, as ARFs were not available. I started in this hobby in the 1970s and have always enjoyed building. So I continue to enjoy building. Younger folks have always had ARFs available. And most of the ARFs are of a good quality and are cheaper than building, especially if you don't have the space and tools for building. I see it as the natural progression in a free market. In other words, it is what it is. Personally, I will continue to build traditional balsa and ply aircraft for as long as I can continue to get kits/plans/building material. I also continue to use glow engines, but for new pilots, I recommend electric motors and ARFs. It makes more sense financially.
Feb 22, 2013, 09:31 AM
Visitor from Reality
Oddly enough, I just found the first edition of the 'new' 'Aeromodeller' magazine in a bookstore.

One neat part of this re-floating of England's original model aircraft magazine is that it contains a re-print of the first 'Aeromodeller' back from 1935. For one odd idea, sub 15cc engine powered models were described as 'small'! They were also somewhat devoid of post launch control

So, yes, our hobby has changed. I don't think of most of today's hobby as 'aeromodelling' any more. It's just something to buy, like video games, four wheel drive environment chewers and whatever other 'products' sales and marketing have decided 'consumers' should purchase.

Having said that, go to an indoor meet - like Hobbico's E Fest two weeks ago - and it's pretty obvious that ingenuity is still abundant, but in foam. What looks like a model of a small twin engined transport plane taking off vertically and hovering by rotating the main two engine nacelles and a horizontal prop aft of the tail assembly, that's ingenuity.

At the other end of the scale, there were so many 'cookie cutter' foamies flying around, and many under marginal control, that the truly ingenious models seldom ventured out from the pits. When you've put that much effort into something, who's going to risk getting it totalled by being mid-aired by someone who can barely fly their cheap, disposable model?

The first ARF I saw fly back in England around 1989 flew around for a few minutes, looped and one wing panel came off! Seems the buyer hadn't actually read the manual about removing the covering before epoxying the wings into the moulded plastic wing panel joiner...

I suspect little has changed.

The hobby undoubtably will continue to move on. I suspect, though would rather not, that building will become rarer - I've been to club fun-flys where my models were, basically, the only ones built, as opposed to bought, so maybe it's here.

Electric power is a prime example. I built my first electric in 1982 - a magazine kit review that none of the usual suspects would touch. I did it because it was different. Eventually, I moved over to all electric powered models - one reason being, my new wife at the time didn't like what I smelled like after a day's flying, to put it nicely. Another reason involved that I eventually got the same performance out of my electrics as my glow models.

Now, I sometimes fondly remember how little 'stuff' was needed to support a couple of glow models...

Our hobby has changed. I suspect it won't change back for a long while, if ever.

Such is life.

Feb 22, 2013, 10:16 AM
Registered User
Hollywood2979's Avatar
I was just talking with the wife last night, and as I was on the computer I decided to see what was available kit wise in the scale civilian aircraft wise, what a shock, there is virtually no kits available other the te small Guillows, Her Design, Alien, H.O.B., and the selection id very limited, then went looking for plans, unless your building a military A/C or a giant scale all the mid WS plans are very limited also, how I wish that kits were still available like in years past, Man had it good back then, should have stocked up.
Feb 22, 2013, 10:23 AM
What, Me Worry?
edbu1's Avatar
Kits are still out there. Mostly from modelers who never got around to building them, and either finally sell them at a swap meet or online, or who pass away and the family cleans out the workshop. I've gotten some really great deals because most modelers are not interested in building, so the kits don't sell, and I pick them up cheap. Of course, you do need to be a bit flexible in the choice of airplane you will build.
Feb 22, 2013, 11:32 AM
springer's Avatar
This is beginning to read like another "how do we bring Model Building back" thread, guys. I have to chuckle at most of the comments about the good old days, as believe it or not, the hobby is alive and well, but has moved on as new technology has come available in both building materials (like foam) and power systems (motors, batteries, etc). All the action is in those areas. If you check the forum spy function here on RCG, you will find that the single most busy one is scratch built foamies. If there's less than 70 folk online it's unusual, normal is 80 to 100+, from all over the world. And that forum is dedicated to those designing and building from scratch or those building those planes from the pdf plans the original builder's posted. So we got original work, design, plans builders, discussion about all of them, and about the gear, powersystems, etc used on them and even more folk who take the designs and morph them into something else! Does that sound like a dying hobby?

Interestingly, I'm 66, but just a couple days ago, I had discussion online with a 12 yr old here in the US, who's been building planes and flying for only a couple years (on his own with only parent's permission, not a lot of help), and a young lady in England who's just now building and flying her first plane (maidened it a couple days ago). so It's not dead or even dying, just moving into the 21'st century and taking advantage of the advances being made.

Take a look, you might even enjoy it!
Feb 22, 2013, 11:43 AM
Airliner Builder
WAGliderGuy's Avatar
I started building kits at age 13 and three years later I have finished 10 models! I have noticed a lot of kids my age definitely show interest in building (most of them do) but they get sucked in to the whole 'I need the greatest new 3D ARF' trend. Whatever floats your boat I guess :P

Feb 22, 2013, 11:44 AM
Registered User
Having been out of the hobby for almost 30 years, I got back in by building the big Bud
Nosen Citabria . My shop now has eight planes ready to fly. and am currently scratch building
a one sixth scale Grumman duck. I suppose that one of these I may start flying.again but for now I enjoy building.
I don't consider myself as an old guy, but I started building the rubber band powered planes
more than 50 years ago
Feb 22, 2013, 11:49 AM
What, Me Worry?
edbu1's Avatar
Springer: I don't think anybody but you mentioned anything about 'a dying hobby'. I agree that the hobby has morphed and changed with the times, same as everything else. It's all good and a natural progression. There may be alot of action in the scratch built foamies section of RCG, but it doesn't reflect what most of us see at our flying field. I think the reason is that the foamie flying field is a different field than the 'traditional balsa wood airplane' field. Many foamies are flown in backyards and parks, places too small for traditional aircraft.

Personally, I have dabbled with electrics in general and with electric foamies. I don't find it as satisfying, but that's me personally. I think it's great to have so many choices available to us and welcome the variety. I'm happy to have anyone pick up the flying models hobby as it helps us all in the long run. But going back to the original post, I agree that it is mostly older modelers doing the traditional wood building. Merely an observation, but not a put down of the use of ARFs or of new methods.
Feb 22, 2013, 12:31 PM
Registered User
I still do a fair amount of building....but these days more often than not it's small foamies, often for indoor flying. That's an area of the hobby that just didn't exist a few years ago. And I do a lot of my flying in local parks, playing fields etc. Another thing that wasn't really practical a while ago.

And those two things together help to explain why you're not seeing a lot of what people are building at the traditional club flying fields. I belong to such a club but if I get there 5 or 6 times a year it would be a lot, whereas I'm at the indoor club most weeks.

Interesting times and a great hobby which has certainly moved on from what it was 20-30 years ago but there's nothing wrong with that.

Feb 22, 2013, 02:20 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
ARTF, RTF, foam, ...disliked, bad ?

What about balsa builder who it now seems have their kits laser cut for them ?, Progress, or just lazy, should they get a double edged razor blade and cut it out themselves like us oldies had to ?.

Don't we build, buy, models to fly them ?, who can tell whether it's balsa or foam, whether it's bought or built when flying ?, (exceptions of course for the 'balsa or die' fraternity who can spot a foamie at at a 10,000 yards, they think ).

As for a first post Plentyofglue, didn't you see the Balsa Builders forum, the Fuel forums, as already mentioned, the Foamies(Scratchbuilders) forum.
There are probably more people flying model aircraft today than every before, probably more building than every before, (certainly repairing ). Probably more youngsters enjoying the hobby than ever before.

Jumping to the wrong conclusion seems to be fairly standard for some of us 'oldies'.

Promote the hobby, not criticize perceived change.
Feb 22, 2013, 05:07 PM
Registered User
Hollywood2979's Avatar
I fly both, balsa and foam, scratch, arf's and some times the rtf's when Im lazy, but still like to do a balsa to relax, for me it is just harder to find scale kits in the a/c that I like, so thats way I started looking at plans, even then i'm still limited, just an observation, I fly whatever I can get in the air no matter what its made of, hahaha
Feb 22, 2013, 05:44 PM
Registered User
I don't feel old. Started building kits in the 70's though. This is my latest scratch build project.

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