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Balsa USA Smoothie XL- RCGroups Build: Part One

Mean Joe is going Old School!! This is the first in a series of build articles on the Balsa USA Smoothie XL. Let's check out all the stuff you will need to get going on this awesome Old School Kit Build!

Splash

Makin' Balsa-dust!

Product:Balsa USA Smoothie XL Kit
Retail price:$296.69
Wing Span:88-4/3"
Wing Area:1396 Sq in"
Fuselage Length:70'
Weight:14-16 lbs
Recommended Engine:20-35cc
Available From :Balsa USA

Balsa USA has become the "go-to" source for all your kit building needs. Everything from their award winning balsa kits, clear down to many of the tools and accessories you need to complete your next build, can be found there. The quality of the materials is second to none and the customer service just can't be beaten!

Mean Joe is diving deep into the shop on this build of the Balsa USA Smoothie XL. Let's jump right in and start making some balsa-dust!

Set-up

Ok so let's first go over what you will need to get started and how to set-up your work area for a successful build experience. It is very important to have a few things in order before you start digging into your build. Let's check out what you will need.

As with most Balsa USA kits, the manual has a ton of helpful tips and tricks written into it to help you along with your builds. Here is a list of the things that they suggest you grab before your get started. For helpful links to get you to the right stuff don't forget to check out the links.

  • Sandpaper
  • Sanding Blocks
  • #11 Hobby Knife
  • CA Glue
  • Epoxy
  • Razor Blades
  • Zona Saw
  • Pliers
  • Drill and Bits
  • "T" pins
  • Waxed Paper
  • Small Screwdrivers
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Flux
  • Straight Building Board
  • Scissors
  • Rubber Bands
  • Heat Gun and iron
  • Masking Tape

There are a few more things I would suggest and I will cover these as we move forward, so stay tuned.

Critical!

THE most critical part of this or any kit build is to make sure that you have a straight building board. Any imperfections in straightness will transfer to your model as you build if you do not take the time to get it right. There is nothing worse than a warped airframe so really take the time to get it right before you start placing balsa down.

I started by heading over to a local store to pick up three 2'x2' ceiling tiles. These make for a great building surface because when you start pinning parts down the pins will hold tight to avoid any shifting as you build. When you first get the plans laid out you will notice how large they are, but you don't need a work surface that is as big as the plans are. You can cut the plans down by section to make them smaller and more manageable for building. I ended up with a 6'x2' surface with the tiles I grabbed and I have plenty of room.

Now here is the MOST IMPORTANT step. Once you get the tiles set up on your work surface you need to make sure that they are straight. This is achieved by using a long straight edge (preferably metal) down on the surface and looking for gaps.

You can use old magazines to shim up the surface all the way across so that it is perfectly straight. Just place the pages under the low parts to level them out. Make sure you take the time and be very critical of how straight it is. Any imperfections in the build surface WILL transfer to your build if this is not correct.

The last step in the surface set-up is to lay out the section of plans that you are to be working on and cover it with waxed paper to protect the plans during the build. Just pin the plans and the waxed paper down with a few "T" pins nice and flat and you will be ready to go.

Sticky Stuff

As with any build, you will need an assortment of Glues and adhesives to complete the build. I would recommend Balsa USA Gold CA and Glue products for the construction of this and any model. Some of the adhesives you will need are as follows.

  • Thin CA- for tacking parts together and "wicking" more on this later.
  • Thick CA- general building and filling small gaps.
  • Epoxy- quick set and long set, for strong joints like firewall and gear blocks.
  • Accelerator- for instant curing, do not use with thin CA it can cause boiling due to rapid curing.
  • Debonder- great to have on hand for anything that gets stuck together that you don't want to be stuck together (like fingers)

Additional tools

Here are some of the additional tools that you may find useful during your build process. Most of these are avaliable at your local harware store and should not put you out of your pocket to much.

  • Builders square
  • Flat Saw
  • Grip Pins-Hobby shop find
  • Play sand- for making some weight bags
  • Rotary Cuter- craft store find
  • Socks for covering iron
  • Nico-press- Avaliable HERE
  • Expoy Brushes
There are other odds and ends you may think of to help you along, but this is a pretty complete list of all the stuff you should need.

Accesories

There are a few other items that you will require for completion of your Smoothie XL build. Balsa USA carries a full line of accesories to make your shoping list easy to fill. Some of the things Mean Joe picked up are listed here:

  • 1/4 Scale Pilot- Avaliable HERE
  • Dubro 3-1/2" Wheels- recomended for grass fields- Avaliable HERE
  • Dubro Tank- Avaliable HERE
  • Tail Wheel- Avaliable HERE
  • Covering- Avaliable HERE
  • Servo Trays-Avaliable HERE

Stay Tuned!

Well gang that's pretty much all you need to get started with your Balsa USA Smootie XL build! Stay tuned for the next installment in this series coming soon! ~Mean Joe

Last edited by Mean Joe Vermillion; Feb 13, 2017 at 04:20 PM..
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Old Feb 13, 2017, 05:44 PM
pappy35 is offline
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Sweet!

FYI...check formers F2A and F3A. They were both about 1/8" shorter than the plans. If you don't shim them up you'll end up with a valley in your hatch.

Edit: BTY, I'm super-excited that you're doing a build thread. This was my first BUSA kit and I'm really impressed. Very nice quality wood, builds fast and straight.
Last edited by pappy35; Feb 13, 2017 at 05:59 PM.
Old Feb 13, 2017, 05:45 PM
Cloud Cruiser is online now
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Don't be scared, fly it!
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I'm in. ��
Old Feb 13, 2017, 06:25 PM
cooper998 is offline
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Nothing like a good WOODIE!
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looking forward to following your progress, mine is about half way there with wings and tail done and now working on the fuselage,

Tony
Old Feb 13, 2017, 07:02 PM
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Following!
Old Feb 13, 2017, 07:08 PM
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subscribed
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Latest blog entry: The FW190 is back!
Old Feb 13, 2017, 07:45 PM
PropsnWings is offline
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Just curious in your links, you linked the tail wheel. My kit came with the Ohio Superstar tail wheel.
Old Feb 13, 2017, 08:06 PM
ablair is offline
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Joe, I'll follow along with you. Looking forward to your build!
Old Feb 13, 2017, 08:25 PM
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killickb
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Scale kit/scratch built ? Realise that this is now ongoing but should have been in the "Sport" section. We used the original Smoothie for our one design pylon racer back in the 70's, twenty three of them built !
Old Feb 13, 2017, 08:48 PM
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No mention of power plant...guess this is going to be an electric powered bird....and maybe should be in the Giant Scale thread?
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Old Feb 13, 2017, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killickb View Post
Scale kit/scratch built ? Realise that this is now ongoing but should have been in the "Sport" section. We used the original Smoothie for our one design pylon racer back in the 70's, twenty three of them built !
Quote:
Originally Posted by tailskid2 View Post
No mention of power plant...guess this is going to be an electric powered bird....and maybe should be in the Giant Scale thread?
The Smoothie XL is the giant scale version of the original Smoothie. Mine will have a Saito FG40 with 18/8 3 blade. Curious what Joe has decided on.
Old Feb 14, 2017, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tailskid2 View Post
No mention of power plant...guess this is going to be an electric powered bird....and maybe should be in the Giant Scale thread?
No Sir this will be a gasser. Stay tuned that will be included in soon! Thanks for following along!
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Old Feb 14, 2017, 12:45 PM
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Well then this thread should be moved to the Giant Scale Airplanes in the Aircraft Fuel Airplanes.
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Old Feb 14, 2017, 01:21 PM
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Hmm, I did not notice that.. it IS in the wrong place. Yes, I agree needs placed in the proper forum.
Old Feb 14, 2017, 03:37 PM
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I've asked the moderators to move it but guess they haven't done it yet?........


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