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Sep 10, 2019, 02:28 PM
'Douglas' to his friends.
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Build Log

Curare 20 Short kit, from Vicsrc ...

Good evening ...

Hoping, once again, that this sub-forum is the right place for this 'plane, first kitted, I think, in 1975. Vintage..? A classic..? I'll get it moved if there's a better place for it; meanwhile ...

The Curare 20 is a more modestly-sized version of the Curare 60, and was popular in its day, kitted by MK, Japan. Obviously no longer available new, but Vic Meek (vicsrc on this forum...) has a few classic short kits available, including several Lou Andrews x-master offerings (I have three of 'em now...). This Build, however, will be the Curare, chosen by Our Eldest as being a bit (maybe a lot..?) more 'sportive' than most of my stade 'planes. We'll be building it for electric flight, of course. Here's a view of the plan ...

... and the 'plane, when finished ...

Not sure if ours will turn out to be quite so smart, but we'll see.
No instructions other than the meagre indications on the plan itself, with several annotations in Japanese for us to scratch our heads over. The diagrams seem to be clear enough for now, though, so we'll how it progresses. Step one should be building the nose, with engine bearers, but we'll skip that for now, and the following steerable nosewheel bearing, and jump straight into the fuselage flanks. Supplied in two dovetailed halves, they are glued together here, and reinforced with a cross-grain doubler over the join...

Held down flat with ... Yes, the lump hammer, they'll pass the night. Meanwhile, I'll order some block balsa (needed for the under-chin...), and pore over the plan looking for traps, hints, inspiration and ideas. If anyone out there has any experience with this 'plane, either as a build or in flight, feel free to contributre; I'm all ears.
To be continued...
Last edited by Dad3353; Sep 10, 2019 at 02:34 PM.
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Sep 11, 2019, 12:27 PM
Registered User
Monza Red's Avatar
A classic aerobat! I don't care whether you post your progress with it here on this forum but The Fundamentalists would say that it ought to go here under "Classic pattern Flying." They may have a point. You are more likely to get experienced help from that forum.

I've never flown a Curare but it has an excellent reputation. I've owned a couple of Dave Smith's patternships which were delightful to fly. Indeed I've got one of his Aerostars in the garage, it needs a little TLC but maybe I'll get it going for next year. I can vouch for a 60 sized model flying well but none of these pattern ships are suitable for an inexperienced pilot.

I would imagine that the 20 sized model would be pretty quick.
Sep 11, 2019, 01:19 PM
Registered User
The Curare was the best aerobatic plane of the seventies in the hands of Hano Prettner (wordl champ many times).
The plane it self has been world champ at least one time (may be more but my memory is not sure).
And I have not the courage to plunge in the archives.
For sure the 20 shall be a good aerobatic plane.

Sep 11, 2019, 04:15 PM
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RFJ's Avatar

Your memory is good. Curare won the World Champs once in 1977 and was second in 1975 - with a little help from Mr P

Sep 11, 2019, 04:21 PM
'Douglas' to his friends.
Thread OP
Originally Posted by Monza Red ought to go here under "Classic pattern Flying." ...

Requested; thanks for the tip-off.
Sep 12, 2019, 08:44 AM
AndyKunz's Avatar
I'll be following this one. Either forum is fine.

Sep 12, 2019, 12:17 PM
Lipoly Killer
Frank Hurd's Avatar


I canít seem to find this website.
Sep 12, 2019, 03:35 PM
doxilia's Avatar
Domain is down.

Looking forward to following the build. Please post some detailed pictures of the kit. I'd be interested in seeing to what level he was faithful to the original MK design.

Sep 12, 2019, 05:59 PM
'Douglas' to his friends.
Thread OP
I like to do 'step-by-step' Build Logs, with many photos, just as much for my own future benefit as anything else (old age, you see; memory issues... ).
Now then; what was I saying..? Ah, yes...

The fuselage flanks are reinforced around the rear with 3x5 strip. One flank is laid over the plan, the other laid alongside, being careful to make 'mirror' flanks, not two starboard ones..! ...

The next day...
I had 3D-printed a fuselage jig, which I used for my Kirby Motor Tutor build; time to dust it off for jigging up these flanks (upside down, so as to profit from the straightest edge...) ...

... which, after a suitable setting time for the Titebond, became, the right way up ...

Inverted again for the fitting of the bottom sheet of the fuselage rear ...

It's pinned in place, and lested with a steel rule and a hammer.

I don't know if the original kit was supplied with any instructions other than those on the plan itself; these are rather sparce, with some annotations only in Japanese, so I find it easy to make mistakes (well, I should write 'easier', really ...). A simple example..? The flanks are reinforced around the rear rims with 3x5 stick. There is a tiny indication that there should be a 2mm protrusion along the top edge. In my folly, I recognised this, but thought that it only applied to the foremost end, and that the rest of the length should become flush. Too late to do anything about it once the penny dropped; this protrusion should serve to align the start of the turtledeck. I'll have to add little supports here and there when I get to that point. Not critical, then, but much study of several steps ahead is recommended before committing.
As for the quality of the short kit... The balsa is excellent, and the cut very clean. The parts came already freed from their surrounds, in labelled plastic bags, and taped together (to be noted : sent to France, so reduced to their minimum to keep shipping cost down...). One 'issue', to us Europeans, is that the notches for the spars and dorsal spine are specified on the plan as being 5x5, but, true to 'standard' US wood sizes, have been cut to 1/4". As it happens, I've found a source of this very uncommon balsa here in France, but it was a surprise, and will mean a delay whilst it's delivered. Other than that, and two lower cheeks parts a bit short, it's all looking good (no, splendid...) for now, and I'm very pleased with it all. It helps, perhaps, that Vic has been a pleasure to deal with, with excellent comms. This is the first of his short kits to get to our boards here, but I've already three others from him patiently waiting their turn (Sportmaster, Trainermaster and Minimaster; yes, I like the Lou Andrews designs...).
That's enough for this evening. I'm preparing the turtledeck formers, but will wait to receive some block balsa (for the 'chin' and sundry other parts...) and the 1/4" stick before gluing up much more. Maybe the empennage..? We'll see. Meanwhile, I'll get back to looking keenly over every square mm of the plan for clues as to how to proceed...
To be continued; thanks for your support and encouragement ...
Sep 12, 2019, 07:23 PM
Registered User
jpurcha's Avatar
I don't read Japanese, but the instructions are quite self explanatory if you have some kit building experience.

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Sep 12, 2019, 08:36 PM
'Douglas' to his friends.
Thread OP
Indeed, with the emphasis on the 'quite'.


Sep 12, 2019, 08:50 PM
'Douglas' to his friends.
Thread OP
... and, in answer to the request for shots of the whole short kit, here it is ...

Does it respect the original design..? I'm not the best judge of that, so I'll leave that to others. I doubt that the MK kit was laser-cut, though, so there'd be some differences there, such as the tabs for the formers (but I've no idea how the original kit was, so...). In any case, it's fit for purpose as far as I'm concerned.
Hope this helps...
Sep 12, 2019, 11:13 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by jpurcha
I don't read Japanese, but the instructions are quite self explanatory if you have some kit building experience.

Doesn't everyone read Japanese?
Sep 13, 2019, 04:18 AM
'Douglas' to his friends.
Thread OP
Sep 13, 2019, 09:56 AM
'Douglas' to his friends.
Thread OP
I've selected some of the hardware, including the control rods, and have cut the rod exit windows from the rear of the fuselage ...

The elevators are seperate, so there are two windows (rudder and port elevator...) on this side, and another window on the other flank. They're not glued in yet, of course; just the rudder one set in for the photo, and the two others looking on bashfully.

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