Best flying Guillows kits - RC Groups
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Sep 21, 2008, 09:35 PM
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Best flying Guillows kits

Being short of money to spend on my hobby, I am tempted to have a go with a cheap Guillows kit, for FF.

We all know that Guillows kits tend to be on the heavy side and don't perform well as FF models, but some posts on RC Groups suggest that there are a just a few kits from the range that are good for FF.

Reading posts, it seems that the best flying kits are the series 600, series 700 and series 900. Is this correct ?

Series 600 include the Piper Super Cub (20"WS) and Javelin (24") and are build by number kits.

Series 700 are build by number too and include the Fairchild 24 (25"WS).

Series 900 include the Bird Dog, Typhoon, Chipmunk and Mustang, and they appear to be slab-sided designs.

Are these kits the pick of the Guillows range for FF ? It is hard to resist models that are this cheap.

I read a post on here which reported impressive success with the Guillows Mustang, as a FF model. Has any one else had any FF success with models from these series?

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Sep 22, 2008, 02:38 AM
Torn 'twixt buildin' and flyin
TheNightowl's Avatar
I can't speak personally, as I've never gotten a Guillow's kit to fly well. However, many of my freeflight friend have said that the Guillows Fairchild 24 WILL actually fly reasonably well, even stock. (They usually mention this while saying they think it's the ONLY Guillow's kit that will fly stock.) I personally think you'd probably be better off getting some dimescale plans and a couple of sheets of light 1/6th balsal, and building from scratch.

Sep 22, 2008, 07:40 AM
Registered User
I've built two 20" Super Piper Cubs and both flew well. Also, the Javelin. The Warhawk - 16 1/2" and the Mustang - 17", I built cutting the wood way down in the formers, LE and TE of the wing, and the edges of the fin and stab. Also, I cut out all the landing gear reinforcement at the wing along with building without the landing gear. All this makes for a lighter plane. For the low wing designs the wing dihedral needs to be increased so the wing tips are as high as the canopy. I can't tell you how the Warhawk and Mustang fly, I haven't trimed mine out yet. The Guillow's kits really are cheap and you get a lot for the price but you will need to replace the rubber with better rubber, get a better prop and use better tissue, all you can get from The plastic nose that comes with the kits are hard to work with so for the Piper I left it off and replaced it with a 1/4" thick balsa nose. The Piper is designed with down thrust but for the other planes you'll need to add a shim to create some down thrust.

Sep 22, 2008, 07:54 AM
Free Flight rubber flyer
jwfinn's Avatar
The Arrow is one of the best designs they've got. Build it and it will fly. Replace that aweful front end with a balsa nose block and it will fly like razy. There's a guy on anothe list that gets 2+ minute flights from his. I built two of them, the first one stock, and they both flew very nicely.
Sep 22, 2008, 09:02 AM
Registered User
Thanks for the replies.
I suppose that the Guillow kits with a sparse structure tend to fly better. For example, it looks like the Fairchild 24 uses a box and former fuz rather than the heavy clamshell construction.

Kevin I think you are right, performance is improved using better tissue and rubber and a better prop, because what Guillows supplies is not that great.
Sep 23, 2008, 12:32 PM
Registered User
Hi Swik,
Of the Slab-sided kits that you mention, I've built the Typhoon.

Currently I am getting just below a minute with the Typhoon. Literally, 59 seconds..the last outing. I think there is hope to get a minute. I've moved the motor peg forward, replaced the prop with a Peck's prop. of course, used Tan rubber and Japanese tissue. The Guillow's rubber is very unpredictable and has no energy IMHO.
Also, I enlarged the slot where the horiz. stab is mounted to allow for adjustments.

These are things I would do with most models anyway.

Per a friend's advice, I also thinned the airfoil and reduced the vert. stab slightly, enlarged the horiz. stab. slightly. When I say slightly, I built them on the inside of the plan line to reduce and on the outside to enlarge. I also added two stringers down each side to change the slab look.

All the wood was from the kit and it came out (I don't have my notes) at +/-
20g. w/ motor ballast etc. The kit wood in the slab sided kits is 1/20th and 1/16th.
Mine wasn't the typically heavy, dense wood that you find in the other
Guillow's kits.

I'm thinking of trying a (Bill Henn template) carved prop to see what I get.

Go for it. I agree that Guillow's may not be the ideal first FF model, but the
kit I bought cost $8 and I've had fun building and flying it. The model will
build up into a flyer.

Penn Valley has some great Dime scale kits that would fly. They are great to do business with. Check them out at

Have fun,
Sep 23, 2008, 10:17 PM
Registered User
A number of years ago, I built the SBD Dauntless and the DeHaviland DH-4 for free flight rubber. I built them out of the box and used japanese tissue and a couple of thin coats of dope for finish. While they both flew and were very stable, they were just too heavy to perform well. It was still a lot of fun though.

Sep 24, 2008, 12:29 AM
Registered User
Most Guillow kits will fly if built right, but they will never be great performers. I can get about 30 to 45 sec. per flight. I build these kits for nostalgia and because they are easy to build. Guillows kits are cheap and the company is real good about sending out replacement wood if you end up with oak. The tissue is horrible so buy some Esaki or Easybuilt domestic tissue. The rubber is useless so buy some replacement rubber. Increase the dihedral and add washout. The last thing is to make a functioning nose block so you can add down thrust and clay, I will post pictures of my nose blocks. Also don't paint your model, it is heavy enough, stick with colored tissue.

Functioning nose block.

Sep 24, 2008, 12:34 PM
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TLyttle's Avatar
NICE builds! Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow's ear! I'm envious...
Sep 24, 2008, 07:35 PM
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Vrated's Avatar
I love the adjustible thrust mod. You are very talented model builder. Thanks for the inspiration.
Sep 25, 2008, 06:18 AM
Vertically Challenged...
Cody's Neighbour's Avatar
Great building work!

I remember that's just how my own efforts looked fifty years' ago - but I did have my (very strong) rose-tinted specs on!
Sep 25, 2008, 08:04 AM
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Gluehand's Avatar
About 1959, I built the 18" Guillow's Fokker D-7.....hmm, as a 10-11 year old lad, this build was a tricky task, but fun though...

I remember that the red tissue supplied with the kit wasn't up to the "real stuff" from the hobby shop, but I used it anyway. It was a poor flyer, partly due to my modest building skills, but also due to the heavy balsa supplied (gray-ish, I recall). The design itself was also somewhat on the heavy side, leaving much space for lightening for the more experienced builder (this I realize today).

I just received a copy of the old plan from Derick Scott and eventually I will have a go on the D-7 again...this time properly, and using better materials...and maybe CO2....a challenge it will be....
Last edited by Gluehand; Sep 25, 2008 at 08:18 AM.
Sep 25, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Ojimy's Avatar
Many years ago (the early 70's) I built the 28-inch P-51, Zero and FW-190. The most successful flights were with the FW-190 and could best be described as "extended glides." This was, of course, with the factory-supplied prop and rubber-band. Yes, "rubber-band." I had heard of guys using multiple strands of "rubber-strip" to make their motors, but for me, such "technology" was still a few years into the future.

Later, I achieved satisfactory results with the Fairchild 24, and my younger brother with the Arrow. They're probably the best flyers in the Guillow kit line.

Had I known then what I know now, I'm sure I could have achieved better results. But then, had I known then what I know now, I wouldn't have started with a Guillow's kit in the first place. IMHO, getting a Guillow's model to look and fly well takes real talent.

You mentioned that money was an issue in your chice of subjects. How are your scratch-building skills? When I look back at the advances I made in modeling over the years, I find that there were several key skills that I learned, each of which basically doubled the success I was achieving from my modeling efforts. One of the most important was learning to build from plans.* This is much easier now, in the age of copy machines, and the number of subjects at hand is virtually limitless. Plus, after a couple of hours cutting out parts, you can build a model from scratch for about half what a comparable kit would cost. It will fly better when it's done, too.

If you've never done it, give it a try! Should you need some help or encouragement, there are some incredibly talented and helpful people in here who will lead you through the process. I guarantee that once you've done it, you will rarely go back to kits, Guillow's or otherwise.

* The other seminal skills were learning to cover with "paper", carve a prop, and draw my own plans.
Sep 25, 2008, 01:48 PM
Registered User
I would have to agree building from plans is a great way to go. I learned on Guillows, Comet, Sterling and Peck kits. After that I began building from scratch. If you are looking at flying in competitions or want real strong performers. Then I would buy quality balsa and build from scratch. My current goal is to build most of the Guillow kits, Comet kits and Peck kits. This is merely for fun only since I grew up building these kits. I still support Guillows because they are one of the only mass marketing companies out there. Guillow kits are great for introducing new people into the hobby, that is how I got my start. Here are 2 of my vintage Comet kit builds. I am almost done with the Douglas. The Piper Cub is a great flyer.

This is a Dumas kit that I built. I didn't really like the Dumas kit. The notches are not lined up and the burnt wood is hard shows through the tissue even after sanding and trying peroxide. Last Dumas kit I will build.

Sep 25, 2008, 02:49 PM
Registered User
The Guillow's Super Piper Cub is a pretty good flyer. I've built two. After that I enlarged the plan to 150%, bought some good wood and built that. It's a pretty good flyer, too. I did lengthen the nose by an inch, the smaller 20" wing span model needs quite a lot of clay ballast at the nose. I exchanged the stock prop to a Peck's 7" and used good rubber and better tissue for the 20" plane and built it without cutting out any wood to lighten it.


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