• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

4Charlie (My first balsa build)

Zetoyoc

Well-known member
#1
This is my first dive into a balsa build. I have a Stevens Aeromodel 4Charlie. This wasn't supposed to be the first balsa kit I built. I have had another kit from another manufacture on order for a while now and was patiently waiting. I received a notification that a package was on the way but was a bit confused when I looked and saw that it wasn't from where I thought it should be. I discovered my wonderful wife had ordered and surprised me with this kit. To say I was excited is an understatement. I guess when the first kit shows up it will now be the second.

IMG_20200629_143023.jpg


This kit is impressive. It comes with everything. Laser cut balsa, prebent landing gear, wheels and tires, even every screw, nut, magnets, and rubber bands I could need.

IMG_20200629_143610.jpg


IMG_20200629_143730.jpg


I found out on Wednesday that it would arrive on Saturday, but there was a delay. It was a long Sunday waiting for Monday and the package to arrive. ( how often can you say you can't wait for a Monday ) So I had a few days to prepare. I decided on a metal sheet and magnets instead of pins and used some of my waiting time experimenting with different clamp and square designs and printing them on the 3d printer. So far they are working great. I may have to color code the next set since I have a few different strengths for different thicknesses of balsa. A project for when I am waiting for the next kit I think. It was quite surprising how quickly the day went after I got started.

IMG_20200629_164629.jpg IMG_20200629_175106.jpg IMG_20200629_184942.jpg IMG_20200629_190545.jpg
IMG_20200629_213257.jpg JPEG_20200629_222244.jpg IMG_20200630_001928.jpg IMG_20200630_004328.jpg

I stopped for the night after the rough sanding. Ill smooth things up tomorrow and can't wait to work on the next bits. Not bad for an evenings work. After building foam planes I am really enjoying working with wood.

-Jesse
 

Zetoyoc

Well-known member
#3
The plans are one large sheet. It is a bit bigger than my build space so I have it folded to show only the part I needed at the time.
The wingspan is 42 inches.

I will keep adding pictures as I go. It is 2:30a now and I am really tempted to go back in there and work on it some more. But this way I actually made time to post my progress. I am excited to see how the wing goes together.

-J
 

Turbojoe

Well-known member
#5
This is my first dive into a balsa build. I have a Stevens Aeromodel 4Charlie. This wasn't supposed to be the first balsa kit I built. I have had another kit from another manufacture on order for a while now and was patiently waiting. I received a notification that a package was on the way but was a bit confused when I looked and saw that it wasn't from where I thought it should be. I discovered my wonderful wife had ordered and surprised me with this kit. To say I was excited is an understatement. I guess when the first kit shows up it will now be the second.

View attachment 173261

This kit is impressive. It comes with everything. Laser cut balsa, prebent landing gear, wheels and tires, even every screw, nut, magnets, and rubber bands I could need.

View attachment 173262

View attachment 173263

I found out on Wednesday that it would arrive on Saturday, but there was a delay. It was a long Sunday waiting for Monday and the package to arrive. ( how often can you say you can't wait for a Monday ) So I had a few days to prepare. I decided on a metal sheet and magnets instead of pins and used some of my waiting time experimenting with different clamp and square designs and printing them on the 3d printer. So far they are working great. I may have to color code the next set since I have a few different strengths for different thicknesses of balsa. A project for when I am waiting for the next kit I think. It was quite surprising how quickly the day went after I got started.

View attachment 173264 View attachment 173265 View attachment 173266 View attachment 173267
View attachment 173268 View attachment 173269 View attachment 173270 View attachment 173271

I stopped for the night after the rough sanding. Ill smooth things up tomorrow and can't wait to work on the next bits. Not bad for an evenings work. After building foam planes I am really enjoying working with wood.

-Jesse
Welcome to the addictive balsa madness. Like the rest of us you are now under its control. :eek:;)

Joe
 

Zetoyoc

Well-known member
#6
Watched some video of the 4Charlie flying. That's a good model for your first balsa airplane. Great progress![/Q
The only videos I saw of it made it look like a nice relaxing flier. I was surprised at how small the drive train was to do that flight with though. 2s 2212 motor. Or maybe I just like to overpower everything. I am planning on using 3s on mostly the same size motor. I think it is a 2214.


Welcome to the addictive balsa madness. Like the rest of us you are now under its control. :eek:;)
Yes. I am lost to it now I think. I know I have another kit supposedly on its way still but I am already looking at what else I can get my hands on. Doomed. . Oh darn lol
 
Last edited:
#7
The only videos I saw of it made it look like a nice relaxing flier. I was surprised at how small the drive train was to do that flight with though. 2s 2212 motor. Or maybe I just like to overpower everything. I am planning on using 3s on mostly the same size motor. I think it is a 2214.




Yes. I am lost to it now I think. I know I have another kit supposedly on its way still but I am already looking at what else I can get my hands on. Doomed. . Oh darn lol
I've been wanting this kit for a long time! All the Stevensaero kits go together soo well! You should checkout Alien Aircraft and Herr models. Sig MFG sells both those kit brands. They go together really well! Also any of the sig kits are going to be a great choice
 
#8
One video I found showed it can do basic maneuvers; roll, inverted, loop. Looked like it couldn't hold a knife edge. I thought that much was great for what appears to be a lazy park flyer. Trust me, when you maiden flight your first balsa airplane it'll feel like your first flight ever. :)
 

Zetoyoc

Well-known member
#11
Not quite as much progress today. Or maybe the same it is hard to tell. The fuse went together very nicely but the wing made me slow down a bit. the instructions reminded me very much of the how to draw an owl or something comic. Build the spar like so, and now build the rest of the wing and repeat on the other side.
This is a very nice kit but it is like working from 3 different revisions at the same time. The instructions are pulled from a magazine article and give a good overview if a bit vague sometimes. The plan sheet is great. lots of detail and designed to be used as a basis I think for building the model without the precut kit. The laser cut parts have been updated a bit more than the instructions or plans have. There have been a few times where the plan and the instructions direct you to cut 3/16 square from stock for some framing and then later after doing that I will discover that those parts are in the laser cut sheets with precise angles and lengths. I am a bit concerned that I might have used more stock balsa than I should have so far because of it. Time will tell.


IMG_20200630_120759.jpg IMG_20200630_120807.jpg IMG_20200630_121911.jpg IMG_20200630_122619.jpg
IMG_20200630_135228.jpg IMG_20200630_141213.jpg IMG_20200630_194942.jpg

-Jesse
 
#12
Not quite as much progress today. Or maybe the same it is hard to tell. The fuse went together very nicely but the wing made me slow down a bit. the instructions reminded me very much of the how to draw an owl or something comic. Build the spar like so, and now build the rest of the wing and repeat on the other side.
This is a very nice kit but it is like working from 3 different revisions at the same time. The instructions are pulled from a magazine article and give a good overview if a bit vague sometimes. The plan sheet is great. lots of detail and designed to be used as a basis I think for building the model without the precut kit. The laser cut parts have been updated a bit more than the instructions or plans have. There have been a few times where the plan and the instructions direct you to cut 3/16 square from stock for some framing and then later after doing that I will discover that those parts are in the laser cut sheets with precise angles and lengths. I am a bit concerned that I might have used more stock balsa than I should have so far because of it. Time will tell.


View attachment 173324 View attachment 173325 View attachment 173326 View attachment 173327
View attachment 173328 View attachment 173329 View attachment 173330

-Jesse
Counting left to right, top to bottom, in the 3rd image what are those purple looking clamps?
Same image what are those round discs?
 

Zetoyoc

Well-known member
#13
I am using a magnet board instead of pins to hold my parts in place. After years of science experiments and random projects I had a lot of magnets laying around so I thought id give it a try. The round discs are various sizes of magnet. The purple things are a 3d printed clamp I am testing out. They work a lot like a paper clip. Small magnets hold the purple base to the metal board under the plan and the longer center part of it is bent up over the part and holds it down . So far I have a few different designs for different strengths and thicknesses of part I need to hold down.
 

Zetoyoc

Well-known member
#15
Today was a day of chores so not much done on the plane yet. I stopped by a hobby store yesterday to look at covering options. So many choices.
JPEG_20200630_155503.jpg


but at $17-$22 per 2meter roll.. I couldn't do it. I did buy an iron though, and went home and last night placed an order for some 5meter rolls of film for $11 from Hobbyking. it seemed like a much better deal. and I had heard it was actually pretty good stuff.

I woke up this morning to an email saying my order was ready and picked up the film and tested it before the chores started. I know I just did a flat piece and some trim color but I was nervous going into it and discovered it really was quite simple and fun.

JPEG_20200701_113312.jpg JPEG_20200701_144314.jpg JPEG_20200701_113353.jpg

I am sure the curves and odd shapes on the plane may be more challenging but so far I am feeling a bit better about this step when I get to it. Now maybe I should go get the other wing half done.

-Jesse
 

Zetoyoc

Well-known member
#17
I have a thing that looks like an airplane.

The other half of the wing went much faster than the first now that I know how it was done. I checked and rechecked the wingtips. First, they almost went on upside down, then I wanted to make sure I didn't accidentally make two of the same side. Eventually, I got brave and completed the wing. I have a few things left to do that won't show up well in photos like sanding the leading edges round and finishing the sanding in preparation for covering. Very exciting.

IMG_20200701_201942.jpg IMG_20200701_214738.jpg IMG_20200701_214910.jpg
 
#18
Looking really good Joe, while Im still waiting for my 1st FT order to arrive ( its been 38 days so far ), Id love to do a balsa rc as well. Im leaning towards an Aussie company to buy from but most of the reviews have not been all that good re: plans, balsa parts etc. So I might order from the states instead and saddle up for another 40+ days till it arrives. Yuk.

Edit: Hey Joe what did your balsa kit cost you?
 

Zetoyoc

Well-known member
#19
Looking really good Joe, while Im still waiting for my 1st FT order to arrive ( its been 38 days so far ), Id love to do a balsa rc as well. Im leaning towards an Aussie company to buy from but most of the reviews have not been all that good re: plans, balsa parts etc. So I might order from the states instead and saddle up for another 40+ days till it arrives. Yuk.

Edit: Hey Joe what did your balsa kit cost you?
The waiting can be tough. I am quite lucky here with a lot of good sources nearby. Here is a link to the kit I received.

Stevens Aeromodel 4Charlie

-Jesse
 
#20
That's a very cool looking airplane. Covering can be frustrating if you're a perfectionist. The round nose will be a challenge. Search for video demonstrating how to cover compound curves. Some use an iron, I do best using a heat gun to stretch and shrink the film.