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Balsa Kit Manufacturers

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#1
Here's my bookmark list of currently operating kit manufacturers that I've either bought from recently, or have on my wish list.

Ordered from, built, and absolutely love.... excellent kit quality, instructions, support, etc. I keep pictures of their planes in my wallet (right behind the wife and daughter). :love:
https://www.stevensaero.com/
http://lainesplanes.com/
http://www.mountainmodels.com/ (I've seen a report in fall 2018 of very slow shipping - as in several months to get a kit - followed by a report in winter 2018 of same day shipping on an order :unsure:)
http://www.balsabuilder.com/product-...airplane-kits/

Ordered from and would buy from again... quality very good :D
http://retrorc.us.com/nonscale.aspx
http://www.parkscalemodels.com/shop/
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/ (Sig, Dumas, & Great Planes are all good quality brands here - design methods sometimes a little dated i.e. not many self-jigging models)
https://www.carolinacustomkits.com/kits - Growing line, took over the Telemaster line from Hobby Express

Have a kit or two on my wish list or in my build pile but I haven't actually tried them yet. :unsure:
http://oldschoolmodels.com/sr40.htm - new manufacturer on the scene!!
https://www.vintagemodelcompany.com/model-planes.html
http://www.bridiairplanes.com/index.htm
http://racores.com
http://www.nationalbalsa.com/
http://www.bsdmicrorc.com/index.php?categoryID=67
http://www.micronwings.com/Products/SectionKits/index.shtml
http://www.easybuiltmodels.com/
http://www.manzanolaser.com/
http://lasercutplanes.com/index.php?p=1_2_Kits
http://brodak.com/electric-kits/dare-electric-kits.html
http://www.radicalrc.com/
http://iflyherr.com/
http://alienaircraft.com/
http://shop.balsausa.com/category_s/1471.htm
http://www.eurekaaircraft.com
http://www.bmjrmodels.com
https://www.guillow.com/modelkits.aspx

In my experience with small kit companies (such as RetroRC or Laines), if something you want is out of stock just email and ask - they will cut based on demand as a lot of little companies don't have room or capital to have a lot of extra inventory sitting around.

Vintage Kit Sellers
https://www.oldmodelkits.com/index.php?g=flying-balsa-model-kits&mat=balsa
http://www.thebestthings.com/rc_model_planes.htm (I've ordered twice from this guy and he's a fast shipper and accurate with descriptions)

Out of Business?? :eek:
http://www.nanoplanes.net/ no longer making kits but have said free plans will be released soon for at least 4 years now...
http://hakits.co.uk/ website says "under maintenance and coming back soon..."
https://www.peck-polymers.com/ website says open for orders, but no balsa kits are showing in stock at of Sept 18

On the other end of the market are places like Hobby King or Banggood whose kits I've both used, and won't inflict upon myself again for a while. If you go for one of these expect the instructions will be useless or just plain wrong, at least some parts won't fit without modifications, and you'll get absolutely no support. :mad:

Once notable exception is the new HobbyKing Spacewalker kit that Wilsonman just built - this could be HK turning a corner with their kit production & support. :unsure:

I'm hoping others will chime in with updates or other manufacturers I don't know about too.

Happy building!
 
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rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#11
Good news! The Telemaster line will live on!

Carolina Custom Kits https://www.carolinacustomkits.com/kits bought out Hobby Express which owned the Telemaster line as well as a few other designs. Look for them to merge production capabilities and get back the Teles - including a couple new ones like the Twin Tele and a 15' monster Tele on the market this summer.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#12
That certainly is good news! Hopefully they provide the same quality. The Mini Telemaster I built a few years ago had darn-near perfect laser cutting.
 
#13
Vintage & Old Timer kits
Penn Valley Hobby Center has closed their store after 50+ years and is selling remaining stock on eBay. If you're into Vintage and Old Timer airplanes they have a good selection of rubber and IC free flight models still in stock. They have Guillows, Comet, Scientific, Dumas (remember those?) and their own in-house Shive Specialties kits.
I bought three funky looking free flight Old Timers and am converting them to electric power and RC.

Penn Valley Hobby Center
Penn Valley eBay

So Long.jpg Twin Cyclone.jpg Contest Commercial.jpg

Jon
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#19
She's a beauty! I really want to try one of their kits out, but it's going to be a little while. My project list is so full it's overwhelming o_O
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#20
She's a beauty! I really want to try one of their kits out, but it's going to be a little while. My project list is so full it's overwhelming o_O
No kidding, my backlog got even deeper last week when I picked up some new birds - a Senior Telemaster that needs a little tail work plus a glow engine boiling to free it up, a Tower Trainer .40 which needs to be re-covered and have the glow engine boiled, and I may also end up with a Tower Trainer .60 as well. Plus a ton of accessories which still need to be sorted out. I ended up with 18 nice quality Plano boxes of parts & accessories and have whittled it down to about 10 now of actual usable stuff. Auctions are fun, but I get a little crazy in what I can't live without! :)

That new design is pretty darn nice looking, I wouldn't mind taking a shot at their kits some day.