model building methodology


New member
Our hobby is very diverse in building materials, types of models and difficulties. Josh Bixler had an idea to introduce people to full scale aviation. Maybe it would also be interesting to Introduce them to other genres of model aviation. Way back when Josh started a series on building balsa, old school type aircraft, and of course there are quite a few instructional videos on foam board models. So maybe a series on balsa building of rc, free flight etc... models might be somewhat useful? And somewhat along those same lines some videos on carbon/glass techniques for model building? Just a thought...


New member
I would also like to see more diversity in the model building techniques. I started thanks to FT foamboard models and love them and have been toying with the idea of balsa but where to start? what should i make sure I've ot tools wise beforehand etc. A little guide from FT and well "the table is your friend"


Posting Elsewhere
A sharp knife and a few sanding block of different shapes and grits are all you need to make a presentable balsa model. Lack of sanding blocks and their use is the number one reason balsa models often look and fly poorly!

For a "foam" model you need to add a hot wire some non-solvent glues and maybe low heat shrink covering films.

For composite add a vacuum pump very good ventilation and gloves. "You tube" should give you the detailed execution of how to perform the lay ups to make the molds and the actual product.

For more details it would help if we knew what you are now flying and the direction you think you might want to go, such as racers, gliders, 3D , etc.

All the best,


Old and Bold RC PILOT
First step to different techniques is to understand that every material has separate properties and each is valid albeit subject to different usage considerations. FB techniques are not fully explored in the forums yet!

FB designs and builders seem to treat Balsa as obsolete and yet it has properties which can enhance FB designs, (added cost of course). There are a couple of articles of making FB planes lighter and stronger by using balsa in their construction within the forums.

XPS and other foam block materials are generally glossed over as being difficult to work with and requiring special tools, (hot wires etc), though I do quite well with just a sharp knife and sandpaper. My latest XPS and FB creation is my rendition of the RCM&E Cartoon Cutlass, still flying quite well after numerous flights and one treeing:rolleyes:.

As for starting into Balsa building, I also build in Balsa and find that, with a little care and attention to detail, the minimum tool requirements are also a sharp knife and some sandpaper. Include a iron if you are to cover in monocote or equivalent and a few clamps to aid in making wing ribs identical to each other. There are plenty of free plans for Balsa models if the mood takes you though do start on a simpler design as some designs can be extremely involved and fiddly. Please note that IC engines tend to weigh more than the electric motors of similar power and the batteries weigh more than the fuel tank most designs used so be aware you will need to juggle things around internally to obtain the proper balance.

There are far more eligible materials for use in model building than I have mentioned herein as I do not want to write an encyclopedia volume but I do recommend that you experiment with materials and make models of your own design.

Just what works for me!

Have fun!