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Scoring Planes at Swap Meets, Estate Sales, and Online

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#1
It's no surprise to most here that I love finding "project planes" at swap meets, estate sales, or online. Most of the recent additions to the hangar have come to me that way, including the ones I added today. The idea with this thread is it will give people an idea as to what is available and a rough price. Keep in mind that price will depend heavily on your market and how popular RC is (or isn't). I'm in the Milwaukee area and it's a bad market for sellers, but great for buyers. Other areas may have expensive used planes. Anybody feel free to post your finds so that others can learn!

Here's what I ended up with today. #1 is a Great Planes Cherokee balsa kit, mostly built, 40 glow size. I actually have one of these as an ARF with electric power, but I'd much rather set it up with a gas engine and my own choice of covering design. The kit was $50 and included extras like the fuel tank and tires. It may have sold for a little less if I'd have worked on the seller, but he gave me a good deal on some covering so I paid his asking price. The wood is a little blotchy from age, but a light sanding should take care of that.

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Plane #2 would be my next project if I already had an engine for it. This is the Telemaster Electro, an ARF designed for an electric motor. However, a previous owner set it up for a glow engine and cut up the engine bay a bit to make it fit. It would be easy to convert back to electric, but I'm probably going to set this one up for gas as well, a 9cc should be a good fit. $35 for the air frame, a great deal!

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The engine bay was also painted yellow for some reason...? Even if I go gas over electric I'll un-do some of the mods done to it.

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The last plane I got was this little Strato Streak, designed for .020 power and free flight. At this time I have no plans to build it any time soon, but couldn't pass it up for $10 for such a nice, clean kit. This would NOT be a good candidate for a gas conversion! :)

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Last up is some covering I got from the guy selling the Cherokee. $25 for all 13 rolls - some new and some partially used. Covering is one of those things you just can't have enough of, although it still feels like I never have the right colors on-hand when needed. :) I went through my stash of covering yesterday and got it organized, but now I'll have to do it again to get these all put away. Guys who aren't building anymore are often happy to get even a few dollars per roll, so I try and grab it when I find it.

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My buddy Mike went with me today and he picked up a completed airframe (no engine or electronics) for $20, to give to his father in law. For himself he grabbed a Funtana X, which is a .60 size aerobatic plane (a smaller version of the Funtana 90 I did a build thread on). That came with 4-stroke 90 glow engine, battery, and all electronics for $150. The seller even fueled it up and flew it for him, which was when I knew it was sold!
 

Bricks

Well-known member
#2
Every plane and all my parts have come from either swap meets, auction, or off of Craig's List. My last buy was 5 planes 3 complete and two with just servos for $250.

1 3D Hobby Demonstrator complete throw battery in it and fly.
2 I am not sure what this plane is low wing electric 48 inch wingspan stick built complete battery in and fly.
3 MXS-R Complete minus receiver 110 Nitro four stroke.
4 Great Plains Extra 300 all servos minus 40-55 size glow, I have an OS Max 55 laying around which will go in this one.
5 Great Planes 4 Star 30CC size all servos and switches minus engine and receiver which by chance I have a Turnigy 30cc looking for a home not any more it fits right in there no mods... sweet.
 

TooJung2Die

Well-known member
#3
The last plane I got was this little Strato Streak, designed for .020 power and free flight.
That caught my eye. I haven't done a pylon free-flight to electric motor RC conversion. Why do you say it isn't good for gas? Isn't glow fuel gas? That was a steal for ten bucks.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#4
That caught my eye. I haven't done a pylon free-flight to electric motor RC conversion. Why do you say it isn't good for gas? Isn't glow fuel gas? That was a steal for ten bucks.
I consider gas and glow two different animals and was thinking of gas engines with electronic ignition, way too big for a plane like this.
 

TooJung2Die

Well-known member
#5
I consider gas and glow two different animals and was thinking of gas engines with electronic ignition, way too big for a plane like this.
I see. When I had IC engines on my airplanes they were all two-stroke and had glow plugs. I read about diesel engines but never saw one. Is gas the same fuel you put in an automobile?
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#6
I see. When I had IC engines on my airplanes they were all two-stroke and had glow plugs. I read about diesel engines but never saw one. Is gas the same fuel you put in an automobile?
I've seen diesel engines online, but never in person. They look interesting, but extremely messy. If i remember correctly, they also require special blends of fuel, not the normal diesel fuel you can buy at the gas station.

The gas engines I'm referring to use normal gasoline mixed with oil, like you'd find in a chainsaw or weed-wacker.
 

Bricks

Well-known member
#7
With gasoline my Evolution 10cc engines on 8 ounces of fuel will run almost 20 minutes depending on how hard I am on the throttle. Many times in between flights I do not even refuel depending on the plane and tank size, so much cheaper to run gasoline then glow..
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#8
Those small gassers tend to have long run times. The NGH 9cc I fired up today for the first time ran quite a long time on a few ounces of gas, although I wasn't pushing it hard. I'm guessing a full tank should easily go 15 minutes, and I think it's an 8 oz tank. The 23cc in my 1/4 scale Cub will burn through approximately an ounce per minute (my calculation which gives me a little extra reserve flight time).
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#11
I picked up this beautiful 84" Quaker at our club's RC auction for $40! And it had a 4 stroke engine on the front when I bought it - but before I left I already traded that engine for a similar sized brushless motor that I'm going to swap in.

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I also picked up the ugliest 3D trainer plane I've ever seen for $20 - I intend to fly this one hard!
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Who wouldn't love to get a "grenade launched glider"? :ROFLMAO: I got this one for $40 too.
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I had a little bidding war on this kit and ended up paying $60 for it - but have never seen anything quite like it and haven't been able to find any online info about it either. I really like the idea of a "pattern trainer" though! The plans (which aren't at full building scale) inside have a 1969 date printed on them, but there is also an application for a "citizen band, non-stationary radio transmitter station" in Hawaii dated 1948 in the box too - and the full size templates inside are printed directly on cardboard!
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I also got a Retro RC Baby e'Moth for only $10 - will be a great companion to my bigger sized Retro RC Moth kit.

And my last catch of the day was a Telemaster 40 kit that someone started but only built one wing panel. I hope all the parts are in the box - it had been opened and repacked a bit messily and couldn't be closed anymore. Picked that up for $30 - as long as all the plans sheets are in the roll (at least one sheet is there) this will be a great deal!

Overall a great auction for me! :D
 
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Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#12
“Great” indeed, nice scores!
I’m bummed that I’ve missed two swap meets already this year. Seems like nobody is bothering to advertise them like I’ve seen in the past. The only sale I’ve found was about 90 minutes away, and I ended up getting a few additions to the fleet, including a Telemaster Electro. That’ll be a nice one to convert to gas. :)
 

SquirrelTail

Well-known member
#13
I picked up this beautiful 84" Quaker at our club's RC auction for $40! And it had a 4 stroke engine on the front when I bought it - but before I left I already traded that engine for a similar sized brushless motor that I'm going to swap in.

View attachment 145605

I also picked up the ugliest 3D trainer plane I've ever seen for $20 - I intend to fly this one hard!
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Who wouldn't love to get a "grenade launched glider"? :ROFLMAO: I got this one for $40 too.
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I had a little bidding war on this kit and ended up paying $60 for it - but have never seen anything quite like it and haven't been able to find any online info about it either. I really like the idea of a "pattern trainer" though! :D
View attachment 145609

I also got a Retro RC Baby e'Moth for only $10 - will be a great companion to my bigger sized Retro RC Moth kit.

And my last catch of the day was a Telemaster 40 kit that someone started but only built one wing panel. I hope all the parts are in the box - it had been opened and repacked a bit messily and couldn't be closed anymore. Picked that up for $30 - as long as all the plans sheets are in the roll (at least one sheet is there) this will be a great deal!

Overall a great auction for me! :D
Lucky! The next swap meet we have here is next year in like March
 

Bricks

Well-known member
#15
I just found out about one not too far from me in Wisconsin early next month. I’ve found some good stuff there before.
Please tell me what I am missing as I am from Wisconsin? The one I will never miss Is the one in Minneapolis in late January early February if I remember right. Found way to many good deals there ….. sigh ...my shop is way too full now but I guess it always comes down to making more room, my addiction is sooooo bad that I have some stored at my nephews as he has more room.
 

The Hangar

Well-known member
#16
Please tell me what I am missing as I am from Wisconsin? The one I will never miss Is the one in Minneapolis in late January early February if I remember right. Found way to many good deals there ….. sigh ...my shop is way too full now but I guess it always comes down to making more room, my addiction is sooooo bad that I have some stored at my nephews as he has more room.
I can see from your avatar... looks kinda like my shop...
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#17
Please tell me what I am missing as I am from Wisconsin? The one I will never miss Is the one in Minneapolis in late January early February if I remember right. Found way to many good deals there ….. sigh ...my shop is way too full now but I guess it always comes down to making more room, my addiction is sooooo bad that I have some stored at my nephews as he has more room.
Here’s the next one I know of:
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The big one I’m waiting for used to be in Waukesha (bear Milwaukee), but is now in Washington County. I haven’t looked that one up yet.
 

jfaleo1

Junior Member
#18
I picked up this beautiful 84" Quaker at our club's RC auction for $40! And it had a 4 stroke engine on the front when I bought it - but before I left I already traded that engine for a similar sized brushless motor that I'm going to swap in.
The greatest flying airplane ever, you can soar with sailplanes, act as a wonderful trainer, or shoot touch and goes all day. My grandfather and I had one of these for YEARS. It had three different engines over the years, everyone in our club had flown i once, and it gave A LOT of people their first experience flying RC.

Thanks for brining up a great memory!,
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#19
Swap meets and estate sales aren't only good for getting planes, you can also get a lot of good accessories.

Yesterday and today was an estate sale about 15 minutes from my home. I didn't need anything, so I skipped Day 1 and went today to see what was left. The disadvantage: most of the stuff was gone, purchased in one big lot by somebody on Day 1. There was a nice size P-51 with a gas engine left this morning, which sold while I was there for $200. For that price I might have grabbed it, but I'm glad somebody else got to it before me! :)

The advantage of going to this estate sale on Day 2 is that they sell everything at half-price! I ended up with the following:
Two 16 ounce fuel tanks and six 8 ounce smoke oil tanks. Although some are listed for gas and others for smoke, I called B&B Specialties and they confirmed the only difference is the fitting sizes are different and the fuel tank includes a better clunk. These are about $18/ea from B&B, but cost me $2.50 for the small and $3.00 for the big tanks.

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The tanks are nice, but I really wanted them for the fittings included. I can use these with the B&B tanks or the Fiji & Smart water bottles.

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Another item I don't need right now is 3/4 ounce fiberglass. This stuff from Sig isn't cheap, unless you get it at an estate sale. :) $2.50 per pack at half-price. They did have a bunch of other fiberglass, but it was lighter weight and I figured this was enough for today.

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These bins didn't have a price, so I offered $4 for the pair and they accepted it. These are bushings, adapters, and spinner bolts for gas & glow engines. This is the kind of stuff that is super handy to have as you never know when you'll need it. These will just go into my box of prop and spinner parts.

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Tonero311

Well-known member
#20
Got these yesterday in a local charity shop for a song. Was over the moon with my luck. I was looking 3/4 of asking price and adamant to achieve it, but my Dad was having none of it and insisted on buying me it as a birthday present. So far he's in number 1 position for best present so far and it isn't until next week😁.
 

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