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So, You Want to Build Your First Balsa Plane? Start HERE!

buzzbomb

I know nothing!
#81
Please keep doing what you're doing. I'm on the cusp of wanting to do this. I'm simply not able to, at the moment. I'm pointing other pilots, here in the meantime. DTFB means I can build and crash and seldom care.

I've been reading so many posts, buried down here in the Balsa Builders. Things have come so far from when I tried to build from balsa 30 years ago. Now it's laser cut kits and wicking glue. It's so much more accessible!

The draw for me is the time investment in that maiden flight. I love every plane I build, and I don't put any effort at all into making them pretty. I just want to fly! That may seem counterintuitive. There is a gold nugget, there.

The adrenaline I feel every time I maiden a foamboard airplane? I keep seeking it out. I've always got a new build. How much more the adrenaline, when the stakes are higher, and the monetary investment really isn't that much?

Yeah, those of you who build this way? Don't feel like you're unappreciated. People like me are watching, reading, learning, and becoming inspired.

@rockyboy? The way you've brought so many people in to build these planes and the @Willy Nillies has stepped up to help it happen? That's inspired. Each night I work my down through the FT forum. I know when I get to the Balsa builders threads, I'm going to be excited.

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. I just wanted to say thank you all for inspiring myself and others. You can't see it, because it's an online forum, but there are some of us who are just in awe at what you are doing. Thank you.!
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#82
Thanks @buzzbomb - appreciate the kind words!

I often try to keep myself to only building two projects at a time - one of them a foam board plane, and one a balsa plane. This also encouraged me to use Superphatic or Titebond glue instead of CA to slow down a bit. I usually start a building session on the balsa plane, and when the glue is drying on the balsa, I switch to building on the foam board for a bit, and when the paint is drying on the foam board it's time to do balsa! If you have the space for this, it keeps foam board plane maidens coming out frequently, and you can have a new balsa plane for every two or three foamies! :D
 

nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#83
I'm in the middle of building a downstairs floor for storage under the house so my plane building has been some ARF's and repairs lately. But, when I get finished with the house, I plan on starting a boat build and a 1/4 scale Cub build at the same time to have, like Rockyboy, something to do when the glue is drying...I'm pretty much done with Foam Board however, as I can purchase a foamy ARF for the same or less and have a better quality flying plane that lasts longer. FB is good for getting into the hobby, the building side and learning, but in the long run it doesn't hold up that well.
 

Keno

Well-known member
#84
I have not read all the post here but if you want to experience building with Balsa get a Sig Kit, If they are available. Many newcomers to this hobby have teethed on their kits. This was followed by the purchase of a Charles Goldberg kit. Then you were on your own building with Balsa.
 

nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#85
Yes, Sig kits are amazing. Also the other product lines associated with them are great, like Alien. Hands down, for complete kits, Sig is the best.
 
#86
I've seen the note about Mountain Models on the top of the thread and want to add that I had near identical experience to Joker 53150 at roughly the same time. It came down to reversal of charges too.

I've had a great experience ordering from Stevens Aero and lately I'm really liking the designs I'm seeing from Old School Model Works and Willy Nillies.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#87
I've seen the note about Mountain Models on the top of the thread and want to add that I had near identical experience to Joker 53150 at roughly the same time. It came down to reversal of charges too.

I've had a great experience ordering from Stevens Aero and lately I'm really liking the designs I'm seeing from Old School Model Works and Willy Nillies.
Thanks! I really hate seeing people having a negative experience ordering from any kit maker, but it's good to have more confirmation of the positive ones too!
 

Turbojoe

Well-known member
#88
Thanks! I really hate seeing people having a negative experience ordering from any kit maker, but it's good to have more confirmation of the positive ones too!
I've been a rabid supporter of Mountain Models since 2001. My house is littered with built MM planes and I have a large hermetically sealed stash of unbuilt MM kits. It pains me to see the decline of MM but Brian is putting his family, education and future first. Sadly it appears MM is a roadblock at this point thanks to him earning his engineering degree and getting a job that pays so much more than the R/C hobby. I wish nothing but the best for Brian and I hope MM sells to a worthy recipient soon. It would be heart breaking to see MM disappear.

Having said all that Willy Nillies has become my new #1 kit supplier. Doug was very smart and jumped into the "FAA spec" ultra lightweight BALSA kit market with both feet. Something a few other kitters have dabbled in but only as what seemed to be a half hearted test. Doug is going full steam ahead. Who knows what his actual sales figures are but judging from the responses I see on only this one website he seems to be doing quite well.

I hope Doug can snag full ownership of this niche market that he is creating early on before any other larger outfits jump on HIS band wagon. Doug has great kits at great prices. It's almost like 30 years ago! (y)

Joe
 

vhandon

Active member
#91
I'm just waiting for that one good lottery ticket......;)

Joe
How much would it really cost to take over the company. Anybody have an idea on what they are asking for everything? (Team Buy!) Now that my kids are out on their own I don't mind turning the entire upstairs of my house into warehouse/manufacturing.
 

Turbojoe

Well-known member
#92
How much would it really cost to take over the company. Anybody have an idea on what they are asking for everything? (Team Buy!) Now that my kids are out on their own I don't mind turning the entire upstairs of my house into warehouse/manufacturing.
I know laser printers aren't cheap even now and I don't know how many he has. His many unreleased designs have value as well. We used to have a lot of contact years ago and I know he has some really cool stuff that he was working on. My uninformed guess would be in the 50K range for the business and inventory. I'm probably way off in the + or - range though. Best to contact Brian for his selling price from the link on the website or at brian@mountainmodels.com if it's different from the website link.

I'm now retired, poor and trying to survive only on Social Security but I'd love to be involved in some small way of the acquisition and continuation of Mountain Models if many jump in to do a buyout.

Joe
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#93
I think some major updates can now be made to the first couple posts in this thread. Specifically I want to remove more info on the Mountain Models kits and replace it with Willy Nillies info for new builders. It really bums me to cut MM out as the kits are great, but if you can’t get an order processed there is no sense promoting them. Over the next few weeks I plan to update this thread. If there are related items I should consider adding please let me know!
 

TooJung2Die

Well-known member
#94
I want to remove more info on the Mountain Models kits and replace it with Willy Nillies info for new builders.
Joker is right about these kits for new balsa builders. I'm in the process of building a Willy Nillies Eaglet 250. They go together very well and everything fits as expected. This allows you to focus on the fun of assembling, finishing and flying. Plus, they are not intimidatingly large. You don't need a large workspace to build any of the Willy Nillies kits.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#95
Joker is right about these kits for new balsa builders. I'm in the process of building a Willy Nillies Eaglet 250. They go together very well and everything fits as expected. This allows you to focus on the fun of assembling, finishing and flying. Plus, they are not intimidatingly large. You don't need a large workspace to build any of the Willy Nillies kits.
Agreed. In my opinion the main focus on building that first balsa kit is actually finishing it and flying it. Big or complex kits that require extra skill or that give the builder constant confusion (like the cheap Chinese kits) often do little more than sour somebody on the building experience. Get a taste of success with limited effort and it'll be addictive!
 
#97
Hi everybody, as you may have guessed I'm looking for a good balsa trainer. As recommended in this thread I took a look at the SIG Four Star but to me it really looks more like a sport model rather than a trainer. One that looks better on that way may be the KADET Mk II from the same manufacturer. Do you guys know if that really is an easy build and above all an easy to fly plane ?
 

chris398mx

Well-known member
#98
Hi everybody, as you may have guessed I'm looking for a good balsa trainer. As recommended in this thread I took a look at the SIG Four Star but to me it really looks more like a sport model rather than a trainer. One that looks better on that way may be the KADET Mk II from the same manufacturer. Do you guys know if that really is an easy build and above all an easy to fly plane ?
I dont know about building it as mine was used, but it is super easy to fly.
 
#99
Trying to figure out my next balsa build... relatively new to balsa and don't know a hole lot..... looking for something electric in the 60-30 inch wing span range.
any help would be appreciated!! 😁
 
Hi everybody, as you may have guessed I'm looking for a good balsa trainer. As recommended in this thread I took a look at the SIG Four Star but to me it really looks more like a sport model rather than a trainer. One that looks better on that way may be the KADET Mk II from the same manufacturer. Do you guys know if that really is an easy build and above all an easy to fly plane ?
Yes and yes. Anything high-wing with a flat bottom airfoil and lots of dihedral is going to be pretty docile on the handling front. The construction is mostly sheet based in the fuselage which is easy for a beginner. The wing is a pretty traditional design but there's no areas that are outrageously complicated with it; and being a flat bottom, framing it up is pretty straightforward. I had one for a while that I didn't build but I wanted to do another, just because I liked it that much. The fit and finish is great with Sig kits so I doubt you'll find anything that doesn't go together like it says in the instructions.
 
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