Anybody ever build model aircraft?

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Forum topic by newbiewoodworker posted 10-19-2011 01:29 AM 1872 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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668 posts in 2826 days

10-19-2011 01:29 AM

Its pretty much official that some time in the near future I will probably be moving to an apartment. Obviously as such cabinetry is probably out :P. But one thing that caught my eye, which seems can be done with really nothing more than a few hand tools, such as a dove tail saw, a coping saw, and a few x-acto knives, is model aircraft building.

Granted this might drive me to drink, it seems better than the alternative…

Now when I say model aircraft, I do not mean the kind you throw off the bridge and hope fly 5 feet before disintegrating, but rather detailed ones, such as

Granted perhaps my scale wouldn’t be a freakin 5’ wing, lol :). And probably not thinking about strapping the NOS injected lawn mower engine to it either… haha.

Anyone ever do this sort of thing before?

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

18 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3068 days

#1 posted 10-19-2011 03:44 AM

Dabbled in it a little when I was a kid (just after the earth cooled) and it was fun. I worked in a hobby shop and some of their model kits were really intricate.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View danr's profile


154 posts in 3184 days

#2 posted 10-19-2011 04:01 AM

Yes I have built several of these years ago. Like anything else, there is the low to the high end. I remember getting some kits. I never flew mine and never had any real engines in them. RC was not common at that time. Model building is great, at least I thought so. I have not done it in years and my children never became real interested even though I introduced it to them. Give it a try. You may enjoy it.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7757 posts in 2913 days

#3 posted 10-19-2011 04:39 AM

I used to build RC sail planes. The longest wing span was just over 14ft. I used to cut styrofoam wing cores with a hot wire and sheet them in Obechi and fiberglass/carbon/spectra. For control I used a 7-channel Futaba.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3648 days

#4 posted 10-19-2011 05:00 AM

yes. used to build rc airplanes and now doing helis. I used to build those in an apartment mostly with xacto knife and sand paper block

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2934 days

#5 posted 10-19-2011 05:27 AM

Model aircraft building is very rewarding. I wouldn’t, however, make it your first plane if you don’t have someone to teach you. Models take a while to build and it hurts when you crash them. Pick up an ARF and buddy box with someone until you can reliably get up and down without incident. I’ve been flying planes and helis for a while, I think you will love it.

BTW: One of the best trainers you can get is the Avistar.

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3059 days

#6 posted 10-19-2011 06:20 AM

I have built and design my airplance on paper.
For someone who are new. Start with foam .Foam is cheaper than Balsa wood.. Then work yourself up to Balsa.

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2934 days

#7 posted 10-19-2011 07:40 PM

If you are into the bigger planes skip the foamies only if you have someone to buddy box with.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3987 days

#8 posted 10-19-2011 07:58 PM

I used to build balsa planes all the time. It’s something you can do at a little table that doesn’t take up a lot of room.

Making balsa kits is a great hobby. All you really need are an exacto knife, a razor saw, tee-pins, glue and a piece of cardboard. Oh and some wax paper so you don’t glue your plane to the plan.

You really don’t even need to cover them if you don’t plan to fly them. That will show off all the work you put into it.

They didn’t have CA glues when I was a kid so I used clear wood glue sold just for that purpose. Now with CA glue and the accelerator (makes glue set instantly) you can do things a lot faster.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3675 days

#9 posted 10-19-2011 08:30 PM

I used to do them like Gary said. Lots of fun to see if they will fly ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3068 days

#10 posted 10-20-2011 12:04 AM

Gary -
I remember a guy who did a couple of kits but never covered them. His P-51 Mustang was really neat.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3269 days

#11 posted 10-20-2011 12:15 AM

I have a friend named Gordon that builds models – he made a beautiful model of the Spruce Goose (Howard Hughes plane)....he also builds stuff for model train enthusiasts – houses, cars, furniture for the houses…etc etc…

What catches my eye is the Proxxon mini tools he uses – they have mini table saws, sanders, routers…drill presses….really interesting as they all work and pretty well by seeing the type of work Gordon generates (of course it is mostly due to his skill then the equipment). I tend to see them as toys….but that is definitely not the case, t would be interesting to use them to set up a mini shop in an apartment or such….but of course you would need to reduce your expectations accordingly.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2921 days

#12 posted 10-20-2011 03:25 AM

I did build wooden flying model RC planes long before I got into woodworking. IT is a LOT of fun. I prefered building them to flying them but did both. I even had a job selling them in a hobby shop for about 18 months when I first retired.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View MrRon's profile


4770 posts in 3243 days

#13 posted 10-26-2011 06:35 PM

I don’t build model airplanes, but I do build model trains. Either one uses the same tools and doesn’t take up too much real estate. Because I build in a large scale (1-1/2”=1’-0”), I mill my own wood that can vary from 1/16” thick strips to 1” square sticks and because I have the luxury of a 1200 SF shop, I have all the tools to do it. Living in an apartment shouldn’t put any restraints on you. There are small benchtop saws and sanders you can use and ready milled wood is readily available at hobby and craft centers.

View Planeman40's profile


1176 posts in 2760 days

#14 posted 10-27-2011 10:50 PM

Come over to a wonderful model airplane website I visit every day. It has every type of powered (and many un-powered) model airplane ever devised! And It has a LOT of activity. It also includes model boats and cars.


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2826 days

#15 posted 10-27-2011 10:55 PM

Thanks for all of your responses, I have been swamped with stuff, be it school work or other stuff in my personal life.

It looks like I might just be able to squeeze this into an apartment.. although I am thinking of also getting back into art. I used to be good, won multiple contests, and once even had a work sell for a couple hundred dollars, when I was in Kindergarden(yes that is like 7 years old.. lol) for charity. Perhaps something even more relaxing that the smell of Lacquer thinner…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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