About kits and arfs and scratchbuilding

What we fly or build might depend on what we want. If you live in a remote place and there are no hobby shops within a day or two drive,
that is one thing. In a town of any size there will be a hobby shop. and there is always the U.S. Mail to bring parts. I read here about how bad the airplane model magazines are, just full of ads and not much articles and plans. Try subscribing to "Fly RC" and see in the articles what the latest ARF's have to offer, what kits are being pushed by who, what the state of the art is in the technology of the hobby. Read all those ads. That is the mainstream of the hobby in code. Do you want super scale in giant airplanes or 40 size things like all the guys at the club are flying? Or are you brave and strong enough to build/buy and fly something just you like? "Model Aviation" has a plans service. It could and should be done better, but there is an infinite variety of planes. (What is needed is to charge a couple of bucks more for each plan and mail a copy of the construction article just like RCM.) Then there is RC Report. Do you subscribe to and read that? If you are vaguely serious in this hobby you should. Read their ads too. Do you think a guy like Nick Ziroli (and a few more) make good airplanes? Do you think the plans he sells for them are any good? His (their) ads are in the mentioned magazines. RCM Plans Service may or may not still be producing plans. Hopefully that huge variety of plans is still available. A lot of the ads in the magazines are for plans. There are a lot more for kits that never make the big glossy pages, and an infinite variety and supply of parts. Kits? Sig will sell you kits by mail. So will a dozen other companies whose name you should recognize. Some big planes, some not. How good are you at building? Buy a Sig kit for a little rubber power plane and enlarge the plan. Make the parts from stock sheet. Go back to all those ads you throw flames at and find a supplier for fiberglass parts and metal and plastic parts if you want. I make my own fiberglass parts quick and dirty from finishing epoxy, cloth and foam sheet from fast food cups. But then I never could afford real equipment. For nearly six decades I have had to make do with the likes of my current $20 worth of hand tools- some new, power things like drill motor and Dremel from a garage sale- and a folding table from Wal-Mart. I have a Hangar 9 "Cessna" ARF (TT Pro 46), a "Duster" (Saito 65) scratch from AMA Plans, and am building an electric scratch from a "Fly RC" plan that came in the magazine. This last is so heavily modified that it will be unrecognizable. I will tell you in a month or two if it really flew. But it should. At least you, the reader, have all the support and help you could use via this computer forum. When I was 10 my Dad bought me a little (5 cent) kit and a little tube of glue. When the structure was done I asked for the 'tissue' the directions said to cover the wing with. My Dad and the storekeeper gave me strange looks and handed me a Kleenex. Later there was another try. The high priced kit cost maybe a quarter and the glue a dime. But there was jap tissue in the box. Questions answered. A single edge razor blade was all the rest of my building equipment. That one and the next one did fly some, however. Then it became a string of "Comet" kits and a few multi-engine display models that were made really from scratch with 3-views in magazines enlarged with a ruler, cheap compass, triangle, and a lot of arduous hand calculations. By the time I was 15 it was an occasional control line plane using fishing line. I have a Veco .19 sitting in front of me on my computer work station, still mounted in the fragments of the nose of the last of those little planes I crashed, probably in the spring of 1958. Never did get past that single edge razor blade, though. And along the way when I needed advice or how-to info the people available to me either had no idea or had attitudes. Some of my techniques still show the results of all that. I deliberately build heavy, strong and crash-survivable. My planes fly very well. Don't make the mistake of telling me I build wrong. I know you would have not told me how to do it properly when we were teens. But now via this communications device good people do surface. I recall a few years back while on an extended business trip in another city visiting a flying club in that city with my own airplane. A couple of the guys were very friendly and helpful, the majority were unfriendly, and an older guy who, it turned out, owned a local airplane hobby shop, was viciously unfriendly. Mirrors my life experience. So I consider that any of us might not be able to stand each other face-to-face, but I always hope that if I do ever meet any of you we will be best friends forever. In any case I will offer the best I can from my own experience. Summary: the kits and plans and supplies and parts are there. Don't limit youself unnecesarily. Do what makes you happy. Damn the torpedoes.
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Well put, Charles! Very well put.
Good flying, desmobob
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Well said! This hobby is all things for all people. I love to see the Varity of planes at the field. Everything from nit-pickin' scale to flying junk piles. This hobby is for you to enjoy what makes YOU happy.
Happy Landings, Skyhawk
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