Anyone Still Build Balsa Aircraft ?

I know I tried to build a few as a kid in the 60-70's, receiving them as gifts. never did finish a one of them.

saw a B-24 in a military catalog that claimed to have a four foot wingspan. Sounds pretty impressive.

Anyone ever finish one? They kinda look better to me without the skin. I would call one finished without that part, though I do remember the smell of the dope. What amazing toxins us old dinosaurs took in during our early modeling years.....


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i did a guillows hellcat last year. hooked up the rubber band and prop. took it to the haunted ghost mall and flew it for a while. flew ok, stayed up about a minute. we get super high winds and after about an hour, i wound it up and tossed it into the wind. a 50mph rogue wind blew up and the last i saw, it was climbing up and up till it vanished. it's probably made it to the dunes in furnace creek and is riding the freaky thermals up and down. also see, kitten, by robert heinlein for an alternate possible ending.

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I haven't built one in 35 years or more but I built quite a few as a teenager, mostly free flight sailplanes.

I too remember the smell of the dope and getting very light headed one day after doping the wings of a 6ft wingspan sailplane in the shed.

Happy days.

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Larry Green

Yep, I am doing a lot more lately since my grandkids are of the appropriate age and love to fly them, and I am teaching them to build them.

I finished my first completed one what I was seven or eight. It took several years more to get them to fly! Had to learn how to balance them, and to steam the warps out.

I also build some of the Guillows kits as static scale. Sheet styrene or card stock can replace the tissue covering to simulate metal areas, the tissue remains to duplicate the fabric covered areas.

There has been a real resurgence in balsa kits, far more available now than in the eighties. Many now have laser cut parts instead of die cut.

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Don Stauffer

The dope was not nearly as bad as Floquil Model Railroad paint. Yeah, I took a shot at model railroading too when I was a teenager. Learned to weather from reading model railroad mags.

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Don Stauffer

I abandoned a balsa build when I was a teen, in the mid 80s. Never got as far as doping it. I did use some testors dullcote in a small, closed room, around that same time...and couldn't understand why the room was spinning, I couldn't hear, and my head was almost as big as the room... Another time I spilled an entire bottle of tamiya (gunship gray?). To this day, I can't paint with that color, it makes me want to hurl something besides a model.

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