Above: Building tools and
guides from Bob Holman
Plans for the author’s
Pietenpol Air Camper’s
Left: Building tools and
guides keep the wing
ribs straight for gluing
them together, and the
Stickits (round disks) keep
the wood sheets firmly
attached to the ribs below.
Building your next Scale model
by Stan Alexander
Building projects, new projects, and old projects—wow, where do you start?
Go buy a kit, ARF, plans, or RTF.
There are many choices. But you want
a model unlike anything else on the
flightline. That cuts down the types of
models you might build, such as a P- 47
Thunderbolt, a P- 51 Mustang, or a J- 3
Why not check out some of the
sources for plans, including the AMA
Plans Service, Precision Cut Kits, Bob
Holman Plans, or Jerry Bates Plans.
(Contact information is listed in
“Sources.”) There are many others
and the aforementioned have several
plans that aren’t what you might call
Kit-cutting services typically have
wood kits for all of these types, either
in the short-kit or full wood-kit
versions. All plans are not created equal.
There should be a grading service for
plans, but to my knowledge there are
none starting with an “A” for excellent
or an “F” for don’t bother.
If you want to enter the airplane in
competition, check photos and scale
drawings (three-views or five-views)
to make sure it is correct. Many sets
of plans fudge the dimensions on tail
surfaces, and in some cases, the fuselage
length. Some World War I aircraft with
short noses appear to have increased
length in the forward fuselage area.
There are several new projects on
the horizon in my workshop. The one
that I will start on next will be a 1/4-scale
Cessna C- 165. The full-scale aircraft
was built in 1940 and used by the Civil
In my last column I gave you some
specifics about the model and included a
photo with the orange, black, and white
color scheme. The scheme makes this
airplane pop on the runway or at the
flying field. I’d hoped to use a DLE- 30
in the nose, but the engine is too long, so
I purchased a Zenoah G- 26.
I also received the fiberglass cowl,
dummy engine cylinders from Williams
Brothers, Futaba 9001 servos, a Futaba
14SG radio system and switches, heavy-duty wire from Hitec, and most of the
Du-Bro hardware and the fuel tank that
is listed on the Jerry Bates plans.
The short kit came from Bob Holman
Plans for all of the ribs and formed parts.
I purchased the contest-grade balsa
and sheets from Sig Manufacturing.
Take the plans with you and make a list
before you place an order for balsa and
plywood. I typically purchase extra to
make sure that I’m not short a sheet or
The model has flaps set in the
bottom of the wing and it needs brass
sheet hinges to make it correctly work.
The landing gear has a bend in the
middle of the legs and I’m having this
part made for me by a gear company.
115 Model Aviation OC TOBER 2013 www.ModelAviation.com