If you have a few minutes, let me take you on a trip down a well-worn aeromodeling path that isn’t traveled much anymore. The path I have in mind has many similarities to an
actual US road: Route 66, which was once a major thoroughfare
for anyone venturing westward, but it eventually became all but
forgotten when faster, more direct highways were opened.
The path we’re about to travel was also once the way to build
a model—building from plans. Throughout decades, there have
been hundreds of thousands of plans published, covering any
type of aircraft you can imagine—Scale, Pattern, Pylon, gliders,
Combat, trainers, and sport models of all sizes and shapes.
However, in today’s instant-gratification world, modeling has
switched its focus to ARFs and RTF models. Even kit building is
becoming a thing of the past—like Route 66.
So buckle in and let me show you a few things that will
hopefully spark an interest in you to give building from plans
a try. It’s not for everyone—certainly not for those who have
never before assembled a wood-and-balsa airplane from a kit.
This path is rewarding because you’ll end up with a model that
you have built.
need to be a
Giant Scale monster. I encourage you to start with something
small such as a Hand-Launched Glider, a FF model, or a small
park flyer to get a feel for the entire process.
Now that we’re buckled in, let’s define what building from
plans actually involves. It is simply starting off with a set of
detailed construction drawings that came from a magazine or a
These drawings will show, at minimum, the side and top of
the fuselage, one of the wings, the vertical fin, and the horizontal
stabilizer. Some plans are more detailed than others and might
show both halves of the wings, both sides of the fuselage, cross
sections of the fuselage and wing, and more detail in specific
Rarely will plans include anything remotely close to step-by Mark Lanterman
21 Model Aviation OC TOBER 2013 www.ModelAviation.com