There might be several things you have to work
out for yourself in a plans build. For the Mr.
Mulligan build, the author made this unique
octagon mount to hold the J&L RotoFlow fuel
tank in place.
With any plans
the proper way
to mount your
gear and wheel
pants. Using a
pair of Sig’s wheel
pant mounts for
each wheel pant
worked on the Mr.
framing up the Mr. Mulligan, as well as
how I worked through issues along the
way. The blog is listed in the “Sources”
I plan to fly the Mr. Mulligan in Scale
competition, and I need to have exact
scale outlines. I found several areas that
needed to be changed, adjusted, etc.
These plans weren’t drawn to withstand
the level of scrutiny that a model
undergoes during static Scale judging.
Regardless of the subject you choose,
the rest of our plans building ride will be a series of ups and
downs, but worth the journey.
This next point is normally an afterthought when building
an ARF, but it is crucial when building from plans: a place
to build. If your family is anything like mine, you can’t do a
proper build on your kitchen table or on a television stand
in your living room. Plans building can take time (I’ve put in
seven months building the Mr. Mulligan as I write this), so you
need a workbench that’s large enough to accommodate your
project, and is in a spot where it can be left for long periods of
I build in a portion of my basement and my workbench is
a simple table I made from 2 x 4s and a large interior door
I found at the local home improvement store. I covered the
door with a sheet of standard drywall, which makes a nice,
flat, work surface that holds pins well and I can tape plans to.
Because it’s out of the way, I can leave everything where it is
when life gets in the way and come back to where I was when
I have the opportunity to build again.
and a place to
build have been
you will buy
and cut all of your
own wood pieces, or
utilize the services of
a kit cutter. Cutting
your own pieces
is inexpensive and
helps you become
familiar with the
various parts of the
model you’ll be
plans include a
so use this when
wood, but always
To begin cutting
your own wood,
trace all of the
pieces you need
dihedral braces, etc.) onto the proper size and type of wood,
then cut them out using hand tools or power tools. Pay
attention to the wood grain so your pieces will be the proper
strength. Most plans note the grain direction for all parts.
For the Mr. Mulligan, I chose the kit-cutter route and
selected National Balsa. The company supplied me with all of
the formers and ribs precut with a laser-cutting system. Also
included was the wood needed to finish the kit, all the wood
strips, balsa sheeting, and plywood parts. As good as I might
think I am at cutting and fitting pieces together, nothing beats
the accuracy and repeatability of a laser-cut kit.
Let’s store the plans and wood in the trunk and drive farther
down the road to figure out the types of glue or adhesives that
we’ll need. This topic is complex enough to require its own
article, but I will lightly touch on it.
The adhesives you will need will vary widely depending
on the type of model you choose and the kind of wood
you are joining. CA is good for soft balsa ribs glued to wing
Laser-cutting services (Note: this is not a complete list.)
Kit Cutters Inc. (714) 962-8100 www.kitcutters.com
Laser Cut USA (772) 528-4727 www.lasercutusa.com
Lazer Works (940) 766-2667 www.lazer-works.com
Manzano Laser Works (505) 286-2640 www.manzanolaser.com
National Balsa (413) 277-9500 www.nationalbalsa.com
Precision Cut Kits (609) 538-1388 www.precisioncutkits.com
Photos by the author
23 Model Aviation OC TOBER 2013 www.ModelAviation.com