The Mr. Mulligan has the framing
completed. It still needs the final
sanding, but everything is in place. It
weighs 22 pounds with the engine and
servos installed for these pictures.
any rigged-up system I’ve invented to hold something in
place. If your budget allows it, jigs are a good addition to your
We’ve gone a long way down this road and now it’s time
to start putting all of the goodies we’ve gathered along the
way to good use. Clear off your workbench, tape down your
plans, cover them with wax paper, and take a good long
look at them.
Take a really long look at each part
of the plans. Step away from them,
and come back later to study them
more. Familiarize yourself with these
plans because, as I mentioned earlier,
there are no instructions. You need
to rely on your past experience in kit
building and your common sense to
make sure everything is put together
in the same manner as the kit’s
designer had in mind.
This is one of the most important
steps in the entire plans-building
process. I like to think of it as getting
inside the designer’s mind and I’ll
usually spend several days studying
new plans before diving in.
When I begin building, I normally
start with an easy section to get
up to speed. In the case of the Mr.
Mulligan, I first constructed the
elevator and stabilizer halves. I
decided to use a new technique to
control the elevator halves which
required building the servos into the
stabilizer. This change eliminated long pushrods and ugly
control horns detracting from the scale look I wanted.
As you become more comfortable in reading the plans,
move on to more complicated sections. Again, take your
time and study everything carefully. It’s a good idea to dry-fit parts together to make sure everything is in the proper
place and fits as it should.
One of the things I found that has helped me the
most when building from plans is to take my time. Don’t
be afraid to step away from the build if you encounter
something you can’t quite understand.
I’ve often found that if I come back a day or two later,
I can see the situation with fresh eyes and find solutions
I couldn’t see before when I was frustrated. There will be
times when you are stuck and can’t figure something out.
That’s where the Internet can help.
Search the Web and see if you can find modelers who
have posted builds, as I’ve done with the Mr. Mulligan. It
is likely that someone has come across your problem and
found a solution.
The same goes for steps that require building skills you
might not have encountered or mastered. Maybe you’ve
never sheeted the forward section of a rounded fuselage
such as the Mr. Mulligan, or maybe you’ve never used a
specific type of covering to finish your model. There’s help
available online, at a local club, or even your local hobby
shop. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Here we are at the end of our trip down this road to
building a model airplane. I hope that my overview has
inspired you to try something different and build a model
that’s all your own.
Building something yourself will reinforce your existing
skills and allow you to learn new ones. I find it a great way
to spend a few relaxing hours after a hectic day. With a little
effort, you’ll have the satisfaction of seeing a pile of wood
come together and take to the sky. That’s a great feeling!
I again invite you to follow my build-along blog on
the Mr. Mulligan. The build portion was completed in
time to accompany this article, but there’s still more to
do. Sig’s Koverall and dope finish has to be applied, the
RAM navigation lights must be installed, and the little
scale details have to be added. It should all be ready for
competition by the spring of 2014.
Don’t let me have all the fun. Get out there and build
something. Although most dermatologists probably won’t
agree with me, I think a little balsa dust is good for any
See additional photos here
or at www.ModelAviation.com/buildingfromplans.
25 Model Aviation OC TOBER 2013 www.ModelAviation.com