Looking for thoughts on balsa WW2 models........

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bdefen

Senior Airman
495
508
Nov 26, 2019
Boise, Idaho USA
I'm in the process of a leisurely build of a Guillow's Lancer balsa flying model. Might not even fly very well when I'm done, but I enjoy the process as a nice change from plastic models. I built a Guillow's Aeronca Champion about three years ago, with pseudo-SE Asian theater USAF livery. Haven't tried to fly it. Both rubber powered. See photos.

I've seen balsa WW2 fighter kits for sale, and wonder about their relative authenticity especially considering my moderate skills. However, it seems to me that the Fieseler Storch would make a reasonably authentic balsa model, since its largely fabric-over-frame construction and appearance is a lot like a balsa and tissue model. One Storch kit I've found is by Dumas. $40 to $50. I'm not ready to make the leap to radio controlled flight. Just enjoy the build.

I'm just looking for thoughts or opinions on balsa WW2 models from the learned crew out there. Please opine.

Thanks in advance
 

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I'm in the process of a leisurely build of a Guillow's Lancer balsa flying model. Might not even fly very well when I'm done, but I enjoy the process as a nice change from plastic models. I built a Guillow's Aeronca Champion about three years ago, with pseudo-SE Asian theater USAF livery. Haven't tried to fly it. Both rubber powered. See photos.

I've seen balsa WW2 fighter kits for sale, and wonder about their relative authenticity especially considering my moderate skills. However, it seems to me that the Fieseler Storch would make a reasonably authentic balsa model, since its largely fabric-over-frame construction and appearance is a lot like a balsa and tissue model. One Storch kit I've found is by Dumas. $40 to $50. I'm not ready to make the leap to radio controlled flight. Just enjoy the build.

I'm just looking for thoughts or opinions on balsa WW2 models from the learned crew out there. Please opine.

Thanks in advance
Very nice build. Beautiful job.
 
I've seen balsa WW2 fighter kits for sale, and wonder about their relative authenticity especially considering my moderate skills.
I built a number of Guillows and Comet WWII rubber powered fighters back in the day. (WAY back in the day) If you're a stickler for authenticity you might be a bit disappointed as they don't fly very well without enlarging the tail surfaces somewhat above true scale. Less of an issue with the larger ones. Reynolds numbers, you know. Guillows used to make a line of larger 25-30 inch span rubber powered WWII fighters that were pretty good fliers, but too rich for my pocketbook.
 
Balsa models are generally larger than plastics, so take more space when complete. Balsa is usually easier to work than plastic. The basics of references, dimensions and colors are the same regardless of materials. Here are a build sequence of an La-7 built from plans at 1 inch = 1 foot.

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Select reference source. The more of them you look at, the more differences you will find among sources on the same model of plane. I have found, perhaps not factually, that 3views printed from the same country as the actual full scale plane are more accurate. These sources in the first photo had noticeable differences. In the U.S. the governing origanisation for flying scale has two general classes, Sport scale which is judged from 15 feet away, and precision or exact scale where judges closely examine the model with measuring devices comparing with your submitted data. If your building for your own pleasure, only you care how accurate you are.

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As a serious modeler you will never be satisfied with your build because if you judge it as if it were not yours you will see where it could have been better.
Regarding the above, there have to be concessions to allow flight. If you look at the decals you can see the obvious booboo of the kill markings. When making custom decals with decal paper, the instructions say two coats of the spray coating. That had always worked for smaller decals as they are easier to handle wet, but with the larger kill marking piece I put on seven coats thinking to make positioning easier, however that caused a color shift. You can see the pilot decided to recline due to the aluminum seat being too thin after the canopy was in place. The rest of the faults you can find for your self, I'll never tell.
 
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Balsa models are generally larger than plastics, so take more space when complete. Balsa is usually easier to work than plastic. The basics of references, dimensions and colors are the same regardless of materials. Here are a build sequence of an La-7 built from plans at 1 inch = 1 foot.

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Select reference source. The more of them you look at, the more differences you will find among sources on the same model of plane. I have found, perhaps not factually, that 3views printed from the same country as the actual full scale plane are more accurate. These sources in the first photo had noticeable differences. In the U.S. the governing origanisation for flying scale has two general classes, Sport scale which is judged from 15 feet away, and precision or exact scale where judges closely examine the model with measuring devices comparing with your submitted data. If your building for your own pleasure, only you care how accurate you are.

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As a serious modeler you will never be satisfied with your build because if you judge it as if it were not yours you will see where it could have been better.
Regarding the above, there have to be concessions to allow flight. If you look at the decals you can see the obvious booboo of the kill markings. When making custom decals with decal paper, the instructions say two coats of the spray coating. That had always worked for smaller decals as they are easier to handle wet, but with the larger kill marking piece I put on seven coats thinking to make positioning easier, however that caused a color shift. You can see the pilot decided to recline due to the aluminum seat being too thin after the canopy was in place. The rest of the faults you can find for your self, I'll never tell.
It's a gorgeous model, regardless of "authenticity" If it's 1/12 scale as I read it, it must have a 32", or so, wingspan. I've tried a little bit of R/C flying using one of the relatively inexpensive two-rotor helicopters that have been around, and I gotta admit, I never acquired any "skill" at flying it. Coordinating the throttle stick with the directional stick was very hard for me. If I built a nice flying model like yours, I'd be terrified of crashing it immediately. The concessions to allow flight aren't a concern for me.

Again, the Fieseler Storch looks to have the kind of "anatomy" and construction that transfers well to a simpler balsa kit, regardless of absolute authenticity.

Thanks for your input and information.

Oh I had a couple Cox-powered items as a kid. A P-63 Kingcobra, and a go-kart. What are your thoughts on "gas"-powered vs. electric for R/C applications?
 
I'm the wrong one to ask about R/C because I fly control line exclusively. If you see the wires extending from the left wing tip, they are connected to 60ft cables of .015 diameter and then to a handle which is held. The plane flies in a hemisphere around the pilot. I did not see the value of building a considerably stronger structure (much plywood) and carrying a battery pack, servos, and receiver along. I kid the R/C guys that they fly the box and the box flies the plane and it still flies in circles around them. Also, I never have to walk more than sixty feet to get my model. Those who use electric power have less cleaning to do when they get home but they have to have a larger battery pack. In general, control line is a less expensive way to play.
 
I'm the wrong one to ask about R/C because I fly control line exclusively. If you see the wires extending from the left wing tip, they are connected to 60ft cables of .015 diameter and then to a handle which is held. The plane flies in a hemisphere around the pilot. I did not see the value of building a considerably stronger structure (much plywood) and carrying a battery pack, servos, and receiver along. I kid the R/C guys that they fly the box and the box flies the plane and it still flies in circles around them. Also, I never have to walk more than sixty feet to get my model. Those who use electric power have less cleaning to do when they get home but they have to have a larger battery pack. In general, control line is a less expensive way to play.
I wondered if those wires sticking out of the wing weren't for control lines. I see three. What does the third one do?

Good input. My Cox P-63 was a control line model. I flew it half a dozen times, and then it wouldn't start anymore. My control cables were nowhere near 60" long. The Cox go-cart ran for quite a while. I'd tie it to a tetherball post and watch it go round and round. It had sort of a spring-loaded starter. You'd wind it up, she'd fire up, pull the glow plug wire, and let it go.

There are sure some fancy, multiple-cylinder miniature engines made nowadays. It's fascinating to me. I may explore a Fieseler Storch a bit more. Again, thank you.
 
Cox powered control line planes are best flown on 35 to 42 foot lines, usually Dacron rather than steel. The third line you noticed is for the throttle. The multi cylinder engines cost in the thousands of dollars.
 
Cox powered control line planes are best flown on 35 to 42 foot lines, usually Dacron rather than steel. The third line you noticed is for the throttle. The multi cylinder engines cost in the thousands of dollars.
That's probably how long my control lines were. My P-63 just had two. I knew a kid who had a Cox Stuka. It could drop a bomb. I think that was done with a third control line. Was Thrimble Drome a competitor to Cox? Cox had a Disneyland exhibit when I was there in 1960. Boats, cars, airplanes all buzzing around. Quite a show for a first-grader.

Those small multi-cylinder engines are works of art. If I were wealthy, I'd have a gallery of them, admire them, and fire them up for visitors. Now THAT'S entertainment!!

Foam Storch flying:
 
Thimble drome was Cox's original name for their .049 engines. Your comment about the 1960 exhibit means you are an old fart nearly as old as me. If I can still fly them, so can you. R/C planes in the video could be styro foam construction and are electric powered. If you decide to go R/C, the modern micro receivers & servos are super light and have become very reasonable in price. Find a local club and hang around. If you build something, come back to this thread and show us.
 
I've ordered the rubber-powered Dumas balsa Storch kit from HobbyLinc. First for the fun of building, then some rubber-powered flight. I don't think that kit would transfer well to R/C flight (nor be able to suffer the abuse I might inflict in the process). The styrofoam Storch's seen in the video are certainly more rugged, and probably way more suitable for R/C. The FlightTest website has all the stuff. I'll cross the R/C bridge if and when I get to it.

Thanks again for the chat and good info. Oh, and I'm 68, certainly an old fart. Been retired 5 1/2 years, the best career decision I ever made. Never bored. I've got a great wife, and many hobbies. Skiing, music, motorcycling, model building, gardening, and just general fooling around. What a life!!!!!
 
Breakfast bombers, what a blast! Back in the 70s and 80s, fly-in breakfasts were quite the thing here in the northcountry. Saturday and Sunday mornings, usually on some remote grass strip on someone's farm or an EAA chapter's turf. Mostly Cubs, Champs, Luscombes, Ercoupes and the like. I would usually show up in a 150 with a student who'd already demonstrated competence in off-pavement landings, and was graciously tolerated despite the general prejudice regarding "tin can nosedragger drivers".
Once fueled up with bacon, eggs, pancakes, and real maple syrup, not to mention gallons of coffee, we were issued plastic bags of flour and swarmed aloft to demonstrate our prowess at daylight precision bombing. Our "mission score" was based on elapsed time, bombing accuracy, and spot landing accuracy after the bombing run. The "mission" required a climb to a specified altitude before descending for the bombing run, and you could level bomb or dive bomb as long as you didn't break the "hard deck" which could be at various altitudes according to the local terrain. Each breakfast spot had its own variation on this contest. Much fun for all involved, until FAA air safety councilors started showing up at these events and the fun meter needle sagged disastrously. "An airshow permit for a spot landing contest or a flour bombing rodeo? Man, surely you jest?"
"Since when is flour bombing an FAR violation?"
Oh well....
 
My first balsa project in about 40+ years. I went to the local hobby shop to scrounge an R/C propeller and some wheels to get the proper scale.
 

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