i had a question about tracing lines from the stab slots onto the balsa below. Here is a step by step. I used a small hobby table saw to cut the balsa. And then a small 5″ disc sander to clean up the edges. An X-ACTO saw and some sandpaper will do just as well.
Just a couple of details about building with balsa sticks. Longerons are the long, weight bearing elements. The cross member supports add to the strength of the structure and also make assembly easier. The 3/16″ balsa tab fits into the horizontal stabilizer. If you view the plans for the Flitetest Simple Scout you can see where the balsa tab replaces the tab from the foam board fuselage side.
The bottom of the fuselage on the Simple Scout runs at an angle to the tail. So when cutting the balsa sticks the bottom needs to be cut at the same angle. The top of the stick is square, so no need to cut an angle. I made this cutting guide from a couple pieces of scrap foam board and one piece of 3/16″x3/16″ balsa stick. Just make your mark, then cut or sand the stick and glue it in place. Works really well to give you nice tight joints.
First I printed out a set of plans for the Flite Test Simple Scout. After that I drew some guide lines on the plans for the balsa sticks that I am going to add to the rear of the fuselage. Then I took the Flite Test Simple Scout fuselage and cut the rear off. Next step was to pin down the front of the fuselage to the plans and add the sticks to the rear. The idea here is to give the Scout a more vintage look.
This is my current project. It’s a Flite Test Simple Scout. Cut the back half of the fuselage off and am replacing it with 3/16″ balsa sticks to give it a vintage look. More to come.
This one is from the guys at Flite Test.
In an upcoming project I am going to start with a foam board model from Flite Test, then cut part of the fuselage off and replace the missing part with balsa sticks. Gluing balsa is different from gluing foam board, so I decided to review some basic balsa building techniques for the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with the process. Here is the setup that I use when building balsa models. In this picture the bottom is a balsa building board. Balsa building boards are difficult to find these days. Someone told me that an acoustic ceiling tile will work. There are occasionally single tiles available from a damaged package at your local home improvement store. Next layer is the plan sheet. On top is a piece of wax paper to prevent the wood glue from sticking to the plans. I usually use thumb tacks to hold the plans down and building pins, or straight pins, to hold the balsa in place while the glue dries. T-pins are still available from several suppliers, including Tower Hobbies.
My next project involves gluing balsa sticks to foam board. Since I want to make sure that I get a good glue joint I decided to do a test with the glues that I have available. Four glues to glue balsa sticks to pieces of foam board. Care to guess the winner? ALL of them! I was amazed. They all seemed to work very well. I went with Elmer’s. Been using it since 2nd grade and it never let me down.
The Flite Test Old Speedster has a plain white poster board windscreen. I used a few Pitt Brush Pens to give it more appeal. Here is the link to the pens on Amazon. When you trace the windscreen on poster board add the gluing tabs on the bottom. The Pitt Pens use India Ink, which is waterproof, but the poster board is not, so you’ll need to spray some sealer on it.
Occasionally you need to make a piece of warped foam board straight and usable. For me it is the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, rudders, and elevators. Not so much a problem with fuselages and other parts that have panels that are bent and glued. Those tend to automatically straighten out any warps. So I usually take 2 warped pieces at the same time. Put a couple of strips of foam board under each end, then add some sand bags in the middle. If you get too aggressive with lifting the ends and adding sand bags you will end up putting wrinkles in the paper covering right where the sand bags sit. It normally takes a few to several days for the boards to straighten out. These pictures were taken outside in Chicago on a cold day. The warmth of being inside the house will be a better place to do this.