PREPARING TO BUILD

The first plane you build will usually be the most difficult. I will tell you what to do to prepare yourself before you start your build. I will assume that you purchased a traditional balsa wood kit, like the Kadet Senior from Sig. If you have purchased a similar type of build it should be all the same.

After purchasing your balsa kit you need to make sure you have a area to work and appropriate tools for building a model.

You will need a suitable flat area to work. A flat work surface, at least four feet long and two feet wide is a must. A separate room works out well. Make sure it is well ventilated, air-conditioned or heated. You will be using glue and possibly paint, you don’t want fall and crack your head open because you inhaled too many fumes. Good lighting is extremely important when working on small parts that need to fit tightly together. These parts are constructed over the plans and pinned or held with magnetic in place

Take a peek in our tools section to see some of the tools needed to complete your build. Some items you will need before you start and other you can pick up later in the build. As you grow in model airplane kit building you should start to purchase specialty tools to make your build a bit easier. My workshops were always in the garage or the basement with some glue wax paper and an X-Acto knife. You want a location where the plane can stay out for weeks without being demolished. I don’t remember this but my mom told me that one day I destroyed my dad newly build plane in a matter of seconds. I was only 1 at the time. (So I Warn You)

When I first started I used a 3/4 inch sheet of good quality plywood on top of 4 horses. I used 4 of horses only to keep the surface flat. If you build on a warped surface your plane will be warped. If the ply is not supported well enough it will warp and become very unstable. Did you ever see a plane fly sideways?  I like to keep the work surface low so I could sit and work instead of standing.

Always study the instructions and plans to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the assembly sequence.

If your parts are die-cut, I would recommend sanding the back of the die-cut sheets. This is the side that the die did not enter from.  This will help the parts separate out easier.  Never force die-cut parts from the sheet.  If the part doesn’t fall out on its own I would always take my X-Acto knife around the perimeter of each part to make sure they do not break and get damaged when removed.

Identify all the parts and make sure all the parts are there. By having everything ready and in front of you speeds up construction and helps it proceed smoothly.

All modelers have made mistakes at one time or another, and because of that we have to tear it apart and redo it. Sometimes we may need to go out and by some new wood.  The best defense is getting to know or familiarizing yourself with the construction and being patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

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