Print this articlePrint this article


Written by Stan Alexander
Kit instructions on builder forums and websites
Column
As seen in the June 2017 issue of
Model Aviation.


Having built more than a few kits of both scale and sport models, it is apparent that some kit producers are rooted in the past and consider written instructions adequate. Times have changed!

Having worked with young people for most of my career, it hit me approximately 10 years ago that you can give verbal, written instructions, or examples, but you will only be successful approximately 50% of the time—if that. With younger people, I quickly found out that a photo or short video of whatever I needed done spoke volumes to them. The follow-through wasn’t 100%, but it was much closer. This applies to kit instructions as well.

If you have a kit business and want to prosper in the next five to 10 years, you should consider rewriting or reengineering your instructions for the younger generation. You might be surprised at the results. Using small 1 x 1-inch black and white photos in a manual for a $500 kit is like putting AA batteries in a $2,000 radio system—the results will be limited.

I’ve been on Facebook for approximately a year now and I’m also in several Facebook groups related to modeling. Some of the best stuff I’ve seen is on the National Association of Scale Aeromodelers (NASA) Facebook group page, where Mike Barbee, John Boyko, Greg Hahn, and several others share what they’ve been working on in the shop. Short videos by Mike and photos by the others are extremely helpful for modelers who have never built a scale model. When they see the videos and photos, builders often better understand what’s happening. It’s all visual.

I’ve written about RCScalebuilder.com before and I’ve included some ideas about this useful site. Mike Chilson, who founded the RCScaleBuilder.com website, takes the concept of including photos and limited instructions in a kit to a higher level. There are hundreds of pages for plan-built models and for different types of kits from many kit manufacturers.




The RCScaleBuilder website forum offers a variety of subjects, as well as the option to follow builds with other modelers.


One of the things I enjoy doing on the RCScaleBuilder.com website is looking at other designs and getting ideas for how to accomplish something I’m stuck on at the time. There are many areas and segments to check out. I encourage you to look at and join RCScaleBuilder.com. It’s definitely worth your time away from the shop!




Steve Ort’s Hellcat is one of many models and subjects that can be seen on RCScaleBuilder.com.


For more information about RCScaleBuilder.com, click through the Flickr gallery below.
Model Aviation Magazine - RC Scale: June 2017


Bruce Ream’s Fokker D.VIII

Bruce Ream’s most recent project is a Balsa USA Fokker D.VIII. After researching several D.VIII color schemes, Bruce came across some photos of a full-scale D.VIII replica that was based on an airplane from Jasta 6.




Bruce Ream displays his scale Balsa USA Fokker D.VIII. The full-scale Fokker WW I aircraft was one of the last designs produced.


This is Bruce’s fourth World War I model airplane. His goal is to make each one more accurate and add as many scale details as possible. For his Fokker D.VIII model, Bruce wanted to replicate the rotary engine and detail the cockpit similar to the full-scale aircraft’s cockpit.




Bruce’s Fokker D.VIII makes a level flight pass over the field.


One of his friends is a master scale builder and helped him with the rotary engine. After some research, he began detailing the cockpit. He received some parts for the cockpit from Arizona Model Aircrafters and made others from spare parts in his workshop. The engine and machine guns came from Balsa USA kits.




Bruce added many details to the D.VIII’s cockpit. Some of the parts were obtained from Arizona Model Aircrafters.


Bruce uses a Saito 180 engine for power on his 18-pound model that is covered with Solartex. To make it more scalelike, he added a pull-pull system on the elevator and rudder. He originally used a small tail wheel because he flies on paved runways in Colorado, but after realizing that it was not very scalelike, he replaced it with a tail skid.




The dummy radial engine on Bruce’s Fokker D.VIII is an example of how scale details can make a model!


The main landing gear is 7-inch Proctor Enterprises wheels. The pilot is from Warbird Pilots and has an internal servo that turns its head with the rudder control.


Upcoming Events

The RC Scale Nats will again be held in Muncie, Indiana, from June 23 to 25. Like last year, we will be stationed on the grass runway at Site 4 near the back of the International Aeromodeling Center. Camping is close to the flightline and electrical hookups are available. We all had a great time there last year and ended up staying the entire week.




A Top Flite P-47 comes in for a landing at the AMA Scale Nats. Note the beautiful, close-cut grass!


The Hoosier Dawn Patrol gathering will be held August 17 to 19 at the Wilbur Wright Birthplace & Museum/Henry County Wright Flyers’ field near Hagerstown, Indiana. This event is a fly-in for scale World War I aircraft and classic aircraft from the 1920s and ’30s. Check the event’s Facebook page before you attend!

Fair skies and tailwinds.

-Stan Alexander
onawing4602@att.net






Add new comment