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Is traditional building a disappearing art?

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ChrisB12/04/2017 21:09:46
1220 forum posts
34 photos

We recently had our annual 'Winter Build Competition' and five individuals entered eight aircraft all of which were built from kits, plans or own design.

We currently have 84 members and we have quite a few novice members most of whom fly ARTF foamies. Many of our members fly the usual ARTF models.

I assume we're not unique in this regard but just wondered if kit or plan built models are reducing in number these days?

Jon - Laser Engines12/04/2017 21:16:29
4802 forum posts
179 photos

From my experience that is not a bad result. We have run 2 winter builds and have not seen more than 5 or 6 models from each. That said others are slowly gaining an interest and with many unhappy with the variety and fragility of artf models, not to mention the ever increasing cost, I think there is more interest in kit building than there has been for a while. Its certainly quite healthy here on the forum

Stephen Jones12/04/2017 23:27:28
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2695 forum posts
1528 photos

Hi,

If not already done maybe a poll.

In are Club most are bought Artf even big models are Artf.

Reasons why when asked are ,

My building days are behind me now ,

It`s cheaper to buy a model already built and ready and you know it`s going to fly .

However their does seem to be a bit of a retro revival at the moment.

Not just old plans being built from but being reproduced in kit form,

Look at this,

From Here

Steve

Tom Sharp 212/04/2017 23:59:32
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3526 forum posts
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Looks like a KK Phantom to me.

David Davis13/04/2017 06:28:59
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3399 forum posts
598 photos
Posted by Tom Sharp 2 on 12/04/2017 23:59:32:

Looks like a KK Phantom to me.

It is, but doesn't it look smart in USAF colours.

I feel that building model aircraft is a dying art. Most of us greybeards who still build also own ARTFs and I doubt that the small kit manufacturers can earn a living out of producing a few hundred kits a year. I suspect that they have another source of income.

Of our little club of twenty members there are perhaps four or five of us who could build a model from scratch, the rest fly ARTF electric powered gliders or electric foamies. That said we have a large number of novice flyers who are learning on the club's ARTF trainers and two brothers who have returned to the fold after twenty years with a collection of incredibly battered old models. They seem to manage to keep them serviceable so perhaps all is not lost..

Edited By David Davis on 13/04/2017 06:29:33

cymaz13/04/2017 06:47:39
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8670 forum posts
1177 photos

If you have the time and capability there is some skill involved in repairing a damaged artf. Parts are more finely cut and thinner so shatter in greater numbers.

ChrisB13/04/2017 08:21:05
1220 forum posts
34 photos
Thanks guys. Don't get me wrong, artfs have their place and many are very good. One thing I've noticed about novice flyers and artfs is when they crash them they have no idea how to repair. I think that's because they don't know how models are constructed. If you've only ever seen a precovered model you dont know the way it's built.
Similarly newbies dont tend to want to fly IC 40 trainers anymore. They are happy with little foamies that often don't fly like a traditional IC model. Then when they progress on to an acrowot or similar they assume all models fly like the foamie.

Peter Miller13/04/2017 08:40:44
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We have a very small club, 16 members. three are active builders, three or four more can have built but don't now.

One member who started as an ARTF flyers Said he wanted to be able to repair models. I told him to build a kit and he is well on the way with that and looking at a plan build next.

Phil 913/04/2017 09:03:55
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4284 forum posts
229 photos
Posted by David Davis on 13/04/2017 06:28:59:
Posted by Tom Sharp 2 on 12/04/2017 23:59:32:

Looks like a KK Phantom to me.

It is, but doesn't it look smart in USAF colours.

I feel that building model aircraft is a dying art. Most of us greybeards who still build also own ARTFs and I doubt that the small kit manufacturers can earn a living out of producing a few hundred kits a year. I suspect that they have another source of income.

Of our little club of twenty members there are perhaps four or five of us who could build a model from scratch, the rest fly ARTF electric powered gliders or electric foamies. That said we have a large number of novice flyers who are learning on the club's ARTF trainers and two brothers who have returned to the fold after twenty years with a collection of incredibly battered old models. They seem to manage to keep them serviceable so perhaps all is not lost..

Edited By David Davis on 13/04/2017 06:29:33

Kits are not a lucrative product compared to artf models. I don't see many new manufactures producing kits although a few of the more established ones continue to supply some old favourites. A new design of kit is quite a rare beast.

the fact remains if you want a good sport model and don't want to spend a fortune there are some very good artf products available, so why build? well building your own (for me anyway) only looks good if you want something a bit different or you want a scale model that is more scale than the film covered variety.

but build a good scale model take a high level of skill that takes time and money to develop. If your a working man with a family you often find yourself short of both,

building is not dead. but it is not the only option available

Jon - Laser Engines13/04/2017 09:07:23
4802 forum posts
179 photos
Posted by ChrisB on 13/04/2017 08:21:05:

Similarly newbies dont tend to want to fly IC 40 trainers anymore. They are happy with little foamies that often don't fly like a traditional IC model. Then when they progress on to an acrowot or similar they assume all models fly like the foamie.

I 100% agree and this is exactly why i hate electric foamy trainers. They dont teach the student anything beyond the basics and give them a false sense of security when it comes to stalls as they basically never stall.

Even if we ignore the powerplant, a 40 size trainer is the best way to learn to fly. Personally i think ic gives you more air time and is cheaper, but if you love amps and volts then thats ok but at least choose a decent size airframe

Matt Jones13/04/2017 09:10:01
1186 forum posts
1 photos
Yes. Next question?
Andy Blackburn13/04/2017 09:15:17
503 forum posts
487 photos
1 articles

Yes I think it probably is. But on the other hand if the pound exchange rate reduces further (as expected) and if there are import tariffs, people might not be able to afford ARTFs or foamies. So they'll either quit or look at building their own.

Mark a13/04/2017 09:23:09
321 forum posts
3 photos

I've only ever flown artf but I do have a Flair Tiger Moth kit that I'm slowly getting on with and learning as I go. Building a kit does give me more satisfaction than building a artf but of course building a kit takes much longer. I think the Tiger might be finished in a year or two but we shall see.

Nigel R13/04/2017 09:37:40
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3067 forum posts
475 photos

There was always a lot of flyers who hated building and didn't take the time to make a decent job of it, or they have no time (me, really). Now they can buy an ARTF. Happy days.

Then there were flyers who were happy to build, but don't miss it that much now that ARTFs cost about as much as a scratch or kit build, why build when you can just fly.

Then there were flyers who liked building. They'll continue building whatever.

Bustergrunt13/04/2017 09:47:02
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160 forum posts
33 photos

You may be right but personally For me the hobby is creating/building and the flying part is just one of the rewards

Phil 913/04/2017 09:50:01
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4284 forum posts
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Posted by Nigel R on 13/04/2017 09:37:40:

There was always a lot of flyers who hated building and didn't take the time to make a decent job of it, or they have no time (me, really). Now they can buy an ARTF. Happy days.

Then there were flyers who were happy to build, but don't miss it that much now that ARTFs cost about as much as a scratch or kit build, why build when you can just fly.

Then there were flyers who liked building. They'll continue building whatever.

I met one chap who loved to build but did not trust himself to fly them. he would build a beautiful model bring it to the field and get some else to test fly it for him. Once he had seen it in the air he would take it home and start building something else.

ken anderson.13/04/2017 10:05:52
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8439 forum posts
772 photos

getting the wood etc together is the problem nower days..... we lost two LMS and show's up this end of the country are few and far between..... down at our flying site I would say that 75%+ of the models are now ARTF....

ken Anderson...ne...1..... bring back a LMS dept.

Bustergrunt13/04/2017 10:16:37
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160 forum posts
33 photos

I try and stock up with balsa when I'm passing a model shop....I think that suitable available materials will only be available online soon

Bob Cotsford13/04/2017 10:36:12
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7984 forum posts
444 photos

Is it just me that finds ARTFs can take as long to 'assemble' lately as it used to take me to build and cover a kit? All the tasks that are easy during a build (eg fuel proofing tank bays, installing decent control runs etc.) seem to take ten times longer on a 'completed' airframe, not to mention the need to go over the airframe gluing joints that were missed by the manufacturer, reinforcing U/C mounts and engine bulkheads.

Or should I stop trying to correct the problem areas and treat these ARTFs as short term usage disposable items and not worry about the weaknesses? I still fly my 1980-something kit built Acrowot, but my ARTF Wot 4 only gets aired when I feel guilty about seeing it hanging there all neglected.

Dwain Dibley.13/04/2017 10:36:31
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1268 forum posts
1265 photos
Posted by Bustergrunt on 13/04/2017 09:47:02:

You may be right but personally For me the hobby is creating/building and the flying part is just one of the rewards

I love the building, flying is a good second, When I was a kid we had to "make" our entertainment, it was Airfix and pushbikes for me. My girls sometimes go with me to the field, but only one has had a go at flying, the other one says its boring....crying

I have ARTFs but they don'r ring my bell very loudly. they are good if you don't want to risk a 500 hour model.

The other problem, as already said above, is supplies,................look in your LMS, if you still have one............No Wood, ...........No Kits,...... except the ones on the ceiling, and mostly bare shelves with a few ARTF models. I went in there the other day and was out numbered by staff 4 to 1.

Having said that, our club is about 50/50 trad to ARTF.

D.D.

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