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Did you start with ARTF and move to building from kits or vice versa?

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Q: Did you start with ARTF and move to building from kits or vice versa?

 Started with ARTF moved to building from kits only
 Started with ARTF moved to building from plans only
 Started with ARTF moved to building from kits and building from plans
 Started with building kits or from plans and moved to ARTF
 I only build from kits or plans
 I only build ARTF
 I only build from kits
 I only build from plans
 Other (Please specify in thread)

Andy Palmer20/10/2017 08:55:29
242 forum posts
99 photos

Gorgeous Jonathan M

Edited By Andy Palmer on 20/10/2017 08:55:50

Andy Blackburn20/10/2017 08:59:04
437 forum posts
483 photos
1 articles

I started out with kits, then built a lot of ARTFs which provided a very big hit of instant gratification but came with their own problems (fragile undercarriage on grass runways, porous firewalls, etc.), tried foamies and then went back to kits. I now mainly scratch-build for R/C although I've just got myself a DB Tiger Moth kit...


Edited By Andy Blackburn on 20/10/2017 09:03:10

John Payne20/10/2017 09:06:03
160 forum posts
63 photos

I build mainly from plans but will throw in a foamy or ARTF if I like the model.

Jonathan M20/10/2017 09:12:37
470 forum posts
258 photos

Thanks Andy

I know they're not quite in the right place (there's no provision for FF in the copious menus of this site), but they illustrate that building is a hugely rewarding activity in its own right. The longest any of these fly for is about 30 secs; can make them do longer but that's not the aim (for scale comps). If each model does about 50 flights in its lifetime, then that's less than half an hour total time airborne. Each model takes at a guess 50 hours to build... so the ratio of making enjoyment to flying enjoyment is 100:1


Colin Leighfield20/10/2017 17:37:08
5438 forum posts
2229 photos

I started as a schoolboy building from kits, although I started designing my own chuck-gliders from early on and got more ambitious later. ARTFs came much later. I still do a bit of everything, own design, build from kits, fly ARTFs, though mostly foamies these days.

John Emms 123/10/2017 11:21:38
229 forum posts

I have mostly built from kits, partly because I started model flying 50 years ago, partly because I like sticking bits of balsa together, and partly because I had a large number of different addresses during my time in the Air Force. Before having to assemble ARTFs for commercial reasons, I had bought a couple of good quality ARTFs and built from plans, models that particularly appealed.

At the Nats, I bought RCM&E mags with plans that fit my current battery sizes (3 and 4S 3300 - traditional .25 to .40 size), and snapped up old balsa kits that appeal (.25 to 25cc size). My dining table is now covered with an Electricub plan, and I am enjoying assembling the kit (slowly) after work. As my stock of building materials grows again (after Sandra sold them as part of the clear out!), I can see the band saw and disc sander coming back into use - as a part of making an old man very happy lol.

Ian Jones24/10/2017 11:51:24
3186 forum posts
1379 photos

It appears that we still tend to categorise people by how the build/acquire/assemble their models, the main division still being those that are "real aeromodellers" and the rest.

However the only conclusion that I can draw from responses in this thread is that those categories are pretty much nonsense these days. There will always be those that adhere to plan building only, kits only etc. but it seems to me that generally the models we have are the ones that meet a particular desire at the time, regardless of the degree of building required. So where we started and where we are now is not necessarily a progression towards what's best, more of a case of an acceptance of the wide range options available with a particular choice being made to suit the occasion.




Edited By Ian Jones on 24/10/2017 11:52:26

Erfolg24/10/2017 12:29:55
10929 forum posts
1042 photos

Ian, you have highlighted one set of dividers within aeromodellers. There are others.

There are those who fly IC models , others who are electric. The concept of divisions goes on to Large Models, Indoor, Gliders with their sub divisions etc.

In reality most modellers have a catholic range of interests within our hobby, often involved in the numerous sub categories, either currently or historically.

Perhaps what can be misconstrued is that differing specific interests and involvements symbolise mile stones in the life of each modeller, rather than a token of aspects being purer or in some way better.

Jonathan M24/10/2017 12:38:56
470 forum posts
258 photos

Its only in RC anyway that there's any significant market in ARTF. The other disciplines are inhabited almost entirely by people who build from kits, plans and their own designs - as there's no demand for the ready-made and therefore no viable market for manufacturers.

Martyn K24/10/2017 16:50:21
4611 forum posts
3217 photos

FAI classes of Free Flight - at the highest level - are very much in the purchase components and fly - simply because it is very difficult for the home builder to get the accuracy/strength and stiffness required for high performance free flight models. When I was a lad, a good F1A glider had a still air time of about 2:30, nowadays its nearer 5 minutes apparently.

One of the reasons why I don't fly FAI class free flight any more


David Mellor24/10/2017 17:37:51
773 forum posts
230 photos

I've struggled to select an option, even though I'd like to be helpful.

Looking back (not something I'm that keen to do) there is no real pattern, no obvious "progression", no hierarchy of preferences or tastes, no ranking of methods, techniques, styles or types of flying.

As Ian Jones has said of himself, I too would say the models I've had have been those that met a particular desire at the time.

So the pattern (that I can see for me) is this - there is no pattern, no obvious "start", no obvious "progression". I simply enjoy what I do. If that seems "disorderly", then perhaps it is and perhaps thats the whole point of a relaxing hobby where one can please oneself.

I do worry about the idea of divisiveness and categorising..........

ChrisB25/10/2017 17:55:40
1212 forum posts
34 photos

Started building from kits as there were no ARTF kits available. Now I do a mix of the two. I like building from kits because to me that is proper modelling and it's satisfying to see your creation be developed from nothing. I appreciate my kit built models more than my ARTF models.

Also when you build from a kit you can modify and make changes to certain elements and you know that it's been built correctly. A lot of people say that building from kits takes time but if you get the right kit, these days laser cut and fairly accurate you can assemble a basic model in only a few weeks.

John Emms 125/10/2017 19:30:21
229 forum posts

As Chris says, I can't remember a single kit that I didn't adapt in some way to meet my own requirements.

Is this supposed to be about some sort of progression? Heck, I have models up to 9kg, with completed model prices around £1500 (mere peanuts to some!), but two of my most recent purchases are kits for the Micro Aces Fokker D7 and Ben Buckle (Mercury) Galahad.

As an aside, yes, people do dabble in different areas: when I started racing model boats, and we started selling boats, I was amazed by the number of familiar faces from model flying, either doing both aircraft and boats, or given up the challenges of model flying, and moved to boats - which reminds me, I have Sandra's boat to finish.

Simon Chaddock04/11/2017 17:55:56
5172 forum posts
2710 photos

If I say the last kit I built was a genuine Keil Kraft (and they were still in production!) everything since has been own design and build except for 3 ARTFs. Only one was new, the other two were very secondhand and all are now heavily modified.

Sorry Beth nothing in the questionnaire seems to fit!

Erfolg05/11/2017 16:20:37
10929 forum posts
1042 photos

I wonder what Beth is looking to determine or understand?

From recent observation, it is apparent that within the clubs i know, that ARTF models are totally dominant, in all their forms and sizes. That is from Indoor, to the large models in the 7-20 kg sizes. Be they Carbon Fibre, Depron, Light Ply and all guises of Polypropylene.

As for kits, it is us very old who build from kits, in ever decreasing numbers (that is the builders). For kits to revive, in significant volume, it will take a lot of changes. The prices of ARTF models will need to be substantially higher than a kit. Modellers will have to become time rich and cash poor. There is another alternative, that is that us aeromodellers reduce in greater numbers, as the obstacles to flying, which is what most are interested in no longer worth the effort. I could not but note that this year, that membership of the BMFA (in the annual report) has fallen, which could be indicative of the shift to the right of the median for us in general.

John Thornton 414/11/2017 16:34:12
1 forum posts

I began building model planes in the 1950's and, on the very rare occasions when I would buy a kit, I invariably modified it to something I liked better. Since then, I have always designed my own models ( of all descriptions- mainly I/C but electric, EDF ,glider ) and have reached the point where i build without drawings. I enjoy building probably more than I do flying and I don't really understand the attraction of RTF models but I accept I am in the minority here.

Minze Zwerver21/11/2017 08:46:30
6 forum posts
12 photos

I started my flying career with with a kit of the Robbe Charter thinking it would be a good idea to know how the thing is build so when repairs would be needed I would at least understand the planes construction a bit. Also having the plans 1:1 scale helped reproduce parts that weren't cut accurately.

After that I've build planes from plans and a kit here and there. The number of ARF planes I can count on one hand. I like building too much. Too bad I'm in a minority.

Edited By Pete B - Moderator on 21/11/2017 08:58:50

Tony Harrison 221/11/2017 10:49:22
202 forum posts
1 photos

I only bought an ARTF first (though in fact it was already assembled and ready to fly) as a way of getting into r/c and learning (I hoped) to fly. I never liked the idea of foamed-plastic planes, frankly, and it was the idea of building my own traditionally-constructed models again that got me back into this game after many years, as much as the flying itself.Which is why I've completed two oldish balsa kits already (one still hasn't flown), have started building a DB 58" Tiger Moth, have a ready-built Dynam monoplane to re-engine, and just had some plans printed for yet another project - when in fact I can barely fly, managed to crash and destroy that initial foamy... For various reasons it's extremely difficult for me to get together with others who might help me learn to fly, at least in S.Devon, though I've had a few flights in France (thanks David!). But at least I enjoy the building...

I wonder why RCME is interested in the results of this poll? Could it be to do with free plans in the magazine?

John Emms 121/11/2017 12:42:51
229 forum posts

Hi Tony, well done for your perseverance! I think you could be right about the reason for this poll. Ultimately, success in this business is about knowing the trends, and I want RCM&E to remain a success!

The mistake many make is trying to fly too complex models too early. Admittedly, I had a little control line and full size gliding experience before radio, but I had help with trimming my first radio model, and help with my first three flights only, after that I was pretty much on my own. That first model was a Kamco Kadet with just enough power for a positive climb. When I think back, a number of moves saw me flying only simple rudder elevator models with .15 to .35 engines for a further 4 years, before moving on to an aileron model with a .40. if anyone should say that R/E is boring, one day I was practicing fairly near axial rolls with a Super 60 (it's down to washout in the wings, and timing with the rudder and elevator). I heard "they fly really well with ailerons, don't they". My reply was "yes, they do", but I wanted to reply "yes, but this one is rudder/elevator".

trebor21/11/2017 13:24:03
1714 forum posts
212 photos

I purchased a new Artf trainer, then went onto second hand as they were cheaper. Now wishing I'd not gone down this route as the repairs seem to get out of control. When I get a nice workshop building from scratch will start, got 3 kits so far and plans for a few others.

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