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Maricardo build

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Tim Day 210/11/2019 14:28:58
3 forum posts

Hi there

I'm new to the site and I'm looking for some advice on a Maricardo build. I was really active in the hobby when I was young (25-30 years ago), and I'm really keen to get back into it. I've had a look through some kits, but would like to start with a Maricardo plan build. This has quite a bit of significance as I worked in the model shop owned by the designer; in fact, when I was young I was given the keys to the old model shop (when they moved to new premises) as there was a number of old models that needed cleared out. I found an old Maricardo that had seen better days, and decided to strip it for re-covering. When I told Carlo (the designer) his face fell.....he had forgotten that the prototype Maricardo had been left in the shop and he had been keeping it for sentimental reasons....!

Although I've built plenty models, I've never built from a plan; I note there are some options in terms of buying ribs etc - eBay have a rib set for £25 and Sarik have wood pack for £62 and an additional wood pack for £65 (I already have the plan). The other option is to buy the materials online (The Balsa Cabin?), but having some pre-cut parts would definitely be nice to speed up the build.

Any advice on the best route to go?

Many thanks


Steve Hargreaves - Moderator10/11/2019 15:08:24
6759 forum posts
197 photos

Hi Tim & welcome to the forum....thumbs up

Putting "Maricardo" into the search box brings up over a dozen threads concerning the Maricardo so may a quick look through these will help....wink 2

Tim Ballinger10/11/2019 15:26:08
791 forum posts
287 photos

Welcome back indeed. I built the Maricardo back in 1973 and had loads of fun with it. As for advice on now to build it really depends on how much you enjoy building. There’s not much that’s tricky in the plane so cutting out your own ribs and formers would not take long. If you are concerned about estimating how much and what type of wood to buy there is an excellent article by Peter Miller available on this site. Balsa cabin or SLEC are both excellent suppliers. If building is more of a means to an end then go for Sarik route. You just pay a bit more.

you do not say if you are still proficient in the flying department but if not I would advise getting your eye back in with a more traditional trainer while you build the Maricardo.

As Steve says there is much build help in the blogs on this site so give them a read before you start. I have not checked but I would bet one of them at least would be an electric conversion if you were that way inclined.

Whatever you do enjoy.


Tim Ballinger10/11/2019 15:35:22
791 forum posts
287 photos


just had a look at the blogs. Seems none has recorded an electric build after all so you might be on your own if you went that route.


fly boy310/11/2019 16:41:58
3675 forum posts
22 photos

Paul Strawsan has modified the plan, reduced dihedral etc. You may have the original plan. Google Maricardo model plane updates, there is an exellent article my Alex Whittekar, and a list of alterations by Paul. Great flier , well designed. Cheers

kc10/11/2019 17:41:52
6497 forum posts
173 photos

The article on modernising this design is here on the forum. The original plan and article can be downloaded from Outerzone. The Sarik cut parts will be from the later plan which is slightly different to the original so not so worthwhile if you have the original plan. Wing ribs from iGull seem to be the 'eggcrate' style which are quite hard to cut accurately with such a large slot for the spar - I am not certain but I think the revised later plan had different spar slots which are easier to cut by hand.   

Edited By kc on 10/11/2019 17:48:20

Tim Day 210/11/2019 18:24:53
3 forum posts

Thanks for the really helpful information. I did search and read through previous threads, which were really helpful. I did consider electric but I really want to build it as close to the original as possible (including the orange solarfilm!) so will keep it IC with an OS four stroke. My last electric model was an MFA BN Islander but I see that things have come a long way in terms of battery/motor tech! I have the original plan but will probably remove the dihedral and use some of the other modifications. The ribs/sarik wood packs would certainly speed the process up, but it's good to hear that the Balsa Cabin are still going so I may use them - I will really need to price the two options up. The Sarik website is quite vague about how complete the packs are which is slightly off-putting. In terms of flying, I did fly a friends plane a few years ago and it felt like I have never been away, so I should be okay with the Maricardo.

Just a bit of trivia; Marionville Models also used to sell kits of the Maricardo (put together by an external company) with foam veneer wings. There was also a low wing version called the Coyote available in kit form. I remember when I was really quite young my dad bought the Coyote kit to take back to the Middle East to build (he worked there for twenty weeks on, three weeks off); I remember it arriving back at the house fully built and covered in a crate; my dad was an aircraft engineer so it was perfect...I only wish I had kept it!

Piers Bowlan10/11/2019 18:46:11
2141 forum posts
53 photos

Whether you are building from the Paul Strawson plan or the original (Outerzone) plan, if you make a thin ply rib template to cut around, with a bit of care, I doubt it would take more than an hour to produce a set of ribs for a Maricado. The formers are a simple shape too, so I can't see the benefit in buying in the ribs or a full set of parts. I always find that it is the radio installation or covering that takes up most of the build time. Is that just me?

Edited By Piers Bowlan on 10/11/2019 18:54:24

kc10/11/2019 20:02:00
6497 forum posts
173 photos

Piers is right. A couple of drawing pins with the points just projecting enough to grip the balsa will make the ply template easier to use.

Balsa for this size model usually costs about 25 to 40 pounds from Balsa Cabin or SLEC plus 5 to 10 pounds for the ply. Buy some spare balsa because postage is expensive if you need more!

Some people have the plan photo copied so they have a spare copy to cut up to mark the balsa. Fix to the balsa with tiny bits of double sided sellotape. Cut right thro the paper into the balsa. Or use tracing paper or prick the shape through with a pin in the traditional way.

Nowadays people often use plasterboard as building board as it takes pins easily.

Cutting the slots in the main spar could be done by taping 3 standard hacksaw blades together to cut a 3/32 slot. ( 1 blade cuts 1/32 depending on whether it's new or used -trial and error) A simple jig will ensure a cut at 90 degrees and to the right depth.

DaveB110/11/2019 20:51:05
5 forum posts
10 photos

Hi Tim Day,

I have also returned to the Hobby this year after a break of 40 yrs !! I chose the Maricardo as a first model to get back in with and it has been great. The build was dead easy and really enjoyable. As someone else posted I cut a ply template and the simple ribs took an hour in front of the TV to cut out. I electrified the plane, halved the dihedral and reduced a few sheet and doubler thicknesses to keep the weight down but otherwise all as per plan. The plane flies great, rock solid and super to re learn to fly yet mildly aerobatic to have fun with. The thick wing section allows real slow flying and easy landings. In hindsight I'd probably build bigger ailerons.20190629_212308.jpg


Unfortunately I'd bought some used rc gear and on the third outing lost signal, with the following result : p'raps I should have left those doublers in


Never mind, I think I remember this being all part of the game !!? All repaired now and just waiting for a receiver to arrive for some new radio gear and we'll try again.

Paul C.10/11/2019 21:03:46
646 forum posts
159 photos

This is my method of creating template to cut out the wing ribs use pins and a piece of balsa to hold while cutting .works well , think I pinched the idea from Peter Miller 😀👍


fly boy310/11/2019 23:24:32
3675 forum posts
22 photos

Pity about crash Dave. It happens to all in this hobby. You made a superb job of the covering and a great colour and scheme too. Cheers

alex nicol11/11/2019 00:33:44
380 forum posts
17 photos

I've built both versions off the original plan and I'm pleased to say they are both still in existence. While both are great flying planes the modified version with no dihedral and larger control surfaces in my humble opinion is the better of the two.

That said both are completely viceless and fun to fly, I'm sure you'll enjoy whichever version you choose.


Tim Day 212/11/2019 20:56:06
3 forum posts

DaveB1 - your Maricardo looks great; hope you get it back in the air soon.

Many thanks for all the helpful tips and advice. I think I will purchase the balsa/ply and make up the parts; will report back when its underway!

kc13/11/2019 08:17:53
6497 forum posts
173 photos

You might consider ordering 1/32 birch ply for the doubler instead of 1/16. Most models of this size use 1/32 which is also easier to cut -use a Stanley knife with new blade.

Piers Bowlan13/11/2019 08:25:10
2141 forum posts
53 photos

Yes, a stanley knife and a cutting mat or I have used scissors to cut 1/32 ply, just make sure they are not your wife's best dressmaking scissors teeth !

alex nicol13/11/2019 10:37:50
380 forum posts
17 photos

Hi Tim,

I'd agree with above re 1/32 ply doubler. The thing is, if you are unlucky enough to have the ground come up kind of quickly it will break either side of the wing just like the pictures above regardless of how thick the doubler is

Here's my 2, the one on the left is the modified one & the other is the original built from the pre decimal plan (5/- I think). The modified one is about 20 Years old & the other (inherited) must be about 40 years old. Both were modified to replace banded on wings with dowel & bolt


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