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You Want to Build a Stick & Tissue Model part#11
Reply #11 - May 12th, 2022 at 9:35pm
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PART #11

The tissue has been applied and the marking added using colored tissue and copy paper.  This is reminiscent to the old dime scale models that were bought at the local Five & Dime store for ten cents.  All the marking were cut from the plan and stuck on the finished model.

Then the wing fillets were added to complete the finish of the wing to fuselage joint.

Now we need to attach the noseblock and prop and spinner.  The nose block can be covered with tissue to match the fuselage cutting slits in the tissue and overlapping it to cover the convex shape of the nose block. 
I used two pieces of balsa that fit tightly in the square front of the fuselage box. This makes the noseblock fit tight into that hole, thereby making the nose block removable for winding the rubber motor and then replacing the noseblock in the same place after each winding.

Here's some pictures of the final processes to complete the Spitfire.  An exceptional kit from Easy Built Models!

This tutorial was rebuilt after the photo storage site went paid and all the original pictures were lost.  That concludes this tutorial.  It may be different than the first one but hopefully doesn't lose too much.  Thanks and Happy Modeling
  

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upper_view_with_exhaust_finished.jpg

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Your attitude will determine your altitude!- John Maxwell
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jn 8:32
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Re: So You Want to Build a Stick & Tissue Model part#1
Reply #10 - May 12th, 2022 at 8:35pm
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PART #10B  Applying tissue to the flying surfaces

Well we've covered the fuselage so now we move to the wings and empennage.

I usually cover the bottom of the wing first and wrap the edges over towards the top of the wing.  Just as with the fuselage, I apply the glue to the wing area including the ribs.  Cut the tissue with the grain running from the root to the tip of the wing leaving 1/2" edge, for pulling the tissue tight over the wing framework. 

Once the bottom is dried. Cover the top of the wing you might want to allow a bit more around the edges to allow for the dome shape of the ribs.
Once the wing has dried we spritz it as we did the fuselage sections.  Only one half of the wing at a time.  I encourage you to take strips of balsa 1/16" scraps or left over stringers or strips you've cut from the scraps.  Pin the wing down over these strips so air can get under the wing panel.  Don't forget to add the "Wash Out" as you did in building so the panel doesn't lose it shape.  When the Left panels is dry, do the right panel the same way.  Allow this to dry overnight.

The empennage is made of 1/16" balsa and tends towards warping.  So once you've covered them horizontal stab like you did the wing and the vertical stab as well.  You've trimmed and you've spritzed so pin them down like you did the wing over 1/16" strips to dry. To keep them from warping. 

Another way to cover the empennage surfaces is to pre-shrink the tissue first on a frame of some sort.  I often use an old 8X10 wooden picture frame. I glue the tissue to the frame and spritz it  and allow it to dry overnight.  Next day I glue the tissue to the horizontal stab bottom first then top as per the previous method.  You'll need to pull it tight and get all the wrinkles out because it won't shrink much this time.  To avoid this I leave the tissue on the frame and place the stab with glue right on the tissue while it's stretched tight on the frame.  Once it's stuck on the tissue I use a razorblade to cut around the stab leaving a small edge that can be glued and wrapped around the edge.  This works great for both the horizontal and vertical stabs for each side.  I again smooth down the edges with saliva on my finger the reactivates the gluestick and leaves a smooth finish to the edges.

Adding the camo to the top of the wings and fuselage.  I cut out the shapes of the green tissue to match pictures of the camo pattern.  I then flip the green tissue over and apply glue stick to the backside of the  tissue while it rests on white copy paper which give me a surface I can over lap the edges of the tissue.  I then apply the tissue in the appropriate position on the wings and fuselage.  I try to work from the center of the tissue smoothing out to the edges of the green tissue making sure it stick to the tissue underneath.   Some modelers will cut the two colors to match each other with a 1/8" overlap.  Smooth this out and allow to dry.  Some use dope, EzeDope, or another glue  to attach the tissue shapes together and then cover the wings and fuselage as the earlier processes.  Once this has been done. You need to seal the tissue with some type of sealer.  I use Krylon Crystal Clear, gloss or matt depending on the finish of the particular aircraft.  Others usd thinned dope or thinned EzeDope, or acrylic floor polish like Future, to finish and seal the tissue.  Again this is an area where modelers develop their preferred finish type.
  

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WING_BOTTOMS_COVERED_IN_BLACK_AND_WHITE.jpg

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Your attitude will determine your altitude!- John Maxwell
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jn 8:32
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Re:You Want to Build a Stick & Tissue Model part#1
Reply #9 - May 12th, 2022 at 7:49pm
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PART #10A   Applying the tissue-To the fuselage-
This part can make or break a build so take your time and don't rush. 

First of all you need a clean area to apply tissue.  You know all those scraps of balsa and sanding dust is just waiting to stick to your tissue as you get ready to apply it to your pristine set of bones that you've spent so much time preparing for this moment!  So get out the vacuum maching and clean the floor (your wifey or significant other) will love you for doing this!!!  Remember as Tim the Tool-man says, "It's a power tool!" so it's ok for you to use it!! Grin Wink

Now that you've cleaned up your work area make sure your pristine bones haven't collected any dust, dirt or lint from the cleaning process!

If you have a clean old towel to spread over your work area this will keep things from rolling off your work area and allow the spritzing of the tissue to hit the towel and not your building board!!!  Must keep that board flat and level.

We have a section on  Tissue and Finish, and an article by Tom Hallman entitled seamless tissue Click Here

Tissue has a grain and you'll need to determine the angle of the grain. This is important because it determines which way you align the tissue as you apply it to your framework.  Take a corner of the tissue and tear a small tear in the tissue.  If it's jagged you've torn across the grain.  If it fairly smooth you've torn with the grain.  Doesn't take a big tear to determine this so don't go overboard. 

Most modelers apply the tissue on the fuselage with the grain running the length of the fuselage nose to tail.  Depending on the model you may need to add the tissue in strips along the stringers.  With this model you can cover the flat sides in one strip from the top longeron to the bottom longeron of the fuselage box. 
Always start on the bottom and work up the sides to the top.  I like to cover up to the start of the rounded top area of the fuselage.  I then cut strips to fit the dorsal rounded areas in two or more strips depending on the amount of curvature.

I applied the tissue with Uhu glue stick.  There's no need to dope the framework first and you can apply the glue stick to the wooden framework directly.  I generally apply gluestick to all the balsa on the side.  Others apply only to the perimeter of the area being covered.  I like to use it on all the balsa (longerons, stringers and cross members) incase I puncture the tissue while completing the tissue process.  That way I can cut out the punctured section at the balsa perimeter of the hole and then cut a piece of tissue to fit the opening. Easy repair and fix.  Ok now to cover the fuselage one side at a time. Cut the tissue over sized approximately 1/2" around the whole area to be covered.

Apply the glue on the framework and when the area covered apply the tissue,  smoothing the tissue as you go by pulling on the edges of the tissue and rubbing the tissue onto the glue. If it doesn't stick at first you can gently pull the tissue back and re-apply the gluestick.  Often a bit of isopropyl alcohol on a finger tip applied through the tissue will reactivate the glue allowing you to stretch the tissue tight over the framework. Be very careful if doing this because the tissue will tear much easier.  Let that dry if your satisfied with the tissue being wrinkle free.  After it's dried a few minutes get your bottle of isopropyl alcohol.  You can use plain water but it generally causes the tissue to shrink more than the alcohol does. Hold the spritzer (I use an old empty pump bottle of hair spray) that my wife finished up.  I rinse it out with hot water and spray the hot water out through the bottle till the hairspray is cleaned out of the sprayer and bottle.  This spray bottle puts out a very fine atomized spray of alcohol or water.  I hold the piece to be spritzed approximately 8 to 10 inches away from the spritzer to wet the tissue.  It needs to dampen the tissue but you don't want the solution running off in beads.  That's too wet.  You'll develop this distance through practice as you get familiar to your spritzer bottle and solution.  Once this is dry you can trim the edges of extra tissue with a very sharp razor blade.  I recommend cleaning the razor blade frequently with alcohol and a cloth. The glue tends to slide with the tissue so the edges will have glue on the back of the tissue.  Keep the blade clean and be careful you don't gouge the framework as you trim the tissue.  I then go over the edge with my finger wetted with saliva.  Works great to smooth the edge down and not leave straggly looking tissue edges.

Here's some pictures showing the start and completion of the fuselage.
  

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3c_PORT_TISSUE_TRIMMING_GUIDES.jpg

If God is your Co-pilot...switch seats...
Your attitude will determine your altitude!- John Maxwell
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jn 8:32
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Re: So You Want to Build a Stick & Tissue Model part#9
Reply #8 - May 12th, 2022 at 7:05pm
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PART #9  Preparing for the application of the tissue.

This is probably the most tedious because at this point what you have built is beginning to look like a Spitfire!!!  Yea!!!! Grin Cheesy Wink

This is like the part of painting a car or any other painting project.  If not prepared properly it will show all the warts and imperfections.  The framework for the tissue must be sanded smooth and soft.  Like I've heard it said.  It must be as smooth as a baby's bottom.  That's smooth!!  So go over the fuselage, wing, empennage with 320 grit and then 400 grit wet/dry paper DRY. Making  every surface to be covered with tissue very smooth.  Use your fingers to go over every inch of the model's components.  You'll be supprised how sensitive your finger tips are.  Much more accurate than what your eyes can see. 

As I said tedious... nothing glamorous about this part of the build.  But a highly necessary part of the build, so your model will look beautiful when you get the tissue applied!
  

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Your attitude will determine your altitude!- John Maxwell
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jn 8:32
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Re: So You Want to Build a Stick & Tissue Model part#8
Reply #7 - May 12th, 2022 at 6:48pm
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PART #8 Now to complete the fuselage with the noseblock that will hold the prop, prop bearing "button", glass bead bearing and prop shaft "wire". These are included in the kit.  The noseblock is made up of the included block of balsa and the above parts of the rubber propulsion members that propel the prop.

I tack glued the block of balsa to the nose of the completed fuselage after marking cross hatches locating the position of the hole where the nylon prop bearing "black button" will be located.  I had some scrap 1/32" ply that which I cut a disk the shape of the round spinner for the noseblock and glued this to the block of balsa.  This allowed me to rough cut the top of the block to the intended shape of the fuselage top.  The ply will allow me to shape the block with sanding blocks to the proper shape of the nose as shown on the plan.

Here's the pics of these parts of the construction:
  

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25_finished_noseblock_headon_view.jpg
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26_Individual_nose_block_and_prop_components.jpg
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26_Noseblock_and_prop_components.jpg
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28_noseblock_fuse.jpg

If God is your Co-pilot...switch seats...
Your attitude will determine your altitude!- John Maxwell
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jn 8:32
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Re: So You Want to Build a Stick & Tissue Model part#7
Reply #6 - May 12th, 2022 at 6:28pm
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PART #7 Construction for the empennage.
On this particular plan the empennage (that's the tail flying surfaces horizontal stab and elevator, and vertical stab and rudder)

This plan only shows half of the horizontal stab. So we build two horizontal stabs over this one stab panel and then sand each side of both and turn on over for the opposite side of the stab's panels. 

I also chose to build the horizontal stab as a one piece  horizontal stab and used a scrap piece of balsa to build the center section from the plan view of the fuselage. (making a balsa wedge that fit the view of the fuselage where the horizontal stab fits to the fuselage).  I then glued the stab panels to this wedge making a one piece horizontal stab.

I built the vertical stab over the plans using the 1/16" sq balsa and the parts cut from the printwood sheet.  I added gussets from 1/16" sheet at the center of the vertical stab.

Here are a few pics of this construction.
  

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17c_completed_port_wing_panel_and_stab_panel_001.jpg
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17d_horizontal_stab_panels_joined.jpg
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Dorsalstringersinplacelftsidemockup.jpg

If God is your Co-pilot...switch seats...
Your attitude will determine your altitude!- John Maxwell
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jn 8:32
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Re: So You Want to Build a Stick & Tissue Model part#6
Reply #5 - May 12th, 2022 at 6:15pm
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PART #6 Building the Wing and Horizontal Stab

Now to the wing construction.  As mentioned earlier, I chose to build this wing as a one piece wing.  So I built each wing panel as instructed and built each panel over the plans.  The tricky part of this wing is the curved T.E (Trailing Edge) of the wing. I add the wing spar after all the ribs are located between the L.E. and T.E.  I also found after construction of the wing that the L.E. (Leading Edge) of the wing used too soft of 1/16" square balsa which caused the tissue to pucker the leading edge as the tissue shrank. So check your balsa strips you'll use for L.E. and T.E.'s are hard and firm balsa. 

Like building the fuselage sides I pinned down the L.E. and then added the ribs which were cut from the printwood and sanded to shape.  I hope you cut the notches for the spars in the rib tops.  I used a double edge razor blade because it's thinner than a safety edge razor blade is.  It's very sharp so cover one edge in several layers of tape to keep from cutting your fingers as you make the notches in the ribs. 
Another way to notch the ribs is to take a hard piece of balsa and glue a strip of 150 grit sandpaper to it's edge.  Once dry take a razor blade and trim the sandpaper to the edges of the balsa strip.  This allows you to sand a nice 1/16" notch in the ribs that works well in fitting the spar in a very nice and snug socket for gluing.

First the left wing panel and then the right wing panel.  Once both panels have dried I spritzed the T.E.'s and propped the tip T.E. up 1/8" using two scraps of 1/16" balsa for about an inch from tip towards the root and pinned to the building board to dry.  This is adding "Wash Out" to the wingtips which help in keeping the wingtips from stalling before the wing roots. 
Now making these wing panels into a one piece wing.  I carefully measured the width of the fuselage and built a center sections that allowed the root ribs to ride in the wing saddles on the fuselage.

Then pinning the center box to the building board. Gluing the wing panels to the center box.
This makes the wing easier to mount and keep the angle of the wing roots even.

I propped up the wing panel to the dihedral (amount of distance from the bottom of the wing tip to the building board) as specified on the plan.  If not specified on low wing model plans the ROT "Rule Of Thumb" is distance from bottom of wing root rib on plan to the bottom or just over the bottom of the canopy edge.

Here's some pictures of the wing construction.
  

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16b_setting_up_curve_of_trailing_edge_of_wing.jpg
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17_left_wing_panel_built.jpg
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19b_Wing_panels_for_one_piece_wing.jpg
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19a_Wing_center_section.jpg

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Your attitude will determine your altitude!- John Maxwell
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jn 8:32
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Re: So You Want to Build a Stick & Tissue Model part#5
Reply #4 - May 12th, 2022 at 5:34pm
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PART #5  Adding stringers
Now that we have the formers in place we add a stringer (stringers are balsa sticks usually 1/16" sq that attach over the formers from nose to tail or plans shows another place) from the top former aft of the cockpit to the tail and another from the nose to the cockpit front edge.  I also added another stringer on the bottom down the middle of the fuselage so the tissue could be attached later. This accommodates the scheme I have in mind for the tissue later.  This kit has very few stringers.  Some kits have many stringers to fill out the shape of the fuselage.
  

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21_Stringersaddedtotopoffuselage.jpg
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22_Stringers_added_to_top_of_fuselage.jpg

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Your attitude will determine your altitude!- John Maxwell
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jn 8:32
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Re: So You Want to Build a Stick & Tissue Model part#4
Reply #3 - May 12th, 2022 at 5:22pm
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PART #4
Once the fuselage box has dried you can remove it from the plans and start to add the formers to the top and bottom of the fuselage box.  You'll begin to see a fuselage taking shape. 

I like to use some home made clamps that have a 1/16" slit long enough to reach from the bottom cross members to the top members and over the formers that will be glued in place.  These help me keep the formers verticle while they dry in place.

Here are a couple pictures of these clamps in use.
  

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16a_FUSELAGE_AND_FORMER_CLAMPS_UPPER_VIEW.jpg

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Your attitude will determine your altitude!- John Maxwell
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jn 8:32
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Re: So You Want to Build a Stick & Tissue Model part#3
Reply #2 - May 12th, 2022 at 4:27pm
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PART #3
Ok, we're ready to start the build.  I already told you I don't like to cut a plan, so I folded the plan over the end of the table so I can work on the fuselage.  I personally prefer building the wings so I usually start on the part I don't like to build first so I'm fresh and will have more success at building a fuselage that won't become a banana curve instead a straight as an arrow fuselage.  It is important to try to get the fuselage as straight as possible.  I have flown some with a slight curve in the fuselage sucessfully but we try to avoid that if at all possible.

You've covered your plans with wax paper, plastic wrap, Saran Wrap, etc. Right?

I'll be using Elmer's white glue for this build and I like to use toothpicks (oops did it again--get toothpicks also) but a short piece of balsa will do to apply the glue to the parts.  Remember more glue is not better!  Make sure your parts fit flush against each other and use a pin to secure the parts against each other.  Using the toothpick I dab a little on the tip and apply a thin amount to the parts to be glued.  Then press them together over the plan in the proper position and pin them in place.  I did decide not to follow the plans with this kit.  I find it much easier to build the wing as one piece rather than two panels glued to the outside of the fuselage.  It it much harder to get the wing panels aligned with the same incidence (angle of root ribs) on each side of the fuselage.  So I cut wing saddles from the scrap balsa from the printwood sheet.  I traced them from the plan that shows the wing root rib and it's location on the fuselage.  So as I build the fuselage sides I incorporate these wing saddles into the fuselage sides.  You'll notice there is a curve in the lower fuselage longeron (Longerons are the long balsa strips at the top and bottom of the fuselage box on the plan) There are several types of fuselage constructions for balsa models and you might want to check that out in the Construction-Fuselages... section Click Here  This kit uses the box style fuselage construction.  There is usually a straight edge on the box for easier construction with a curved edge sometimes on the lower surface. 

To achieve the curve it helps to wet the balsa and pin it onto the plan and let it dry to hold it's shape and take the natural tension of the balsa stick to remain straight. (this helps to avoid twists and curves later) 

Now we're ready to start the fuselage box construction.  I usually pin the top "straight" longeron into place on the plan and measure the short cross members (the balsa stick between the top and bottom longerons) and cut two each so the second side will match the first side.  Once all the cross members are cut it's time to start gluing them together.  I apply the thin glue and press the top longeron and bottom longeron tightly together onto the cross members.  The pins hole the whole side together under a slight pressure. Check out the attached pictures below.

Once the first side has dried, stretch out some plastic wrap or wax paper over the first side and build the second side over the first, making the second side match the first side. Pinning the second side as you did the first side.  Once this is dry you're ready to start the box.  Here's where the wood block, machinist squares, legos etc come in handy to keep the fuselage side aligned over the top view of the plans.  I usually pin one side down matching the curve of the top vies and pin in place.  I then cut two cross members for each station keeping them equal so I can get as close to a straight fuselage box as possible. Once you have all the cross members cut. Start gluing the cross members to the straight longeron of the first side pinning them into position to hold them tightly to the first side and in alignment to the plans.  Once you have them glued to the first side add glue to the cross members to attach them to the second side.  Now pin the second side in place holding it vertical with blocks or squares! Now add the second set of cross members between the two sides at the stations matching the vertical cross members on the sides.  This is tricky so take your time and work from the nose to the tail of the fuselage. Squares help keep them in place
  

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15_box_fuselage_construction_step3.jpg

If God is your Co-pilot...switch seats...
Your attitude will determine your altitude!- John Maxwell
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jn 8:32
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Re: So You Want to Build a Stick & Tissue Model part#2
Reply #1 - May 12th, 2022 at 3:59pm
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Part #2 Building your first kit!

We've laid out the tools and building board you'll need.  I showed you my building board.  I've used all the above building boards and I tend to prefer the celotex tile.  I've cut the ceiling tile (usually comes in 2'X4' tiles) into a strip 8"X4' so I can build any wing or fuselage in the sizes I like to build.  I hate to cut up a plan because I might want to build another model later for another scheme or more likely I've crashed the first one beyond repairs and want to try again!  Yes it happens to all of us.  There's an old saying amongst modelers, "There are those who have crashed and those who will crash!" 

So let start with the kit:
1. Read the instructions because there might be something in the building process that is peculiar to that kit or the parts that you need to be aware of in the near future! (you don't necessarily have to follow the construction sequences. As you develop your skills you may want to do things a bit different)  So avoid a possible surprise and read through the instructions just in case.

2. Check all the components of the kit to be sure everything that the instructions and plans call for are in the kit.  Sometimes there might be some missing parts especially in older kits that are no longer kitted.  Check first before you find yourself in the middle of a build and there's no part in the box that you desperately need RIGHT NOW!

3. Next get your ruler and measure the wing panels  to make sure they are the same size and the root rib is the same on each panel.  You'll hate it if you get ready to join a one piece wing and the root ribs are not the same.  A little preliminary prep will save a lot of later mumbling and grumbling!!

So let look at the Easy Built Kit #FF-49 Spitfire Mk 1.  Easy Built Kits are fine kits but not all of them are easily built. Shocked Roll Eyes Wink

I keep a piece of celotex or small cutting board handy to cut out the printwood.  Now days the kit manufacturers have moved away from the die crunched parts sheets and now use laser cutting  which is much better.
But this kit has printwood sheets.  I cut out the printwood parts just outside the line. I then sand them to the line with an emeryboard or small sanding block.  If you have a couple sandwich bags (oops forgot to tell you to get some of these  Embarrassed Cry) You can put the wing ribs in one bag, fuselage formers in another bag, and vertical stab and horizontal stab in another bag.  This will help you to keep them all together and much less likely to loose them when you get to that section of the build.
« Last Edit: May 13th, 2022 at 5:58pm by Sky9pilot »  

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If God is your Co-pilot...switch seats...
Your attitude will determine your altitude!- John Maxwell
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jn 8:32
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Stick & Tissue

Posts: 12533
Location: Kelso, WA 98626 USA
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So You Want to Build a Stick & Tissue Model part#1
May 12th, 2022 at 3:44pm
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PART #1
If this is your first Stick and Tissue model build here's a step by step walk through on how to build a balsa model. 

Your first model should be a high wing model to give you the best chance of getting it to fly more quickly than a low wing monoplane.  But I didn't have a kit of a high wing.  Let's be honest, the Spitfire isn't really the best low wing model to start with but you know you want a WWII or WWI model to start out and for WWII it's either a Spitfire, Hurricane, Bf-109e or a P-51 Mustang.

So I had an Easy Built kit # FF49 Spitfire Mk1.

So if this is your first build you'll need the following:
1. A building board- mine is celotex (ceiling tile) to lay on a flat table top or board.  In an emergency you can use a flat piece of cardboard. Some have used a flat piece of insulation foamboard 1/2" to 3/4" thick or a cork board that will hold Straight Pins or "T" pins or cork board tacks with the plastic heads.  Edit: Include some plastic sandwich bags left out initially.  Some fellas are using magnet boards now.  Check out the building board section of this site for further info.

2. You'll also need some tools:  A razor/hobby knife like an Xacto or box knife with the break away tips, Pins as mentioned above, glue (Elmer's white glue, Carpenters glue "Titebond" etc, Duco or similar glue).  I'd wait on using Super glues for a while till you get a hand on how to use the glues already mentioned. (you don't want to stick your fingers together or to the balsa parts  Embarrassed Roll Eyes Cry don't ask).
3. Something to cover the kit plans with, like Saranwrap, Waxpaper etc to keep the glue from sticking to the plans as you build.  Right angle blocks (jenga blocks, legos, machinist squares, wooden block etc). 
« Last Edit: May 13th, 2022 at 5:52pm by Sky9pilot »  

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If God is your Co-pilot...switch seats...
Your attitude will determine your altitude!- John Maxwell
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jn 8:32
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