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Old 12-06-2005, 05:58 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: newton, NC
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Default RE: ARF vs Kit build?

I'll throw my hat in the ring--While I really enjoy the "build" of a kit, actually fitting parts together, making certain alignment is proper and watching the thing grow, I find I don't have the time to do as much as I'd like, so ARF's allow me to fiddle to a degree and still be able to increase my hangar.

Whether you say "build" or "assemble", you're still putting smaller pieces together into making larger ones which eventually become an airplane; albeit the assembly is not nearly as time consuming or technically challenging with an ARF as it is with a kit or scratch. I have to wonder on the side of the ARF boxes where it says "can be ready in as little as 11-15 hours" or some such. I guess if you are a Chinese ARF assembler you can get it down to that, but I just can't seem to put it together without having to change something to make it more suitable to me--it's not that there's something wrong I have to fix, it's more like wanting to add a detail, or modify a structure and I haven't yet come close to that magic 11-15 hours on any ARF I've built / assembled / constructed / put together (choose phrase you like best). But you can be dang sure it flies well when it's done, and nothing's gonna fall off. I've spent two days just mounting an engine.

If I can't build a kit, at least I can make the ARF more like one. I took a NIB GP DR-1 and tore all the MonoKote off, and recovered it with white Solartex, and am hand-painting it, no masking or spraying (except the cowl). And I couldn't leave the cowl alone either; I thought it was too flimsy, so I added a layer of fiberglass inside it. I deepened the cockpit so an Aces of Iron pilot would fit in it, and that meant modifying a structural member (fuse former) I came within an inch of doing all pull-pull controls, but slapped myself and said "IT'S JUST AN ARF!", so at least they will remain as the manual states.

I'll save the kit or scratch building for those planes not available as ARF's. Scale models are what I'm interested in anyway, sport scale or fine scale, depending on the plane and how much time I want to spend on it. Mainly, I get bored and tired of cutting out forty-eleven wing ribs.
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