As a scratch builder i only wish i could build one of my planes for 650.00. but.... for me if it means not sending china anymore of my money for their cheap crap then i'm really happy for that .
What do you mean if you could build for $650 ? What planes are you scratch building that cost you more than 650. Are you talking from paper to the air or to the SAME POINT one would receive an ARF in the box. If it cost you more to the same point you would receive an ARF, you doing a hell of a lot wrong.
Really? Did you ever price a Ziroli Stuka? And that one does not have retracts! Get th plastic, fiberglass, struts, blueprints, get the wood cut (that needs cutting) get the rest of the wood, etc, and you are over that mark. Then start with the rest of the stuff... glues, fiberglass, resin, primer, paint, and all kind of supplies add another couple of hundereds (or covering). Cover a 1/3 scale Balsa Usa DR-1 (small for a 1/3 scale) and tell me the price of the covering. I doubt much you can do any Ziroli warbird less than well over a grand...
Just to re-do a 20 year old 1/3 scale Morane A-1 will cost well $300 in materials (no building involved, justr re-cover, improve, and update the model).
But, each of us has different interest, and like different models. I can see how a senior telemaster might be scratch built for about 1/2 the $650...