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Building an ARF vs. Assembling an ArF

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Building an ARF vs. Assembling an ArF

Old 05-27-2018, 03:25 PM
Multi-Engine Guy
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Default Building an ARF vs. Assembling an ArF

Ok, don't get me wrong from the question that I am about to ask, because I like ARF's . I think that they have come a long way since I first started flying R/C back in 1984.
I also enjoy building kits as well as scratch building.
But these days I am a mostly work from home Dad, and primary care giver of our two children aged 10 and 13.
So finding the time to build anything is a challenge.
But in the last few years I have heard guys saying that they
"Built" a plane, when referring to an ARF.
I have always used the term "assemble" when referring to putting together an ARF.
Mostly because the airframe is already built. You just do the final assembly and any modifications that usually always need to be done to get a decent flying model.
So which is it, do we "build " or just "assemble" an ARF?
I say assemble.
Old 05-28-2018, 04:57 AM
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I'm sure that there will be disagreement, but, in my opinion, you are correct. ARFs are assembled. They are built by workers, in the Far East.
Old 05-28-2018, 06:07 AM
r ward
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yes, "assemble" seems to be the correct term in my opinion, as well. I guess it depends on which end of the spectrum you stand. very few of the younger crowd, those accustomed to "the age of ARF" types, have no interest , nor the talent and patience to "build" an entire plane from scratch or plans. many times, blaming it on not having the time. the truth is that they don't want to take the time,..... they want to fly now,....instant gratification. this same crowd is the crowd that has learned that manual labor is for someone else, (possibly of lower mental aptitude) and not for them so they confuse manual labor with the idea of building an airplane,...... that part of the hobby is not what they want to admit to doing. as an example,....I shot competitive archery all my adult life and I have seen many times over, that same younger age group shooting, but as soon as something doesn't work right all they want to do is take to the shop and let the shop fix the problem. they simply do not want o earn how to do things. the "service" aspect of whatever they do, is simply non-existent and they have no interest in reviving or maintaining it. consequently they don't learn a very big and important part of the sport and when confronted with a problem they don't want to be bothered with the effort involved in correcting the problem.
Old 05-28-2018, 01:08 PM
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Yes I also agree ; you scratch build , you build a kit , and you assemble an ARF .

Now , for the grey area ;

Say someone buys an ARF and proceeds to strip off all the covering , bolster all the built in weak areas , throw away all the junk supplied hardware and use DuBro or Sullivan instead , and recover it in their own design of color scheme . That can come pretty close to qualifying to earning the "built" rather than "assembled" designation , but for the 99.9 % of ARFs , assembled will have to do
Old 05-28-2018, 07:24 PM
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100% agree....you BUILD a kit.
Old 05-29-2018, 04:23 AM
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I just got an email chastising me about using the term build on an ARF review.

I also remember Dick Pettit calling some models builders ARF's or BARF because they were an ARF that took so much effort to correct problems that it would have been easier to build a kit.

Last edited by BarracudaHockey; 05-29-2018 at 04:25 AM.
Old 05-29-2018, 05:02 AM
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I`m glad my ARF wasn`t a BARF. Luckily after a little re-shrinking all I had to do was finish "assembling" it.
Old 06-04-2018, 12:52 PM
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So if putting together an ARF is assembling, (of which I agree), then the last part of building a kit is also assembling an ARF,, only difference is you built the ARF instead of a women in China or Vietnam
Old 06-04-2018, 03:02 PM
r ward
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it's the part before the "assembling" that separates "building an airplane" from "assembling an ARF". no amount of twisted logic or "grey area" can eliminate that distinction. if you have an ARF,....you have not "built" an airplane. call it whatever you want, ....but it is not,..... "building".
Old 06-10-2018, 02:04 PM
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Define building. Sounds difficult but I'll give 'er a shot. At one time kits were the ARF's of their day just like RTF's are the ARF's of our day.

We've known modelers that claim they can build and they kinda' do but you wouldn't be a proud owner of the level of craftsmanship seen evident in their creations unless you didn't know better. This statement is in no way directed at anybody or any one person - just something witnessed over the years.

This trait can be seen in all forms of aeromodeling whether it be sport, competition, or scale. Measuring with a micrometer, marking with a grease pencil, and cutting with an axe doesn't really impress at all. The time and labor may show good intentions but if intended straight lines aren't straight, perpendicular lines aren't perpendicular, parallels aren't parallel, rounds aren't really round - a discerning, trained eye sees these things. These details I'm talking about include alignment and rigging. I've seen scale labors of love built from scratch-drawn-plans with a multitude of detail that looked great from distance but the closer you got, the more faults that became apparent. Even scratch-"builders" don't necessarily exhibit the craftsmanship-like abilities of a good builder.

Just as everyone can follow instructions and assemble an ARF, everyone could follow instructions and assemble a kit. Its just that many don't have the patience or desire to do so. Thinking "building" really comes into play when the modeler develops skills through experience, through repetition, through training, through education, then really learns how to use the tools at their disposal, and can "see" and tell when something is straight or perpendicular, or round and judge the center-point of something only using measuring tools to confirm their suspicion for example. Its when someone goes above and beyond merely ending up with what the manufacturer of a kit intended - like a lighter than spec airframe, improvements in design or flight characteristics, or artistry shown in the execution of a complementary color scheme - where I think "building" really comes into play. Knowing how to look at something, how to approach an unusual task, construct a fixture, design something to improve or simplify a problem, paying attention to details (e.g. alignment/rigging, CG, angle of incidence, getting rid of weight - not adding lead), and implementing craftsmanship is where "building" is truly building.

Let's just say some modelers assemble ARFs better than other modelers "build" kits.

Last edited by H5606; 06-10-2018 at 03:23 PM. Reason: added thoughts
Old 06-24-2018, 05:11 PM
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Greetings, so I just ordered my first ARF after 40 years,as my first airplane was a Pilot plastic ARF that was powered by a Cox Black Widow .049 and this had no power so I converted it to the TD .049 and that made a world of difference. So I have an Easy Sport ARf that i purchased on line on the way. I was looking at the manual pdf and it will go together fast as I have two different engines that I could put in it! I am going with a 2nd Hand OS 46 AX that ran great on my test stand last week. I will just glue it together with 5 minute epoxy and go fly it in about 2 weeks. I hope it flys as well as it did in the RF 3.5 flight sim.
thanks Michael

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