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What happened to all the Top Flite Kits at Tower Hobbies?

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What happened to all the Top Flite Kits at Tower Hobbies?

Old 08-08-2018, 05:52 PM
  #26  
mashp39
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When I go to the flying field all I see are 60 + years old. At the meeting all that are there are 60 + years old. That is why the hobby is going {flying} away.
Old 08-09-2018, 05:08 AM
  #27  
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Well, you're not exactly living in a booming metropolis for youth
Old 08-10-2018, 02:48 AM
  #28  
scale only 4 me
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Doesn't mean he isn't right, ,I'm 56 and one of the youngsters in our club
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:20 AM
  #29  
speedracerntrixie
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At 53 I am one of the youngest members of my Soaring club. The average age of my power club is mid 50's as well. Being a father of 3 boys now ages 19, 20 and 21 none of them were really interested in building or flying models. They all viewed it as " Dad's thing ". Models just aren't popular with youth these days, not sure what can be done about it.
Old 08-10-2018, 12:31 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
Well, you're not exactly living in a booming metropolis for youth
That's the comfy version of "death's waiting room".

For those GOFs that try to ARF shame their club members, how many of you started out on a Cox C/L plane? Last I checked, those were an ARF. - jes sayin' If you want to get more people to build, be encouraging and supportive. Like Scale said, you can't get people to see your point of view by being a jerk.

One thing there is no lack if in R/C - guys willing to tell you that you're doing it wrong

The R/C hobby has always been a revolving door. Whether it was cars, boats, trucks or planes/helis, From my time as treasurer of my club, I'd say that 75% of the people who start out are gone within a year, with another 50% attrition within three years. All it really takes for a guy to drop out is one bad experience with a guy at the field, a big medical bill, job change, kids etc. Those that truly enjoyed the hobby will be back in their own time.
Old 08-10-2018, 01:21 PM
  #31  
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Me, I did! And I still have the scars from that 049 P-51!
Old 08-11-2018, 02:08 AM
  #32  
scale only 4 me
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Aaah, ya Crybaby,, I built my first 049 P-51 from a sterling profile kit,, Chicken stick? Yes Please
Old 08-11-2018, 06:11 AM
  #33  
speedracerntrixie
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Goldberg Wizard here. While building the airplane I used to fuel up the Golden Bee 049 and fire it up holding onto the tank. After crashing the airplane I tied a 5' streamer to the engine and flew that combination while saving up for a new airplane. That one ended up being a JR. Skylark. We moved from TX to CA before that one was finished and Dad quit R/C at the same time until 1977 which is when I actually learned to fly R/C. Oddly never got bit by an 049, worst prop bite was an E powered airplane.
Old 08-11-2018, 07:37 PM
  #34  
51-D GUY
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China ARFs,
Old 06-25-2019, 07:24 AM
  #35  
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To get back to the original Topic of this Thread, I was wondering if anyone here knows if someone might have stockpiled some of the old Top Flite stuff (other than HH or TH).

A friend gave me an almost complete TF Cub 60 in the bones, but it's missing some parts. Specifically, I am wondering if anyone might know where I might be able to score the Front canopy/windshield (TH p/n GPMQ2336, Top Flite p/n CANPY068) or the Left/Right Side Windows (TH p/n GPMQ2338, Top Flite p/n CANPY069).

I can't find them on the web, Amazon, or eBay, or even my local Craigs List. TH and HH don't list them (of course) . I was wondering if any of you might have some good ideas where I could find them. I am also missing a few wood parts but I can fab them up if necessary.

I almost scored them at King Cobra of Florida but it turns out that their website was mistaken and they did not have the parts available after all. They were good about it, recognizing their mistake right away and issuing a refund. But I cannot find anywhere else to go. Any ideas you can provide would be very helpful.

Thanks,

Bob
Old 07-03-2019, 07:20 AM
  #36  
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Hi all,
The fact that kits are slowly disappearing brings some nostalgia in me but I would say that it's no sign that our hobby is in any danger. It has simply evolved.
To be perfectly honest, I never cared much for kits or ARFs until my 20's. My first model airplane was a rubber powered Piper Cub built 35yrs ago from a set of plans given to me by a family friend. My first RC plane was an Eaglet 50 which was scratch built as well. So was my first Curare and there were many others. There is a long list in my bucket list yet to come. So, my point is that as long as there is balsa, glue, mono-kote and plans available what do we really have to worry about?

Happy flights and safe landings to all.
Old 07-03-2019, 08:45 AM
  #37  
chip_MG
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Slowly disappearing?? No, all but gone at this point. When I worked in a hobby shop in the 80`s we had over 75 or more kit mfg here in the USA. How many do you see now, huh none, slowly it is a gone bye bye hobby as I see it.
Old 07-03-2019, 08:51 AM
  #38  
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Gone? no

Different? Yes

Just like 2.4 is different than the days you built your own radio.
Old 07-03-2019, 09:15 AM
  #39  
chip_MG
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Right, just like at the club here in Austin in the 80 s over 500 members, now around 100
Old 07-08-2019, 12:51 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by JulianF25 View Post
Hi all,
The fact that kits are slowly disappearing brings some nostalgia in me but I would say that it's no sign that our hobby is in any danger. It has simply evolved.
To be perfectly honest, I never cared much for kits or ARFs until my 20's. My first model airplane was a rubber powered Piper Cub built 35yrs ago from a set of plans given to me by a family friend. My first RC plane was an Eaglet 50 which was scratch built as well. So was my first Curare and there were many others. There is a long list in my bucket list yet to come. So, my point is that as long as there is balsa, glue, mono-kote and plans available what do we really have to worry about?

Happy flights and safe landings to all.
Monokote is getting harder to find.
Old 02-14-2020, 04:39 PM
  #41  
joetach
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Default Kits vs ARF,s

[QUOTE=JCOKEEFE;12444817]You can label it "technology moving forward". I call it a very sad state of affairs. Fortunately for me, I was involved in the hobby/sport in what I will label its' hayday. Many kits available and many builders/flyers eager to build and fly!! I have yet to purchase an arf and never will. When the time arrives when no more kits are available, that is when I leave the hobby/sport.[/hobby

I agree! Nothing is better than flying something we spent hundreds of hours building. To find a good kit I have to look at auction sites. A good Gold Edition kit goes for $300 to 600 bucks plus!
Old 02-15-2020, 05:40 AM
  #42  
N1EDM
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I have to agree with much of what's been said above except for those predicting Doom and Gloom. Yes, the landscape is changing, just the same way that we changed things when we were in a younger age (do you still listen to radio shows instead of TV?). We had our own set of priorities and they have theirs, so let's take a look at what we DO have...

First of all, I don't think that there are any new designs out there.. If you can visualize it, it's probably been built. And that's GOOD! Think of all the classics that are out there right now... (I have a Taurus semi-kit within arms reach as I type this). How about a Crusader, Daddy Rabbit, or a Don Lowe Phoenix??

If you want plans, here are three sources right off the top of my head. You can get the plans files for free to check out or have printed locally, or even order a set of prints from these same people which in some cases may be cheaper than having it done locally, even with S&H.
[Disclaimer: I don't work for nor vouch for any of the sites below, just offering suggestions. Many are very good, but that is for YOU to determine.]

AMA Plans Service https://www.modelaircraft.org/ama-plan-service
Outerzone https://outerzone.co.uk/
Aerofred at https://aerofred.com/

If you find something you like, or remember a design from a while ago, check out some of the short-kit producers including (but not limited to)
Precision Cut Kits https://precisioncutkits.com/
Stevens Aeromodel
Manzano laser works
Carolina Custom Kits

For planks and strip wood, try National Balsa, Sig, BalsaUSA, etc.

For cowls, etc., there is Fiberglass Specialties Fiberglass Specialties

You can still get canopies from Sig. and you can scavenge landing gear from someone's old crashed plane or bend your own wire gear.

So, while there may be a dearth of kit manufacturers out there, there are still some resources. No sense complaining, Just pick a plane and start building!!

Just my $.02

Bob
Old 02-19-2020, 01:00 PM
  #43  
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I'm 58...and I don't remember playing video games, playing rec league sports on Sundays, no computers, no social media, no cel phones, didn't have 150 channels to choose from on tv, facebook? twitter? Whats that? lol And we wonder why our hobby isn't growing or why it's getting smaller. Kits...ARF...RTF...to each there own....people are different. I respect any persons decision on what they want to fly or build. There are so many "other" things that young people want to do that doesn't include building something. Heck...how many young people know how to change a flat tire these days? How about change out a garbage disposal? lol...things are changing. BUT.....I still think with a little positive promoting the hobby can grow. Why? Because its a blast and you meet new people...its challenging...and yes, technology has made it easier.
Grab a buddy and go fly!
I'm hoping this is my humble 2 cents.
Old 03-22-2020, 09:06 PM
  #44  
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I've built (assembled) and loved plastic scale model kits just about as far back as I could remember. They were my kind of toys and I always marveled equally at the beauty of these objects and the detail that represented the real thing.

In my grade school days I came to discover fuel powered flying model airplanes, now known simply as "model airplanes" and made my first attempts at working with materials that were other than premolded styrene plastic parts. It was bewildering to me at first, but I knew it could be done because I saw the pictures on the boxes that the kits came in.

My father had no interest in my endeavors so it was up to me to figure the stuff out that I needed to know on my own. Needless to say, my first attempts at building flying models were abysmal at best, but I was undaunted and my endless fascination with miniature internal combustion engines kept me plugging away.

It's arguable whether it helped me or hindered me, but in the days before color TV there used to be airline and travel offices where they had on display some immaculate and sometimes enormous airliner models that I used to stare at and drool over. I was amazed at the workmanship and I knew that THIS was the caliber of model that I wanted to achieve!!! I couldn't have cared less about the flying models that I saw in real life that looked like a greasy piece of garbage buzzing around in circles attached to a string. I wanted a showpiece and nothing else mattered!

Fast forward to the present after much trial and error, (mostly error) and with time and practice my skills had grown. Each of the many uncompleted kits that I had attempted were stepping stones toward my desired goal as my interest in aviation in all its forms never faltered and culminated in my doing 679 skydives to this day and learning to fly a real airplane.

Along my model airplane journey, a close friend had become interested in the subject although he was more intent on flying some RC models rather than care about what they looked like. He joined a club, got pretty damned good at flying and would often drag me along to the field with him. As much as I LOVE models and aviation, other than spending time with my friend, I can't say that I enjoyed being at the field at all. I was surrounded by geriatric curmudgeons that made me feel about as welcome as ants at a picnic and models that didn't look any better than some of my earliest attempts at building them.

Model airplane kits may be disappearing, but I have my TopFlite Gold Edition Skylane that I'm s l o w l y working on with the benefit of actually KNOWING what the real airplane looks like since I now spend a considerable amount of time involved in full scale aviation. At this point, I believe that my skills have finally reached a level that will allow me to accomplish what I've sought after for quite a few years, I get to spend time among real pilots (who seem to be a much friendlier bunch than what I've experienced at a model club) and maybe the silver lining about kits diappearing is that with ARFs we'll be more likely to see RC objects flying around that have a closer resemblance to an airplane.
Old 03-23-2020, 11:37 AM
  #45  
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Interesting take.....amazing how different people are. lol...I used to drool over a " greasy piece of garbage buzzing around on a string". And the club I joined about 5 months ago...the guys are all very friendly and helpful. And some of those "planes that don't resemble a real plane? Seen a lot of those in the air with the guys flying them smiling like a little kid. I guess it's different strokes for different folks. I hope you get that Top Flight Gold Edition Skylane built. It really is a work of art and a lot of satisfaction comes from building something that turns out the way you like. To be honest...you gave me an idea....My stepdaughter is going to flight school and she is learning on a Cessna(172 I think)....would sure be nice to build a kit replica of one of the planes she learned on. Hmmmmm
Old 03-23-2020, 02:36 PM
  #46  
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Different strokes indeed, but that's what makes the world go round and while our strokes might be different, we all seem to be in the same pond of aviation love.

The idea you have about the 172 is the same one that I had when I started flight training. That's actually what prompted me back into RC planes after a long absence. Since I couldn't find a suitable kit of a 172 at the time, a 182 was close enough!

Being involved with full size aviation and seeing right before me all the details and how the planes were built really got my juices flowing to replicate all that in miniature. Life could have been made a little simpler for me if I'd chosen to make it a display model only, but I love machinery also so it had to be RC.

Speaking of a 172, that modest little aircraft has earned a very proud position in aviation history. By sheer numbers, it is apparently the most successful and the most popular airplane in the world.

I'll grant you, they don't look like much, but they're nowhere near being ugly either, in fact the design seems to have a timeless quality about it, sort of the way a P-51 still looks fresh and sexy.

Way back when, as a kid, I never had any particular attraction for a Cessna because I thought low wingers looked more cool. My perception has changed since then and I came to have a lot of respect and admiration for them.

I always liked a Bonanza and as it turned out I met a guy who I became friends with who owns one. Yes, we went flying lots of times and it seems like more often than not, he hed me do the driving. Ok, it's a cool fancy plane, but I gotta say that it ain't my cup of tea. It doesn't matter to me that it's a status symbol or that it goes at a gazillion miles an hour, but sitting at the controls of that thing, it feels to me like driving a heavy truck!!! Sure, it has autopilot and all, but I enjoy FLYING a plane, but not this one! In fact, one day we made a trip from Long Island NY to Ohio and back where he had me do all the flying. I gotta tell ya, as much as I love aviation, I did not want to see another plane for at least a week!!! Since then, I refer to his plane as The Beast.

Well anyhoo, hope you get that 172 going. At the very least you'll be garanteed there won't be 20 other guys at the field with the same model!
Old 04-18-2020, 11:11 AM
  #47  
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Default arf

they need to still stock kit planes afaic , no satisfaction in flying an arf , i want to fly something i've built , lot of different ways to look at that . i wouldn't want to go off of just plans..... cut my own pieces out of stock .....i remember our first calculator , it was treated like gold. from plans to kits to arf's everything changes , normal i guess....too bad

and after my afternoon nap....after thinking about it , i don't particularly like arfs , but it is what i started out with , a cox pt-19.

greasy plane .....really , we're not all perfect

Last edited by johndavid24; 04-18-2020 at 03:13 PM. Reason: add info
Old 04-23-2020, 07:34 PM
  #48  
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Default Top flght kits

Originally Posted by DavidAgar View Post
Horizon has their name all over the Top Flite web site.....
Recently I had the opportunity to talk to the new sale reps of Horizon Hobby. The team consist of one guy from Hobbico and Horizon. Years ago as a buyer for hobby stores I visited the Top Flight factory in IL while at Hobbico. I asked them did anybody buy the factory? They said no. I asked what the hobbyist is supposed to do for kits? The answer was if there is a big enough demand for kits, they'll find a Chinese company to produce them.
Old 04-26-2020, 05:55 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by 1!Tommyfly View Post
Recently I had the opportunity to talk to the new sale reps of Horizon Hobby. The team consist of one guy from Hobbico and Horizon. Years ago as a buyer for hobby stores I visited the Top Flight factory in IL while at Hobbico. I asked them did anybody buy the factory? They said no. I asked what the hobbyist is supposed to do for kits? The answer was if there is a big enough demand for kits, they'll find a Chinese company to produce them.
And that's a major part of the problem. Corporate America looks at how to make the biggest profit while spending the least amount of money to do so.
What really drives me crazy is what I run into at work. Grown men have been hired to build aircraft and, sadly, they can't think for themselves. I've lost track of all the times I've been asked "So, what are you looking for?" or "So, what do you want me to do next?", considering I tell them to READ THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL and YOUR WORK MUST MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SPECification manuals. It's really sad that I wouldn't trust a majority of them to help me build a plastic model airplane that requires paint and glue as most can't understand the pictures in the instructions or how the paint color locations are indicated. Do we really want people with that kind of mental abilities flying an R/C ANYTHING? You wouldn't dare talk about setting end stops, adjusting servo speeds or expo as those are concepts that are beyond the average person now days. It really worries me that society has gotten so stupid and I can only blame it on "smart phones" and technology as those coming out of school, regardless of it being high school or college, don't know how to think for themselves any more
Old 04-26-2020, 07:35 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
And that's a major part of the problem. Corporate America looks at how to make the biggest profit while spending the least amount of money to do so.
What really drives me crazy is what I run into at work. Grown men have been hired to build aircraft and, sadly, they can't think for themselves. I've lost track of all the times I've been asked "So, what are you looking for?" or "So, what do you want me to do next?", considering I tell them to READ THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL and YOUR WORK MUST MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SPECification manuals. It's really sad that I wouldn't trust a majority of them to help me build a plastic model airplane that requires paint and glue as most can't understand the pictures in the instructions or how the paint color locations are indicated. Do we really want people with that kind of mental abilities flying an R/C ANYTHING? You wouldn't dare talk about setting end stops, adjusting servo speeds or expo as those are concepts that are beyond the average person now days. It really worries me that society has gotten so stupid and I can only blame it on "smart phones" and technology as those coming out of school, regardless of it being high school or college, don't know how to think for themselves any more
Unfortunately, I can not disagree with anything here. I was fortunate to have help getting me through my learning curve. i try to help the new guys a bit because I feel obligated but don't go overboard. I had my son at home with a soldering project that no one in his College class could solder... including the teacher. I just added a bit of solder onto the iron and it was just a normal joint. I am worried about the future. I would like to add on the positive side that there are many private short kit suppliers to make a "kit" for nearly any of the more popular planes. I was not even into kits so much and would have rather scratch built than reduce myself to building a kit. In the last decades, I suppose I get swap meet planes for cheap and just get them going, so I have reduced myself even more I guess. Nonetheless, Many of these short kit guys are real hobbiysts that know their stuff and make kits that fit better than the originals, and deserve the hardly obtained hobby dollar.

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