Christchurch and District Model Flying Club
Sloping Off - our newsletter



I have always been interested in radio controlled planes. Started out  back in the eighties with an attempt at control line which ended in a  bit of a disaster then moved on to RC a few years later but back then it was very different to now. I spent hours building a model, taking great care to build to what I considered as a nice  model. Then, with a lack of time and the right sort of help learning to  fly it, that all ended going home with a carrier bag full of more pieces of wood than it started out with so I became somewhat disillusioned with it all.

Two years ago my circumstances changed and I was in need of finding an  interest to occupy my time. I looked into resurrecting my interest in RC planes. I had been working in Worthing and I happened to have a look in one of the very few model shops we have now and my interest was rekindled and after a few hours online that  evening, I decided to have another go.

I bought an e-Flite Champ S+ and realised that the hobby had come on  incredibly since the 80s. I flew it on my own without crashing, well other than with technology helping me. From that point I  decided foamies were the way forward. I would learn to fly on them then progress on to building later.

Since the Champ I’ve had a variety of different planes, Glasair  Sportsman, E-Flite Spitfire, FMS extra 300, Extra, Wot4 foam e, E-Flite Sukhoi 29, all of which are foamies. Then, last year I came along to  the Club meeting and saw a very nice Mustang. I was very impressed and it got me thinking that it was about time I started  to look for a build project myself. It had been a long time since the  last build, nearly thirty years. So I started looking. I possibly should have started on something basic as building has changed somewhat as well, but no, the TopFlite 63” Spitfire caught  my eye and so it all began.

Up to now it’s been a pleasurable experience although somewhat stressful at times as there have been a few discrepancies but in general, this  model kit has been quite well manufactured and well instructed. There  have been a few difficult decisions to be made, power setup, retracts, hinges, and now covering. It’s been a steep learning curve at times but I suppose that’s all part of it,  personalising with your own choices.

The recent covering material advice I have been given by fellow members  has been appreciated. It has revealed some very unexpected but very  useful results, I certainly wasn’t expecting emulsion to be a paint  which would be widely used. There is obviously a great deal of valuable experience within the club members. I would  especially like to thank Peter Chaldecott for inspiring me to build once again and I would recommend building a model plane to anyone who  fancies a go at it. It can be very rewarding.


After purchasing the actual kit I decided my preferred power was to be four stroke petrol and I plumped  for the Saito FG-14C. Next were the retracts. The kit was suggesting  Robart air retracts. I was not sure about the reliability of the use of  the air retracts and seriously considered electric but after chatting  with a few people about this I decided to go with the Robart 605 and 188 control kit. The servos were the next, with so many varieties to choose from, but decided on Hitec HS-645MG all round. The fuel tank was to be a DU-BRO 12oz. After all of those major parts I then turned my attention  to the adhesives and ended with quite a comprehensive selection of  Aliphatic Resin, thin, medium and thick CA, 5 minute and 30 minute epoxy and Isopropyl Alcohol.

After all of the shopping, for now at least, I invested in a SLEC balsa  building board sat on a sheet of 1/2” ply. Various tools were required  including scalpel, razor plane, T pins, metre straight edge, 3” square,  razor saw and various clamps. Let the building begin.

The instructions have been very good and start off with building the  horizontal stab, not what I had expected but I think, as much as  anything, starts the build using methods and techniques on manageable  size parts which are then used on larger, more difficult parts where the previous experiences gained are again put to good use. Next came the  elevator followed by the vertical stab and rudder. These parts were made up of a selection of laser cut balsa ribs and strip balsa and the stabs were then sheeted with 1/16” balsa. I decided on using Robart 3mm pin  hinges rather than the kit supplied CA hinges. Just for personal  preference really.

The  next step was the left hand wing section. Again using laser cut balsa  spars, laser cut ply strengthening and a mixture of strip balsa and  basswood spars and finally sheeted with 1/16” balsa. I could certainly  see at that point the sense of building the stabs first, it helped a  lot. Other than the sheeting, medium CA was used for the majority of the bonding, allowing fairly quick building at some of the stages. The  laser cut spars are complete with sections which act as a jig to give a  nice flat job. After the left wing the right wing was built in the same  way followed by the centre section. The three parts were then glued  together using 30 minute epoxy. The sheeting was then applied.  Included were various ply jig formers to assist accurate assembly of the complete wing and the worked very well. After sheeting the centre section and the underside of the outer sections, the retracts need to be fitted and the holes cut for the landing gear before sheeting the tops  and fitting the flaps and ailerons.

Spit 5Spit 2

Next comes to the fuselage. This is started with the upper half assembled  from laser cut balsa and ply formers and balsa stringers over the plan.

Spit 1Spit 6

  Finally sheeted with 3/32 balsa with the use of Isopropyl Alcohol to  assist with forming the sheet around the tight curves without cracking.  Once sheeted, the stabs are carefully set level and square.

The fuselage was then removed from the building board and turned upside  down, resting on a support stand, the lower section of the fuselage was  then built onto the upper section and then sheeted. The whole fuselage  is then ready for sanding ready for covering.

Spit 4Spit 3

So, this is where I’m up to for now. Time to seriously consider covering  materials and finish. Once again, so many choices! Time to go shopping  once again.

[Home] [Chairman's Chatter] [Beaufighter] [Typhoon] [Lest I forget] [Spot the diffeence] [Catch-Up] [TopFlite Spitfire] [Remove before use?] [Flying Site] [Tailpiece]