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kevin scott
2 articles

Balsa display models

September 21, 2019 · in Aviation · 15 · 3K

The recent projects shown include the current build project, Guillows kit # 301LC Aeronca Champ '85, The Dumas GeeBee Z, the Guillow's kit #405 LC P-40N, and the Flyline Stearman C3B (modified to a Stearman YPT-9 Cloudboy.

All were built using the infill method (building the balsa skeleton or basic frames, then infilling every opening with balsa sheet stock cut to fit) or in some cases, sheeting over the frames is also implemented. One of the images included with this post shows the P-40 fuselage fully infilled.

I have a youtube channel that describes and shows the infill process in detail : Heywood Planes (if any are interested)

This approach to aircraft modeling appealed to me as I was looking to build quality, 1/18" - 1/24" scale display models of civilian aircraft - where it is almost impossible to find any selection over 1/72" in plastic. In these larger, balsa scale models the opportunity for adding detail or adjusting the air frames for accuracy is a plus.

**Note - I have added a picture of the now complete Aeronca to the article

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome 1 

5 additional images. Click to enlarge.

15 responses

  1. Very Nice! I tried the "infill" method on the Guillows Bf 109 back in the early 1960's when I was in High school. I got all the way from the nose back to the leading edge of the wing before I "discovered" girls, and that's where the project stopped. Very labor intensive but the result is well worth the effort. Once again, well done.

    • Thank you - yes - it is quite labor intensive in almost every phase of such a build. and yeah - 'discovering' girls is a much more enjoyable pursuit..can't disagree atall with that.
      I started doing this about three years ago - it helps to have been married for 35 without saying too much else lol

  2. Interesting work.

  3. There are those of us who "build" models and then there are those who BUILD models such as these. This is true craftsmanship, sir...very impressive work indeed.

    • well I really appreciate your generous words of encouragement, Thank You!
      I look to possibly provide inspiration just as I was and continue to be inspired by other modelers.

  4. True craftsmanship!

  5. Very nice! They look great!

  6. Thank you so much, gentlemen - I really appreciate the positive remarks!
    I have a few other builds I'd like to share on this site as well - maybe link to another website where I have posted several build threads already...
    I'll take a minute to review iModeler's ROE's to make sure I'm not running against regulations.

  7. is my other Stearman
    This one is the Guillow's kit # 803 PT-17 built using the same infill method and with a heavily modified Continental motor.
    You can see all of the work I did in this link to my hangar at the Virtual Aerodrome..

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  8. maybe I should also post links to the Dumas GeeBee Z build thread as well as the Flyline Stearman and the Guillow P-40 as they are related to the images I posted originally..

    this way folks can get a clearer idea of what I'm putting myself through - lol

  9. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    Nice clean, sharp builds Kevin, very good skills.

  10. Thank you sir - much appreciated!
    Can I ask what scale your NASCAR models are? I love the Rusty Wallace machine - lowered and with the engine bay detailed it looks just right!

  11. Ah! balsa wood; I remember it well. Many of us would have cut our teeth on this stuff & it's nice to see such creativity using the old tried & true methods. A real trip down nostalgia lane. Great work! Thank you Kevin.

    • I'm glad you like them - thank you!

      It is the plastic kits that were my introduction to scale model building. Taking those skills to the balsa realm and applying many of those disciplines to this field to enhance their appearance once they are infilled seems more like a progression to me.

      Occasionally , some of the folks who build balsa kits this way will buy and build a 1/72 or 1/48 scale model of the same subject (when it's available AND a proper scale representation) to use as an additional reference for their balsa builds. But ultimately it is the actual photo's and literature related to the prototype that are typically used, due to the often inaccurate representations put out by plastic kit mfgs.. That said - the way I build the balsa kits is to follow the plan provided, using the materials provided in order to maintain a certain fidelity to the kit designer/engineer's vision or translation of the actual aircraft spec's to the kit they have created, and only augment them with certain details or adjustments typical of a display model vs one that sacrifices those details to achieve flight.

      Note: the attached images are of the now defunct 'Today's Hobbies' F-4 Phantom kit

      2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

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