There is nothing particularly difficult about building this model
but some areas require a bit of experience to ensure accuracy.
The plans are clear and very easy to follow. The instructions are
illustrated with color photos and provide a logical building sequence which I
chose not to follow for reasons I can't remember now.
I built the entire model using
Ambroid wood cement and
Ambroid was used on all joints exposed to the outside because it
sands at the same rate as balsa
and water proof.
Weldbond was used for formers and ribs because it is
incredibly strong. All of the parts that are meant to be in the water were
sealed with several coats of dope, so a water-proof adhesive wasn't really
necessary, but it's still a good idea.
I began construction by joining the multi-part fuselage and hull sides so
they would be ready when I got to them. The parts key together and
assembly is pretty much fool-proof. Even so, I built each pair of sides
directly on top of each other to ensure they were identical. After the
sides were dry, I added the various doublers to the insides. The doublers
play a major role in aligning the trapeze assembly so I took great care with
While the sides were drying I built the
outrigger floats (this model has four fuselages) which took
maybe an hour. These were put aside because they won't be needed again
until much later in construction.
Next I assembled a
magnets to build the struts to ensure they were absolutely
identical. This is important because even a small amount of misalignment
here will prevent the fuselage from aligning with the hull.
Keeping this thought in mind, I assembled another jig that allowed me to glue
each strut to its respective fuselage side while one side was on top of the
other. This ensured both sides and strut assemblies were identical.
Take a look at the photo gallery to save me 1,000 typed words.
The one design flaw is the lack of vertical support in the hull. I
strongly suggest that you add a few 1/8" square balsa vertical supports in unsupported
areas between the formers to prevent the finish from collapsing the hull.
More about this later.
The instructions indicate that the hatch in the forward hull can be located
as shown on the plan or moved forward if necessary depending on where the
battery will best balance the model. Unfortunately, the design makes it
next to impossible to completely assemble to determine the balance.
For example, the
servo mounts can not be glued in place until the fuselage is
glued on permanently. By that time, the hull and fuselage should already
I decided to make my life easy by replacing the stock former with one cut
from plywood. The new former has a cut-out large enough to pass the battery. That allowed me to build the hatch and still be able to place the
battery in either compartment for balance.
The servo mounting system is frustrating. The aileron servo mounts to the
top of the fuselage and is accessible. The elevator and rudder servos are mounted below the fuselage inside the
trapeze assembly. It is next to impossible to get to the mounting screws
due to the width of the hull. I ended up using socket head wood screws
to mount the servos so
that I could use a
ball driver, but it's still a chore.
There is plenty of room in the fuselage behind the wing to mount the servos
which would be a better place to mount them. The
pushrods are pieces of
1/32" music wire. They run through a single piece of 1/32" I.D. x 1/4"
long aluminum tube that is glued to the fuselage side. It's not a great
I made a couple additional housings for additional support, but I
don't know how well it will hold up. If the tubes come loose in flight
the pushrods will probably collapse followed by the plane diving into the
Overall I think the control system could stand some more development.
The wings are simple and straight forward. Again, all the parts fit
well and each wing panel required less than an hour to build. In fact, it
took me longer to sand them than to build them.
One item that threw me off is that it looks like the
shear webs at the wing root are upside down and will cause the wing to have
anhedral. I kept looking at the parts wondering why they were drawn on the
plan upside down. Then I realized that the fuselage tapers from bottom to
top so that the angle of the shear webs would provide the correct
dihedral angle when subtracted from the angle of the fuselage sides.
To clarify, even though it looks wrong, the top of the ribs cant outward, not
One feature that I like is that the basswood anchor blocks for the flying
wires go all the way from top to bottom of the wing. I've seen some
designs having functional flying wires where there were separate mounts on the
top and bottom of the wing. That setup is asking for the wing to be ripped
The single anchor block allows the load to be transferred through the wing
making a much stronger and more reliable setup.