Building from RC airplane kits, can be a very rewarding experience. Hopefully the majority of components required are included in the box.
In fact, the first step is to familiarize yourself with all the parts, in the kit.
Find the list of contents (generally in the manual) and check-off each item. If any part is broken or missing, advise the supplier and hopefully the parts in question will be replaced.
Now is the time to decide if any of the kit parts will be replaced anyway. For instance, I usually prefer to replace ABS plastic parts with third party fiberglass components, especially cowls. I find they last a lot longer than the plastic ones and resist the normal wear and tear, much better.
Take a look at Fiberglass Specialties for a great source of many fiberglass replacement parts.
Other items, such as wheels, servos, tanks etc., should be obtained. Maybe you need to buy a new engine or even radio components-now is the time to procure them.
The next item on your agenda should be to read the manual, from cover to cover. This step will thoroughly familiarize you with the building process and get you ready to build that beauty!
One feature I really like about some of the Top Flite kits I have built is that as well as being an excellent manual, with lots of photos, they also include a copy of the plans at a reduced scale. This comes in real handy when the full size plans are covered with parts!
How do you plan on covering your model? This is the time to decide this, as materials may need to be ordered. For more information on Model Airplane Covering, take a look here.
Clear the bench! Pin down the plan and protect it with wax paper or Great
Planes do have a clear plastic film, called "Plan Protector" that is
ideal for this job.
Now you can start the build, in the same order as stated in the manual. For the majority of the balsa joints, I prefer to use a CA adhesive and 5 minute epoxy for the plywood. Take a look at this page How to Build from Plans for other building tips that also apply to RC airplane kits.
Take a good look at the plans and see if there are some modifications you would like to make. ! always make sure there is good access to the tank and radio equipment and RC batteries. All of the equipment may need servicing at some point and you do not want to have to cut into the structure to gain access.
The landing gear and it's attachment is always worth a close inspection.
Use your experience and use your friends at the club. Maybe someone else has built the same model and can give you valuable information.
How to Install RC Engines is a good page that gives a lot of details on engine and tank installation.
The above photo is of my Top Flite Stinson Reliant. I built this beautiful airplane, from a kit, a few years ago and still fly it today. It is powered by an OS 160 twin and she flies like a dream! The kit is very well engineered and was a pleasure to build.
RC airplane kits are few and far between these days but are still available and if you decide to go this route, you will be rewarded with a unique model that will stand out at the field!
This page is devoted to the Top Flite Stinson Reliant SR-9 RC model airplane kit.. See all the details of my version of this RC airplane kit, including flying details and an excellent video.