Easy build, but with weak balsa wood supplied in kit
July 1, 2013
I purchased this Guillows kit in the hope of encouraging my son (age 9) to use this kit to improve his hand and knife blade skills. When I opened the box I found the balsa sheets for the fuselage formers were thin and very soft and the 1/16” square balsa sticks were fragile. I knew that this would cause issues in building the airframe. I told my son that due to the weak balsa we would try to build a different kit together to save him from some frustration and I would build the kit myself. During construction the fuselage formers broke a couple times, first when cutting them out of the sheets and later when building the fuselage. I had to reinforce the formers to keep them from crushing or warping when gluing the fuselage (fuselage formers have stiffeners glued to them per instructions). The 1/16” sticks broke with very little pressure applied to them. The biggest issue with this kit is the horizontal stabilator. The weak 1/16” sticks make up the bulk of this structure; the H-stab warped when gluing on the tissue. I rebuilt H-stab by gluing reinforcement sticks to keep it flat. Also I noticed the instructions are not marked where the center of gravity should be to balance the plane for flying. I contacted Guillows about the CG issue and got a fast response from them. The CG is located at the front spar which is the upper 1/16” stick on the wings. The Chipmunk Kit is recommended for ages 10 and up and could be built by a 10 year old with supervision. The kit is easy to build even with the issues I had and I recommend this kit to anyone 10 and older. Hopefully the balsa supplied in your kit will be of a better quality.
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