A few months ago, I bought my first Guillow’s model airplane kit from Amazon.com for around $20. I’ve never constructed one of these balsa kits because it’s always seemed a bit intimidating, but at this price point, I had to give it a try. I chose the classic Piper Cub design as my first build.

 

Initially, putting together a balsa kit seemed like a very difficult and time-consuming task. I’ve only ever made airplanes from foam board which is easier and much more forgiving. However, once I started, I found that building a balsa kit is a lot of fun. I did accidentally snap some of the pieces because I underestimated how thin and fragile they are, but I was able to easily use some CA and glue them back together. Note to any beginners like myself: make sure you use cyanoacrylate glues in a well-ventilated area. The pungent fumes will irritate your eyes and nose, so keep this in mind.

I began by placing the included plans on a sheet of dollar tree foam board, and then some wax paper (purchased from the baking aisle at Target) on top of the plans. This is to prevent the wood from sticking to the paper plans after applying glue. I then pinned down the first few flat pieces to the plans (I also pinned the area around the perimeter of the fuselage illustration to keep the wax paper flat). TheseĀ T-pins can be purchased from Amazon.