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Schleicher K8b - G-CFTN Mendip Gliding Club - 1/32 Balsa Scratchbuild


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Hi all,


Following my last build, I decided to try something a little bit different.


There’s a bit of a story behind this one too… I started learning to fly when I was 13 years old, first fying Grob Tutors with the Air Training Corps, before taking up gliding and, eventually moving on to powered flying – gaining my PPL in 2017. Unfortunately, I haven’t flown much since then (powered flying is WAY too expensive) so I’ve decided I’m going to try gliding again – I’ve never flown a glider solo!


I bought a 1/32 Revell Ls8, however, the all-white colour scheme and lack of interesting decals haven’t enthused me to build it – glass fibre/composite gliders also aren’t so interesting to model (though way better performance!).


This led me to turn my hand to scratch building a glider out of balsa. The glider in question, the Schleicher K8b, in the colours of my local gliding club – and quite possibly the aircraft I’ll end up soloing in once I get back to gliding.


I found plans online for a 2m wingspan K8b which someone had already turned into a .dxf file, I used CATIA to scale these plans to 1/32. I constructed the airframe by creating a spine from the side elevation then added ribs and stringers, before covering with balsa. The wing was created by making the upper and lower skins, gluing the wing ribs to the lower skin before attaching the upper.


The cockpit was a challenge, particularly the copy which I plunge molded some clear plastic packaging (from some new baubles) over a balsa mould. The pilot is a slot car figure from immense miniatures, with some major surgery to cram him into the cockpit – the internal fuselage structure visible in the cockpit sidewalls is made from 0.5mm pencil lead.


Painted with a mixture of halfords rattle can white and humbrol acrylic red, the decals were home printed and are a little thick, but overall, they look the part.


I’m really happy with how this has turned out given that I’ve never made a balsa model before and never made a model from scratch. There are a few inaccuracies, I’m aware of, such as the fuselage lacking a protruding “spine” over the centre of the wings, but I think it looks the part, let me know what you think!

 

Schleicher K8b, G-CFTN, Mendip Gliding Club

 

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Hopefully I'll get some pictures of it "flying" when it's less windy outside so I can suspend it.

 

Thanks for looking!

Ben

Edited by wellsprop
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Superb! It needs a couple of worn tyres to hold the ring down when parked!

I have many happy memories of flying in the K13 and K8. I was always reluctant to fly out of sight of the airfield in the K8 though 🤔

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‘Let you know what I think’...

 

I think it looks Fantastic! Great model, especially for a first scratchbuild. 👍👍👍
 

A bit nostalgic for me too as my first solo was in   
a K13 and also with the ATC (New Zealand Cadet Forces) 

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Wow.  Stunning scratch model.  

 

I also have a soft spot and fond memories for gliders, but my training was a bit earlier.  I flew in the Slingsby T21 with my solos in the T31, and the wind blowing through my hair.  Well that is another fond memory, hair on my head. 👴

 

Well done

 

Graeme

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1 hour ago, noelh said:

Given that it's made of balsa. Have you tried flying it for real?

 

Yep, when I was building it I tried throwing it to see what'd happen, it glides fairly well, but it needed quite some speed. It was also fairly unstable in yaw!

 

2 hours ago, bhouse said:

Superb! It needs a couple of written tyres to hold the ring down when parked!

I have many happy memories of flying in the K13 and K8. I was always reluctant to fly out of sight of the airfield in the K8 though 🤔

1 hour ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

‘Let you know what I think’...

 

I think it looks Fantastic! Great model, especially for a first scratchbuild. 👍👍👍
 

A bit nostalgic for me too as my first solo was in   
a K13 and also with the ATC (New Zealand Cadet Forces) 

34 minutes ago, dbay133 said:

Wow.  Stunning scratch model.  

 

I also have a soft spot and fond memories for gliders, but my training was a bit earlier.  I flew in the Slingsby T21 with my solos in the T31, and the wind blowing through my hair.  Well that is another fond memory, hair on my head. 👴

 

Well done

 

Graeme

 

Thanks all, also glad to kick off a bit of gliding nostalgia - sailplanes are quite overlooked, despite being many peoples first taste of flying :)

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Fantastic model! Scratch-building always impresses me.

The only thing that might be missing on the model ist the wool thread on the canopy. Or is this only a German thing on every glider? I also did a few solo flights in a Ka-8 (but never obtained a license), really a cute aircraft.

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22 minutes ago, Doc72 said:

Fantastic model! Scratch-building always impresses me.

The only thing that might be missing on the model ist the wool thread on the canopy. Or is this only a German thing on every glider? I also did a few solo flights in a Ka-8 (but never obtained a license), really a cute aircraft.

How could I forget! I must add the yaw string.

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21 minutes ago, Doc72 said:

the wool thread on the canopy. Or is this only a German thing

No! The wool thread is the single most important instrument in any sailplane!

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Thanks all :)

 

I'm wondering what to make next now... I think I'm going to stick with scratchbuilding balsa 1/32, and I'm considering making either a Pa28 (that I learnt to fly in), a Skylark 4 glider or a Rotax Falke motor glider - both from the local gliding club.

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Lovely model. I have a few happy if cramped hours in these.

 

My vote for your next model would be the Skylark 4 and it would be interesting comparing your 1/32 build to my 1/4 scale one 😉

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On 12/18/2019 at 8:43 PM, andrewfl290 said:

Lovely model. I have a few happy if cramped hours in these.

 

My vote for your next model would be the Skylark 4 and it would be interesting comparing your 1/32 build to my 1/4 scale one 😉

4.5m wingspan! Blimey, you must need a scale trailer for that too 😂

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On 12/15/2019 at 8:44 PM, bhouse said:

No! The wool thread is the single most important instrument in any sailplane!

Along with the seat of your pants!!

Many hours on the K8 in the Alps: an easy and very forgiving glider! Superb memories...

As for your model, @wellsprop it is simply fantastic! I hardly can believe it is scratch made out of balsa wood.

Congrats!!!!

 

JR

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