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Overview & Tips
| Ardpol | Czech Master
Resin | Heritage Aviation Models Ltd. |
HPH Models | Pawel Nowak | Planet Models | Revell
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I have long been a fan of scale sailplane models. I built a fair number
of scale model airplanes in my youth, and I currently have a scale sailplane
model hanging over my office desk. It is loosely suspended by thread -
giving it the freedom to dance and sway - as if ever working to find the
core of some great thermal.
A nice sailplane model, like any work of art,
is enjoyable to look at. Sailplanes are certainly elegant and efficient
machines. When I look at a sailplane model, I see the lovely long wings, and
the purpose built aerodynamically optimized fuselage, but I also see the
history of that particular sailplane. Every sailplane type has an
interesting history. There was a person, or group of people, or company that
put their hearts and minds into the development of that particular
sailplane. It may have been the descendent of many, similar (or quite
different) sailplanes in a long line of sailplanes. I see all that when I
look at a scale model sailplane. I also see the potential for adventures to
come. I see the cross-country soaring flights that await me in the future.
I guess I’m passionate about sailplanes and
sailplane models. You will notice that when you visit my Sailplane Models
web pages. I have spent a lot of time documenting each model kit. I have
photos of the model parts, a scan of every page of the assembly
instructions, photos of finished model kits and photos of the full-size
sailplanes the model is patterned after. I also provide some historical
information about the sailplane type. I also try to add value with model
building and terminology tips and links to web sites with tips on building
A Great Way to Promote Soaring
Sailplane models are more than just fun
to look at. Sailplane models can be a great tool for introducing the sport
of soaring to others. Sailplane models look great hanging over or sitting on
your desk at work, or sitting in a display counter at the local gliderport.
They are a great way to encourage friends and colleagues to ask you about
soaring. Just think how many more people would ask you about soaring if you
had one of these models prominently and proudly displayed!
They are also great to admire while waiting
for your new full-size glider to be delivered, or while waiting for spring
as your glider is hibernating in its trailer for the winter.
Model sailplane kits are also a great way to
promote soaring with kids. Building a model glider is fun and a kid that
hangs a glider from his bedroom ceiling is more likely to get into flying
gliders in the long run. Buy one for your kids and grandkids and nephews and
nieces - and help them build it. I sincerely believe that glider model kits
are a great way to introduce kids to gliders.
Not a Model Builder – Not a
The model kits on these pages are fun and rewarding to build. But let’s
face it; some of us don’t have the time or skills to build a model that we
would be proud to display. That is not a problem. You can have a model built
- Professional Model Builder
I have established a relationship with a professional model builder. He
can build any of the kits on these pages for you for about $300. I’ll send the model
kit directly to him and he’ll build it and send it to you. The finished
product will look fantastic. There will soon be
links to examples of his work here. He has built several models for me that are proudly displayed in my office. Let me know if you are interested in this
- Pawel Nowak
Pawel Nowak lives in Leszno, Poland and builds scale sailplane models in 1:22 scale. They don't offer detailed cockpits - which makes them more affordable than the models from HPH. But they are very precise and shiny and lovely.
Details are available on the Nowak page.
- HPH Models
HPH builds scale models of just about any aircraft. You can expect to
pay between $600 and $1200 for a detailed scale model of your sailplane.
They are worth every penny. You can see details and photos on the
This web site is targeted at pilots of full-sized gliders - it is not a
hobby shop. I'm not an expert model builder. However, many pilots of full-size gliders are also
builders of model gliders. The page is a collection of some very
nice, scale plastic and resin models of gliders from around the world.
It has been fun hunting them down, collecting and documenting them. They are delivered as
unassembled kits which require assembly, gluing, and painting. They
make excellent display models or as training aids for showing new pilots the
parts of a sailplane or for "flying" the model (in your hand) through a maneuver that will
later be done in the air. Another great idea is to display the
completed model on your desk at work as a way to invite questions about
soaring. I have a few nice models hanging over the
desk in my office.
Give a Glider Model Kit to a Kid
I am a firm believer that model kits are a
great way to promote soaring with kids. Building a model glider is fun
and a kid that hangs a glider from his bedroom ceiling is more likely to get
into flying gliders in the long run. So buy one for your kids and grandkids
and nephews and nieces - and help them build it. I suppose you will think that I'm saying that
in order to sell more kits and make more money, but I really do sincerely
believe that glider models are a great way to introduce kids to gliders.
However, some of these kits have very limited instructions, so adult help is
Pawel Nowak lives in Leszno, Poland and makes lovely scale sailplane models, made of carbon fiber, fiberglass and wood. They do not feature detailed cockpits - which keeps the cost reasonable. The model is made to order with great care and attention. You can specify the registration number, contest number, coloring, etc.. This gives you a unique specimen. A real eye-catcher in your home and a must-have for any glider fanatic! These are not kits, they are display models - ready to display and complete with mounting base. The sailplane models are
all done in the 1:22 or 1:25 scale. Details are available on the Nowak page.
HpH in the Czech Republic is known for their incredibly detailed
finished scale aircraft models. They are also the manufacturer
of full scale sailplanes. Their models
unassembled model kits, they are detailed finished models. Each
model is made to match the original full-size aircraft - including paint
schemes, contest and registration numbers, and cockpit details. They
are, therefore, much more expensive than unassembled model kits, but
they are worth every penny. They look great hanging in your office
or sitting on your desk and they are a great way to encourage friends
and colleagues to ask you about soaring. Just think how many more
people would ask you about soaring if you had one of these models on
your desk! They are also a great to admire while waiting for your
new full-size glider to be delivered. Their sailplane models are
all done in the 1:25 scale - which makes them larger than all the model
kits listed above. Details are available on the
HpH Models page.
Please note that there are several different scales used in these model
kits. The larger the scale number, the smaller the model. The 1/72 scale
models are quite small. The table below can be used to get an idea of the
actual sizes of the different scale gliders. I don't want anyone to be
shocked to find an extremely small model upon arrival. A few examples may
also help – The 1:32 scale Revell DuoDiscus model has a wingspan of 62.4 cm
(24.6 inches). The 1:72 scale Stümmel Habicht has wingspans of 8.3 or 11.1
cm (3.3 or 4.4 inches).
Scale Size Chart
- Wash Parts - Be sure to wash all parts
of all model kits in mild detergent before assembly to remove any trace
of mould release wax. I use a mild dish washing soap and a lot of
- Plastic Injection Molded Kits -
Plastic model glue is most commonly used. However, cyanoacrylates
("CA", "superglue") and epoxies also work fine.
- Resin Kits - Plastic model glues
will not work. Use super glue (also called cyanoacrylate or
"CA") or epoxy.
- Use a safety mask when sanding and
painting all models. Resin and plastic dust and paint fumes
can be harmful if inhaled.
- "Wet sand" to minimize dust in the
air. Wet sanding is sanding with the sandpaper wet.
Since the dust sticks to the sandpaper so it won't get into the air
and be inhaled.
- Provide good ventilation when
sanding and painting models. A painting hood that is vented
outdoors is highly recommended.
Modeling Tips Web Sites
The web sites below offer tips on building scale plastic model kits.
- Plastic Injection Molded Kit
If you have ever built a plastic kit, it was probably an
injection-molded one. The parts are formed in polystyrene plastic that
are attached to frames known as sprues. After removing the parts from
the sprues, you put the kit together as a three-dimensional puzzle,
helped by detailed instructions. Plastic parts are glued together with
plastic cements such as the tried-and-true tube glue, liquid cements,
superglues, or epoxies. The Revell and Profiline model kits are Plastic
Injection Molded Kits. Note that these kits offer the highest quality,
lowest price, and they are the easiest to build.
- Resin Kit
Sometimes referred to as "Garage Kits". This term has been coined to
represent the fringe of the model kit manufacturing community (generally
individuals) who produce kits (yes, sometimes in their garage!) that
number in dozens, rather than the hundreds or thousands or millions that
constitute the bulk of consumer-oriented commercial model kits sold at
regular retail outlets. Instead of being molded with hot plastic as
injection-molded and vacuum-formed kits are, resin kits are made from
liquid urethane or polyester resins poured into silicone rubber molds.
The liquid resin sets after a few minutes, and the molds are separated
to release the parts. Resin kits usually are of subjects that are not
available in injection-molded kits, and they can be expensive. You must
use super glue (also called cyanoacrylate or "CA") or epoxy to build
resin kits - not plastic model glue. The kits from Ardpol, Czech Master
Resin, Heritage, and Planet are resin kits. Note that some of these kits
are of lower detail and quality than the plastic injection molded model
kits (with the exception of the very nice Ardpol kits). Resin kits are
also generally more expensive and more difficult to build. See:
Resin Model Kit Primer
- LET Models - Large scale flying model sailplanes
- TMRC - Tom
Martin Radio Control - Radio control model glider kits and plans
Create your own decals using your printer
FiddlersGreen.net - Neat paper
card model of airplanes and gliders.
eModelAirplanes - Custom scale display models - Search
for either glider or sailplane. Interesting, but they don't appear