Types of model kits and construction level required

The manufacturers offer models built with different material and to different stages of completion.

Material used in the construction of models


  • Balsa and plywood models are built in the traditional way, very similar to the construction of a “real” aeroplane.
  • Styrofoam is not often used, as it breaks and dents easily. Hoever, it is very lightweight.
  • EPO foam has a stronger and more resilient consistency than Styrofoam and is marketed as crash resilient. While this is true, it can break, but can be repaired easily.
  • EPP foam is the strongest foam material and “almost” unbreakable. However, it cannot be formed as easily as EPO foam or Styrofoam and has a rough surface.
  • Other types of foam and plastics are sometimes used, but are rare in comparison to the above mentioned material


EPP foam model

Level of Pre-fabrication or Assembly

The different levels of pre-fabrication can by a nightmare for the beginner. Quite often, the store itself isn’t quite sure. It is recommended to read through the list of inclusions and exclusions.


Scratch Built

Many RC modellers still build their models from plans. They cut the components from balsa or plywood sheets.


Balsa Kits

The kits contain pre-cut balsa and plywood components, which, depending on the quality of the kit, should fit together easily and are held in place with different types of glue. Most builders use iron-on plastic film to cover and finish the model.


RTF – Ready to Fly

Ready to fly (or RTF) planes have their components pre-assembled, however, you may have to attach the wings. All electronic parts are usually part of the purchase including the radio equipment and batteries.


ARF – Almost Ready to Fly

Today, most rc modles come as almost ready to fly (or ARF or ARTF) kits. The level of pre-construction is simal to theRTF kits, but they usually don’t include the transmitter, receiver, and the battery. Other components, such as servos and speed controllers, may or may not be included.


ARF and EPO foam model

BNF – Bind and Fly

Bind-N-Fly (BNF) is another level of readiness, similar to the Ready to Fly (RTF) model kits. They usually do not come with a transmitter and need you to “bind” your transmitter to the included receiver. Again, the interpretation varies with store and manufacturer.


Make sure you ask one of our experienced club fliers who gladly help you through this minefield of model selection.

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Paul McIntyre 

A founding club member has passed away after a short fight with cancer On behalf of EastCoast RC Flyers, myself and my family, we send our condolences to your family

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