Tools & Building Equipment

Regardless of whether a model comes in kit form or prebuilt, some building tools and workshop accessories will be needed to make it flight-ready. These include such common items as a hobby knife, T -pins, screwdrivers, pliers, sandpaper, masking tape, and perhaps a drill. Building a kit also takes some specialized equipment like covering tools. Follow the Accessories Required links for the plane you choose to see a list of the tools needed.

R/C model building adhesives are also required, and differ from the white glue and model airplane cement you may have worked with in the past. Cyanoacrylates are commonly used. These are glues specially formulated for working with wood, which provide a range of curing speeds-giving you as little or as much time as each assembly step requires. “Thick” cyanoacrylates also help to fill slight gaps between parts.

Modelling Epoxies are two-part adhesives, consisting of a resin and a hardener. At steps where very strong bonds are critical, a plane’s manual will often recommend epoxy .The resin and hardener must first be mixed, and then applied to the surface so mixing cups, mixing sticks and inexpensive, disposable epoxy brushes also come in handy.


When you buy a model airplane, you’ll probably also need to buy a number of additional, inexpensive accessories to make it flight-ready (those items are listed under the Accessories Required links for the plane you choose). These parts are traditionally left out of kits because the appropriate sizes depend on your choice of engine; also, experienced hobbyists may have a brand preference or already keep those parts in their workshop. Required accessories often include the following:

Covering -The adhesive-backed, plastic or fabric “skin” that surrounds a model airplane’s structure, applied by a process of heating and stretching.

Pushrods -Rods that link your radio system’s servos to the parts of the model that those servos move. They’re often made of wire or a firm piece of balsa, fibreglass, or plastic, with a clevis fastener at the end.

Control Horn- A bracket, mounted on a part of the model, where the pushrods are attached.

Hinges- Connect the moveable surfaces of a model to the main, static structure.

Foam Rubber- Used to cushion the on-board radio equipment to protect it from engine vibration.

Wing Seating Tape- Applied where the wing fits onto the fuselage, to cushion the wing and prevent exhaust oils from entering the fuselage.

Wheel Collars- Small metal collars which keep the plane’s wheels positioned correctly on the axle.

Wheels- Available in several styles, such as treaded, non-treaded, scale, and air-filled.

Spinner- Plastic or aluminium cone mounted at the “nose” of the plane to improve looks and aerodynamics.

Engine Mount- Reinforced structure often made of nylon or aluminium that allows your engine to be attached securely to the plane.

Fuel Tank, Tubing & Filters- The size used depends on the engine you select; therefore, these often are not included with the model.

Engine Accessories- Propellers are usually not included with the engine or the plane; also, your engine may or may not come with a muffler and glow plug.