Highside Glider Build

4th October 2017

I saw this model online as I was looking for a simple to build plan build kit and I spotted this on the SLEC UK website. The original plan was published as a FREE plan in the November 2016 RCM & E magazine. On the SLEC UK website you will find the Highside glider short kit plus they also sell the balsa pack required to complete the model. These two together were just over £50.00 delivered.
I decided to go for a plasterboard building board and also get a plastic cover for my plan as I found my previous covering (clingfilm) just wasn't up to the job.
So here we go...........
Ready to get building
Started with the tail plane first. It all started straight forward with cutting and gluing directly on to plan.
Starting the tail plane
When dry it will be ready to shape tips
Tail plane and elevator complete and shaped

Plywood strengthener added to top and bottom surfaces
Now onto the rudder.
Rudder taking shape

Rudder finished and shaped. Note the half moon ply strengthener at the bottom.
Now's here a funny one. You have two halves of the fuselage (top and bottom) to glue together. That seems straight forward doesn't it. So I did (doh!).
I then suddenly took a look at the plan and thought how I was going to cut the wing seat out when the two halves where properly glued together. Quickly in pin and try and prise the two halves apart. Phew!! Half an hour gone since I glued them and they just about came apart. Do not glue these together before you have cut out the wing seat. With some head scratching I came up with the idea of making a balsa copy of the wing section to use as a template. This seemed to work fine.
Cut out the two individual parts on both sides then glued the two parts of each side together. It seemed to work well.
Don't look bad?
Leave to dry and come back another day.
The next job was to try and join the complete fuselage plan together. My full size plan has the wind detail printed under the fuselage so I could just cut out the fuselage on one side without cutting across the wing below. Fortunately, I have the plan in A3 sheets which were sent with the RCM&E magazine. After cutting and taping I managed to have a complete plan of the side of the glider.
Next was to bend (gently - I didn't bother to soak the balsa first) the 6mm square balsa to shape pinning and bending as I went along.

Carefully bend the 6mm Longeron to the shape of the plan
Then fill in between the top and bottom longerons with more 6mm balsa. There is a larger rectangle of 6mm balsa that is located at the end of the fuselage. Here's one side pinned and waiting to dry.
Bent the balsa dry - didn't bother to soak it first!
Both sides drying- that's that for a while.
Can't do anymore today. Time to tidy up and come back for more tomorrow. (by the way - you bored yet?)

Bottom 6mm longeron glued in a nice curve
6mm longeron glued in following canopy line and under wing saddle
Dry fit formers F1, F2 & F3. Cutting and some alteration needed to sit correctly on the longerons
After lots of fiddling and cutting and checking and double checking I have got to a stage where I can now glue the two sides together. Firstly I glued the F1, F2 & F3 formers to just one side. Glue them in square and straight and strengthen with some 6mm square to just one side of each former. 
Now it's time to glue the two sides together. Luckily I have some big lumps of lead that was used in a full size glider as ballast.
Make sure that the formers at glued square at the front and the rest should follow.

Here are both sides glued and true.
Glider fuselage now ready for the bottom sheeting to be glued into place. The balsa sheet needs to be cut and glued in cross grain.
Bottom sheeting glued and pinned

Pins off and sides sanded square ready for final shaping later
Deep breath! Time to cut out wing saddle to be added later to the top of the wing. One gone........
Both sides gone!
Time to glue front former F1a
Sheet up the top front section
Laminated soft balsa to make nose
Former F3a should be longer. Been manufactured wrong! Needed to be another 8mm longer. Filled the holes with balsa block when the former was dry.
Another view of Former F3a
Nose section glued on
Putting some weight behind it to help glue it well
During shaping I figured I needed a slightly longer nose as shaping the radius was causing me problems. Not very happy with my shaping so far. Looks awful!
Completed the decking to the underside. Leave to dry.
Fin not been made properly either. Decided to glue another section to the bottom. Will see tomorrow if my alteration works!
Had lots of problems getting the nose looking right. I think this is the best I can manage.
What do you think?
The back end dry fitted before the sheeting goes on the top of fuselage
The top sheeting fitted to fuselage. I didn't sheet the whole of the top surface as suggested. I dry fitted the fin and fitted the sheeting around the fin. I have adapted the fin so it slots into both the slotted formers rather than the suggested one. I think this makes for a stronger fix for the fin.
The sheeting is glued up against the dry fitted fin.
Looks nice and square (well to me anyway!).
Started making the canopy. Difficult bending the 6mm square balsa around the canopy arc!
Canopy formers C1, C2 & C3 being glued into position
Canopy finished (sort off!) and its been a right pain to get it to this stage. Still needs some more shaping to match the rest of the fuselage.
Side view of the almost finished canopy shaping
Left wing ribs and double spruce spars in place. Tried to get it all as square as possible
Just another view of the left hand wing section. Notice the end rib needs the 6mm sections of balsa glued in to fill the gap
3 small sections of 6mm glued together to make the curved end section before the wingtip. Not sure how I am going to sheet this part as the balsa is sanded down the match the ribs.
Another view of the roughly shaped balsa infill section 
Elevator wire connector bent and hole drilled to fit
Slot cut out and wire snuggly fits into the elevator. Time to cut it into two halves.
Elevator Hinges fitted and dry fitted
Rudder hinged and dry fitted
Rudder horn and snake fitted
Two halves of the wing brought together ready to be joined
Two halves joined with spruce spars and being glued together using white glue. Make sure it is all flat on the bench

Time to give model building a break for a couple of weeks as I'm off on my hols tomorrow. The build has been steady and given me lots of confidence. I am very impressed with the short laser cut kit and the wood pack from SLEC UK. Still got lots to do but it will have to wait a while. Thanks for looking and giving me encouragement and positive comments.

9th November 2017

After a very nice holiday it's time to start building the model again. Some simple little jobs but ones that have taken up some time.

Decided to ditch the tapered 6mm wing tips and go for solid ones instead. Sandwiched some 6mm balsa sections together but had to make a little longer than the supplied wing tip section to match the aileron section I have. Loads of shaping needed of the new tips but a lot stronger and will look a lot better (in my mind anyway). I have made myself a lot more work but lets wait and see how it looks. Captive nut for the wing retaining bolt fitted and plastic bolt washer fitted to a ply plate and epoxied to the top of the wing. More to follow shortly.............

A lot of sanding done and still some final sanding to come. I am very happy with the wing tips much better than the suggested tips.
Suggested tip configuration - I've gone for a solid tip instead.

Wing fairing glued into position. 

Top caps fitted to the ribs and it's looking good. Nearly finish the main build.

Now its time to get the wing servo's in place and to feed the servo cables through the wing and out the small holes cut away into the underside of the wings skin.
Wing servo secured with super strong double sided tape

Servo fitted and cable fed through wing
Cables through to the underside of the wing.
From start to finish - Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did?


  1. This is a great story, as with our other build there's always something that goes a little awry and has to be rescued. It's looking very good so far.

  2. Hi Paul, his build is coming along very fast, it looks great and I'm enjoying the progress reports. I really think you've nailed it (not literally !)...

  3. It's coming along nicely Paul.

  4. Still making good progress, it makes me want to build something else, after the Limit Ex which was so fiddly and frustrating.....

    1. This should make a tidy glider Rob, This came complete with virtually everything except for just a few bits. £49.00 for the short kit and the wood pack: http://www.slecuk.com/balsa-wood/Highside-Glider-CNC-Pack-PRC001.html
      A plan is available on eBay for £6

  5. Hi Paul, progress continuing I see, I think this looks so much like the Quark I bought from Tim. I must get that out again and fly it !!!

  6. Looking good Paul, you've got the balsa building bug then!! Bigger gliders are easier to build than small fiddly ones, looks like you're enjoying this (except for the nose shaping which is a pain) one.

  7. Still great progress Paul, I am enjoying the log and it looks as though it's going well. I know there are probably a lot of difficulties but it's looking great....

  8. There's nothing like a properly hand-crafted aircraft, it's doubly satisfying - fun to build and fun to fly. :-)

  9. After building many balsa gliders I still get a buzz of excitement at the point where it stops looking like a pile of bits and starts to look like an AEROPLANE!

    1. I know exactly how you feel. Looking through the pictures and seeing the model take shape is amazing.

  10. Neat graphic Paul, was that a waterslide transfer (decal) from an inkjet printer? I need something similar for my Omega...

  11. Graham. Horsham club25 February 2018 at 18:51

    Enjoyed the video. Where is the slope?. It looks like a good model and slope for a beginner to slope soaring.

  12. Hi Graham, the slope was Cissbury Ring. The model was fun to build and flies OK but wont set the world on fire but it's stable and highly visible in the air.