ARTF, RTF or Kit Aircraft

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ARTF (Almost Ready To Fly), RTF (Ready To Fly) or kit, your choice!. What's the difference some might ask. Here, I'll try and explain what's invloved in getting these models airborne.


The term ARTF can be applied to both foam and or traditional balsa construction models. As the name implies, Almost Ready To Fly is exactly what it says on the box.

Requiring a small amount of work in order to get the model flying. ARTF's usually come complete with built-up and covered fuselage, built up wings etc.
You'll more than liklely be required to supply your own servos which will need fitting into the fuselage and wing (aileron). If it's fuel driven, the engine and fuel system will require fitting.
Depending on the wingspan, you'll probably have to epoxy two wing halves together, and then glue tail vertical and horizontal surfaces in place.
You could expect to spend a couple of evenings getting an 'ARTF' model ready to fly.
A typical ARTF kit requiring a small amount of work in order to fly
An example of an ARTF fuel driven RC aircraft.
Typical RTF Foam Jet.
A typical 'RTF' foam jet and its component parts


Ready To Fly. A bit misleading in that even these models require some work before they are ready to take to the skies.
Usually referring to electric models, the term RTF denotes a model that has all the servos pre-installed, motor and speed controller installed but requires the installation of your receiver and connection of flying surface pushrods (aileron, rudder, elevator etc) They might also require the wings and tailplanes gluing. It's fair to say you could expect to spend at least a couple of hours preparing a 'RTF' to fly.

Kits or 'Scratch - build'

For the sake of this article, the term 'kit' refers to traditional balsa construction models and not foamies. Kits have been around in one form or another for many years now and building techniques remain pretty much the same as they always did.
A typical boxed kit usually contains all the wood (balsa, ply and hardwoods) required to build the airframe, full-sized plans on which to build, control pushrods and linkages, undercarriage etc.
Adhesives are not usually included as you'll probably require more than one type (white glue, epoxy etc).
If you're new to building, you will also need a building board at least the same size as the wingspan of the model, modellers knife, modellers pins , your chosen method of propulsion, servos, servo extension wires etc.
We're more than pleased to spend time with you explaining this when you choose your model.
A Spitfire built from a kit by West Wings
West Wings Spitfire Kit

Scratch Build

Usually the domain of the experienced kit builder, a scratchbuild can be both daunting and exhilerating. It generally means a model that is built from plan or photographs. The builder will have to work out quantities and types of wood required as well as manufacturing or sourcing plastic or glass fibre moulded parts like cowlings, canopy etc.
It's an incredibly rewarding and addictive hobby which, if all goes well, means that the end result is a unique example of the craftsmans work.
At Nitroflight Models we stock a huge range of building materials for the model builder.

RC Model Aircraft from Nitroflight Models
Take a look at our Gallery Page for more aircraft pictures