Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong (updated!)

Mar 24, 2013 13 Comments by

Follow along as Charlie Hynes builds the latest kit version of this classic airplane!

As you know, the Telemaster is one of the few designs that has stood the test of time, with the name dating back to the early days of modeling. This latest version has come a long way from the lumber yard it once was now with over 7 hours of laser cutting done for you. A popular choice for air drops, it comes with a plywood cargo box for dropping anything that fits … water balloons, parachutes, candy? Also the standard for aerotowing gliders and banners or flags, this plane can handle it all.  This 91-inch version is electric and comes with the right sized motor mount battery hatch and has plug in wings and stabs, flaps and even optional floats for seaplane practice.

Hobby Lobby

The first look out of the box no fancy package just what you need.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

The parts are all laser cut with rolled plans and full set of hardware.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

The wing taking shape built over the full size plans.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong
A 2×4 ceiling tile over flat bench top makes it easy to pin down and move around to look from other sides before the glue sets.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

With the sheer webs going on the front of the main spars a couple of them needed trim around the bottom sheeting.

Trailing Edge
Planing the trailing edge to match the wing ribs before the top sheeting can fit. The size of the shavings gives me a good idea how close it is.

Sanding Wood

Sanding the wood after planing the majority of it I had to watch the color of the ribs to tell when to change angles or stop. This sanding block is not ideal as it holds the paper sort of flat; a sanding bar or block with the paper glued on is preferred.

Not shown: I’m building both wing halves at the same time so I can skip the last step on the wing where it says “repeat steps 1 to 39 for the second panel.”

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

 wing servo mounting plates
Here are the wing servo mounting plates using hardwood strips for screw backing and triangle gussets along the laser cut keys.

 lock pin extended

Here is a spring that replaced the rubber band to hold the lock pin extended.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong
The lock pin handle is beefy plywood that moves in the slot to pivot to one of the side slots to hold it open for wing installation or removal.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

With the lock pin extended in the locked position it should move freely in the hole before gluing the parts to it.

main spar inserted hardwood guide rails

With the main spar inserted. It holds the hardwood guide rails in place while the glue sets.

Shaping the leading edge

Shaping the leading edge same as the trailing edge to accept the top sheeting the razor plane does a quick job just not against the root rib that was sanded down as was the final shaping and the wing tip block.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

After gluing only the top aft part of the leading edge sheet on it is held in place with tape until its dry before gluing the rest down.

 Senior Telemaster Buildalong
The tip is rough cut to the shape of the wing tip underneath before trying to bend the top sheeting over the ribs and onto the leading edge.

 Senior Telemaster Buildalong

Here the flaps and ailerons are set up in pairs making the left and right sides mirror opposites to ensure they will fit later.

 flaps and ailerons

Once the ribs are glued the leading edge parts are also glued on. These are already cut and only fit in one direction.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

Watch for the flap hinge slots when gluing on these leading edge parts if your using white glue keep it out of those slots they are a slight step on the bottom it could make installing the hinges difficult later.

 flap hinge slots

With a razor plane the tops of the aileron and flaps are shaved down to match the ribs to prepair for the top sheets.

aileron and flaps

Now they are pined down and the top sheets are glued in place. I marked them as right and left parts for now.

hinge-slot cutting tool

This is the hinge-slot cutting tool they provided and just a few passes with a new blade has them ready to accept those. One slot is ailerons and the other is flaps. Just use
this on the wing only since the control surfaces already have those slots cut.

 flap and ailerons

With the hinge lines being different so are the trim requirements on the flap and ailerons. On the right is the flap its just a chamfer on the bottom sheet and the aileron is
beveled on top and bottom meeting on the hinge line.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

I have installed the hinges for this next step as the flap drops it exposes the hinge a little but these will get glued later on.

wing tip and the triangle stock

Here is the wing tip and the triangle stock used to shape the aileron tip to match.

RC Plane Part

After shaping the tip the parts can be removed and final sanded getting them ready to cover. Just fine sand paper 150 or 220 grit on these a little at a time.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

This is the base plate for one of the stabilizers with a plate that the servo cover attaches to. It also gets the 4 40 blind nuts installed at this time.

bottom main spar leading

Here the bottom main spar leading and trailing edge parts. Once they are pinned down the ribs can be located.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

With all the ribs in place the shear webs and top main spar can be located and glued. Then it can be removed from the board sand the ends and install the tips same procedure as the wing.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

RC Plane Part

Here the elevators are built up over the bottom sheeting and the joiner is installed along with the ribs.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

With the razor plane and sanding bar the top leading and trailing edges are trimmed down to the height of the ribs.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

There is a step down between the top sheeting that is filled with a 1/8 sq and pre cut balsa cap.

Vertical stab and rudder

This is the vertical stab and rudder built at the same time using 1/4 square balsa stick for ribs between the leading and trailing edge.


Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

Making some side walls is the fuselage beginning with inboard and outboard sides. The one with the extra slots goes inboard the upper and lower halves get edge glued together first.

Vertical stab and rudder

Making up a left and right side mirror opposites before gluing them together the sides are cross grain to add strength and warp resistance these were cured under heavy books.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

The aft section was attached to the forward parts once they were dry. That center piece was cut to fit everything else so far was pre cut and a perfect fit.

firewall, battery tray and second bulkhead

Here are the firewall, battery tray and second bulkhead all being glued at once on one half.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

This is the third bulkhead it is attached freestanding so the square was used again while the glue cured on the same side.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

After a trial fit and some glue applied the other side was stacked on the frames and weight was used to hold it down tight while the glue cured.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

The bottom of f2 needed to be sanded down so the landing gear plate sat flush before gluing.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

After building up the gear base plate, latch and cargo opening these parts are glued onto the bottom.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

Here some 1/4 sheet was cut down and glued on cross grain due to the bowed shape rubber bands hold them down while the glue cures then the over hanging sides can be sanded flush.



Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

In the rear these lateral braces were tacked in place using a pin through the center holding them down across all 3 glue points then f4 thru f7 are located to ensure the tips have clearances before gluing. The right side used the drawing with the other side being mirror opposite.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

There are blind nuts that go inside the wing root with them being longer than the disc I used a scrap of balsa to hammer them down instead if trying to draw them thru with the bolts, then they pushed into the soft balsa inside the fuse with glue on the disc and a spring clamp held each one in place while the glue cured before putting the next one on.

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong

Here the main spar is fitted into the slot to hold the three sticks in there slots while that glue sets up removing the spar before it is cured in place and cleaning off any squeezed out glue.

 rear of the fuselage

With the rear of the fuselage taking final shape the stab plate is glued on and the tail wheel brace under that then each former ahead of that can be glued in place with little effort.

Ten equal length sticks

Ten equal length sticks are glued onto this gap giving it more of a boxed in look and additional strength.
Coming up is the motor mount and final assembly getting it ready to cover.


Senior Telemaster Buildalong


Senior Telemaster Buildalong


Senior Telemaster Buildalong

Here is the motor mount as it goes together without cutting or sanding everything keys together well and using 6/32 screws it gets attached for now.

Senior Telemaster Buildalong

This is the top of the fuselage after adding the sheeting, windshield and test fitting the wing. It is a tight fit first time so don’t force anything check holes for glue and anything else that causes binding.

Senior Telemaster Buildalong


Senior Telemaster Buildalong

Stepping back with the wing installed the first time It looks bigger now on top of my 4×8-foot bench. Just a few more things to do now and it will be ready to cover.

BL60 brushless motor

Here I have installed the BL60 brushless motor with 6/32 screws and the 65A ESC with zip ties against the mount plate provided. It has a Deans connector and very short wires that just reach the firewall.

BL60 brushless motor



BL60 brushless motor

Here is the finished motor mounted on the nose. Again the 6/32 screws attach to the blind nuts previously installed on the firewall.

BL60 brushless motor

Now is the last chance to smooth out the seams and gaps. Also building over wax paper leaves excess glue that will show through the covering. With light finger tip feel the areas to do additional sanding since the covering will only cover so much and what looks good enough may look worse once the covering is attached.  Peeling it back to fix something that can be found and fixed now.


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About the author

Model Airplane News Executive editor. About me: I’m a publishing professional who has a passion for aviation and RC, and I love creating issues, books and a website that help RC pilots to enjoy this sport even more. I admire scale aircraft and enjoy the convenience of flying smaller electrics.

13 Responses to “Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster Buildalong (updated!)”

  1. Gerry Yarrish says:

    excellent! the Hobby Lobby Telemaster is a classic! Laser-cutting looks great too. should really speed construction!

  2. Lydia Graham Jones says:

    The ribs always were the nicest looking part of the plane innards. Great pictures :)

  3. michaelpowell says:

    Wow, we certainly have come on a long way since those days. I imagine you have to be in your seventies to like this sort of thing. I’m in my middle sixties, so it doesn’t appeal to me one little bit. It would be like having a sixties haircut and being drafted. Who needs all that?

    Give me pusher jets, all moulded gliders and helicopters any day.

    • pete says:

      My parents taught me to contribute in a positive manner. If not, SHUT UP

    • Chris Baker says:

      Michael, I’m also in my sixties but I love the slow flying characteristics. Why do you denigrate something that isn’t to your liking? People like all sorts of different things. For me, your statements were offensive. You can keep your moulded (sic) gliders, jets and helicopters. I build and fly for relaxation, not for exhilaration. Please try to keep an open mind and if you don’t like something please don’t comment. Or you could ask why we like them. You might just learn something that way.

  4. Scott Copeland says:

    I love Telemasters! One of my favorite memories is a gentleman in our club making high approaches and slipping his Telemaster so gracefully it was as if the plane was suspended by string. He would slip to within 3 feet of the ground then straighten out and touch down so lightly he wouldn’t leave a ripple in a puddle. Quite a pilot; quite an airplane!

  5. pete says:

    Tank you for a very informative build log.

  6. Robert says:

    I just finished building this model and now waiting for the snow to melt to fly it. I have installed an OS 110 four stroke in this airplane instead of electric. I already have an electric Senior Telemaster. The new laser cut Senior Telemaster V2 was not a joy to build. The instruction manual has errors all through it, and there are parts missing from the kit. It will leave you scratching your head and saying to yourself, HUH? If you are not an experienced builder stay away from this kit until a newer version of the instruction manual is included. Check out YouTube and do a search for Senior Telemaster V2. Not many videos out there should tell you something. I speak from experience. I have built and sold 3 older Senior Telemasters and a 12 foot Telemaster. I still own and fly a Senior and 12 foot Telemaster. All great flying and fun airplanes to fly. Very relaxing to fly.

  7. Jim Snyder says:

    Nice pictures, your lay out of the project was easy to follow along. Hope to see a first time flight posted as well. Keep up the good work.

  8. William Nash says:

    I considered building the 8 foot kit, but!! I had this 4foot sq x 6″ foam board. I never built from foam but gave it a try. 1 week later i had a beautiful econokote covered telemaster ready to fly.
    I took my 6 ft. telemasters measurements and multiplyed them by 1.3 and made a pencil sketch.
    Far quicker than balsa and it fly’s beautiful.
    Good pictures and a nice build log, I was going to buy this kit, glad I did not. plane cost was $0.00,, just electrics were purchased, spars and bulkhead material is poplar and ply i had in the shop already.

  9. malitape says:

    In response to michaelpowell.
    Fatuity reigning supreme.

    • FLYTOO says:


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