Pedro Sanchez is a master scale modeler and a member of the Georgia Model Aviators in Ballground. He has many large scale models in his hanger and prides himself with absolute detail on his models. His latest, as seen here, is a Balsa USA Stearman. Pedro is relentless when it comes to detail and realism. He spends hours looking at pictures and full size airplanes so he can impart that detail on his model. Along with this he has developed the skills to make things not usually seen on models that are on a full size airplane. Some of the details are very difficult to replicate, especially with the materials available. Pedro is quick to point this out when showing off his models. A couple of the most difficult things to do on the Stearman, according to Pedro, were modifying the ailerons and mounting the engine behind the firewall. The ailerons, as shown on the plans, were not scale and had to be reconfigured. Even the hinging had to be redesigned to accommodate this change. To maintain the scale look the engine had to be mounted behind the firewall, bringing the cylinder heads closer to it. This presented all kinds of problems with the exhaust collector ring and engine mounting.
The 30% Balsa USA Stearman is a very large biplane with a top wing spanning 116 inches. The flying weight, depending on how you build it, is from 40 -50 lbs. Pedro’s came out at 55 pounds ready to fly. His Stearman is covered with Stitts cloth and painted with automotive paint and features rib stitching along with many other scale detail and features. The unusual scale paint and trim was taken from a Stearman based in the UK. The kit is a real box of sticks, like most Balsa USA kits, and is quite expensive. Pedro spent 3 months building the Stearman, usually nights and weekends, and when he had extra time. — TEXT AND PHOTOS BY JERRY SMITH