Originally Posted by Foam-the-runway
Beautiful writeup and work on plane.
Being experienced in building both an 8 and 14 how would you compare the projects? I know the 14 has match sized holes. Does that give a noteworthy drastic advantage over building the 8. I ask because those are the only two models I'm interested in. I keep flip-flopping back and forth. I'm getting close to making the purchase. Any input you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the kind words; much appreciated!
With the understanding that my experience with the -8 is 20 years old and the kit has probably changed at least somewhat since then, here are my thoughts:
The -8 kit came with prepunched skins, but none of the structure was correspondingly prepunched. It required jigs for the empennage, wings, and fuselage. While all of the steel parts came welded and powder-coated, the vast majority of the smaller aluminum components had to be fabricated from raw stock. Opening each kit crate was a shock as one contemplated the vast array of AL angle, plate, and bar stock. Each section of the instructions began with fabricating many of the necessary pieces prior to fitting and assembly. One became adept very quickly at reading and understanding the plans.
The -14 kit, on the other hand, is that most modern of creations. It's practically a Snap-tite model. All of the skins and nearly all of the substructure is prepunched, much of it to final size. No jigs are required; by definition, if everything clecos together, the structure is straight. Offhand, I can't think of a single component that had to be fabricated from raw stock, some bandsawing of edges in a few cases (and cutting of piano hinges to length) notwithstanding.
That said, neither project presented any insurmountable issues. Van's, as they've always said, sells an airframe kit, not an airplane kit - and by the time you've finished, you'll have mastered any number of new skills. I think that the -8 kit would be a big surprise (not in a good way) to someone whose only experience was of the -14 kit, but if you're open to the adventure, I wouldn't hesitate to build the -8 if that's the airplane which grabs you.
You didn't ask for my comments on the two airplanes, only the kits, so I've refrained from doing so. Suffice it to say that you'll thoroughly enjoy flying either model, though they have very different primary missions. Which is best for your mission, only you can say.