Building and Improving Vacuum-Formed Model Aircraft

Published on
October 15, 2010
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Richard Staszak
DVD Cover

In 1984 Richard Staszak authored an excellent publication entitled, “Building and Improving Vacuum-Formed Model Aircraft”. The book was published by Kalmbach Books and was given the item number of 12054 and received the ISBN number of 0-89024-047-7.
Recently Mr. Staszak has released a DVD that is, or all intents and purposes, a complete copy of the original book. In addition, the DVD includes colored pictures and mini-reviews of over 100 vacuformed models from the author’s collection. Current sources for some of the older vacuform kits are also identified as well as new kits from current manufacturers.

Mr. Staszak’s book provided the tips and techniques that I used to build my first vacuform kit and those same techniques and skills have become part of my modeling “tool box”. Those same basic skills are very useful when building models that require that extra amount of effort to get parts aligned and sub-assemblies strengthened prior to completion of a project. These techniques are not limited to old kits or vacuform kits and are, therefore, valuable to any modeler and not just when working on aircraft.

One will find the contents of the DVD to cover such topics as the tools and materials one needs for a vacuform project, basic assembly techniques, and a discussion of vacuum-forming, stretch-forming, and casting parts. If you missed the first release of this publication or are interested in expanding your modeling scope and capabilities you might want to purchase this DVD.

The DVD contains 51 jpg files, 1 Word document file, and 49 pdf files. The jpg files are copies of the pages in the original publication. The images are clear, crisp, and easy to read and view. The Word document contains a list of manufacturers and suppliers for the modeler who wishes to tackle a vacuform project. The pdf files feature color images of completed vacuform kits and a short written description of each model. The average size of each pdf is around 1800 kb which allows quick and easy opening and viewing of the files.

A representative sampling of the 49 pdf files includes files featuring the following models:

  • Sikorsky SB2U-1 & P-75A Eagle
  • Heinkel He 343 & Curtiss Sparrow hawk
  • Welkin F Mk 1 & F7C-1 Seahawk
  • Northrop A-9A & Hughes XF-11
  • Convair XFY-1 Pogo
  • Grumman Gulfstream IV
  • Martin Mars & Martin B-10

The author states that in order to read this DVD one must have a PC (not Apple), be able to view jpg images, and open pdf files. The only file on the DVD that is PC specific is the Word document. A MAC should be able to open the jpg and pdf files with no issues.

The DVD sells for $15 (US) and $30 for overseas buyers. The cost includes packaging, postage, and all handling. The DVD can be purchased directly from the author. Contact information for Mr. Staszak is:

Richard Staszak
5014 Nighthawk Way
Oceanside, CA 92056-5445
Email address is

I was very gratified to have the opportunity to meet the author at the 2010 IPMS National Convention in Phoenix. The original copy of his book, currently residing in my library, is heavily weathered, with much highlighting and hand-written notes in margins. I highly recommend this DVD for the modeler who is interested in tackling a vacuform kit or a scratch building project.

A big Thanks to Richard Staszak for making the DVD available to IPMS for this review.


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