A sheet of depron foam and a few bits of balsa.
You shouldn’t need much more than that to build this semi-scale parkflier model of the legendary De Havilland Beaver DHC2.
A small outrunner brushless motor will easily take the plane in the air. My first prototype flew well with an antique (by today’s standards) geared Speed 400.
It’s an easy to build model with very good flight characteristics. That’s a perfect plane for a beginner or for relaxed flight on a Sunday.
You can use these PDF files to cut all the parts needed to build this plane.
Note: This article was originally written in 2004. Updated in January 2021
Cutting the parts
I used my custom built CNC router to cut all the parts for the model. But if you don’t own one, a hobby knife with a new blade will also do the job.
The fuselage is mostly a square box. It can be assembled without the use of a building rig.
The only (small) difficulty is to form the front parts and glue them to the firewall . Using a few clips and tape to hold everything in place until the glue has fully cured is the best solution.
To glue the parts together you can use either foam safe CA glue or standard wood glue. It works as well as the CA, but it takes longer to cure.
Building the wing
Building the wing is mostly done the same way as with balsa construction, except that we’re using depron here.
All the 3mm depron ribs are slipped on a 6mm Ø carbon tube.
The wing tips are made from a piece of foam sanded to shape.
The structure is covered with 3mm depron sheet bent over the ribs.
Do not forget the wing struts. They are functional and needed to strengthen the wing. You don’t want the wings to collapse in mid-air, plus they add to the realism.
The struts are made from hard balsa with 2 bits of piano wire glued at the ends.
Look at the photos to see how they are attached to the wing and to the airframe.
I made the engine cowl from two depron rings joined together with balsa spars. The structure is then covered using a sheet of depron rolled around it. The front of the cowl is made of 3 6mm rings sanded to the right shape. It quite easy to do and the result is nice and light. It is also possible to heat form the cowl using a shape turned on a wood lathe.
A soda bottle of the right diameter cut to size is also a quick and easy option.
Today, if I was to build this plane again, I would probably 3D print the cowl with PLA or PTEG.
The structure of the landing gear is made of a 15/10 mm aluminium flat bended to the right shape. With lightening slots as on the picture, it weighs 19 grams and is strong enough to support the weight of the plane.
The landing gear is fixed to the plane using 2 nylon screws. If you land really hard they will break and prevent further damage to the structure of the plane.
Wheel fairings are made of depron foam glued to the landing gear.
Motor and radio installation
When I built the first version of this Beaver many years ago, I used a Speed 400 brushed motor with a MPJet 3.8:1planetary gearbox and APC-E 11×8.5 propeller.
The batteries were 8 cells 950 NIMH.
It flew very well, but this setup is completely outdated by today’s standards.
A small and inexpensive brushless outrunner that can swing a 9 inches or bigger propeller will suit this plane perfectly.
A 3S 1800 to 2200 lipo pack could complete the setup.
The wing area is generous, but avoid to overload the plane with heavy equipment. This plane does not need tons of power to fly nicely and in a scale manner.
Decoration and painting
I’ve used water base color applied directly on the depron to paint my model.
If you need some inspiration to paint your Beaver, have a look at this site: DHC2.com There are thousands of Beaver photos in various paint schemes.
RC DHC2 Beavers from around the world
I have received many pictures sent by hobbyists who built a DHC2 Beaver from my design.
Some of them used balsa instead of depron, others built flaps and scale ailerons for added realism. There are even downscaled versions for indoor flying and of course a model built with floats.
If you build a DHC2 Beaver from these plans, I’d be very happy to receive a few pictures for the build gallery.
This is a rather old video of my Beaver DHC2, filmed in France in 2005.