KK Chief - 64" Replica Balsa Kit

(7 Reviews)
In stock

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Product Details


Designed by Bill Dean and originally kitted in 1950, the Chief was advertised as an A2 contest glider featuring "crash proof" plug-in wings.

Here's what was said back in 1950:

"The Chief is an advanced contest design to the A-2 Nordic specification. Good looks combined with outstanding performance were the main object in mind when the model began to take shape on the drawing board. Three features which were felt to be essential were as follows: Plug-in wings, for ease of transport, "knock-off-ability" in crashes and good lines. An auto rudder, to ensure that whilst the model went up straight on the line, a turning flight would result when it was released. A safe, reliable and easy to build dethermaliser. These features are all to be found on the model, together with the structural strength necessary to stand up to the strains of towing up in all weathers."

Anecdotes from fliers down the years have shown, that in many cases, the crash proof wings were actually more hindrance than help and received wisdom suggests that a redesign of the wing mount arrangement is well worth the effort.

We supply the kit as originally designed, but a quick trawl of the online forums should yield advice for better layouts.


  • Wingspan: 64" (162.6 cm)
  • Power system: Free-flight; glider
  • Manufacturer: KK replica
  • Designed by: Bill Dean
  • Difficulty: Intermediate


This kit is a laser-cut replica of the original KK Chief. Construction of the model from this kit uses the traditional method of "stick and tissue", that consists of a built up balsa wood skeleton (framework), covered with a tissue skin. The balsa frameworks are built over a copy of the original plan that is printed on high quality paper at full size. Free flight means just that - once the model is launched, it is on its own. It must follow a predetermined flight path established when the model is initially adjusted for flight or "trimmed". This type of traditional building technique and flying requires a degree of patience and skill, but is extremely rewarding.


  • Balsa wood sheets with precise laser cut parts
  • Strip wood
  • Balsa sheet and block
  • Acetate sheet for cabin
  • Tissue to cover the model
  • Full size printed planĀ 
  • 5 pages of instructions
  • Window template


  • Glue
  • Modeling tools

Thanks to Patrick McCauley, David Wright (electric Chief) and Pete Sanders for the use of their photos



Most orders are shipped via Royal Mail’s Tracked 48 service.

We are in the middle of nowhere and so our Royal Mail collection is at around 1pm.


An order placed before 12pm on Monday should be with you on Wednesday.

An order placed after 12pm on Monday should be with you on Thursday.

For larger or heavier orders, we use UKMail/DHL to deliver your package on a Next Working Day service.


An order placed before 10am on Monday should be with you on Tuesday.

An order placed after 10am on Monday should be with you on Wednesday.

For larger or heavier orders, we use UKMail/DHL to deliver your package on a Next Working Day service.

Shipping is free to UK Mainland addresses for orders over £30.00, otherwise we charge £6.00 for Royal Mail Tracked 48 parcels and £12.00 for UKMail/DHL Next Working Day.


Royal Mail considers Northern Ireland, Scottish Highlands and UK Islands as part of the UK and so does not charge a premium for deliveries.

Pretty much all other UK couriers have surcharges for deliveries to the following postcodes: IV, HS, KA27-28, KW, PA20-49, PA60-78, PH17-26, PH30-44, PH49-50, ZE, BT, IM, TR21-25

If you live in one of these postcodes and the parcel size of your order is outside Royal Mail's dimensions, you will have to pay a surcharge.

Our system is not clever enough to work this out and so if your order attracts a surcharge, we will contact you before despatch to see if you would like to pay the surcharge and proceed with the order or cancel and receive a full refund.



Smaller items

Items that fit within Royal Mail International Tracked Medium Parcel parameters (59cm x 17cm x 15cm weighing less than 2kg) can be sent to most countries outside the UK.

For example up to 3 of our smaller 18” wingspan kits can fit into one of these parcels.

A parcel like this currently costs around £14 to Europe and around £18 to send to the USA and will take up to 3 weeks to arrive. This is because Royal Mail hands over the parcel to the local Post Office service for your country who have to clear it through customs and then deliver it to you.

The Royal Mail tracking code also transfers over to the tracking for your country’s postal service.

Larger items

For items that do not fit within Royal Mail International Tracked Medium Parcel parameters, we use standard international couriers such as DHL, FedEx and UPS.

These companies use something called volumetric weights to calculate the cost of shipping.

For example, a Balsa Basics RC bundle kit that measures 102cm x 34cm x 16cm and weighs 2.5 kg is actually calculated at 14kg!

This makes these very expensive to send outside the UK - a large kit can cost nearly £40 to send to France.

Reviews (7)
Write a Review and share your opinions!
7 Reviews:

KK Chief
05 July 2024  | 

This is an excellent kit with a few oddities and flaws. If these can be ironed out, the kit will be absolutely superb.

As with the other VMC kits, the laser-cut parts are crisp and fit cleanly. With a few exceptions (vide infra), the instructions are clear, and, if followed faithfully, will give a good, straight model. Having read the horror stories of Chiefs suffering catastrophic centre-section failure, I deviated somewhat from the plan by reinforcing said centre-section with plywood rather than balsa, and converting the sideframes to a Warren truss by installing diagonal elements. Covering the compound curves of the upper and lower fuselage with tissue paper defeated me utterly, however. Whatever I did, the results were horrible. After three attempts, I simply planked these areas in, and I'm glad I did. It was a ton of work, but the results look fantastic. Furthermore, the fuselage is now effectively a monocoque and thus vastly stronger and more rigid than before.

The kit has two features which definitely need modification or deletion. The dethermaliser employs a strange wire device projecting from the rear fuselage to restrain the tailplane when it tips up. I could foresee the entire tail section coming adrift with this, so I replaced it with a simple cotton thread. I couldn't make head or tail of the autorudder on the plan, and the instructions didn't help. After some experimentation, I found that the simple system on the KK Caprice worked admirably.

The Chief has attracted criticism for its weak wing box and "crashproof" wings, but it seems to work perfectly for me. I have towed it up into a fairly strong headwind without problems, and a heavy landing caused the wings to detach without damage, as intended.

In summary, this kit is quite demanding, requiring a substantially investment in time and effort, and the ability to plank and sheet with balsa. However, the result is worth it as the plane is a thing of beauty. I found it enormously satisfying to build, and I can't wait to fly it again on Davidstow Moor.

KK Chief
07 May 2023  | 

So glad to see this still available. I loved this glider, building one in the early 60s. In central London, I could only test glide it in Kensington Gardens from the slope near the Round Pond. Test glided it once in Holland Park. It landed near some kids playing football. One of them picked it up, threw it straight up it the air and broke the box as it stalled and crashed! TWERP. As an adult in the 80s, I built a replica in Newcastle upon Tyne. Managed to tow it up on Town Moor!! Then made the mistake of letting my inexperienced friend have a go. He pulled too hard on the line and snapped the box at a great height. End of that one. Now in Florida, but don't think I'll be building another. Don't let me put anyone off though. The glide was rock solid. One of the joys of my life to see it.

07 May 2023  | 

The pop out wings are a problem. despite this it is a great slope soarer. Once in a lift it can be difficult to bring down! Even when weight is increased by making a 1/16th ply fuselage it still soars.

Did it ever really fly? lol
05 April 2017  | 

As a 70+ year old I remember building this huge model glider in the early 1960's. Laser cut parts? Surely, half the fun was cutting out all the bits with a Keil Kraft knife and getting "high" on the dope? However, in my day getting "high" meant actually flying the thing!

KK Chief
12 March 2017  | 

Bought the model from the Vintage Model Co about a month ago.
It arrived relatively quickly considering the kits are made to order.
Laser cut parts an absolute god send. So far it appears to have plenty of balsa wood. The celluloid for the windscreen was cut wrong so it didn't fit, but after a quick email, they sent out a new piece with no quibbles - good service.
Building the balsa frame is easy enough. I have not got to the rudder control or dethermaliser yet. The plans are not particularly clear so we will have to see how we go with the instructions. This is an issue with the original KK plans.
So far pretty pleased with it. Take special care in setting up the wing box so the wing tongues are a tight fit and reinforce it as the instructions state.
I would class myself as a novice and apart from a few school boy errors on my part which I managed to save, it's pretty easy to build.


Thanks for the kind words Gordon.

We're sorry about the celluloid - our pack list wasn't clear so we have now updated it to prevent the error in the future!

Please send us smoe pics when you've finished the model.

The Chief
22 November 2015  | 

This is a superb kit, much the same as it was in the 'fifties', please see my blog 'Electric Chief'. DW

Nice kit but has a serious design flaw.
27 February 2015  | 

Built the around 1964 after some success with the caprice. The wings were fitted to the fuselage by means of a plywood tongue about 1.5".wide by 1" deep. These plugged into a box arrangement in the fuselage roof made from balsa wood. It was suggested that the be held there by strips of adhesive tape. I modified this to use elastic bands making it more secure and easier to remove. With hand launched test flight the aircraft flew very well. On the tow line it rose very well but as I was about to release it the bow into which the wings were plugged collapsed. The wings flutter to earth safely but the fuselage was rendered into match wood. If the problem of the wing fixings could be solved I think it would make a fine aircraft.