Copyright Kai Griebenow, 1996, all rights reserved.
Length A-C: 19.5'' = 49.75 cm
Width D-G: 20'' = 51 cm
Bridle A-B, E-C: 4.25 '' = 10.5 cm
Leading Edge A-D: 12.75 '' = 32.5 cm
Center A-H: 8.5 '' = 21.5 cm
Trailing Edge D-C: 15 '' = 37.5 cm
Bridle: Length so that bridle point approx. at position I
I will not give a material list at this point, because the plan consists of dimensions exclusively. The original material would be Bamboo, light paper, glue, some string. But the spar material can be modified to basswood for the spine and glassfiber for the crosspar (allthough Bamboo is much better because the kite is quite small). I recommend 1/16'' (approx. 1.5 mm) glassfiber for the cross-spar, not 3/32'' (2 mm) - that is too strong). The sail can be made from ripstop nylon or icarex. Use the lightest material you can get! Like in the following example Icarex (also see the shape of the kite if you can, if not is ok too):
All spars in the Boston Fighter are made of bamboo, but the sail is made of ripstop polyester (Icaraex) or ripstop Nylon. The Boston Fighter has the original size of the Indonesian Fighter Kite.
All spars are made from bamboo. The cross-spar is about 3 mm in the middle and 1 mm at the tips. Make sure that it bows evenly. The reduction in diameter starts at about 50% of the length from the center to the tips.
The center spar is about 4 mm at the top, and 1.5 mm at the tail! That makes the kite real fly nice! It starts getting smaller after 1/3 from the top evenly to the tail.
As for most Fighter Kites, the cross-spar fits into a quite long pocket at the ends of the tips. These pockets for the cross-spar start about 3.5 inches from both tips (distance D - F). So cut the ripstop here wider (or the paper) to make a pocket.
The two bridle-points are at 4.25 inches from the top (where the spars cross, distance A - B) and about the same from the bottom (distance B - C) be innovative, the kites come non-bridled from Indonesia, I use about the bridle-points from fighters of similar dimension).
The Indonesian Fighter does not have a fin like the Indian one or tails or anything. Just a simple diamond.
For more wind and faster flight make the cross-spar a little bit stronger.
Use the lightest ripstop polyester/nylon you can get when sewing. Icarex (ripstop polyester) is very good.
Try different bridle points! You will be amazed how different the kite will fly depending on the bridle point. You don't need a tail to slow a Fighter Kite down: moving the bridle point slightly to the tail will stabilize the kite and slow it down. Move the point to the top and your Fighter will get more responsive and even turn faster. At least in my opinion.
I hope I didn't forget anything ;-). If there are questions e-mail me. In my opinion the kite is somewhat too small to be build with thin glassfiber spars instead of the bamboo. So I hope you all know how to split bamboo. Otherwise get you a Indian Fighter Kite from Into the Wind or other kite stores ($5), fly it until the paper is gone and than use the spars out of that thing. The paper glued to the spar is water soluble in these kites so that you can clean spars. Noone will ever be able to see its not yours (except some specialists...).
Get you some first aid materials to your kite table for the bleeding thums.
Even for small spars like in this case, get the thickest bamboo with the largest knot to knot distance.
Then, split the bamboo from the top with a big knife. You can use a hammer for the start. The bamboo will split straight between two knots. In a knot you need to carefully guide the cut so that you get evenly long stripes.
You continue this splitting (always in the middle of the next smaller piece) until you have a piece or more or about the diameter you want (somewhat larger). Remove the soft material on the inside of the spar with a knife (shave it like a beard with the knife, don't cut in the bamboo, just scratch it hard.
Remove the knots on the inside and outside with a knife
Cut an evenly bowing bamboo spar piece to about the length you need as spar. The center should be a knot or there should be no knot in the piece.
Now, lay this piece on your knee (leather under it) and start forming the spar with scratching movements. Continue to approximately the given dimensions.
Check spar for even bowing. Remove material until spar bows evenly.
You need a lot of experience until the spars come out good - so, just continue practicing.
Important: The side that is the outside of the original bamboo in these spars is the side towards the kite for the spine! It is towards the tail for the cross-spar (makes the spar stronger).
See you in the next battle :-).
Last update February 5, 1996.