After months of preparation and waiting for parts, today I actually started building the Culp Special. The Special is a radial engine powered derivative of the Steen Skybolt. It has the Russian Vedeneyev M14P, a monster radial with 360 HP. With the MT Prop, it produces approximately 1800 pounds of thrust - heh heh heh.
The Special is plans only; there is no 'kit' that you can get that includes all the parts. However, I have been able to source a couple of key items: Steve Culp has agreed to weld my steel tube fuselage and tail feathers and Bill Scheunemann of Performance Aeromarine has made a wing kit for me. Steve is an artist with his "welding torch" so I'm in good hands there. However, based on the time I see other people spend on welding the steel tube parts and assembling the wing components, I think I'll save several hundred hours but it won't turn the plane into a Quickbuild. There's still plenty to do.
I bought a wing kit from Bill Scheunemann of Performance Aeromarine. It's fantastic. It came with every single piece of wood required to build the all wing panels. The wing spars laminated and milled to finished dimensions; every single gusset is cut to finish dimensions; the nose ribs are perfectly routed, and the leading edge plywood has been CNCed with the scallops that will extend past the front spar. Everything Bill does is CNC so like parts are IDENTICAL. Also, all critical bolts holes in the spars are CNC drilled so they're perfect. Bill took the plans from the Special and put the entire wing in a CAD program and then made the parts from that electronic model. He also supplied CNC routed jigs for building the truss style ribs. I'm very pleased.
I'm going to the shop later today (a hangar at the airport -- every build session requires a drive rather than a walk out to the garage...) so I'll get photos of the parts Bill supplied.