What's It all About ???

This page is all about the building and flying of radio controlled model aircraft. It's a highly diversified hobby that takes in as many skills as you like to use. Everything from electronics to carpentry, to painting, to drawing and designing with a little bit of metal work thrown in. Some builders even go into doing their own machining, pattern designing, fibre glassing, moulding and engine design. You can use electric motors, 2 stroke or 4 stroke internal combustion engines or even minature turbine (jet) engines for power. My own models use 2 and 4 stroke internal combustion engines and range in size from about a metre in wingspan to well over 3 metres from tip to tip!

Monday, December 31, 2012

You need a Pilot in the Cockpit!

One of the problems for scale builders, and some others who believe there should be a pilot on board, is finding a suitable figure to fill that vacant space in the cockpit.  A real problem comes when there is enough room and you want to fit a full length figure, there are commercial items available but some of them cost a small ransom to buy. I have a couple of the excellent Blue Box figures which are now unfortunately out of production. Another alternative is the Dragon line but they are, at least in this country, very hard to find. Which brings us down to the readily available  12 inch dolls from Action Man and similar sources. A 12 inch doll gives you a 6 foot tall figure in 1/6th scale or a short arse 5 foot in 1/5th. Given the often restricted space available in some cockpits the 12 inch doll can be ideal in that scale.

The only problem with the Action Man type dolls is finding suitable clothing and / or uniforms. Your alternative there is to find one of the  Limited Editions (I have the GI Joe Action Pilot). The other alternative is to grovel to your Wife / Girl Friend / Mother in Law / Grand Mother and talk her into pulling out the sowing machine and running up some suitable clothes for your doll. I've found sources for things like Mae Wests, parachutes and the like available from China and Hong Kong at very reasonable prices.

As I build mostly scale in 1/6th and 1/5th I've built up a small collection of suitable pilot figures, I have a couple of  Blue Box - the Battle of Britain Pilot and the Western Desert Pilot, The Dragon Pearl Harbor Pilot and the previously mentioned GI Joe. As well as that I have a number of pilots I've made up myself with clothes kindly made by a Lady Friend of mine and accessories that I found on eBay.

There are a number of specialist manufacturers of pilot figures both here in Australia and in Britain and the United States. The figures range from cartoon like characters to carefully detailed and accurate representations of actual pilots. You can even get your own head sculptured if you are vain enough! The prices for these models vary from modest to fabulously expensive for the very best.

Check out the photos in  "Blue Box and other Pilot Figures" on the right hand side of this page for a few updates and new photos. You might also like to check out the links to "Proper Little People" and "Cosmic Pilots" as well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


As noted in my last post I had 21 models, only one of which was airworthy. In order to bring some order to the chaos I divided the models into categories and started on the most easily fixed first. I fixed the float on the Ugly Stik Float plane, the wingtip and a carburettor fault on the Powerhouse and I've almost finished recovering the Kyosho Trainer. I even managed to make some progress on one or two of the unfinished builds.

Then my old friend Murphy's Law came visiting and everything went pear shaped - again! The rot started after I successfully sold a number of plans - I'm rationalising over 200 plans that I'll never get to build - or have no interest in building. My Club President - who is usually a good bloke - extracted his evil revenge on me. John is a dedicated  (choke) electrickery fan so I gave him about 20 plans that I had accumulated for electric powered models - as I said I have no interest in them. John was quite pleased with the plans but then he exercised his evil plot and gave me a plan in return - it's the Pilot plan for the quarter scale DH82A Tiger Moth. Now - being a dedicated scale builder - and not currently having a Tiger Moth - my 1/5th scale model has had it's day -  I just HAD to accept it - who wouldn't? So - that's one more major build to add to the list.

My next blunder was going onto eBay - I had to leave some feedback - and a model caught my eye - I tried to look the other way - I really did - BUT Murphy was lurking in the back ground and rubbing his hands with glee - I was trapped - and of course I put a bid on the damn thing - and of course there were no other bidders - and I won myself ANOTHER model. Now this wouldn't be so bad but the damn thing is not ready to fly - it's an uncompleted build that was obviously done by a newbie - with all the attendant faults. SO - it is also now on my rebuild list.

My final error of judgement came yesterday. As I noted in a previous post I recently bought a BNIB Nova Rossi motor complete with pipe and muffler - lovely motor and powerful as a bull. Then some one else mentioned they ALSO had a BNIB Nova Rossi for sale. I was immediately plagued by visions of some sort of aerobatic twin doing impossible maneuvers and making every one go ooooh and aaaaah. I am sitting here sobbing quietly to myself and examining the plan I have for the old Magnum twin - now if I scale it up a bit and fit retracts and ..... SOB

Oh - and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
  - or what ever you celebrate - 
to all my Readers.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Art of Screwing Up

Oh hell - if I count the two helicopters I have 21 models that are either in need of repair, are build projects that are behind schedule or have ended up unfinished and lurking in the back of the hanger. I only have one model that is still airworthy! In Military terms you might say I have a front line which is over extended on several fronts with a stretched to breaking point supply line. As Commanding Officer I'm about to be relegated to pealing spuds in a POW Camp! - That is - if I get lucky and my troops don't shoot me first.

Luckily for me this is only a hobby and model aircraft do not carry weapons - although stupidity and lack of safe practice can still bite the unaware - so - I can call a halt - re-organise and get my shit together without further sacrifice. I decided to reclassify all my projects, rebuilds and repairs by the amount of work I estimate it will take me to get each model airworthy. Using that formula the only variable I'll have to cope with is time for supply of parts and materials. Some of that variable will be influenced by available funds. I've divided everything into three groups: -

Group A: Repairs and unfinished projects with the materials to hand. This group is restricted to those models that will require less than a day to complete.

Group B: Repairs and unfinished projects with the materials to hand. This group is restricted to those models that will require less than 7 days  to complete.

Group C: Repairs and unfinished projects that require the purchase of materials and/or that need extended time to complete.

In Group A are; -  The Float Plane; The Powerhouse Old Timer; The Asso Champion; Red Ned; The Piper J3 Cub and the Kyosho Trainer.

1. The Float Plane: Repair minor damage to the port side float that was holed by an unseen submerged object.
2. The Powerhouse: Repair minor damage to the starboard wingtip caused by a ground loop.
3. The Asso Champion: Complete the installation of a retractable undercarriage.
4. Red Ned: Replace a gear stripped servo.
5. J3 Cub: Replace a broken port side wing strut and repair minor damage to port wing.
6. Kyosho Trainer: Recover the model with iron on material due to deterioration of original covering. (This is an ARF model)

IN Group B are; - The Senior Telemaster; The Bird of Time; The Fournier RF4; The Lanzo Bomber; The Wittman Tailwind; The Pheonix and my own design WWI style Monoplane.

The Senior Telemaster, The Bird of Time The WWI Monoplane and The Pheonix are all repairs and /or modifications, The others are all projects that are behind schedule. I have all the materials to finish this group already to hand.

The final group - Group C are the problem children. They require a major investment of time and/or funds to complete. The models in this group are; - The Lancaster, The Mosquito, The Wirraway conversion, The Aero Commander Shrike, The Hustler Delta, The Big Lazy Bee and the two helicopters.

I shall fight them on the building board, and the drill press and in the Lathe - I will not surrender! The Club's website is now up and running and as soon as I complete this months Club Newsletter I will mount a full frontal assault on the building board. That's my intention anyway. Now if bloody Murphy and his rotten Law stays on holiday I just might succeed!  Stay tuned and place your bets on whether or not I'll screw it up this time.