Radio Controlled Models

Setting a Precedent: The Electra Fly

Simple and elegant lines Gliders aren’t really my forte.  Aside from no engine (I’m a petrol-head 😉), and as much as I like the charm of circling with the buzzards and catching that thermal, I just don’t have the patience.  Furthermore, and possibly as I also fly rotary wing, I cannot help but correct every … Continue reading

A Savage Lockdown

Servicing a HPI Savage 21 Truck Lockdown hasn’t been easy so some good friends of mine suggested I needed a distraction and why don’t I look at their old RC truck and see if I can get it going again? This turned out to be a very tired but all original HPI Savage 21 which … Continue reading

Binary Star – The BillKits Twinkle

The BillKits Twinkle Aeroplane kits seem to be coming back into fashion! For me what is even better is that many of these are predominantly engine powered. I guess a diet of soulless electric foamies can only be taken so far. Instant gratification and stunning looks yes, but no real sense of achievement; a bit … Continue reading

London Calling: Time to get Extra Slim! (Part 2)

Things rather got in the way of completing the Extra Slim. The completed frames sat around for a few months with no further progress made on the covering.  A situation further exacerbated with the need to purchase a new covering iron added onto my to-do list.  I’ve had a bit of time over the last … Continue reading

London Calling: Time to get Extra Slim! (Part 1)

It’s been over 8 months since my last post and I feel it’s time for another.  New flat, job and daily commute into London have been the main reason. I’m still getting used to be called ‘scientist’ instead of ‘student’ or ‘lab-rat’, but I cannot complain as it has all been a bit of an … Continue reading

A Sensible Plan (Mini Whizz Delta)

Mention ‘built from a plan’ to most at the average flying field today and an image of a highly skilled old-timer in front of a large ¼ scale Tiger Moth complete with fabric stitching, wire bracing and braised undercarriage will spring to mind. Not all plans need be so complex or strike so much fear … Continue reading

Spring Cleaning Castor (How to clean a model engine)

How to clean a model engine. I really despise castor oil….. As soon as I stopped using fuel that contained castor, my engines suddenly became reliable and stayed clean both inside and out. While ‘back-in-the-day’ castor might have been the best oil available, synthetics have now greatly surpassed it. However the same old arguments still … Continue reading

Under the Cover

Fixing the undercarriage on a HobbyKing Maestro 46: If you fly your Maestro from a grass strip you will, like me, quickly find the main undercarriage legs get a bit wobbly. The hardwood blocks that holds the main legs are not substantial and when assembling the model I was a little sceptical that it would … Continue reading

‘That’ Modelling Shed Image (DPR Models)

Addendum: Fantastic news that as of 2017 the DPR range is back in production thanks to purchase of the DPR manufacturing business (presumably from Flying Toys Ltd.) by an aeromodelling entrepreneur and are now being distributed by Jarvis Manufacturing and J Perkins. …. It has been a while since my last post. I’ve had a … Continue reading

Balsa Flavoured Wings

Today’s subject is another eBay purchase I’ve made; A Precedent Flyboy. My first attempt at this kit was back in 1997 when I was 15. Unfortunately it was never finished as I struggled with the build using the limited range of tools I had to hand. To cap it all, the half-finished wings were then … Continue reading

The ME109 and Me

I grew up in the days just prior to internet ordering. Obtaining model kits meant ringing up or going into to a local model shop. Not being old enough to own a credit card the only option for me was cash in hand. Unfortunately learning to drive was still a long way off so trips … Continue reading

The Veron Cardinal; A First Flight Failure!

I built my first Veron Cardinal back in 1993 when I was 11 years old. Having spent my pocket money on a succession of small Veron, Kiel Kraft and Guillow’s rubber powered aircraft I felt confident with the build and did not encounter any real problems.  In fact compared to some of the more complex … Continue reading

Balsa Bashing a P40 (part 6)

Guillow’s Series 400 P40 Warhawk Build: Finished!: Well, it’s taken a while but I’ve finally finished it. Having made the engine cowling detachable I had not helped myself when it came to the tiger shark decals.  With lots of Klear (Johnsons) I managed to coax them into position and make a successful cut in the … Continue reading

Balsa Bashing a P40 (Part 5)

Guillow’s Series 400 P40 Warhawk Build: Paint: If you have read my previous posts you may remember me drawing reference to the slightly ‘elastic’ feel of the Deluxe Material’s ‘Eze-Dope’ once dried. Thankfully the paint has stiffened the tissue covering up considerably. Following a spray with white primer the main colours were applied by brush. … Continue reading

Balsa Bashing a P40 (Part 4)

Guillow’s Series 400 P40 Warhawk Build: Fairings: That’s the plastic parts and fairings glued into place.  A case of measure twice, cut once and carefully sand for a perfect fit.  I used liquid polystyrene cement throughout for the plastic and cyano for the balsa fairings.  A little more ‘persuasion’ was required for those, even with … Continue reading

Balsa Bashing a P40 (Part 3)

Guillow’s Series 400 P40 Warhawk Build: Tissue Covering: I elected to try Eze-Dope, by Deluxe Materials, instead of cellulose dope to affix and shrink the tissue.  Marketed as being water soluble it was certainly easier to clean up afterwards and considerably less smelly!  I found a weak solution worked better than water alone for initial … Continue reading

Balsa Bashing a P40 (Part 2)

Guillow’s Series 400 P40 Warhawk Build: Cockpit Detail: I decided to deviate from the plan’s suggestion of using thin cardboard and instead made the dummy bulkheads behind the cockpit from balsa sheet.  This may add a bit more weight but I feel the trade-off for additional durability worth it, particularly as I’m going to be … Continue reading

Balsa Bashing a P40 (Part 1)

Guillow’s Series 400 P40 Warhawk Build: I’ve always been a fan of Guillow’s kits finding them well engineered and very comprehensive.   Many are now converted to micro RC and I did toy with doing this but in the end I decided to build this one as a glow powered free flight/display and will build it … Continue reading

Power Packs

For no further reason than that I like engines, I’ve put together an MFA Sport 500 ‘power pack’ from an original MFA Panther 46A engine and a collection of spares.  The aim was to make a good educational tool at talks and airshow display stands but overall I just think it looks nice sat on … Continue reading

Gear’s Up!

The Kyosho Trainer 40 was introduced in late 1997 in two colour schemes: a rather shocking shade of pink and then two years later a second version in yellow was sold alongside the pink.  The yellow version had a host of minor improvements including changes to the nose shape, semi-symmetrical aerofoil and an option for … Continue reading

Fixed a Fixed Pitch (Part 2)

Writing up my PhD has taken most of my time but I’ve finally finished this project.  Comprising the best picks from a collection of second hand parts along with a new canopy and wood parts this machine is now like new.  The tail surfaces are from a pre-1990 machine and have the ‘high fin’ found … Continue reading

Limited Capacity

The Piccolo’s first flights went well. The original NiCd pack, at only 250mAh, doesn’t last long and is further hampered by being quite old. It had enough poke to allow for initial flight testing and fine tuning of the Picoboard. A few small turns with a miniature screwdriver was all that was required. I think … Continue reading

Miniature Revolution

£20 on eBay for a fully working ‘semi-vintage’ electric helicopter complete with on board radio and battery – not bad! Ikarus (Germany) first released the Eco Piccolo in 1999 and took the world by surprise.  Small helicopters are now everywhere both in the hobby store as fully functioning machines and in toy stores as… well … Continue reading

10: Some ‘Proper’ Modelling

I’ve decided to treat my restored MFA Sport 500 fixed pitch to the latest .40 cu. in. engine from the Sanye works. Not heard of Sanye? You will I’m sure have owned at least one of their products in your modelling career as this is the factory that turns out the SC, Magnum and ASP … Continue reading

Anodising Around

One of my favourite engines in my collection is a little ASP 25 Redhead.  As an old engine it’s in excellent condition but has suffered some minor hanger rash in the form of scratching to the back of that distinctive red cylinder head.  Anodising applies a tough natural oxide surface layer through electrolytic passivation in … Continue reading

Fixing a Fixed-Pitch (Part 1)

Having completed a collective version of the MFA sport 500, the bug had bitten and I decided to keep an eye out for a fixed pitch version to restore.  I didn’t have to wait long as parts are plentiful and come up often.  First job was to strip it all down and clean everything (I … Continue reading

Mechanical Sympathy

(I’ve uploaded the full set of MFA sport 500 manuals, templates, advertisements and magazine reviews here) Mechanical sympathy was a term coined by Jackie Stewart during his time as a Formula 1 driver. It was his opinion that the best drivers were those who also best understood the machines they drove. I learnt a lot … Continue reading

Defining ‘As-New’

In one of my earlier posts I described why I purchased this particular Shuttle and why it means so much to me.  Well, getting the Shuttle fully restored has taken a while but here she is in all her glory.  Waiting for parts to come up on eBay has been the biggest hurdle.  I like … Continue reading

Hawk’s Eye View

My original Hawk Mk1 heli suffered at my inexperienced hands. Not belonging to a club and not knowing anyone else who flew I learnt to fly the hard way through trial and error (this was before simulators were cheap enough for me to afford). That said it proved to be the ideal learning machine with … Continue reading

Shuttling About

In 1999 I bought my Hirobo Shuttle Z-TS as a successor to my Century Hawk MK1. The quality of the Shuttle, particularly the canopy, was superb and it was extremely reliable. The shuttle was the machine with which I learnt basic aerobatics and inverted hovering. With such a hard life (this was before flight simulators … Continue reading


I recently read on the BBC news website that the younger generations are getting nostalgic earlier.  This is thought to be due to the onset of digital media where the ability to take, organise, share and carry around your entire photo library on a smartphone has transformed the way memoirs are organised.  Nostalgia then extends … Continue reading

An Early Obsession with Flying

I first saw a radio controlled model aeroplane parked on top of the wardrobe at my Great Uncle David’s house in Edinburgh.  Further exploration revealed aircraft were hiding all over the house and many were as long as I was tall.  As a practicing doctor and researcher at the university he really did not have … Continue reading