Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Up and away, at last...

Them as knows me and readers of this blog who've somehow stayed the distance will know that not only have I mentioned the would-be hobby, but have several times actually tried to start in model flying, but been stymied somehow or other.
Well, I finally went and dun it. I actually bit the bullet and joined a local model club because they'd moved their field to a location a few minutes away, compared with 40 minutes previously!  Off I trots and gets a really warm welcome.  Real "Man Shed" stuff.  Joining half way through the year gets me membership for half price and even a reduced price for the rip-off merchants in the BMFA, who are now the only source of insurance.  For decades every magazine in the old MAP publishing house had an advert. for a fiver a year insurance, but when MAP was flogged off to some faceless bunch with a toy town name they stopped with the insurance and now we have to pay £29 a year to this mob. They clearly never bothered to shop around.  The BMFA are what "grew" out of the Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers, of blessed memory. I will only put an SMAE sticker on my aircraft.  The BMFA crap logo only goes on the English oak of my field box to obscure stains, where it belongs.

These costs endured, I can now go to the club field and be taught by any of three or four training flyers with a buddy box system and the club trainer.  I have now done this 3 times and have no idea what next, so I have secured a field nearby where I can risk my skills and aeroplane alone for practice.  I don't do rules, but with turn-outs way above the national average it would, I confess, be safer to fly elsewhere and so the club doesn't allow solo flying until an A certificate has been awarded or the instructor reckons you can be trusted with your own aircraft.

I have built a Pietenpol parasol wing aircraft from a Flite Test foamboard kit and an old chap at the club flew it beautifully, so I know it will perform. 
I also have a cheap foam glider which I have converted to Radio control, as yet untested. My son made me a power pod to take all the radio gear and a pusher prop. on his 3 D printer, to power this floater.  Seen without its wings plugged in as it's a four foot span aircraft.
 And a friend has sent me an old kit from Germany that he will never build so I am building that. It's a great Planes Piper Cub. It's designed for electric power, but I fancy it with a small IC engine and I have an OS 10 which will power it just fine.  Fuselage, tail feathers and one wing already built and I only got it last Tuesday!

I also have a foam and balsa electric Skystreak 32, built from plans which is for when I'm a half decent pilot as it'll be quick and twitchy, but it's my favourite model aircraft shape, which I've known since I was a kid.
And, today I rescued a magazine from the club hut with a free plan of a Vulcan in it made of Depron foam, which I rather like and of which I have a supply. Designed to be flown by beginners, so that HAS to be made, as I saw the real aircraft on it's last year of flights.

More news as I progress.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

HOW long ago???...

Whilst looking for references to the KeilKraft Skystreak aeroplane model, of blessed memory, I came across a picture of one of my model aeroplanes and that particular entry in this blog, but it was this time 4 years ago!
Ye Gods, where does it go?

The point is I have decided to take up model flying after all, even after the previous false starts. The Wisbech club, who actually flew nearer Kings Lynn have all but disappeared up there own tail pipes, but the Kings Lynn Club, having been kicked off their common by the raving save-the-noot mob now fly (unknown to me) literally up the road and seem a reasonable price, so I have decided to go along and meet them.  I went one Sunday morning and met with a very warm welcome from some excellent chaps.

I gave my old chum his models back as I really thought it would never happen. I kind of wish I hadn't now, especially as he now has a sudden dementia and wouldn't even remember me. Quite where all his dozens of models will end up I dread to think.  I will try to get as many of them as possible to members of my new club as the woman my old chum seems to trust is not, in my view, all she seems, but there's not much I can do.

I have bought a foam glider costing a princely 8 quid and am converting it to R/C and a small electric brushless motor. My wife has also bought me two other convertible gliders for a huge 71p each!  One of those will become a flying wing.

Apart from that, the Skystreak 32 will now be done in foam as I really don't like balsa wood. Never have.  Foam is the future, dependent upon which kind of foam you use. 

Finally looking forward to taking up my long overdue hobby, which I have wanted to do since I was a kid and KeilKraft were on every shelf.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Right on track...

In the last post (and apologies for the paucity of posts lately) I mentioned my scenic bits and bobs going on my slot track.  Well, I tried to lay out a track in Airfix sections, but it wouldn't connect properly, so I tried with Scalextric, but that was rusty and the joints wouldn't make good contact, even after a clean, so I made the decision to rout a track in MDF and make my own.

I bought a sheet of MDF and divided it into three boards that would run round my shed walls. Then I laid out a reasonably interesting track in pencil.  The joints between the boards were strengthened by having a kind of tongue and groove affair built in the ends.  Then the fearful job of routing begun. In fact, it went smoothly, using templates made from left over MDF and even some 5mm Foamex, so all the bends were progressive, rather than geometric.  Nothing on a slot track is worse than a bunch of geometric Mickey Mousery on the corners. None of that here, thanks.

Having routed the three boards, I dug out the emulsion paint tester pots and painted the slots, to seal them, then the main track areas, blending the cream colour with the still wet grey for a bit of visual texture and finally detailed round the edges with a broken white line, grassy areas and a bit of good ol' mud. This is Britain and a race track. There has to be mud!  A few asphalt repair patches were put on in black.  The idea is to recreate one of the sprint courses that we have in England, where there are no pits or fancy facilities, no grandstands, just a control caravan and a few marshals' posts, a toilet/wash block and maybe a cafe hut.  The odd hedgerow and maybe even a tree or two, but few people.  An old breakdown truck just off the track in case of a slow speed crash. Nuttn' happens wildly fast on a sprint track.
Somebody saw the photo and said it looked like the club circuit at Brands Hatch. I never realised, but any track going round three walls of a shed will tend to look like that.

I have all the electrical bits ready, but no idea how to connect them all!  Somebody will set me straight.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Go where you're welcome...

I can't help it. I tried to be nice to them, honest, but model railway people...Jeez. Fussy farts, kit snobs, Mummy's boys. That's what I found on the whole with just a few exceptions and so, finally, I gave up on them. My scenic bits will be done just for me when it's raining. The rest will go on my slotcar track.  Caffs, marshalls' huts etc.  I have a lot of slot cars to build and the people involved are so much friendlier. And let's face it a blast round a track is so much fun.  Then there's the developmental side. Trying to design and build a chassis that works better than another.  I spend a lot of my time making stuff for friends and myself, to be cast by friends, so it makes sense to just stick to the one Winter hobby and maybe keep a few boats for the Summer.

I currently have all sorts under way.
The wee Peugeot 206CC, the real one of which we have just swapped for a more practical Suzuki Swift. A Lloyd Lewis re-pop from a diecast.
Lola Mk 1 by AA Bodies after I'd remastered it for him
 I was asked to turn an old but very excellent Jaguar XK 120 kit into a FHC, so I made a new "lid" for it and my son, Bazz (Monster Racing) cast some in resin.

And so it goes. LOTS and lots of slot cars to build. Every time I do a pattern I get at least one copy which has to be done as a slot car.  Fortunately I've made space in the shed for a small track so I can test them all.

More anon.


Sunday, 17 February 2019

A day or so away...

As the Sun comes up, early morn, over a mirror still, mist shrouded Deben estuary, one has to wonder just how many less than attractive, dark blonde, pony-tailed, thirty something, fat-arsed females can be mustered to action in a small Suffolk town better known for its boutiques and coffee shops.  Hordes of these almost clonelike, sometimes reluctant looking, sometimes just plain knackered looking victims of fitness fashion came by at around 7 in the morning. Bright, but chilly was the day.  They, almost all in tip to toe black relieved by trendy shades of grey on the leggings, hauled over lumpy shapes were universally unsmiling. Some with heads back so far they must at some point bump in to things. Arms studiously cranked into their sides.  But some appeared to have legs which had no need of knees, so stiff were the strides.  Some must have watched old films with matrons yelling "high knees rising" as they dashed along like dressage horses on acid.  All of them, sporty-looking, reluctant-looking or just plain bloody laughable were, it seems, engaged in laps of some unknown circuit of pain and discomfort.  Maybe they go out so early, so that can still get out to Sainsburys in their BMW Bird Boxes later, while their spawn are at dance/Judo/horsey/Rugby lessons.  Maybe their (obviously forlorn) hope is that they will improve their appearance to keep hubby away from secretaries.  No chance.  Does that backside come with running or is it the main reason FOR the running?  They all have one.  Large and lardy, it really should be hidden from view, not squeezed into unflatteringly tight black (why, always, damnable black?) gym clobber.  Oddly they will also then be seen with David Beckham-style gold trainers or whatever the latest term for their footwear is.  I notice ancient cyclists wear shoes so odd they appear to be plaster casts of someone else's feet!

In Tesco's, where there is, horror of horrors, a gym, a 24 hour gym (can it get any worse?), while decent folk shop, a steady stream of fat, ugly, sweaty women clutching a bottle of water in one hand and mobile 'phone in the other, slop through the shop, leaving a foul mistral of unnecessary effort in their wake as they don't shower till they get home, so their Bird boxes must be rank by now.  Why, if you are that podgy and that well, just simply ugly are you wasting money joining a gym?  Nobody's looking, love. Get showered, get changed and get out so that ordinary unshowy folks can fill the pantry. Unnoticed, not in anyone's way and not, above all, waving some slab of envy around with a selfy of their fat backsides installed as the latest wallpaper.  How I wish some jester would have injected their precious water bottle with a powerful laxative or nemetic, just to teach them a lesson.  Something to smear on the leather seats of their Beemer Bird Box, efficiently spread about by two large cheeks of flesh, barely constricted by acres of Lycra.
If you want to shop, woman, SHOWER in the gym first!  Don't push your way between nice folks with your Klevafone waving before you. NOBODY WANTS TO KNOW!!!

Friday, 8 February 2019

Or, alternatively...

You could make it in brass!
A while back, I made the 1/6th scale master pattern for the Vincent Black Shadow.  I decided because of its "sculpted nature I would make the engine cases in Ureol, a plastic modelling board now beloved of pattern makers. As it's plastic of a sort, it would need to be put in low temperature silicon moulds with no pressure.
What I eventually got back from Griffin Moulds in Birmingham was a bag of Ureol dust with some bits of brass and photo-etching.  No e-mail, no apologetic phone call, no letter of explanation.  Instead they actually sent me an invoice!!!  I told them, naturally, to go to Hell. Whether the client paid them I don't know.  But I have had to remake the model.  And in brass, so there is no crap about which moulds to use.  All I asked for was that they used a deeper than usual silicon mould for the Ureol parts. This they clearly never did, but just stupidly banged the plastic into a high temperature, high pressure, vulcanising black rubber mould.  And never found the guts to admit it.  They instead got their female apologist to contact me for money. 
Now I am very anti violence to women, but if a woman agrees to do a man's job, I'll treat them as a man, so don't get all defensive on me love. If your stupid company fuck up and you defend them, I will treat you as a stupid man.  I've heard nothing since!

It turns out that with little exception I could approach the model in brass, as essentially plates and wrappers with some detailing parts.
And so, 15 hours later we are here and all is doing well.  With luck we should meet the launch date of April as planned, no thanks to the incompetence of Griffin Moulds.  It's a shame, as Griffin had done some good work for Slot Rally GB, for whom I did all their masters, but suddenly they screwed us badly.
Here's the right hand side replacement, prior to clean up:-

Monday, 4 February 2019

You can go your own way...

Sang Fleetwood Mac.  Well sometimes you just can't get your customers to agree with you on what needs to be made, so you have to just do 'em anyways and then send them off to be cast as "freebie" masters as long as you get 3 or 4 back for nuttn'.  That's the deal I worked with some of my favourite cars.
It started with the achingly sweet little Amilcar CG6. I'd always loved this tiny racer since I first saw the drawings in Model Cars magazine in the 60s.  1100cc, twin cam, supercharged straight six, I mean, come on, what's not to like!

Then there was the too gorgeous Morgan SLR.  That's away on the to do pile already.

And recently I sent off to the same chum, for resin casting, the following, which I'd had kicking around for years and finally decided to finish.
The Piper GTT and the Trident Venturer.  I had the real ones, so I had to have a model of each, didn't I?

So, I suppose that'll keep him busy for a while and might even earn him a few bob towards resin costs, if other people show the same great good taste as me.   Meanwhile, I'll be getting some freebies to turn into various versions of "Cars I have owned".

Just as I started sending these last bits off, my younger son decided he was going to have a bash at resin casting, by moulding some old bits of mine he found, which I thought had got chucked out!  These included yet another I did because I happened to like them, a Mallock U2 Mk 18 Clubmans racer.  So now I have one of these arriving from him soon.  And he has taken to this lark like a duck to the village pond.
                                     The mould is damaged, but he's offered to re-mould it once I've cleaned the moulding into a nice new master.  What a good lad!