Judy and Eddie Stocker with business founder David Boddington.
DB Sport & Scale
Eddy and Judy Stocker, the present owners of DB Sport & Scale have been in touch to remind us that the business is now approaching its 40th birthday. We’ll let Eddie take up the story.
“Since Judy and I bought DB Sport & Scale, and through our various discussions with the man affectionately known as ‘Boddo’, it came to our notice that it must be 40 years since David started DB Models.
To be honest, we had absolutely no idea of what was really involved when we became the new owners. With so many different aircraft designs, each with its own peculiarities and design specifics, I well remember wondering where on earth to start? Mind you, it soon became apparent that our customers would dictate the direction in which we should go.
Initially, Bill Harding (who sold us the business) came over and showed us the methods that were used to produce kits and, having picked these up we produced our first batch of Tiger Moths. “Much water has flowed under the proverbial bridge since 2000, the passing of which saw us move to laser cutting. This brought more challenges as neither Judy nor I knew about computers, so our learning curve maintained a near vertical climb as we tackled CAD drawings and the like. “Since taking the reins we’ve made a handful of modifications to the designs in order to bring them up to date, changes that have essentially involved alterations to the internal construction to make the airframes easier to build.
We’ve also elected to completely remove all foam construction from our airframes. On the larger aircraft, changes in wing construction are also being implemented to ensure that each comprises two or four panels, depending on the aircraft type. In bringing these changes about we’ve needed to make alterations to the drawings which, I have to say, made me feel somewhat uncomfortable as, being the designs of a very respected aeromodeller, we really felt as if we were trespassing. When this came up in conversation, Boddo was very quick to reassure us that not only were our worries unfounded, but that he fully supported what we were doing.
Well, we’re now in our tenth year and David has been a tremendous source of help and encouragement. He has always been there to assist and Judy and I feel very privileged to have gained such a fine friend and to be running the business that he started 40 years ago”.
On the anniversary of the business David Boddington writes:
“I had no specific intention of becoming a model aeroplane kit manufacturer. It happened with the introduction of the early proportional radio control equipment called Galloping Ghost. At the time I made mention in one of my magazine articles that although this rudimentary form of R/C seemed to work, it was only suitable for certain types of model and that no suitable kits existed. With this I immediately received letters suggesting I should turn some of my Galloping Ghost designs into kits.
Simple. I thought, just cut up a few pieces of balsa wood, put them in a box with some lengths of piano-wire, add a plan and there you are! It was only as a result of putting the theory into practice that I found it wasn’t quite so easy and that unless you had every component of the kit, it couldn’t be sold. Accordingly, I was often held up for the want of a few screws, or pressed tinplate parts for the fuel tanks.
From the small beginnings of the Ghost Rider 38 and Ghost Rider 50, the range of DB Models began to grow, and at a fairly alarming rate – the designing and test flight proving was always the most exciting part. So, onto the Tyro and Tyro Major, the Pronto, Barnstormer and Bistormers, Mannock, Richtofen, Autogiro, Sopwith Pups, Club 20 pylon racers etc. “David Toyer, an aeromodelling friend, cut the balsa strip for the first batch of kits and as demand increased he took the bold decision to join me on a full time basis, a partnership which was to last for nineteen years.
Around the middle of the 1970s we became heavily involved in television and film work, including the BBC Wings series, Flambards and The Goodies. Alas, we were unable to maintain our model kit supplies to Micro Mold, who were, by then, our distributors and, accordingly, I handed the manufacturing of the DB Models range to Micro Mold. As a point of interest, we had sold 8,000 Tyro Major’s by this stage.
Inevitably the television work began to wane after a few years and with Micro Mold’s blessing we started manufacturing kits again, under the title of ‘DB Sport and Scale’, with Micro Mold continuing to manufacture and sell the original DB Models range.
A change of aeromodelling direction saw me more and more involved in writing magazine articles and then to becoming editor of Radio Modeller, RCM&E and scale titles, so once again the time seemed right to pass over the ‘DB Sport and Scale’ business to Derek Cox, another long time local aeromodeller.
With this the fairly extensive range of scale models was joined by the larger Spitfire and Hurricane kits, introducing new construction methods and veneered foam wings. After a few years of manufacturing Derek opted for the warmer climate of the Mediterranean and the business transferred to Chart, which takes us to the mid 1990s when DB Sport & Scale again moved, this time to Bill Harding at Northampton. The present owners, Eddie and Judith, took over in 2000.
From a personal point of view it has been an exciting and pleasurable journey, it has given me the opportunity to meet hundreds of fellow aeromodellers, becoming firm friends with many, both in the UK and abroad.”