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Chris Downing

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  1. Does anybody remember Bullens on Rayner's Lane in Rayner's Lane itself. It was the local hobby shop for my Dad and myself in the late 1960s to 1971. I can find NO mention of it on the internet at all. That was where we went for anything- trains, planes and toys. We bought a KeilKraft Phantom control-liner there and the diesel fuel we needed, plus a tank etc, etc. Maybe someone who lived there too will remember it?
  2. Wow- thanks to everyone who has responded! Some good info there. One of the things I have found as time has gone by is that, although I value the work I have put in and want to finish it, I almost consider it a write off now, in monetary terms. It owes me nothing. So I'll be extremely happy to finish it, and when the time comes to fly it, I won't be too sad if it breaks. But .. it won't crash, will it- we're all positive about flying aren't we? Just always carry a bin bag in case . Glenn, Yes, the landing speed is quite high for the full size so it makes sense that this model would have some characteristics of the full size spit, even though Mick designed it to be easier to handle. Nice picture, by the way. Rich, thanks for tip on soldering and interesting stuff from the Ripmax modellers handbook. I always loved poring over the old catalogues, like the old KeilKraft etc. Foam wings- yes, Now that I have made a few contacts here recently, I will see what they think and suggest. They may be able to help me make a new set. I did draw outlines of the tip and root sections, and all the parts, on paper before starting assembly years ago, so in theory a new core could be made form the templates I drew. Cheers!
  3. Does anybody know anything about a Mick Reeves Spitfire kit that I was given in the late 1970s as a birthday gift. I built the fuselage and wings in the subsequent years but it was slow going because I had no experience. My Dad was ex RAF in the war so was keen to get us flying an iconic WWII fighter. I never finished it, due to complexities that I could not overcome. After moving to Canada in 1991, my parents managed to safely cushion the fuselage and wing and bring it here! Sadly it has sat on a shelf since then, but I have not given up. I am about to try learning to fly (again) with my trainer. Then.. who knows. I just found the instructions and was surprised to discover it was a Mick Reeves Models kit. The kit is near-scale with an obechi-covered foam wing, 60" or 63" span (I haven't measured it yet.) Bent wire landing gear was provided and with hardwood, slotted blocks to mount the wire. An option was shown to modify the blocks to fit retracts (Carl Goldberg I think). My local model shop had only Comet Retracts from MicroMold, so I modified the blocks to accept those (over months). I bought a brand new OS Max III 60 HF GR at that time (late 70s or early 80s) and fitted it to enable forming the cowl. Since being in Canada, over the years I at least looked at the landing gear, which was a simple coil-spring chromed-wire type. I gradually found some alloy tube plus some plastic tube and made upper and lower oleo cylinders on one leg. Much better than the original wire. Also added shims to the bearing blocks to remove a lot of play (the plane wobbled terribly on the legs). The wing veneer will need fixing because it has cracked and separated over the years. The only wing joining bandage sold in the MIddlesbrough model shop back then was a very coarse weave, and after the resin cured I had to sand and sand for weeks (months?) to get the edges feathered and the surface reasonably flat. That put me off fibreglass for years. Back then I had an idea to hide the unsightly look of the huge OS silencer by using a header (blue, seen in the pictures) and connecting that via silicon tubing (I had just read about it) to a box silencer which I would make from aluminium, inside the fuselage. I would then installing scale exhaust stubs onto that box. Trouble was, I couldn't find aluminium sheets in that area and didn't know how to bend it or solder it. I had tried soldering aluminium and the solder just balled off. I had grand ideas but no experience, so time went by as I scratched my head. No internet back then, or modelflying site to help. Hope this sparks interest or memories !
  4. Sorry to reply to this topic so late - only just renewed my subscription after some years - but, by any chance, does anybody have unused PCBs for the Micron/RM Digicon plug-in mixer cards? There was a Vt delta flp car and a DIF AIL CAR pcb . I built the system from the Radio Modeller articles in the 1980s and still have it. I was using it for driving a boat around at a lake here in Canada a few years ago. It always bothered me that I had not "finished" the system by making the plug-in mixer cards, so I am now looking into it. (Covid boredom triggered it.) I have found a source for most of the components, although the Piher potentiometers no longer have the reformed lead versions to match the PCB holes, only the 5mm spacing type; those would do though. I cleaned up one of the pcb images from the magazine article (in MS Paint!) and sized it to fit my transmitter encoder board, but now it seems a huge headache to make the pcb. I haven't masked and etched a pcb for many years! (Don't have any supplies either.) Maybe, I thought, someone has had both of these tucked away for years and never used them? It's worth a try asking. Cheers, Chris ActSize2 Micron DeltaFlpCar MixerPCB.bmp DifAilCar MixerPcb--uncleaned.bmp
  5. Just for interest, did anyone else have an Aeropiccola spring powered engine starter? I just came across the old instructions from mine. I bought this from a model shop in Middlesbrough, in the 1970s, because electric starters were too expensive. Strongly made from metal, this starter worked by winding the front up a few times then positioning it on the spinner or prop nut and pressing the trigger - wang! It sort of worked but my engine was stubborn, so I performed hundreds of wangs trying to start this engine and ended up with sore fingers from repeated winding up! I would leave it a day or two to recover then off I went again. Attached is the instruction sheet ( hopefully I am not infringing any copyright by posting them here; if Aeropiccola are still in business this should be a nice thing for them to see one of their old products highlighted).
  6. This is my A-M 15 diesel. I thought I had posted a picture some years ago but cannot find it now when I search. My Dad was given this, around 1969, for the Keil-Kraft Phantom we had just built. We were told it was a 15 and thought it meant 1.5cc, as required by the plan. Later we realised this was actually 2.5cc! That's why the plane was nose heavy. The needle valve assembly was broken so we bought a generic replacement (from Bullens in Rayners Lane. I believe). We never got it to run continuously- just short spurts after priming. So the plane never got airborne.
  7. Don, I too remember the resist pens and etching process for PCBs- it was rather exciting waiting for the copper to etch and 'develop' your traces!  A bit like developing prints from your photo enlarger- but that's another story!  Edited By Chris Downing on 28/11/2010 22:10:18
  8. Stephen, I missed your post while finishing my last one- good to see a beginner reading the thread! I hope you are enjoying reading this stuff.Actually I am still a beginner even though I have been reading RCM & E for many yearsI finally managed to get airborne last year (2009) and made one landing in tall grass- using a buddy box and a very helpful chap on the other end!  So - a beginner for many years but still very keen and determined.Just think - if  RC flying can keep me interested through these years then you will have a lot of fun ahead!  Edited By Chris Downing on 20/11/2010 23:35:43 Edited By Chris Downing on 20/11/2010 23:36:11
  9. Of course, as soon as I had the Microtrol AM unit ready,  the FM systems took over and everything changed to 35MHz!I fancied building the RCM&E FM system when the articles came out but it was too soon after my  Microtrol. So I waited and then Radio Modeller published their FM 35MHz system in the 1980s, designed by Terry Tippet of Micron RC. I ordered kits for this system, as I followed the articles month by month, and this time I had an oscilloscope to help test it, although ironically this system could be tuned without one, whereas the Microtrol system could really have used one! The Radio Modeller (Micron) system was very good, with a centre-loaded aerial and strong, reliable transmitted signal, plus silky-smooth sticks.  I built the miniature version of the receiver and both this and the transmitter were designed around IC chips, whereas the Microtrol used separate transistors and timing capacitors.  I used this system first in my attempts at flying a semi-scale Aeronca Sedan, bought second hand.  Then in the 1990s I built a a Great Planes PT20 trainer and made my first attempts at getting off the ground with that, using this gear.  I couldn't get off the ground although I did get a young fellow to make the plane's maiden flight using this same RC gear.  Now In Canada I bought a Futaba T9C (FF9).  Finally I own a famous brand that I drooled over in the late 60s and 70s!   Ironically, I bought this 72MHz Futaba system in very recent years and by the end of that same year 2.4GHz had taken over.   At least I can plug a 2.4 module in the back if I want to upgrade.  Not much point in building my own gear now because the cost of RC has come down so much in real terms.  
  10. Ah -lovely things!  I remember adverts for many of these RC systems etc. in RCM&E and Radio Modeller.  I could never afford the "real" Rc systems in the magazines so I built my own. My first contribution here is my first home built system- designed by someone else but built from kits, a few pieces at a time, as I could afford them. This one was in the 1970s - a Microtrol 27MHz AM system from a design by Paul Newell. I bought the book and used the schematics and instructions, together with many sub-kits of pieces bought from a model shop in Sunderland. I remember being thrilled as each small, brown parcel arrived in the post!  A joystick kit, another joystick kit; a Tx circuit board, a Rx kit with separate receiver and decoder boards. I eventually built this system, complete with charger and 4 servos (FB-3 mechanics from Skyleader SLM)   I had to tune it with a bulb and pick-up coil.  I never got my plane off the ground with this  but later (1990s) I put it into a model boat and got some use out of it!.  
  11. OK- all of the old RC gear probably is off topic in this thread but I like to see it and read about it, so I think everyone with interesting gear like this should start a special thread or section of the forum just for this sort of thing. David Ashby started a historic  RCM&E section somewhere-- maybe he could start off a section for old RC gear (or maybe there is one already- can't find it though), so we can find it all in one place.  Edited By Chris Downing on 11/11/2010 23:28:52
  12. I just looked on the home page and I don't see ithe propeller selection guide.  I'm sure it was there earlier this year but I didn't need it then.Now I do and it's gone- typical of life- if you don't use it you lose it!  Edited By Chris Downing on 11/11/2010 23:15:27
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