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Member postings for John Laird

Here is a list of all the postings John Laird has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Forum members' new models: Let's see them.
02/08/2020 15:34:42



mercury marauder still.jpgmerury marauder (3).jpg

Here is my scaled up version of H J Nicholls 1952 glider design, the Mercury Marauder. That's a metre stick shown for scale

Span is 88" and power a 200W brushless motor. More details are on my summary build log on RcGroups vintage forum here


and the you tube video of it flying here


Edited By John Laird on 02/08/2020 15:41:43

Thread: Long Wing Bands
15/07/2020 08:56:47

I have seen piano wire - S shaped - joining pairs of bands together to get the chord width.

no unsightly bump in the middle - it looks a more elegant " engineered" solution


Thread: Silencer Gaskets
06/07/2020 14:33:52

I Have used either thin brown paper - oiled then pressed against the exhaust port to get the pattern to cut out or a smear of silicone. Neither has caused any problems either from leakage or removing from exhaust when needed.

Thread: Curving fuselage sides?
28/06/2020 17:45:37

Try rolling a 1 to 2" dia rod/tube etc on the inside of the sides.

This a variation on the "engish wheel" which shapes curves into metal ( google it to see what I mean)

Thread: Unrun MDS 61 for sale on Ebay
27/06/2020 14:04:01

As part of downsizing, I am selling an unrun MDS 61 in box on Ebay.

Link is here


thanks for looking.

25/06/2020 20:01:12

The Tipsy Nipper is an attractive 1/4 scale model yet only 59” span. Plenty of photos of the full size aeroplane on the internet to give scope for colour schemes. Photo attached is of a full size plane

BALSA USA has been in the industrial balsa trade and model kit business for a long time and has a well established reputation for quality. The kit’s balsa and ply die cutting is of excellent quality. Construction looks straight forward.

BALSA USA give engine size between 40 and 60 gloplug but I would have thought a 40/50 4 cycle would be more suitable or alternatively convert to electric

Pegasus model shop lists it at £175 but is out of stock as BALSA USA no longer kit the Nipper.

Link to the Ebay web page and more info is here


Tipsy Nipper aeroplane.jpg


Edited By John Laird on 25/06/2020 20:02:23

Edited By John Laird on 25/06/2020 20:04:58

Thread: Vic Smeed's Debutante scaled up
07/06/2020 21:21:26

Hello Marian,

The link to my build thread for the 80" span Deb is on the first posting of this thread and it refers to the CG being about 34% compared to the free flight 40" model CG of 44%. Anywhere in that area will be ok.

I never measured the throws but it was about 1.5" on the rudder and 1" on elevator which was probably far too much as I would rarely use full controls for vintage style flying - if its flying ok, leave it alone with just a touch to keep it in the field. Its easier to build in more control initially rather that trying to put it in later if not enough.

At that size and light weight it is a fair weather model - ie, the less wind the better. But it was capable of flying in stronger winds - I simply prefer relaxed flying which lighter winds enabled. Otherwise, its a doddle to fly and makes an nice trainer as , trimmed properly, my advice to beginners is - if in trouble, throttle back and hands off controls till model sorts itself out - always assuming model is at least one or two mistakes high !!

Unfortunately, the model spun in and was written off some time ago - due I think to radio failure/interference - hence I am speaking from memory.

the 2nd video of it shows how relaxed the model is in the air - link is here

80" span debutante video

hope this helps


Edited By John Laird on 07/06/2020 21:23:32

Edited By John Laird on 07/06/2020 21:27:36

Edited By John Laird on 07/06/2020 21:31:33

Edited By John Laird on 07/06/2020 21:33:51

Edited By John Laird on 07/06/2020 21:37:09

Edited By John Laird on 07/06/2020 21:40:29

Thread: Open Structure Covering
14/05/2020 09:15:41

I tried painting with a watered down white emulsion and then sanded back. Only partially sucessfull but I could have put more on if i hadn't been trying to keep it light weight.  A darker emulsion to match the darker wood might be a better idea.


Edited By John Laird on 14/05/2020 10:47:50

Thread: Shaft reversal
08/05/2020 08:37:25

i have used a light vice with the motor held in place with blocks suitably holed etc so that shaft can be pushed straight thru when vice closed

07/03/2020 15:42:31


During our holidays in the USA , I would buy a kit to bring home either for building or to lay up for my retirement. Now I have been retired for a while, I find my modelling tastes have changed and some of the kits will never get built by me. So I am starting to sell some off, starting with the BALSA USA sports model amphibian plane the LAKER. Designed by a well known American modeller Laddie Mikulasko in the 70’s, it bears a strong resemblance to the full size amphibian – the LAKER BUCCANEER (or possibly the Champion Skimmer) If the kit had been designed now, I think it would have had a brushless pusher motor in rather than a tractor glow engine and designed as a scale/semiscale model of the Buccaneer. I think the kit could easily be converted for this. There are plenty of photos of the BUCCANEER or SKIMMER on the net giving plenty of scope for scale colour schemes

BALSA USA have been in the balsa and model trade for a long time and the quality of the balsa and the die cutting reflect this.

The Kit also includes design/components for either flying off water/grass or runway

BALSA USA have recently reintroduced the kit with a price of $195 plus postage

I have now put the kit up for sale on ebay and for those interested, the link is


laker by balsa usa.jpg

lake buccaneer.jpg

Thread: Upgrading Windows7 to Win10 for free
14/01/2020 09:14:02

I recently installed an SSD drive in my 10yr old PC which came with an early version of WIN 7 on it. I did not go down clone route as I had a spare bay, installed the SSD in that and reloaded 7 fresh with all the updates. Until I reloaded all the programs needed, I could always switch between the 2 systems at start up if required.

I took precaution of unplugging the existing WIN 7 HDD before installing the new one and when I reconnected it, the new WIN simply saw it as another HDD.

I had no problems with the installation but I did have to be careful on Drive lettering as the new Win 7 assigned letters as normal and these differed from the old WIN lettering. One of these days, I might get round to commoning them up.

The difference in speed , particularly at start up and shut down is substantial and made the effort worthwhile.

If installing a SSD in a standard PC bay, you need an installation kit as the SSD is smaller than the bay. SSD suppliers will have the necessary kit for a few £'s

Hope you find this useful.

Thread: WW1 linen style covering
26/11/2019 17:43:27

Polyester fabrics come in a variety of colours from fabric shops in the high street/online and there is no need to dye unless trying to match a particular colour.

26/11/2019 09:01:40

I too have covered some models in doped polyester dress lining. The material does shrink a little bit with a hot iron - before doping. Dope continues the shrink. The lining comes in various weights, the lighter more open weave needing a lot of dope. result is quite heavy. For vintage models,I am now using doped polyester chiffon over mylar/doculam - material is very light and mylar reduces amount of dope needed. Some more info re doped dress lining on RCGroups vintage forum and some photos of my models in my blog on RCgroups here **LINK**

larger photos of my avatar - chiffon/mylar covered scaled up Vagabond are al;so in my blog


Edited By John Laird on 26/11/2019 09:02:30

Edited By John Laird on 26/11/2019 09:04:58

Thread: Binding
24/11/2019 17:07:15

When binding, don't forget to set throttle at minimum as this sets Rx to shut down motor in event of losing signal.

Thread: HMFA swapmeet Nov 17th Mountbatten school , Romsey
16/11/2019 10:17:27

HMFA swap meet Nov 17th Mountbatten school, Romsey SO51 5SY

I shall be selling off some American kits and 4 stroke engines at the swap meet which kit builders might be interested in and are listed below.

Details of the swap meet are on the HMFA website at **LINK**

Kits are Goldberg Extra 300, Balsa USA kits -Tipsy Nipper, Laker, EAA Biplane, Bud Nosen Citabria, Joe Bridi Rearwin Speedster. ARTF Top Planes Lancair, ARTF Giles 202.

As new 4 stroke engines are Laser 120, Saito 100 and 56, 2 magnum XL52’s- all unrun in boxes. A little used 4 stroke ASP 120. An unrun 2 stroke MDS 61.

Thread: Looking for a cowl for my Carl Goldberg Super Chipmunk.
30/08/2019 09:10:14


I have an unused goldberg cowl for the chipmunk.- still in the raw white as delivered.

bought it for my chipmunk which had an involuntary roll into the deck when some decorative film came loose and blanked the aileron. I had a saito 90 in it - flew great - i used to just fly it to height then dive with engine on idle and listen to the whistle of the prop/plane as it passed by - a great sound.

If you want it, message me


Thread: Forum members' new models: Let's see them.
17/08/2019 20:44:02

My Vagabond Senior is based on Bill Winter's 75" span Vagabond 1949 plan and his redesign for RC in 1981. It is scaled up by 50% to 112” span. Powered by a 500W brushless motor and 5000 4 cell Lipo.

The cerise red chiffon doped over mylar film turned out nicer than I thought it would.

The videos shows the maiden flights of both the 75" and the 112" span models. The wind and ground turbulence was higher than I would normally fly vintage in but I needed a proving flight before going to a flyin.

Photos show the breakdown for transport and storage. Carbon rods are used as joiners for the wings and to the fuselage. The white model is my 100" span Cumulus by Ben Shershaw.


vagabond snr (4).jpg

vagabond snr at tarrant hinton.jpg

vagabonds (9).jpg

Build thread for the Vagabonds is here


Youtube videos are here. Mick Butler took the videos and more of his vintage videos can be viewed thru the links.



Thread: Ink Jet Printing
12/06/2019 08:52:57

I used to tape a piece of transparent solarfilm to a sheet of A4 STICKY SIDE facing the printer.

I would then print a MIRROR image of the "decal" onto the sticky side.

When applied to the plane's wing surface, the printing is now protected from rain/fuel etc. and of course is the right way up.

You do have to be careful and get the taping smooth to ensure it doesnt snag in the printer.

Thread: Balsa usa eaa biplane
09/06/2019 20:36:12


your in luck as I have the complete kit - need to unearth it from my store and scan the instructions.

will try and get to it monday. If you email me direct thru the forum, I can send the scans back to you.


Thread: Vintage airframe coverings.
02/04/2019 11:27:04

vagabond finished march 2017 (8).jpgvagabond overhead snapshot.jpgGeorge Stringwell ( Sundancer) has written some guidelines on tissue over mylar in the RCgroups vintage forum.

Dope is used as the adhesive. Most models flown at vintage flyins in this country are covered with tissue or tissue lookalikes such polyspan. My Debutantes have been covered with tissue/mylar. My Vagabond is covered with doped Chiffon over Mylar. The chiffon provides the colour and the mylar reduces the dope needed to fill the weave. Both contribute to tightening and the strength. Buildlog of the Vagabond with more photos are in RCgroups here


debutante maiden flight day 5 jul 2013 (6).jpg

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