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Foamies for beginners?

A discussion.

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Former Member14/11/2018 11:17:39

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Nigel R14/11/2018 11:46:05
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"But from what I am seeing in the real world is that the foamie taught generation who move on to (still very light) aerobatic models are some of the best pilots I have seen in decades"

Very low cost, combined with very low repair / build times, breeds a lack of fear when practicing.

That, is essential, to learn a lot - a scared pilot will learn little other than to stick to what they know, like nice and high left hand circles, to use a stereotype.

I don't see many "old school" pilots practicing rolling harriers at 15 foot altitude. Of course not, when the result of a mistake is weeks of repairs and large costs of replacement bits.

It's always the guys flying foamies day in, day out, that seem to be progressing. Stacked the hummer? Hot glue and a new prop, off it goes again.

And the skills translate.

Foamies are a good thing, but, they are just one of the things that make up the hobby.

PatMc14/11/2018 12:31:03
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Posted by Richard Harris on 14/11/2018 09:49:27:

I am not a lover of foam models but do think it is one of the best things that has happened in our hobby in the last decade or so

"Foamies" have been around since at least the early '70's.

Former Member14/11/2018 12:34:50

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Former Member14/11/2018 12:36:45

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PatMc14/11/2018 13:23:47
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Posted by David Mellor on 14/11/2018 12:36:45:
Posted by PatMc on 14/11/2018 12:31:03:

"Foamies" have been around since at least the early '70's.

Exactly right, Pat. Well said, mate. I wonder if they have been around as long as foam itself?

Dave

Actually, I'm wrong. It was being used in the early '60's.

The "luddites" & "dinosaurs" of our hobby have a long history of considering new materials &/or technologies wherever they arise to see if it's there's any way to exploit them in making & flying models, then making good use of whatever benefits they come across & passing on the knowledge to anyone who will listen.

Former Member14/11/2018 13:58:02

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Nigel R14/11/2018 14:12:07
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Posted by PatMc on 14/11/2018 12:31:03:
Posted by Richard Harris on 14/11/2018 09:49:27:

I am not a lover of foam models but do think it is one of the best things that has happened in our hobby in the last decade or so

"Foamies" have been around since at least the early '70's.

Come on now, we all know "foamies" have foam on the outside... except when they're covered in something like a plastic film (possibly packing tape) to make a composite structure... but that doesn't count, because they're still "foamies".

All those old 60's foam models have their foam on the inside, because they were always covered in something like veneer to make a composite, except when they weren't, like if they were made from blue foam, in which case they might have something like a plastic film around them. Anyway, they don't possibly count as foamies because they would have had an IC engine and servos like bricks.

Keep up at the back!

Nigel R14/11/2018 14:18:40
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Posted by PatMc on 14/11/2018 13:23:47:

Actually, I'm wrong. It was being used in the early '60's.

IIRC I saw a scan of an old article from around the time solarfilm was new, from the same people, talking about using sheets of beaded foam being veneered on one side, and used to make fuselages. They were extolling the quick build nature of it, you "just" cut out the fuselage shape, the top and bottom, stuck in a firewall and a couple of formers and reinforce the hard points with some glass.

Martin Harris14/11/2018 14:38:55
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We seem to have wandered a long way from that OP all those pages ago (talking of which, is BEB on holiday? He hasn't posted at all this month - hope he isn't poorly...)

The OP referred to very lightweight foam models which are a different kettle of fish to many of the examples being quoted. Far from being any sort of attack on the construction material, isn't it simply a fact that these very lightweight mass produced models just happen to take advantage of foam's production merits? This thread is supposed to be about models which due to their small size and low wing loadings are unrepresentative of models that learners (with apologies to those sharing the surname, I dislike the term newby) may aspire to.

I believe the discussion was meant to revolve around whether a new pilot would benefit from learning on something more substantial (maybe a Riot - that's a bona fide foamy) rather than something like a Hobbyzone Champ which is representative of the sort of model that I think BEB had in mind.

PatMc14/11/2018 15:15:03
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Posted by Nigel R on 14/11/2018 14:12:07:
Posted by PatMc on 14/11/2018 12:31:03:
Posted by Richard Harris on 14/11/2018 09:49:27:

I am not a lover of foam models but do think it is one of the best things that has happened in our hobby in the last decade or so

"Foamies" have been around since at least the early '70's.

Come on now, we all know "foamies" have foam on the outside... except when they're covered in something like a plastic film (possibly packing tape) to make a composite structure... but that doesn't count, because they're still "foamies".

All those old 60's foam models have their foam on the inside, because they were always covered in something like veneer to make a composite, except when they weren't, like if they were made from blue foam, in which case they might have something like a plastic film around them. Anyway, they don't possibly count as foamies because they would have had an IC engine and servos like bricks.

Keep up at the back!

All sorts of materials were used to cover the foam & sometimes the foam wasn't covered at all. Veneer or balsa was the most popular for "serious" models though brown paper, self adhesive plastic (Fablon was popular), wrapping paper etc were also not uncommon. Some of us knocked up C/L combat models on a production line basis using ceiling tiles & plastic film. IC powered, RC combat models, constructed of paper/plastic covered foam & plastic drain pipes were being made flown by at least the mid to late '70's. There were a few pre moulded foam plastic kits around as well, IIRC Graupner made one.

Former Member14/11/2018 15:26:49

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PatMc14/11/2018 15:38:59
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Posted by Nigel R on 14/11/2018 14:18:40:
Posted by PatMc on 14/11/2018 13:23:47:

Actually, I'm wrong. It was being used in the early '60's.

IIRC I saw a scan of an old article from around the time solarfilm was new, from the same people, talking about using sheets of beaded foam being veneered on one side, and used to make fuselages. They were extolling the quick build nature of it, you "just" cut out the fuselage shape, the top and bottom, stuck in a firewall and a couple of formers and reinforce the hard points with some glass.

I think you're probably refering to an article in RCM&E by Derek Hardman. IIRC the article described the general technique you mention but also had dimensioned drawings of a glider.
I used the a modified version of the technique to build a Watt4/Ugly Stick type O/D model. Fuselage & tail were pretty much as per article but the wings had veneer wrapped around the first couple of inches of LE only with veneer cap strips to a 1/2" veneer TE with veneer covered foam ailerons. Model was designed & built within a week of spare time & flew as well as the Ugly Watt4 Sticks mentioned. Actually I think it may have pre-dated the Watt4.

Former Member14/11/2018 17:16:54

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PatMc14/11/2018 18:28:01
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Posted by David Mellor on 14/11/2018 17:16:54:

So.... in those days.....in the 1960s...... small US independent companies were manufacturing foamie kits that would make BEB proud and which would really fly well and allow perhaps intermediate pilots to progress to National competition standards. But........ were they really suitable for new entrants to learn on? No. Were they cheap? No. Were they mass produced by the thousand? No.

It is a big jump in time to today, of course, but what has changed is that Chinese manufacturing and marketing has succeeded in firstly identifying a market for smaller, lighter, cheaper and easier to fly foamies than those early pioneering US designs. It is this trend (easily affordable, easily flown, mass produced foamies) that BEB is querying now, I think.

The moulded Graupner kit I refered to was the Consul. About 45" span, trike u/c, balsa & ply parts at strategic points, EP wings fus & tail were covered with tissue. The 1964-65 annual gives details of the kit, refers to other available (non-specified) German and Japanese kits in an article that also details suggested methods of building EP models from scratch with further advice on repairs if necessary.
No cost of the Consul mentioned but definitely suitable for beginners.

The big changes from then to now are light, cheap RC gear & light, cheap electric power trains. If these had existed in the '60's the market would have been identified & satisfied by local manufacturers.

Dave Hess14/11/2018 18:33:33
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Most foams used in model aircraft can't deal with heat or fuel, which is most likely why foam wasn't widely used,, when IC motors were more or less your only choice, but when we had electric motors that could do the job as well as IC ones, it opened up the doors for foam planes.

Edited By Dave Hess on 14/11/2018 18:34:48

PatMc14/11/2018 18:35:29
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Posted by Dave Hess on 14/11/2018 18:33:33:

Most foams used in model aircraft can't deal with heat or fuel, which is most likely why foam wasn't widely used,, when IC motors were more or less your only choice, but when we had electric motors that could do the job as well as IC ones, it opened up the doors for foam planes.

Edited By Dave Hess on 14/11/2018 18:34:48

Foam was widely used.

Former Member14/11/2018 19:34:45

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Nigel R15/11/2018 09:31:44
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combination of things, I think -

- mechanical side of RC gear coming down to a weight to make a 1m (ish) wingspan conventional models really viable (late 80s / early 90s?), and the subsequent inevitable price reduction of that kit (early 2000s?)

- brushless motors + escs being developed

Once that happened, the small ARTF market was cooking on gas.

I don't think foam has that much to do with the above, it's all been made possible by the cheaper electronics side of things - thanks in large part to laptop and mobile phone battery and radio technology advances.

On the IC front, I agree, I can't see punters going for ARTFs with a cox up front, those days have long since come and gone with the profile control line kits, I think.

Bob Cotsford15/11/2018 10:12:50
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I believe that most if not all of those early foam models used EPS which is brittle, weak, and susceptible to attack by solvents and heat. There were a few models that didn't rely on a wood or hard plastic veneer for strength but they were the exception. What really set the ball rolling was the adoption of EPP/EPO and similar flexible, solvent resistant foams that could be used straight out of the mould. Add in brushless motors and LiPo price reductions and here we are today.

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