RCM&E January 1996
With the UK in the depths of winter as the inaugural 1996 issue of RCM&E hit the shelves, the blue skies that deliver the background for the cover shot no doubt provided a boost for modellers dreaming of summer. Loris Goring and his nicely painted Goldberg Super Chipmunk took centre stage of this idyllic sun-drenched scene. Under the heading ‘Airbrush your aircraft’, Loris duly reappeared elsewhere in the issue and kicked off a series of how to do exactly that.
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As always there was plenty on offer from suppliers, offering their wares via telephone mail order, since internet shopping was yet to make its mark. Bagnalls Models laid its advertising campaign for January over six pages packed with radio gear, engines, models and accessories, plus all-inclusive deals such as a Precedent T180, Sanwa Vanguard 4-ch R/C and an MDS 40 Gold two-stroke for just under £210. ARTFs were making their presence felt, ably demonstrated by Amerang’s mouth-watering advert promoting Thunder Tiger models, tempting would-be purchasers to ‘Fly a Tiger out of the box in record time’. And if you think that R/C flight simulators are of the new millennium, then think again, as Tru-Flite was campaigning its armchair flight package in this issue – although it has to be said that the screen grabs shown prove that computer graphics have come a very long way since then! Names such as SLEC, Gliders, HobbyStores, Leicester Model Spot and Steve Webb also made an appearance, as did Balsacraft, peddling its (then) ever-popular Precedent Hi Boy trainer.
Serving as a reminder that this was a time when ARTFs didn’t rule, Pilots’ Pictorial provided a snapshot of what was happening on the building front. Spotlighting a variety of models, photos were sent in by their owners in a quest to win the month’s prize of a Hitec Focus 6 R/C system. Needless to say, there’s not an ARTF in sight, with Ben Smith being the lucky prize winner, proudly displaying his splendid Spitfire Mk.IX, built from the Cambrian kit. With the current resurgence of interest in traditional building, who knows, Pilots’ Pictorial may yet rise from the ashes! (and it did!).
Interest in gas turbines was alive and kicking, with a report on the introduction of the 16 lb maximum thrust Turbomin TN75, challenging the domination of JPX products. The culmination of what could be potentially achieved with such a motor was brought to the fore in David Gladwin’s report from the inaugural Jet World Masters, won by Garland Hamilton flying a BVMF-80.
Not satisfied with his aforementioned airbrush article, Loris Goring popped up again with a teach-in on finishing ABS engine cowls, whilst Ken Hewitt kept electronics enthusiasts happy with his simple build-it-yourself R/C Switch Unit.
Two kit reviews and a plan feature provided a nice ‘treat yourself for Christmas’ medley (as now, the January issue published in early December), with Nick Papillon taking a look at the Retlas Battler, a 40” span flying wing for .25 – .40 pusher power. Featuring an obechi veneered foam wing and balsa / ply fuselage, Nick reported the £49.95 model to be very capable and an enjoyable alternative to a standard low-wing aerobat.
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Grahame Chambers (RCM&E’s faithful illustrator), meanwhile, took the Carl Goldberg Models Tiger II by the tail, a 61” span low-wing sportster of built-up construction. Fitted with a .46 two-stroke, the Tiger acquitted itself nicely, both on the building board and in the air, proving to be reasonably agile and capable of most club type aerobatics. Incumbent ed. Kevin Crozier couldn’t resist grabbing Grahame’s Tx and scored the model a very respectable 9/10 – high praise indeed!
Those wishing to itch their plan-building scratch were treated to the first of a two-part plan feature of Alex Weiss’ 74” span Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk.V, describing the construction of this rarely modelled W.W.II heavy bomber. If you’ve a pair of .25 two-strokes or .40 four-strokes siting on the shelf (or are looking for an unusual electric conversion subject), the plans are still available from MyHobbyStore, order no. RC1804.
No fewer than eight regular columnists made their presence felt, covering all the bases from silent flight through large models and helicopters. Perennial Wizard of Oz scribe Brian Winch detailed the construction of his Whopper Stopper model restraint, conceived following an horrendous hand injury suffered by a fellow modeller; a useful reminder that safety is no accident.
Resident silent flight expert Chas Gardiner beckoned for newsletters in order to keep in touch with what was happening at club level, and featured George White’s 72” span ‘take it on holiday’ soarer, which packed into a box measuring just 26 x 17 x 5.5”.
Stu Richmond chipped in with R/C Fun USA, remarking on the high level of ARTF acceptance as the format swamped the Stateside market, and giving a sneak peek of three all-American two-strokes: Jet 46, Fox 15 and Cox ‘Killer Bee’ .049, which red-lined at an ear-splitting 22,000 rpm! Meanwhile, the ‘balsa cement vs. other adhesives’ discussion gently simmered on in Scale News, which also featured a letter from Don Lewis, defending the aesthetic honour of the LFG Roland CII Walfisch. Don was scratch-building a 66” span version, the core information for his model coming from an Airfix kit.
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Meanwhile, electric flight enthusiasts were catered for by Flying Sparks, Dave Chinery setting out the design details of his dream model, a 100” span Antonov 225, complete with six EDF units. And yes, it flew!
Large Model Affairs saw Keith Mitchell reporting on the ‘over 20kg’ scheme going before the CAA for approval and arguing the case for dual redundancy systems onboard large model aircraft. Finally, Nick Papillon wrapped things up with Hovering About, looking at airspeed, groundspeed, transitional lift and vortex ring, this in the aftermath of crashing his heli’.
Ah, I remember the issue well. Can it really be 20 years ago?