Paul Kohlman and his son, Drew, stand in
front of the inspiration for this project: the
B-25J Sunday Punch.
by Paul Kohlman
Ilove nearly everything about RC flying—the variety, the history, and of course, the flying itself. But for me, the best part by far is scratch-building. I can spend hours studying
other designers’ drawings, noodling over a project in CAD, or
hunched over the building board in the garage.
My attraction is largely in the craftsmanship. I enjoy
building things by hand and like many scratch builders, I’m
sorry to see that this aspect of our hobby is less prevalent than
it once was. We tend to take it personally that most people
don’t fully appreciate the joy that mumbling over a pile
of sticks and breathing balsa dust can bring. It’s downright
I was contemplating this one evening, while working on the
prototype for one of my little fighter kits, when I heard a small
voice over my shoulder: “Dad, I’ve been thinking. Maybe
for your next project we could design and build something
It was my son, Drew, who was 10 years old at the time. I
had hoped that Drew would develop an interest in building
at some point, but I had decided to let him come to me rather
than lead him by the nose. I was thrilled with Drew’s idea.
I remember building my first plastic model with my dad on
the Formica kitchen table when I was Drew’s age. That turned
out to be quite a springboard, because I am still using the
gifts of craftsmanship that he began handing down to me 40
years ago. Jumping at the chance to arm another generation, I
I’m a Scale modeler at heart, so I suggested something
simple and modest: a Stinson L5, but Drew had other ideas.
“Let’s do a B- 25! You know, with retractable landing gear and
flaps and a bomb bay that works!”
Crikey! I should have seen that coming. You see, Drew is a
lucky kid who has been crawling all over a full-scale Mitchell
for as long as he can remember. Until recently, a friend of ours
owned one that was stationed at our local airport.
But that seemed like a big job. I hadn’t even flown a twin
yet in my relatively short RC career, let alone designed one.
Plus it seemed like a lot to bite off for a kid. I didn’t want this
to turn into a bonding project that gathers a mantle of dust
and shame after the initial excitement dims.
29 Model Aviation OC TOBER 2013 www.ModelAviation.com