This nice Ohlsson 60-powered Clipper
Mk I was photographed at the 2007 SAM
Championships by Ned Nevels. The modeler’s
name mysteriously disappeared from the
Fred Mulholland’s RC
for more details.
Mention building a model airplane and many think of assembling plastic parts out of a box, while following an illustrated instruction booklet. But most Old-Timer (OT) fliers consider nothing less than the cutting and gluing
together of balsawood sticks over full-size plans to be constructing a model.
There’s probably no better place for a new builder to start than with an OT
model. As with many crafts, you can master the basics quickly, yet years later most of
us are still perfecting personal techniques while continuing to learn from each other.
This issue of MA should have some comprehensive construction articles, so I
won’t try to duplicate that. But as fewer people actually build models, the sources
of plans, supplies, and information become harder to find. I think the best use of
this column is to describe as many sources as possible while hoping to minimize
duplication from other articles.
A good place to start the learning process is by seeking out and joining SIGs. Most
have their own informative newsletters
and journals. See the “Sources” section
at the end of this column for contact
Society of Antique Modelers
First on the list is my favorite, the
Society of Antique Modelers (SAM).
This organization has a large and informative website, a
bimonthly newsletter (SAM Speaks), and a forum. The forum
address is listed in “Sources.” It’s a sort of cracker-barrel chat
room, but if you pose a specific modeling question, you’ll
receive excellent answers backed by years of experience.
SAM models are all hand built, mostly
from kits, but some are from plans. The
website’s vendor list shows at least 10
plans sources, and more than a dozen kit
Most OT kits sold today are partial
or short kits. They are either laser or
machine cut, and contain only the
shaped balsa parts such as wing ribs,
wing and empennage tip parts, firewalls,
etc. Prebent landing gear is sometimes
included. You supply the strip and sheet
wood, along with the typical covering
materials, accessories, etc. This reduces
kit packaging size and shipping costs.
National Free Flight Society
The National Free Flight Society
(NFFS) also has a nice website. Unlike
SAM, its interests include modern
competition models as well as several
categories of OT models. Most FF fliers
still construct their own aircraft, so the
organization has more than 800 plans
for sale at reasonable prices.
Finding Antique Engines
The Model Engine Collectors
Association (MECA) is a primary
source for buying and selling modern
and antique engines, plus parts and
accessories—all in new or used
condition. The organization also
publishes a bimonthly bulletin/swap
sheet with plenty of free ads for
Many engines are available through
eBay, but prices are usually higher, and
AMA works for you to protect your right to fly. The paid advertisement opposite this page references
First Person View (FPV) flying equipment. Please note FPV equipment should only be used in
accordance with AMA guidelines. Contact AMA at www.modelaircraft.org for more information.
93 Model Aviation OC TOBER 2013 www.ModelAviation.com