A return to model building and flying. Part 50

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May 2008

Bit of a landmark page this, can't believe I have written this many; and even more remarkable; found something to write about each time...! So a big thanks to all those that have taken the time to peruse my missives, may you all live long and prosper.

Winterswijk Holland

My friend Herbert Harritsen sent me some pictures of a laid back CL event in Holland (my small experience of Dutch CL comps is that they are all pretty laid back; that's meant to be a compliment not a criticism), which I didn't have time to include them last month. So with apologies to any Dutch readers for the delay, pictures and comments are here

strip solarfilmSolarfilm Stripper

Tip of the month. I have found the easiest way to remove Solarfilm from wood is to use a heat gun on it's hottest setting, and just overheat the film. it shrinks to almost nothing taking most of the adhesive and pigment with it.

Not sure if this works with other types of film, but it might be worth a try if you have to strip reluctant film off an airframe for some reason.


I have had enough struggling with the Weathermen speed models for a while, so I have switched my attention back to the ARTF Ultimate. For those that don't know, this is an attempt to reverse engineer an ARTF electric park fly RC model, to an IC powered CL model. If it is successful, there are an awful lot of ARTF RC models that may be suitable for conversion to CL, that may fill that yawning chasm of lack of easily available CL kits, especially in the scale/semi-scale area. some of the RC fun fly designs are begging to be converted to CL stunt .

This project was shelved for a time because of all the upset in my life around Christmas following on from a disastrous start to the previous year. Once again in my life aeromodelling  gave me something to cling onto to keep going. But this time it's taken a long to finally work up some enthusiasm again ( for any aeromodelling ). And I really DO need something! to prevent me spending entire days in Second Life....as enjoyable as it is. :-D 

It's hard to describe why SL has such a hold on me, it has to be experienced to understand; but I predict that one day most people will spend most of their lives in such an environment (but a much more sophisticated one). It will not be in my lifetime. but as sure as eggs are eggs; it will happen. 

Madam Zoe drifts off into a bit of crystal ball gazing, "ahh! ze mists are clearing, I zee zomzing appearing."

What has this to with aeromodelling? well for me, aeromodelling was always about building AND flying models, and it dawned on me whilst I was lounging about on a Mediterranean like island watching someone building a lighthouse (yes a full sized one) in SL, , that in such an environment, you can build and fly anything, even a model aircraft (which I have actually seen!)  Of course you can't feel the wind, sun and rain; but skydiving from 3000 metres is a scary experience, even watching it on a VDU, I have done it quiet a few times; and a slow romantic dance with a nice guy on a mountain top café with the mist rolling over is equally evocative (very!). It's only a matter of time before ways of producing tactile feedback and 3D visualization becomes a reality, then all the Cyberpunk fiction starts to become a reality. 

I would love to be around to experience it, but I don't think I will be. So take heart if you think aeromodelling is slowly dying, I am sure even then, someone will build a model aircraft for the fun of it (even if the technique is different and involves manipulating scripted objects, not wood or foam), then fly it in cyber space. There is weather in SL, so a competition would be just as unpredictable.

Having ridden motorcycles in SL I know they can be just as difficult to handle and easy to make mistakes with as in real life (but you don't end up dead or maimed). Blissfully, some of the common problems like noise from an IC engine, would disappear; it can be turned off by anyone that doesn't want to listen; and flying sites would cease to become a problem, it's as easy to go fly with a friend in Latvia as Brazil, providing you are in similar time zone; or someone will have to be up in middle of the night.

So somehow! I have to find a way of living to 150 with 48 hour days, to see and experience it all...... LOL

"Ze mist is returning. "Ze ball no longer geevs up it's secrets."

"That'll be five quid dearie!"

Back to the present.

This Ultimate ARTF has to be the slowest build of an ARTF ever, even the covering has begun to slacken off..? Maybe I think too much? I seem to spend weeks pondering such things as, how to mount engines and where and how to fix the fuel tank? I think this has to do with working with other peoples designs. The quickest models I build are always my own, I start with an engine and tank and build the rest of the airframe around it. A kit or an ARTF is the reverse, so I have to invent ways of fitting the tank engine combination, so there are always problems! 

Ultimate problemsThis model is a mass of problems. The silliest was no holes marked in the lower wing for the interplane struts to be screwed into the wing surface, with no indication if the wing surface underneath had any reinforcing to take the screws. This made what should have been a simple process of screwing A to B, turned into an hour plus of assembling and disassembling things to see where things aligned and carefully mark where I thought the holes should have been. This whole process was not helped by the upper plane holes being off true, causing a twist in the struts. I will have to enlarge the screw holes in the brackets to allow some play.

Hinging the elevator to the tailplane was not a strait forward process either, as it can only be done with both parts in-situ in the fuselage. Unfortunately this means that there is barely enough room to actually bend and inset the supplied Mylar hinges. The whole process, again, developed into a cursing wresting match that would not have existed in one of my own designs, as I always do the hinging before the assembly and design fuselages to accommodate this feature during assembly. End result! I end up at a Van Halen rock concert in the Assie's Pub Rock Bar in SL, dancing my socks off to relax and unwind (If anyone was there, I was the Goth chick with the top hat).

The nose area I always knew would be a problem as I was shoehorning a dirty great IC engine into a space where a electric motor should be. But unexpectedly I came across the fact that after filling a few holes with some old car body filler and trying to file it smooth; that I can 't do it; because the fuselage is pre-covered of course. Filing it flush would destroy the film seal at the edge of the bulkhead, right in a place that I do not want that to happen, because it will be liberally dowsed in fuel most of the time. This leaves me with a very bodged up looking front bulkhead: which I am not proud of. I hope I can make some sort of cowl that will fit, and cover it all eventually. So it was back to SL for some intensive retail therapy shopping for clothes. You can see where all this is going can't you.....!!

Lets hope once these irritations are out of the way the rest goes together more smoothly. I would really like to have a least ONE new model to fly this year, when, and if, the weather settles down to something resembling semi predictable for more than one day in seven. 

And it would probably help if my delightful neighbours would stop playing nerve shatteringly loud music at 2 am in the morning: for 5 hours: thus depriving me of 24 hours of normal functionality the next day. I have given up complaining and loosing the plot, a demented mad woman screaming and yelling in the street whilst trying to break down a door with her bare hands is not a pretty sight at the best of times, and the adrenalin rush and subsequent withdrawal, make me ill for days. A day feeling ill is the lesser of two evils. I must have done something really bad in another life to deserve this lot, probably another reason I spend a lot of time in SL, the people I meet there are on the whole, much less obnoxious.

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