Chapter 2

 

Chapter 2

Definition: Scale, detail in miniature, broader types.

It may seem at first sight strange to suggest that we should propose discussing the design of scale model flying aircraft.

Surely, says the reader, as the model is a scale reproduction of some particular prototype all the designing was carried out on the actual full-size craft. All we have to do is to reproduce that full-size craft at one-twelfth or one-eighteenth the size, or whatever scale we should decide upon.

We trust, however, that if the reader will peruse these pages he will realize that the design of a scale model is full of all sorts of pitfalls for the unwary, and in fact often is a far greater problem than designing the more usual duration type of model one sees at every model meeting.

And here let us state most emphatically for the benefit of the uninitiated that although we can get splendid realistic flights of quite a high order of duration, yet, owing to the restrictions imposed upon us by a given outline and shape, we are not yet, at any rate, able to compete with the out-and-out duration class of model in length of time and distance flown.

It has already been taken for granted that we have an idea of what a scale model really is - that it is a reproduction of a full-size aircraft only built to a considerably smaller size. For instance, a model built to a scale of one inch to the foot would in reality be one-twelfth the size of the real job in length and wing-span, and so on.

It will readily be seen, however, that it is impracticable to reproduce every detail and every small part in their correct proportion, and so we have to leave the final decision of detail to the builder himself.

Now there are two main types of model both within the scale model category.

Firstly there is the type in which the builder desires to build the most perfect miniature that he can, including parts that are seen and parts that are not seen; every detail that can be incorporated being fitted, even perhaps to a complete motor under the cowling.

Secondly, there is the type of a bolder conception, a type that pleases the eye and expresses the character and individuality of the actual job in a few distinctive parts without all the fuss of detail.

It is "art," only in a different sphere.

We have admired beautiful pen and ink etchings, with every detail the master mind could produce, and we have seen the artist with a few bold strokes of a brush create a picture full of life and vigour.


Miles Kestrel. This fine action photo shows another of Mr. Towners models. Spam is 39 in. Plans are on page 65.
Miles Kestrel. This fine action photo shows another of Mr. Towners models. Spam is 39 in. Plans are on page 65.
 

The one common ground to both these types of expressing our ideas is that our boundary line shall be the same, a wing of a certain plan form, the diameter of an engine cowling or the overall length of the model must be in true proportion to the original.

To those of you who do not possess that instinctive art to know what to put in and what to leave out we would say "leave it out." It will have a much cleaner appearance and look perhaps less like a Christmas tree!

The following method helps. Draw on a piece of cardboard the outline of the model you propose to build, making it the correct size of the finished job—cut this out. You then have a silhouette of the completed job if you hold it up before you.

Now suppose you could see the actual prototype sitting pretty on an airfield. You could walk up to it, holding this silhouette of yours in front of you until you arrived at a position when this card of yours exactly covered the real thing. Now what you can see of the details of the actual job is what you should incorporate in your model.

Don't delay building your model if you are unable to see the actual thing, but this just gives you a shrewd idea of how much to leave out.

Now both these types of model, the fully-detailed and the impressionist type, can be divided again, depending entirely on the builder's wishes. He can build with a .view-to its exhibition qualities as being pre-eminent, with its flying qualities as a secondary consideration, or he can place performance first and exhibitive qualities second.

Probably the true flying scale model is one in which neither one nor the other quality is subservient. A model in which every characteristic, whether it be likeness to form, style of flight or reasonable duration in the air, are all harmoniously blended in an even proportion, so that we shall not hear such remarks as "a fine performance but a poor finish" or "a wonderful finish but a poor performance."

 
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