Tomboy (oz285)


Tomboy (oz285) by Vic Smeed 1950 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Tomboy. Free flight power sport model. Vic Smeed classic design, free flight trainer for 0.5 - 1 cc power.

Quote: "TOMBOY is one of the most amazing models we have handled at the Aeromodeller offices... It is simple to build, easy to fly and as intended, an ideal beginner's model.

Just before starting on the building instructions I want to say how lucky I think any beginner is to have a model like the TOMBOY to start on. It is so easy to build - and presumably you have had at least some previous experience of modelling by now - that the instructions will not need to be quite so lengthy as usual, particularly in those parts which are identical in method with glider or rubber models.

A glance at the plan of the TOMBOY is sufficient to show that Mr Smeed is a man of ideas - one of which is to use up all the available space on the paper! As you will see, he has catered for a variety of engines, both as regards make and capacity, calling for different grades of wood and different sizes in wing and tailplane. There is even the alternative of making the model a floatplane, with interchangeable land or water undercarriage!

For the sake of those who are building this as their very first power model, I think that the best plan will be to standardise on the following layout: ED Bee engine; 36 in wingspan; land undercarriage - the wheels to be detachable or not according to choice. (If they are detachable, they can later be replaced at will by floats without effecting the rest of the model.) Right? Then here we go!

Perhaps the slowest part of building a model is the cutting out and sanding of all the ribs and the fuselage formers. Personally, I always like to get this over with right at the start, so I suggest that we do it now.

First of all the ribs. The method applies to both wing and tailplane ribs. Lay a piece of semi-transparent paper, grease-proof will do, over the rib outline as marked on the plan, and trace it onto the paper, including the place where the spar cuts through the rib. Now use carbon paper to trace this outline onto a piece of thin plywood - 1mm if you have any, otherwise 1/16 in. The outer grain of the ply should run from end to end of the rib shape.

Cut out the ply rib, and sand accurately to shape, checking by laying it onto the plan rib as you proceed. Use this rib as a template, round which to draw all the ribs needed onto 1/16 medium sheet balsa; 20 for the wing rib, 9 for the tailplane. Cut these out roughly without cutting out the spar slot, and sandwich them side to side against the accurately finished ply rib.

Push two straight pins from each side right through the 'sandwich' to hold them firmly, and sand until they are identical with each other and with the ply rib. Then use a small hacksaw to cut right through all the ribs together at the spar slot; one cut down each side of the slot as already cut in the ply rib is sufficient; the loose pieces can then be scraped out.

Formers: These are traced out first onto greaseproof or similar paper over the plan, and then transferred by means of carbon paper onto the 1/16 sheet balsa - or plywood in the case of Former 1 and 1A. With balsa, the grain should be running along the length of the former, ie from end to end, rather than from side to side..."

Update 29/03/2021: Added review (of the Falcon Models kit) from Aviation Modeller International, October 2005, thanks to RFJ.

Supplementary file notes

Article thanks to algy2.


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Tomboy (oz285) by Vic Smeed 1950 - model pic


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User comments

I have scaled up the Tomboy by 200% and added 3 ch rc and powered by a saito 56 (way over powered!) [model photo & more pics 003]. But it flies just like the one I made when I was a kid. At 72 inches it is easy to see and easy to fly. I have reduced the dihederal to 8 inches at each tip and braced the first 2 fus bays with 1.5mm ply. It is good &strong. Flying is easy 1/2 throtle for take off and just above idle for flying. Thanks for all the great plans on Outerzone. Best regards,
ColinTheobald - 06/05/2013
Hi. Just sending you this photo of my Tomboy [see more pics 007]. It is electric powered. I built the 36" version and powered it with an EMAX CF2812 motor. Prop. is a GWS 8x6. Battery is a 2cell lipoly 800 mah. It climbs very quickly on half power and the glide is good if not as good a lightweight version with an i.c. engine. CG so far is set at 600mm from the L.E. Not on the spar as suggested in the original article. I may now build the 44" wing as this motor has more than enough power.
Pete - 20/04/2014
Hi Steve Double size Tomboy built off a plan drawn by my late uncle in the 1950s [see more pics 008]. Model photographed in the late Eighties-early Nineties. Happy Landings,
DaveDavis - 09/08/2014
My long lost Tomboy - including the ED Bee [see more pics 009,010].
Modelholic - 12/07/2015
Hi Steve and Mary. I built the TOMBOY of your site [see more pics 011]. I used really Japanese paper. a difficult work. a rubber model but now with electric motor RC. weighs 280 grams, and flies very well.
JulienVermeire - 10/12/2015
Hello again, More model airplane pictures. Tomboy/Tom-E-Boy, with 400 electric motor. [See more pics 012-014.]
KjellMasch - 21/03/2016
Hello, Fantastic job that you are doing with the website Here some pictures of my recently built Tomboy rc assist, rudder and motor [more pics 015-020]. Kind regards.
Jef - 21/04/2016
I tried the Tomboy out a couple of days ago when the air was calm. Very good straight glide and did not need any trimming. I then took her from the long grass and decided to let her take off from the ground. Big mistake. A CF 2822 is way too much power. She shot forward about 3 feet and then flipped over and piled in nose first. I have fitted a new motor shaft and put a piece of balsa on the tx throttle control to limit power to half throttle. Looks like Friday morning or next Sunday will have calm air again, so will fly her then.
MalcolmJ - 29/09/2016
Just got back from test flying the Tomboy. I was unable to do ROG despite various attempts at slowly increasing the throttle and take off run speed. In the end I did a hand launch and away she flew. Super sensitive on the controls, but superb for guided free flight. I spent a few minutes playing around keeping her upwind. Wind was about 3mph from the east. As I got the feel for her I decided to try some overshoots. All this went OK with gliding on the downwind leg, base and final. I opened the throttle up, (max throttle is set to about 60% with the CF 2822 which is more than enough) and she climbed away quite rapidly to about 100ft ready for another overshoot. After 4 overshoots my confidence was growing, and having forgot to start my stop watch, I decided to do a touch and go before the low battery alarm went off. I am guessing I had been flying for about 10 minutes. She came in lovely and just as she settled all 3 points on the ground, I opened her up and she flipped over, the flight coming to an end doing a 'head stand' on the wheels and spinner. I had put a toothpick across the fuselage immediately behind the CF2822 to stop the 3 motor wires coming in to contact with the spinning bell housing, and luckily the toothpick broken and had acted as a shock absorber and stopped any damage to the motor and shaft, but the motor mount had shifted back slightly. The glue is just setting on the motor mount ready for some more hand launched flying. No more ROG or touch and goes with the current wing. Has anyone tried Tomboy out with a reduced dihedral? I am thinking of building another wing with a 2" tip dihedral to see if this improves the RC handling. I just weighed her and she is 370 gms, 13 oz, with a cf2822, 30 amp esc, 610ma Rhino 3S, and low battery level alarm. After my aborted flying the battery level was showing a healthy11.6 volts with just over 3.8 v per cell so it should be very easy to get 30 minute thermic flights when winds are light and variable. I am attaching this morning's post-flight pics of Tomboy [more pics 021-025], and hope to be out flying again in a couple of hours. Monday's weather is looking very promising for Tomboy flying. All the best,
MalcolmJ - 10/10/2016
Hello Mary and Steve, I just got home from a gorgeous couple of hours flying the Tomboy. Great fun. My local flying site is called 'The place of the Skull', and is a famous archaeological Thames site with human remains dating back 250,000 years. The views across the Thames to Essex and towards London are excellent and make for a very pleasant flying site. Not official but Dartford council are very model aircraft friendly. As I wrote before, no more ROG with the Tomboy, treating her as a free flight model and all hand launches. I had set my stop watch for 15 minutes and let her go, with the throttle set just under half power. She climbed out very well and I fed in some down trim to limit the climb, and then throttled back to maintain altitude when she was about 500ft or so. It was a bit early for thermals, but when the battery alarm went off she had done 28 minutes. As luck would have it I was chatting to a dog walker and he asked if it was difficult to land models. I said it was very easy as this model was free flight and didn't need much in the way of control. As it turned out I thought I had misjudged final, but luckily she did a greaser of a landing and rolled up to a couple of feet of me. Jammy. Next 2 flights were equally good. 32 minutes from the second flight and 27 mins from the third. I think once thermal activity is going, flights of an hour should be easily achievable. I glued the tail assembly to the fuselage, so to try the 44 inch wing out I will have to build another Fus and tailplane. Just recharging the batteries for more Tomboy flying while the weather stays good. All the best,
MalcolmJ - 10/10/2016
Evening Mary, After this morning's brilliant fly with Tomboy, my son wanted to see her fly after he returned from his day centre. The weather was lovely with a hardly noticeable 2 mph easterly breeze. I decided we would do a downwind launch as that breeze was negligible. Big mistake! I hand launched her, and she was all over the place, rapidly flicking on her back and diving nose first into the ground. Now I am trying to decide whether to try to rebuild the front half of the model, or build 2 new fuselages, one each for the 36 and 44 inch wings. Think I'll build 2 fuselages. Lessons learned for next flights with the Tomboy: 1) No ROGs, 2) No downwind launches. Photo of wreckage attached [more pics 026]. Any other Tomboy builders had this experience, or is it just me?
MalcolmJ - 11/10/2016
I built 2 new fuselage sides for the Tomboy, then decided to build a complete new front end from F4 onwards so I could get some more flying in while the weather remains good. Had her all ready for flying again on Saturday, with the fuselage an extra 1/4 inch longer because of the extra F4 and formers. I had a good 25 minute flight at 07:00 am on Sunday and because it was very cold and I had not had a crash, decided to go home, have a coffee, warm up and think about the flight. Monday was brilliant. Went out about 10:30, thermals, sea socks and a hot water bottle under my ex TfL insulated hi-vi, and had 3 flights of over 30 minutes each. Quite breezy above 500 feet, but the northerly wind blowing down across the Thames from Essex had good thermal streets forming and she was up at the cloud base in no time. Wonderful, but very hard to see at 36" span. My Junior 60 is a great thermaller, and if she disappears in the cloud she soon appears if I tighten up the right hand turn a bit. May try that with the Tomboy if she goes into a cloud. I had a Bucanneer fitted with a camera that used to disappear in to the clouds, but she was reluctant to come down, so after a couple of close shaves I fitted 12" air breaks in each wing and that did the trick. I want to fly the Tomboy in my local park, but the trees are still very leafy, and I don't want to lose sight of her if she gets behind the trees, so I practiced 20 minutes flying within the boundaries of the feild, and she was very good and responsive in the low level turbulence and curl over. Real joy to fly.
MalcolmJ - 14/10/2016
I have been having great fun with the Tomboy and now that I have learned to keep at less than half throttle with the CF2822, she is a joy to fly. I thought she would be a calm air, early morning / evening flyer, but wind penetration is not a problem. I just had a quick 45 minute flight with wing about 15 mph and no probs at all. Very confident she will fly in stronger winds but don't see the need for that.
MalcolmJ - 20/10/2016
Morning Steve and Mary, I lost my 36" Tomboy on Friday 4th November with a really stupid mistake. The weather forecast for the next few days was non too good, so I decided to have a fly while the weather was OK. The wind was a gentle southerly but overcast at about 1000 ft. I went to the Skull place and set up my fishing chair and sent her off for the first flight. Even though it was overcast their was some lift about and I had a very nice relaxing flight and brought her down for a battery change after 45 mins. I decided on the next flight to take her up to the cloud base and set off climbing steadily in to wind until she was in lift and I turned the motor off and put in some up elevator to slow her down a bit. I do not know how high she was, but she was not coming down and looked to be in steady lift and drifting back towards me. She drifted back to right overhead and had become a small dot, at which time I should have put her nose down and taken her back upwind. This is where stupidity set in, and as I had not yet reached the cloud base and was leaning right back in the chair and getting bad neck ache I decided to get out of the chair and turn round to keep going for the clouds. I got out of the chair, turned round and could no longer see her. Vanished. As she was in lift I expect that if she didn't come down in the Thames she must have ended up in Essex. Reminded me of the time I lost a Mamselle, when I launched her and knocked the battery switch off and watch her climbing gently into the blue to vanish over the far horizon. Got her back though after a couple of months when a farmer was harvesting his crop and spotted her just before his combine chewed her up. I was flying my K8 from Challock in Kent a few years ago, and I had always wanted to take a photo of a windmill just to the north of Canterbury. It was a very rough, 'blue' thermal day, and after an hour or so of getting bounced around I was thinking of going back to Challock and calling it a day. However some very big clouds started building up just north of Canterbury, so I decided to go and see if it was any better over there and, if not, then head for home. I went between two towering clouds in the clear and I could still see the ground OK. As I was flying alongside the base of one of the clouds I could see the water vapour being sucked in ahead of me, and as I could see through it OK just decided to carry on and fly through it. Nearly had a change of pants moment. Without any warning I was in the cloud. Dead smooth, the vario was off the scale but my piece of string on the cockpit canopy was vertical, and I realised I could keep a heading because the sun was illuminating one side of the cloud to the south, and the interior was much darker. I also had speed limiting airbrakes, so the accepted wisdom was if you lose control in cloud just open the airbrakes fully and wait until you come out of the bottom of the cloud. As it was I suddenly popped out of the cloud into the clear, but about 3,000 ft higher. Exhilerating stuff. It made me wonder if a similar thing had happened to Tomboy. Just sucked up into glider heaven. Any way I have completed another Tomboy fuselage, and almost completed another one. Got a 44" wing which just needs covering and I hope will handle the power of the CF2822 better than the 36" wing. Just off to fly the Junior 60 with my son. Not going to get neck ache anymore. Happy days,
MalcolmJ - 15/11/2016
Here are photos of my TOMBOY [more pics 027-029]. I built the model scrap from plans of Outerzone.
LuigiCarlucci - 02/01/2017
Hi Steve, hi Mary, Best wishes for 2020! Here is my 2nd Tomboy [more pics 030-032] with the rubber band motor and control RC. With original Japanese paper, HUMBROL painted, with the free hand. Landed on a sheepskin. Thanks for Outerzone; Kind regards from Belgium,
Julien - 30/01/2020
I have been unable to locate any full size plans for the TomBoy oz285. Can anybody provide a usuable plan that I could build from? Even an old often used plan. Would any person have any ideas that can guide me in building a version of the Tom Boy?
Ronald Hynes - 27/03/2020
Ronald, for help on how this site works, see the FAQ page at in short, all the plans here are free downloads, are at fullsize, and you can tile print them for yourself at home.
SteveWMD - 27/03/2020
Hello, I am 15 and here are some pictures of my Tomboy I made in lockdown, powered by a Cox 049 babe bee [pics 033,034]. I haven' t been able to fly it under power yet because I don't know where I am allowed to fly it. I love your website because it is full of wonderful model planes that can all be made with balsa wood and tissue paper. I have spent probably more than 10 hours getting lost in all the fascinating models.
Thank you so much for providing this great website. It is much better than video games ;) Best regards,
Ben - 17/10/2020
Hi, thanks for the plans and photos on the web. My Tomboy [pics 036, 037] with engine MPJet .040. Best regards,
Petr Panek - 01/02/2022
Tomboy lovers should get hold of this month's Aeromodeller, March 2022. It tells the saga of the original 70 years old Tomboys nos.1 and 2, their preservation and restoration. All thanks to Andy Brough* and Vic's family. Why Tomboy #2? Easy, it was made by Vic's brother Bill, but do read the full tale in the AM!
* Brough? Anything to do with the motorcycles?
Miguel - 05/03/2022
Good evening! I built a better aero that I've ever had a docile, great glide flight, well roomy for electronics installation, perfect model for those who like classic flights [pics 038-041].
Izabel Cristina Gavasso - 05/08/2022
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