Playboy Senior (oz7835)

 

Playboy Senior (oz7835) by Joe Elgin, Paul Denson from RCMplans 1975 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Playboy Senior. RC version of the classic pylon free flight design.

Note the Playboy Senior, designed by Joe Elgin, first appeared as a Cleveland kit in 1939. See their site at https://clevelandairline.com/ for more details. This here is a later version, as printed in RCM May 1975. This is the nearest thing we have on Oz to an original plan, so we will use this page here as the base, and will link to here from Playboy Senior variants.

Quote: "Take a look at the kit you are flying - nine chances out of ten you know who designed the plane, probably because he flew the ship to a National Championship at one time or another. Goldberg became famous because of his Sailplane (oz)1058, Zipper (oz387), and Clipper (oz7380). Sal Taibi flew his Powerhouse (oz5644) and Brooklyn Dodger (oz1056). Today, Mark and Rod Smith have flown the Windward (oz7879) and Windfree (oz1637) to victory in many National Sailplane contests. These people are known by all modelers because they flew their own planes and received the publicity they so well deserved.

Have you ever heard of the Playboy? Oh! Sure, it was a kit that was put out by Cleveland way back in the '30's. A good plane? Yes, it did win a large number of contests, rumor has it that it eclipsed all kit planes as a contest winner. Ever see them around any more? No?

Check out the old-timer contests, it is right in there with the best. Look through any model magazine and see how many pictures of this pylon beauty you will find. It is still the most beautiful Free Flight plane you will ever see.

Free Flight? Sure, and try R/C too. You will see Playboy flying in the pure form with spark plug, coil and condenser. You will see her with a glow engine and three channel radio searching out the thermals and floating like a big 7 ft feather.

Who designed the Playboy? Well-er-uh it was a Cleveland kit and you can get information from John Pond about her. So I went to the dean of old-timers, John Pond and asked him. He told me he thought it was Joe Elgin - he had flown with Joe many years ago, but in answer to another query, he did not have the slightest idea where I might find him. 'You might try some of the other old-timers' and this I did.

I wrote the AMA and asked Frank Ehling, I wrote Frank Zaic, I asked Clarence Mather, I went up to Lake San Marcos and talked to the curator of the model museum, Russ Herrera - you would think that a lineup like this would at least have some idea. They all gave me clues, but nothing definite. Since Cleveland Model Supply Co had been in Cleveland, I should write someone there and perhaps he would know. It was pointed out that Dick Korda was a long time resident of that Ohio city. While looking up Dick's address in the Cleveland telephone directory in the library, it dawned upon me to look and see if a Joe Elgin was there too. There was just one Joseph Elgin listed therein.

The next day I dashed off two letters with high hopes. The letter to Dick was returned for one reason or another known only to the postal service. Two days later a letter arrived from a Joe Elgin postmarked Cleveland. It took guts to tear open the letter as this was my last avenue. It was a short letter admitting to being the right Joe Elgin and saying: Let's talk about the Playboy series - it has been a long time. Much of the following is from subsequent correspondence with Joe.

Today thirty-five years later, the name Playboy almost seems up-to-date. From years of experience in Free Flight, indoor and outdoor rubber, a small Free Flight gas job evolved. As gassies went in those days it was relatively small, 'junior size' I guess you would call it, but extremely successful as a flyer. It performed! When it was scaled up to 7 ft wingspan, kitted and christened with the, then ridiculous name 'Playboy' it became a powered sailplane - a real floater. Flown with an O&R .60 up front it started a new page in the history of modeling. In the winter of 1939 the kit hit the market and Bill Schwab built the first Playboy Sr. He went on to win many contests, first in Cleveland, first in Akron, and sixth in the Chicago NATS. This is the plane that broke the world's record twice within 7 days. That was just the start and she is still going strong today.

The original kit was $3.95 complete, less engine. Try $39.50 today for the same kit - it doesn't seem out of place. Then look around at your local hobby shop. There wasn't much difference in putting the kits together back then. If things got busy, you stopped your tasks at the drawing board, went back and helped run balsa through a gang saw that could cut up to 8 sheets at a time - I think all model builders often wonder about the sawdust we've inhaled in our lifetime. But in the woodshop you did it in one afternoon.

Cleveland Model and Supply Co Inc, owned by the Pachasa brothers, put out two other Playboy kits - the Junior, from which the whole series evolved, was powered by an O&R .23 and had a 46 in wingspan and was priced at $2.50. The Baby of the family, ready to fly with batteries, coil, condenser and engine, weighed under 16 ounces. The 33 inch wingspan Baby, purchased for a whole dollar, would correspond to the 1/2A planes we are flying today with TD .02's.

Cleveland - it was a good place for a model builder in the 30's and 40's - in fact, it was the hub of the model world and the model company that bore the city's name did a large job in publicizing the area. Who has not sat by the hour and looked at the ads with a picture of each plane they put in the model magazines. One would be hard pressed to find an old-timer who has not built a Cleveland Kit. There were many names that also made Cleveland famous. A local contest would have appeared like the Nats of those days: Dick Korda, Chet Lanzo, George Reich, Red Hillegass, and Jerry Kolb are some of the guys who represented two fine clubs, the Cleveland Balsa Butchers and the American Airlines Gas Model Club. Dick Korda won the Wakefield in I939, Reich did it in 1960, and many of the other flyers, including Joe Elgin were members of the US. teams in Wakefield, FAI or Nordic.

About this time WW II came along and most of the modelers felt there must be a niche in the flying end of the armed forces for them. Joe Elgin became a navigator on a B-17 and, after 19 missions over Germany, a FW 190 knocked them out of the air. He spent 16 months in a prisoner of war camp. A modeler is a modeler wherever he may be: I scraped glue from furniture joints, split wood (not balsa) to its finest with razor blades and used rubber obtained from suspenders and elastic. I was able to construct some simple stick models that actually flew out of the barbed wire compound. The German guards were very cooperative and actually retrieved the models for me. Whenever I flew, the other prisoners playing baseball would stop and watch. It was a lot of fun.

Joe started as an apprentice lithographer after his year at Cleveland Model Supply and is still in that trade today. After WW II he continued his model plane hobby as a member of the 1951 Wakefield Team, the year the contest was held in Finland, One week later they flew the first FAI meet in France. On his first flight he lost his Arden .09 powered ship 00S. He maxed, but the ship was never recovered and, since that was his only plane, he was out of the contest.

At the 1953 Cranfield, England FAI meet, Dave Kneeland became World Champion and the US Power team won first place. Stan Hill, Carl Wheeley, and Joe Elgin were the other members of that team. The Playboy Sr was now 15 years old.

Joe Elgin's interest in flying hasn't stopped since - he still flies indoors but since he started to fly the 'real thing' about 6 years ago it is more fun to visit a strange field, rent a glider, and do some soaring, now he is up there in person where the Playboy has spent these past 35 years searching and floating from thermal to thermal.

CONSTRUCTION: The plans for the Playboy are pretty much self-explanatory. So was the last kit I built and it was the hardest ever, so perhaps a few words are in order - particularly having to do with the modification for R/C.

Extremely important is the beefing up of the wing to stand the stresses placed upon it by movable control surfaces, after all, you are going to be tempted to do an occasional loop or snap roll, and the wing must be strong enough to take it. Even though the spars are spruce and you have 1/8 ply sheet dihedral braces, the main spars must be webbed with 1/16 sheet vertical grained balsa out at least to the polyhedral break. I had not webbed the prototype and recently snapped the wing just outboard of the dihedral brace pulling out of a dive before going into a loop. The bottom spar broke the glue joint between it and the dihedral brace and the top spar failed. If it had been webbed this wouldn't have happened.

Because of the pylon on top, entrance to the flight pack must be through the bottom. Finish the cross grain planking on the front of the fuselage then remove the section designated as the equipment access door. Don't forget to build the fuel tank area before planking the fuselage. The fuel tank may be removed through the access door, if necessary. I used the largest cylindrical fuel tank that would fit the space, in this case a 6 ounce tank. A 29 will run for about 15-20 minutes at half throttle on this much fuel.

Make sure the 3/16 square spruce vertical piece of the fin extends through the sub fin. Since it passes through the stab it will weld the tail assembly into a compact unit. Furthermore, if you decide to use floats it will be the hardwood point of attachment for the rear float. If there is even a small chance that you intend to fly the Playboy Sr on floats, install the 3/8 x 1/2 in hardwood cross member in the fuselage before planking - it may be added later on but is difficult to do so.

As an R/C trainer, the Playboy Sr has no peer. My 15 year old young friend knows, no matter what position it gets into, just let go of both controls and it will get itself out of trouble. It is too inherently stable to stay in any position but right-side-up. Don't try to fly it inverted - it can get into that position but, since the airfoil is designed for lift, when inverted it lifts down and fast. It would decidedly be a way to get out of a boomer thermal, quickly.

I must give credit to Joe Elgin for the design and drawings, some of which I traced. The sketchk of the pylon, and the one showing the planking, were drawn from the original which was done by James Powell, a great illustrator who did all the fine sketches showing details..."

Note this plan was published in RCM along with the Antique and Old Timer Floats (oz7619) plan.

Supplementary file notes

Article, thanks to theshadow.

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Playboy Senior (oz7835) by Joe Elgin, Paul Denson from RCMplans 1975 - model pic

Datafile:

Playboy Senior (oz7835) by Joe Elgin, Paul Denson from RCMplans 1975 - pic 003.jpg
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Playboy Senior (oz7835) by Joe Elgin, Paul Denson from RCMplans 1975 - pic 004.jpg
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Playboy Senior (oz7835) by Joe Elgin, Paul Denson from RCMplans 1975 - pic 005.jpg
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Playboy Senior (oz7835) by Joe Elgin, Paul Denson from RCMplans 1975 - pic 006.jpg
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Playboy Senior (oz7835) by Joe Elgin, Paul Denson from RCMplans 1975 - pic 007.jpg
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Playboy Senior (oz7835) by Joe Elgin, Paul Denson from RCMplans 1975 - pic 008.jpg
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Playboy Senior (oz7835) by Joe Elgin, Paul Denson from RCMplans 1975 - pic 009.jpg
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Playboy Senior (oz7835) by Joe Elgin, Paul Denson from RCMplans 1975 - pic 010.jpg
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Playboy Senior (oz7835) by Joe Elgin, Paul Denson from RCMplans 1975 - pic 011.jpg
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Playboy Senior (oz7835) by Joe Elgin, Paul Denson from RCMplans 1975 - pic 012.jpg
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User comments

Hi Mary and Steve, I'm sending you a photograph [more pics 004] with a pair of Playboys flying formation during a meeting of an active Spanish group devoted to Old Timers: www.rcmodelistas.es
alcalaino - 02/11/2016
Also in this summer I had some premiere flights with a big Play Boy Senior, OZ ID 7835 [model photo & more pics 005, 006].
Pajariperro - 29/12/2018
I have attached a couple of photos of my Playboy Sr. for your use [more pics 007, 008]. Built for radio assist from plan #7835. Enjoy and have a great day. Chuck Johnson, Umpqua Valley Modelers, Oakland Oregon.
ChuckJohnson_Oregon - 06/08/2019
One of the best designs. I built two. They have great performance.
Néstor Hugo Fiorini - 19/08/2019
Enclosed photos of my Playboy Senior models [more pics 009-012].
Néstor Hugo Fiorini - 29/08/2019
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