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Author Topic: Another Youthful Fascination  (Read 459 times)

Offline Serge_Krauss

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Another Youthful Fascination
« on: October 25, 2019, 09:50:37 AM »
While editing the newsletter, I felt this little guy over my shoulder. It has been on a filing cabinet back there for a couple decades, since I brought it from our old garage shop at home in Elkhart. It's a Harter's "Royal Rodent" rat racer I built around 1962 (give or take a year), before I really understood finishing techniques - or the need for free controls. It survives today simply because it never flew - thankfully. With it's magnesium speed pan and Dooling .29, it would have been a barely controllable 110 mph missile.

I remember the care I put into it though. Dad helped me drill the holes for the landing gear and drill and tap the engine mount holes, and I polished the magnesium pan to a mirror finish with the buffing wheel. I had traded for this well-worn Dooling .29, the epitome of the finest speed engines of its time, and remember my pilgrimages to the mezzanine level of The Fair Store in Chicago's loop to view a new one. The plane was supposed to be candy-apple red, but I didn't know then that one could not get that by mixing red with aluminum-silver (the only silver then), but rather had to thin the red and paint over the silver, or preferably gold. Thus it came out a violet-tinged, dull metallic pink. So I reverted to my usual color scheme, painting coat upon coat of Testor's dope, unaware of the virtues of sand paper and fairing materials. But for me then, it was just beautiful - AND I didn't kill anyone with it.

At the end of my serious building days, I bought the newest K&B .40 racing engine, drilled and tapped another Harter's pan, and made a larger wing of redwood(!), but college pretty much killed that one. The last thing I built (1969-1970) was my little "mouse racer" that carries the autographs of NASCAR great Hershel McGriff and Danica patrick, whose careers started 50+ years apart, but overlapped in 2010. It never flew either.

...and thus they survive.

(Three stunt planes survived, including the Yak-9 I started around 1963 and finished in 2001-2. The "Whipsaw", with it's heavy RR McCoy .19 never flew either, but the "Spacemaster Jr" actually survived many encounters with the ground)

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Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Another Youthful Fascination
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2019, 10:08:40 AM »
Yes, those were the days.  My Dad supported my model building as much as he could by launching my planes when he could.  After his accident I had to come up with a stooge to fly my 1/2A's at the time.  Flew in the back yard so he could watch me fly looking out the bed room window.  Once he could he became my stooge as by then I was flying Ringmaster and Flite Streak.   He taught me how to make a drill bit using a nail of the proper diameter.   He left me in spring of 62.  I my self tried flying my racing planes in competition until on the way home from a contest Mother suggested I find a pilot and bi the pit man as I knew my engines.  The rest is history. 

Good to see your story and yes finishing was not a top priority after I got lessons from Mr. Meriwether.  He always stated, build light and straight with enough finish to look decent.  Yes, those were the days, but would I go back, only if I could get different results.    D>K
John E. "DOC" Holliday
10421 West 56th Terrace
Shawnee, KANSAS  66203
AMA 23530  Have fun as I have and I am still breaking a record.

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