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Author Topic: From Strombecker thru Speedi-Bilt  (Read 15491 times)

Offline Mike Lauerman

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From Strombecker thru Speedi-Bilt
« on: August 11, 2015, 02:29:10 PM »
Far as I can recall, my first was a static Strombecker desk model. My older cousin Bill was in the Air Force, so I built him a solid balsa fused F86 for his room at Parks AFB. This was in '52, Korea time...
My pal Rich told me about a new kit, Monogram Speedi-Bilt...we went to the hobby shop and I bought a P40, he bought an F4U-1 (or a 5) Corsair.

Some older guys were flying C/L "Gas Motor Planes" at the field down the street from my house, about a 3 block walk. We went to watch, my friends were at the circle, but I was fascinated with a scale like cabin job some real old man (about 40!) was tinkering with.
He attached the wings (about 40" span) by plugging them onto rods sticking out of the cabin. Then, he strung fine wire thru some holes in the fuse, and attached them to drilled square nuts, pulling them taut with long screws, thru the bottom floor of the fuselage. As he tightened the nuts, the wires tightened up, and he adjusted the wings (dihedral) and compressed struts.
I was mezmorized as he now attached the spark plug cable, primed the intake with white gas, and began what seemed like a weeklong ritual of prep to get a 'backfire', then a more promising 'sputter'...Finally, it came to life, and he moved the timing arm and needle adjustment to a running position.

Just think! Balsa and hard wood, metal and soft aluminum, all glued and bolted together...
I knew you couldn't shop for a ship like this...you had to build it. I was familiar with flying models. But I had never seen one so...lifelike, so 'scale'. It was an introduction to what would shape my life.

Pacified by a multitude of profile, Sterling semi scale, and Berkeley frustrations, I still longed to build a high wing scale model that was 'complicated', built the old way; planked fuse, flying wires, Golden Age.
I'm working slowly on a Reginald Dennyplane, from plans...just a 'unique' 60" W.S. scale model of a model! (loosely based on a Fairchild 24 'Rancher', but actually a 'Dennyplane'!) Controline, natch.

Thanks for a splendid site, Sparky. Love it here...





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