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My Wish List

May 05, 2015

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Airfield Models ( Personal Wish List

This is my personal wish list for the Model Building hobby.  Basically this is a page where I am just going to jot down ideas for things I think can be improved as I think of them.

Anyone who knows me knows I like to gripe about things that I do not feel are up to standard.  However, I realize that I am irrational about some things, so you will not see too many flames on this website.

When I do flame a product or company it is because whatever it is that I do not like about it ticked me off to an exceptional degree such as a product being so poorly conceived or implemented that there is no way a manufacturer does not realize it and they continue selling it anyway.

On to my wish list...


Wish List

  • I don't particularly care for hard-surfaced runways.  First, engines need a very low, reliable idle or the model needs brakes to prevent the model from rolling off on it's own.  Second, asphalt isn't very forgiving of even minor mishaps such as touching a wing tip.

    Instead, all flying fields should be made from perfectly manicured putting green grass.  Even small aircraft should roll on it fairly well.  It's firm enough to prevent wheels from digging in and causing nose-overs yet forgiving enough not to cause damage to the finish if a wing tip drags over it lightly.

  • This one comes from Antonio Amado and I like the idea so much that I've decided to wish for it myself.  Some mad scientist in a well-funded university needs to develop genetically engineered termites that create perfect hinge slots.  When they're finished they die and go to termite heaven where they are rewarded for a job well done.

  • I wish wheel collars were made from a metal that holds a thread better such as stainless steel.  I would also like to see wheel collars like Fox used to make that capped the end of the axle.

  • Every set of instructions for a flying model aircraft should have a page that provides complete specifications for the model.  It's nice to have the major specs on the kit box too.  That gives me a rough idea of what to expect from the model without having to open the box to get the instructions which some hobby shop owners frown upon.

    In that regard, I think a customer should be able to open every kit he is considering purchasing so he peruse the contents.  I've seen a lot of kits that looked good on the box, but what was in it prompted me to put the box back on the shelf.

    Getting back to my primary gripe... The worst kits are those that do not include a full set of specifications.  Half the time the wing area and wing loading aren't anywhere.  The next worst are kits that have some specifications on the box but not in the instructions.

    For example, I've built several kits where the wing span and wing area are listed only on the box.  I normally stash the box someplace out of the way when I'm building.  I'd rather not have to pull it back out just to find out what the wing area of the model is supposed to be.

  • The one area where this hobby has really gone backward over the years is tires for our aircraft.  It's like our choices are "low bounce" balloon wheels, O-rings on turned aluminum hubs, plastic looking "scale" wheels (Robart and Williams Brothers) and that's it.

    My favorite wheels of all time for sport models were made by Kraft.  They were on the heavy side, but there were a few different styles and they all looked really nice.  Additionally, the hubs bolted together and hid the wheel collar inside.  I wish somebody would start manufacturing these wheels again.  I'm sure a little R & D and the use of more modern rubber tire compounds can bring the weight down significantly.

    Somebody please make some wheels that have a little bit of style please!

  • I've come to the realization that I will forever live in obscurity.  Not one of my model aircraft designs will become famous or classic.  There is a good reason.  I don't drink.  The romantic legend of all great designs is that they began life on a cocktail napkin.

    None of my designs have come about like that.  They've been sketched on my glass building board, inside book covers, on scraps of paper, and a myriad of other things.  But never have any of my designs adorned a cocktail napkin.

    I can say I gave it my best effort though.  Many years ago I tried to become a wino.  I just wasn't very good at it so I quit trying.

  • Blister packs are a pain.  Pack small amounts of hardware in bags.  Ziploc type bags gets your company bonus points.

  • Don't put stickers of any type on my balsa.  I don't mind if you print on it, but the last thing I want to do is sit around trying to peel bits and pieces of price tags or identification stickers off my wood.

    The other problem with stickers is that their thickness adds up.  When the balsa is stacked the stickers make the stack taller at one end than the other or at both ends compared to the middle if the sheets are alternated.

    In any case, stickers bug me and that's why your company needs to stop using them.

  • A set of drill bits that can cut soft balsa cleanly.  Sharpened tubing works well, but can't be used in a drill or drill press because the plugs have to be knocked out.

    Perhaps a set made from stainless steel tubing with a hole in the side where a wire can be inserted to knock out the plugs.

  • I have never heard anyone say, "Man!  I just love to cut hinge slots!  I wish this plane had more hinges!"

    One thing that could make hinging significantly easier would be a high-quality hinge cutting guide.  The Dubro guide works sort of, but it is too flexible and I have found that drawing the location of the slot on the wood and using the hinge fork free-hand gives me better results.

    What I would like is a good steel guide that can somehow be clamped onto the surface so that I can use both hands to guide the fork and not have to hold the guide at all.

  • They should have killed Maverick and Ice Man and left Goose alone.  Then we wouldn't have had to endure another movie with Tom Cruise standing around in his underoos feeling sorry for himself.  Goose, his wife and the carrier captain were the only likeable people in the whole movie.

  • Servo leads How should they come out of the servo?  The way they are now makes it difficult to insert or remove servos from rails.  I normally cut a notch in the rail someplace so I can insert the servo and then slide it into place.

    The problem with this scheme is that normally I have to take the screws out of a couple servos and slide them over so I can get just the one servo out.

    The only type of mount that servos go into easily are thin such as a plywood trays.  The problem there is that a thin tray does not give a servo screw much to hold on to.

    So where should the leads come out?  If they come out the bottom, then that might cause problems to especially in shallow areas such as wing.

    I do not have an answer to this one, but I wish somebody did.

    Actually, the answer may be to manufacture servos with a self-contained nuclear power source and receiver.  Then the servos don't need leads because they can be directly controlled from the transmitter.  I'm a genius!

  • I hate stickers!  err... I mean printed, pressure-sensitive, vinyl graphics.  All scale model kits should come with water-slide decals or at least have them as an option.  I know they will not hold up on a film finish - especially on glow powered planes.

    However, scale model shouldn't have a film finish anyway unless it is a cheesy sport scale model.  But any kit that is supposed to be scale enough to compete with should not come with thick stickers.

  • Spinner cut-out templates made like drafting templates.  The way it works is that there is a row of cut-outs for each size propeller for different size spinners.  For example, each row is one size and pitch of propeller - 10 x 6, for example.  In that row there is a template for the cut-out for various diameter spinners with a reference line from the back of the hub.  Then you just pick the right template for the prop and spinner size you use, draw the cut-out on the spinner and have at it.

Master Flite Propeller Co.
Spinner Cut-Out Template

Speedy Wood Series - 9" & 10"

Spinner Diameter -- >






If they do it properly, they can probably get several sizes of propellers on one template - especially smaller propeller sizes.

Of course if you are a normal modeler, you probably will not buy 32 different templates for all the different brands and styles of propellers you use, but at the least, the templates could be posted online where we could simply print it out.

By the way, this sample template here is not to any scale - do not use it. I know somebody is going to steal this idea, get rich and not share with me.

  • Webra engines have the right idea when it comes to the throttle arm.  Most engines have the throttle arm attached by sliding it over a threaded stud and then secured with a nut.  The problem with this setup is that it is very difficult to secure the arm exactly where you want it.  For example, let's say you know where you want the arm at mid-throttle.  When you start to tighten the nut, the barrel closes and the arm may or may not move with the barrel.  When the nut grabs the arm, it shifts it out of position.

    Webra arms work like a wheel collar - the arm is positioned and a set-screw is tightened to secure the arm.  This puts no rotational force on the arm and it will stay exactly where you want it.  All engines should be like this.

  • I would like to see hobby shop owners take an interest in their customers again like they did when I first got into this hobby.  Many of the shops I have been in lately seemed very disinterested.

  • I would like to see local hobby shops be able to compete with the larger online stores.  A neighborhood hobby shop is a wonderful thing, but they have a great deal of trouble staying in business and often have a poor selection at best.

    The price they pay for their stock is not much lower than I pay for something online which means they either have to sell at a much higher price than I can get the same product elsewhere or sell a lot of it with a lower profit margin.

  • I would like to see servos take on standard dimensions for any given class of servo.  When I buy a servo that I have never used before, I have absolutely no way of knowing how it is going to perform in practice until that time comes.

    If I do not like the servo, or it needs to be replaced and it is no longer manufactured, then I am in the position of having to replace it.  Often times this means ripping out the servo mounts because the replacement will not fit in the same hole.

    I do not care if there are 100 different classes of servos.  They can all be different sizes.  But a sub-mini class servo from any manufacturer should fit the same space and mounting pattern of that same class by any other manufacturer.  Standards are cool.

  • I would like to see manufacturers actually take pride in their product.  They have a right to make a profit, but that does not mean they have to continually churn out substandard tools, kits, gimmicks and junk.



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Profile of a Model Builder

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