From photo to sky

by | |

The inspiration behind recreating an aircraft in model form; or what bites a guy enough for him to work so very hard to succeed is often a photo. So I've titled this article from photo to sky to reflect how often it's my experience that upon meeting a scale modeler - often within minutes - he's going to show you a photo. A photo which drives this particular modeler around the bend. And it doesn't matter whether he's old school and pulls a magazine clipping out of his wallet, or shows it to you on his phone, it's what drove the picture that formed in his mind. It's what did him in. Basically, the photo does for him what a muse does for an artist. It drives him nuts. There's no other explanation. And by the way, if you think about it, a modeler 'is' an artist because he is recreating a piece of reality as he sees it!

So what prompted this revealing bit of 'introspection' regarding what motivates scale aircraft modelers to build something and go fly it it? Well . . . two things; first, I'm a modeler myself. Second, a modeler emailed inquiring about servos 'and' within his email, included a link. Said link led me down the rabbit hole of the internet where I encountered a photo of a DH Tiger Moth on floats. This got me thinking of the difference between models and drones and Bob's your uncle, here we are.

While down the rabbit hole, I encountered a photo of DH Tiger Moth on floats (Royal Navy of course) and was struck by the beauty it revealed. It woke a desire in me as well because I think flying off water is more fun than sex (no disrespect to my darling wife), but being more than 40 years into this marriage means I'm at that certain age where I have the stamina to fly my model on floats an entire morning . . . but I digress.

Anyway, aided by the internet. I willingly jumped down the rabbit hole because said modeler provided a link in his email and I was curious. The link was to a forum entry (wonderful forum if you're into scale RC models, by the way, I cannot recommend it more highly). So whilst on the forum a fellow revealed his particular muse. The above mentioned Moth on floats. I'll note he added; No plans to do floats at this point, but I will add the hard points just in case.

Anyway, I am a modeler. Yes, I plead guilt to the charge of committing scale modeling. And I do it at a scale and with materials that suit the resulting model for flight with RC (radio control).

Turning the propeller fast enough to fly the RC model requires an engine (or an electric motor). Modelers preferring an engine have a choice of fuel; Cox-type alcohol-based, or gasoline-based. The former are more shrill sounding while those powered by gasoline engines sound and smell pretty much like the same engine but as used in a chain saw or weed eater.

An electric motor is also practical for turning the propeller fast enough. In some ways better. Anyway, preferring electric motors means no fuel choice other than resorting to the LiPo as the most practical source of watt-hours. Put another way, fuel for these types of flying models is provided by the same type battery as powers a laptop or cell phone!


Upon learing I build and fly model airplanes

How big are the models I have in mind? For me like for many others they're an arm full. Large enough to require a pickup truck or trailer because the family Honda SUV won't do. 15-40 pounds isn't terribly uncommon.

Ranging in size from 1:5 (1/5th) to 1:3 (1/3-scale) are what attract most modelers. As an aside, there's a legit 1:1 model of a Battle of London Spitfire being flown on the airshow circuit. Anyway, when we say models, another scale that immediately comes to mind involves detailing plastic display models with wingspans of a few inches rather than a few feet (1:72).

! A fellow contacted me to inquire regarding servos for a project and included a link to a page in a thread. Intrigued, I instead went to page 1 of a dozen to begin reading. And a fellow showed his musu

This entry was posted in no categories.