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Sketchbook - Model Building Tips
September 1954 Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men

September 1954 Air Trails
September 1954 Air Trails Cover - Airplanes and RocketsTable of Contents

These pages from vintage modeling magazines like Flying Aces, Air Trails, American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler, Young Men, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, R/C Modeler, captured the era. All copyrights acknowledged.

These building and finishing tips might be 60 years old, but every one of them is still useful and applicable to today's model aircraft builder. There are still a lot of guys who do the Silkspan and or tissue and dope covering method that are looking for advice since there are rarely others around anymore who are familiar with the techniques. The idea of pre-coloring trim before applying tissue is something I'd like to try sometime ... if I can remember to do it. 


Sketchbook - Model Building Tips, September 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and Rockets

Have you developed something new in construction, control, or flying? Send a rough sketch - we'll redraw it and pay $5 for each accepted. Contributions should be original ideas; sorry, we cannot enter into any correspondence on submissions.



Fire hazard of fuse-type dethermalizer - Airplanes and Rockets

Fire hazard of fuse-type dethermalizer is reduced by wire stem to hold burning fuse after dethermalizer trips - By Ira Deutsch, Woodbridge, New Jersey.



Tungsten alloy as material for flush-mounted propeller counterweight - Airplanes and Rockets

Jim Cahill, Albuquerque, New Mexico, former Wakefield champ, suggests tungsten alloy as material for flush-mounted propeller counterweight. Weight permits forward wing location and smaller tail.



Felt-point marking pen is ideal pattern tracing - Airplanes and Rockets

A felt-point marking pen is ideal pattern tracing tool says John Frankosky, New Albany, Pennsylvania. Duplicate parts are easily made. 

 Exposed edges are color-doped - Airplanes and Rockets

"Color trim" without masking is the idea of Carl Barnes, Columbia City, Indiana. Exposed edges are color-doped before covering - Clear dope on covering bleeds color through for trim.



Brilliant trim, numerals ,emblems for model decoration may - Airplanes and Rockets

Brilliant trim, numerals ,emblems for model decoration may be cut from aluminum foil reports Bill Weise, Tipton, Kansas.



Jar serves as convenient break-in engine tank-mount - Airplanes and Rockets

Mayonnaise or large size dope jar serves as convenient break-in engine tank-mount. Unit is conveniently hand-held says Scott Prindle, Chicago, Illinois.



Tricycle gear for payload models - Airplanes and Rockets

Variation of tricycle gear for payload models improves take-offs & landings. From Carl Schroder, Kansas City, Missouri.


Sketchbook Editions

| Sep 49 | Jan 52 | Jul 54 | Aug 54 | Sep 54 | Dec 54 | Mar 55 | Jan 57 | Feb 57 | Mar 57 | Apr 57 | May 57 | Jun 57 | Jul 57 | Sep 57 | Oct 57 | Nov 57 | Dec 57 | Oct 58 | Mar 59 | Jul 59 | Aug 59 |Nov 59 | Dec 59 | Jan 61 | Feb 61 | Mar 61 | Apr 61 | Jun 61 | Jul 61 | Aug 61 | Dec 61 | Mar 62 | Jan 62 |Feb 62 | Jun 62 | Jul 62 | Oct 62 | Sep 62 | Dec 62 | Jan/Feb 63 | Mar/Apr 63 | May/Jun 63 |Jul/Aug 63 | Sep/Oct 63 | Nov/Dec 63 | Mar 67 | Oct 67 | Feb 68 | Apr 68 | May 68 | Jun 68 | Jul 68 | Sep 68 |

Back when the Sketchbook, Gadgetry, Powerless Pointers, and Engine Info columns were run, there were very few pre-built models, and there simply was not as much available in the way of hardware and specialized modeling tools. We were still a nation of designers and builders. The workforce was full of people who worked on production lines, built houses and buildings with hand tools, and did not have distractions like Nintendos and X-Boxes. Remember that plastics were not common material until the early 50s and the transistor wasn't invented until late 47. Enjoy the tips. Some of you will no doubt wax nostalgic over the methods, since you can remember the days when you did the exact same thing!



Posted December 27, 2014

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Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and RocketsKirt Blattenberger

Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)

Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...

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