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
Before just about everything you could ever think of needing for your aeromodeling hobby was made in China and sold
here at a dirt-cheap price, resourcefulness and creativity, combined with some mechanical skill, was needed by most
hobbyists. Even those who could afford to buy everything they needed were not always able to find it already made
and hanging on the hobby shop wall. Improvisation was the order of the day. These monthly "Sketchbook" features are
a prime example of what I'm writing about. Having read through many of the ideas in many issues of American Modeler,
I am a little dubious about the practicality of some of them. For instance, I highly doubt that the string starter
idea in this edition actually worked very well. That's an awfully short moment arm on the prop shaft for being able
to pull fast and hard enough to turn over the engine. I just picked up my Cox PeeWee .010 and flipped the prop and
I'd be very surprised if the pull starter would work on it. Yes, some of the .049 car and boat models came with pull
starters, but the diameter of the cord wrapping pulley was much larger than that of #4 bolt. I'm just say'n...
This page has links to every edition of Sketchbook that I have so far.
Sketchbook form March/April 1963 American Modeler
One of many string starter ideas is sent by Glenn Smith, Peoria, Ariz. Brass washer held
at front of spinner allows string to be wound around it for quick start.
David Rice, Tulsa, Okla., suspends
R/C receiver with three rubber loops in opening of sliding plywood bulkhead. Unit quickly removable. Vibration
and damage reduced.
To prevent accidental release of arresting cord from C/L carrier model's tail hook,
Dick Babisch, Warren, Mich., solders light steel wire "mouse trap" rig to hook opening.
14-year-old Michael Sledge, Florence, Alabama, submits simple experimental "Aircar" model
made from hat box lid. Balsa engine chamber and strip stiffeners only structure needed.
As quick, easy
method of assuring perpendicular rib alignment with leading edge, Steve Eyles, Lake Park, Florida, secures square
block to bench, builds wing around it.
Drop-off gears are old stuff to C/L flying but David Moore,
Cherry Hill, N. J., has simple method beginners may appreciate. Realistic takeoffs, higher flight performance
Got a new idea for construction, adjustment, or operation of model planes boats or R/C? "AM" pays $10 for each
"hint & kink" used. Send rough sketch and description to Sketchbook, c/o American Modeler, The Conde Nast Publications
Inc., 420 Lexington Ave New York 17, N. Y.
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!