When the entities that produce this column first had their collective arms twisted to write it they never, in their wildest dreams, imagined the sort of publicity that they could produce for the magazine. After reference being made in various other magazines, including an American one, we have finally been acknowledged in the Editorial of RCM&E - a rival British journal.
What a pity that the item concerned was every bit as inaccurate and economical with the truth as it accuses us of being. For example, it included the word "abomination", complete with inverted comma's. These give the impression - presumably deliberate - that the word is a direct quotation from this column, which it certainly is not.
Quite why someone should find it necessary to stoke up the fires again in this manner, long after they have died down, is not at all clear. What is clear is that the article concerned contains reference to - and quotations from - a personal letter sent on SMAE memo paper, which was never published. Apart from being thoroughly unprofessional, this must have left most readers totally confused.
Lets make it quite clear that the piece which started the whole thing off was about unsafe flying. This produced a wealth of reader response which then directed things in the direction of large models. Perhaps it was inadvisable to pass on some of these remarks in the way we did - and at the time that we did.
If we must drag up the subject of past writings, perhaps we could mention the "Quale's Carterly" which contains photographic evidence of transgressions at Woodvale. Another article talks about "crashing behind the hangers" which, to be legal, must have been at least half a kilometre away. Or, perhaps my copy came from the same alternate reality as that 'other' Woodvale Rally.
On the subject of the Woodvale Rally, it would seem that there may have been three different meetings involved. The editor of this magazine clearly remembers that both he and the editor of RCM&E had to run for their lives to avoid a certain model on its landing approach. Nuff said?
(censored by Gee)
One of the flourishing cottage industries of our hobby is that of producing plans of vintage models (I nearly said 'vintage plans', but most of them are copies or re-creations, so that would be inaccurate). This is a thoroughly commendable exercise and some of them demand a considerable amount of research and hard work. In most cases it is a labour of love, since the draughtsman cannot hope to be adequately paid for his time and effort.
Those who subsequently build from these plans do it for many different reasons. It may be pure nostalgia, having built one or more of the same design umpteen years ago. Perhaps you always intended to build one and never got round to it. Maybe its because you want to fly in a vintage contest and used to fly the same design in contests long ago. It might even be that the design appears to be the most competitive (perish the thought).
The trouble with contests is that they involve rules. If there were no vintage contests, it would never be necessary to define just what a 'vintage' model is. The dreaded 'cut-off' date would not exist. Everyone could fly whatever design takes their fancy and there would never be any need to consider whether the design was published on the 31st December 19xx or 1st January 19xx+1.
Champions of a particular design now find it necessary to 'prove' that it existed long before the published date in order to qualify for the all important 'vintage' tag. You can see their point. If a design was the winner of a well documented event in 1936, but was not published until 1987, it is obviously a true vintage model. The fact remains however that the rules do state "published before ...", so it is not technically a vintage design.
Fortunately, the vintage brigade are a friendly lot who enjoy their modelling and try to operate to the spirit - rather than the letter - of the rules, so the issue has never become a serious one. Picture the situation in some other disciplines we could mention.
The spark for this all came about as a result of a feature in the latest issue of 'Sam Speaks', where 'Norseman' sets about the unenviable task of listing all the plans of powered model aircraft. What was that we said about a labour of love? He sensibly ignores the exact implementation of the generally accepted cut-off date. Like we said, if you are building for fun, who cares anyway?
One of the great institutions of British modelling which has developed over the last few years is that of the trade show. The greatest of these at present - the qualification is necessary to appease those who have plans for the future - is the Elmbridge Model Club Symposium which takes place at Sandown Park Racecourse.
Indeed, special arrangements appear to have been made with the weather gods this year (via RGM, no doubt). Those returning home via the M25 on the Sunday found that all roads in the North London area had been virtually washed out by freak weather conditions. Meanwhile, Sandown Park had a beautiful day!
One feature of the symposium is the annual contest to see who can crash the most models in the least time. A new record was set this year with three models in around 10 seconds. It is hard to see how this can be beaten, but I am sure that the holders will do their best next year.
Another, lesser known, event is that to have the most lavish, behind the scenes, hospitality suit. Despite having drawn their horns in somewhat, last years winners easily retained the title this year, in the face of rather diminished opposition.
One item of news this year was the birth of a new magazine - and a specialist helicopter magazine at that. There are now three of these, which may amaze some of you. Make no mistake, helicopters are big business and can sustain this level of press coverage. Having said that, however, I find it rather disappointing that all of them tend to feature the same photographs and the same excerpts from official press handouts. In some cases the same articles, by the same authors, appear in two or more publications.
I am not suggesting that the various publishers should all get together and compare notes (that would take a miracle), but a little original research or rewriting would not go amiss.
Still, they are unlikely to repeat the sort of 'clanger' which appeared in the fullsize aviation press a month or so back, when two magazines used an identical cover photo - with strikingly different colour renditions at that!
Now then, how about this for an ambition. Is it possible to get the same article, with the same photos and captions, published in four magazines. If we can catch AG and DB off guard we might even make it five! Hmmm...
Four-stroke: Something that any self respecting glowplug motor can do, without a lot of extra mechanical complication.