May 15, 2007
Scale-Modeling Tips & Tools Monthly
Scale Modeling Tips & Tools Monthly is written by Reg Hardy, publisher of
This issue brings you more of the latest information and tips on scale modeling.
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Contents of this issue of
1. Modeling Tips and Techniques. Remote Control Motivates
Scale ModelingTips & Tools Monthly
2. Scale Modeling Tips: Wrap Up Your Mess
3. Organize Your Modeling
4. What's new at Scale Modeling Handbook - new articles.
Remote Control Adds Movement
Radio or remote control, more commonly referred to as RC has done much to mobilize scale modeling, but nowhere has more realistic movement been kept near secret than in RC sailboating.
To Your Scale Model Creations
Here, for a fraction of the investment you'd make in a life-sized sloop, you can deck out a scale model which will do everything (including sinking) that the actual sail-powered vessel will do.
If you want to build your own there is a wide array of sailboats in all sizes and shapes. At the simple end of the spectrum you will find both scale and non-scale models.
Non-scale boats are designed and built solely for high-speed racing. For the most part, these are extremely light with slim, eggshell hulls sporting deep-fin keels and tall, carbon-fiber masts. They quickly accelerate in the slightest breeze and are ultra-responsive to rudder and sail-trim commands. But in a stiff breeze, or while running downwind, they can be a real handful. If you want the fastest boats, these are for you.
If you're more turned on by scale modeling, there are again many choices, ranging from semi-scale, easily assembled kits to completely scratch-built brigantines, schooners, barks, yawls, ketches and the like. Many of these boats are works of art with teak- or mahogany-planked decks, gleaming brass fittings and varnished bright work. Do their builders/owners care that these boats are slower and maybe not as responsive as their racing cousins? No.
The larger classes have continued to grow in popularity. Like giant-scale RC airplanes, larger RC sailboats tend to sail much like their full-size counterparts; they're smooth and easy to handle. You can hear and almost feel a big sailboat as it makes its way across the pond. These boats are as easy to manage as their smaller sisters, and they turn as readily when maneuvering in close quarters. The big boats are truly majestic in the water, and they can be sailed in much rougher water than smaller boats can handle.
On eBay at any one time you'll likely find 50 to 75 radio controlled sailboats ranging from a $500 weighing in at about 8 pounds. This is a 41-inch stem to stern Laser capable of some 20 knots down to a 1:25 scale trans Atlantic racer kit which requires assembly. Last time I looked, it was selling for $10 and that included the radio control gear.
From any number of outlets, you can find an array of ready-to-sail boats complete with radios and sails. Some of these are expensive; high-tech, super-fast lightweights can go for thousands of dollars. On the other hand, you can find boats for a few hundred bucks.
When I checked eBay they had a listing for a 37-inch (bow to stern) radio controlled model of the USS Constitution featuring 20 polyester sails and a 4-channel transmitter to control rotation of three masts and rudder turns.
Other than buying a turn-key boat with its radio already installed, kits are the quickest way to get a new boat into the water. Kits are available from many manufacturers, including Kyosho, Victor* and George Ribeiro Products*. Many cottage-industry companies produce fast racing hulls and components. Most kits include molded-plastic or carbon-fiber hulls that are reinforced with fiberglass as well as decks and partially built keel fins and spars. These kits can be assembled in a few weekends. When finished, they are very fast and very responsive to rudder input. Some new builders feel they have to reinforce the interior structure of their kit beyond the kit designer's specifications. Please don't; all you'll do is add unnecessary weight. Keep your boat on a strict diet of lightweight components.
Consider this: regardless of what you buy, your new boat will never crash and burn. Old sailboats never die, they just slow down and sail on. Skippers are still sailing boats they built 10 years ago. Upgraded with state-of-the-art sails and faster sail winches, these boats are still threats at regattas.
Ever have problems with paints sticking to their lids? I find that enamels and acrylics both make a mess around the rim after opening. I keep a roll of clear plastic wrap at my modeling bench. After opening a jar, clean the inside of the top and then reseal the cap with a piece of plastic wrap underneath. Now, you can shake it all you want, and the plastic keeps the lid clean. Just toss the wrap away when you reopen the bottle, then wipe any residue from the lip of the jar.
Scales are ratios of measures in like units: 1/72 is 1 inch on the model = 72 inches on the full-sized original (or 1 centimeter, furlong, or parsec on model to 72 of same at full size). 1. The desired scale is then the existing scale times some unknown percentage or fraction, i.e. the conversion factor (either enlargement or reduction): DesiredScale = ExistingScale * ConversionFactor 2. Therefore, to find the conversion factor, we regroup and divide to get the universal scale conversion formula: ConversionFactor = DesiredScale / ExistingScale Example: to convert 1/72 to 1/48 ConversionFactor = 1/48 / 1/72 = 72 / 48 = 1.5 = 150% A 6-ft (72-inch) pilot figure is thus 1-in tall in 1/72 scale and 1.5-in tall in 1/48 scale. Advantages of the formula: You can always figure out the intermediate ratios correctly when using photocopier enlargement. In the above example, most copiers would not do the full 150% in one pass. Most copiers max out at 121% or 141%. I have seen almost every other possible figure too. So having a chart of common scale conversions is not likely to be all that useful in many cases. Using the formula, you just figure out what the scale will be after the 121% enlargement: IntermediateScale = ( ExistingScale * .121) + ExistingScale. Then you use IntermediateScale as the ExistingScale in the formula.
Use the Article Submitter in Dandyfunk for any contributions, even if it is only an idea you would like me to research.
If you have a modeling problem or question, post it here. I'll act on it within hours.
We seldom give any thought to the environmental impact of scale modeling but whether you realize it or not, Mother Nature does. It is one thing to say modeling is something I do by myself, so who should care, but perhaps you should look a little deeper.