Alumwell February '99

The Alumwell show, held at Walsall, near Birmingham on February 21st, has established itself on the indoor scale modelling calendar as a chance for people to try out the new models they have been building over the winter. The event is friendly and informal - it was my first visit this year, and I had a great day. The day is split into "fun-fly" sessions, interspersed with queued flying periods, where only one model is in the air at a time (so no risk of mid-air collisions!). There is also an air race, a mass launch (last one down wins) and an informal scale competition, where everybody puts their models on tables in the middle of the hall, and people vote for their favourite four. The votes are counted, and the top six get to take part in a fly-off at the end of the day. Much to my surprise, my new Curtiss P-6E vintage Scale model was one of the selected models. When it came to the fly-off, as I had not tried an ROG flight before, I hand-launched to be safe (losing any take-off points), and it flew pretty well, though not well enough to place in the top four. Still, a very satisfactory first outing, especially as it had only had one brief hop in the garden beforehand!

Below are some pictures of some of the superb models that flew at the event:

Tupolev "Bear" by Peter Smart

This is probably the finest rubber powered scale model I have ever seen - constructed from foam, it is large (around 3 feet span) very light, and powered by four rubber motors - one in each nacelle. It makes a most impressive sight as it trundles along the floor, picking up speed until it climbs gracefully away, cruising in wide left hand circles. On its competition flight, the turn opened out as it was coming in to land, and a brave spectator had to jump up and intercept it before it hit the wall - fortunately the model was undamaged!

Sopwith Triplane by Divs Masters

Another scale masterpiece, this time constructed using conventional techniques of balse and tissue. The amount of detail is fantastic, and the structure is exact scale. Divs had two versions at the event - one 13 inch peanut, one a bit larger at 16 inch. Both flew very well - I think it was the larger one that flew in the competition fly-off, and won with a super flight, including a beautifully smooth take-off and landing.

Avro Lancaster by Peter Smart

That man Smart again - this is another fine flying foam creation - now retired from the competition scene, it is flying better than ever, and looks most realistic (majestic was one description I heard) as it cruises round on its four rubber motors.

Junkers JU 87

Very nicely finished Stuka - electric powered (a KP-01 I think). Unfortunately I do not know the name of the builder. The model flew very well in the fly-off.

D.H.Tiger Moth by Derek Knight

Quite a large model for indoor use - excellent detail and a fine flier. Derek was unlucky to hit the wall right at the end of his fly-off flight.

Bristol Bombay by Peter Smart

The second of Peter Smart's models to qualify for the fly-off - this time with twin electric motors. Foam construction again.

Sopwith Schneider

Fine flying Sopwith Schneider built by Mike Green - around 20" span, of traditional balsa/tissue construction. Power is electric - another KP-01 I think. Model takes off beautifully, as the floats have wheels hidden underneath.

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