BMFA Indoor Scale Nationals, 25th April 2010

The Nats had a particularly international flavour this year with Dutch, French and Czech modellers entering alongside the Brits. It was great to meet Robert Pajas and the legendary Stefan Gasparin at last. The Dutch and Czech contingents arrived on the Saturday, so they joined us for some evening trimming followed by a curry.

I did a test flight with the Kamikaze I entered last year and it was just about perfect, so I did not touch anything and put it away for the night. Thanks to Michal Gasparin for the great action shot. Peter Smart got his new twin electric Heinkel He 111 pretty close, but did manage to hit the wall once – no serious damage thankfully. Richard Crossley was trimming a new foam peanut Ju 87 which looked fantastic. I’m really glad I started coming up to Nottingham the afternoon before the event, because as well as the trimming, you get more of a chance to socialise and natter about models over a few beers.

Again I'm not going to summarise any class rules - if you need a refresher have a look at previous Nats reports, or download the complete scale rulebook from the BMFA website here.

The electric class was first up on Sunday, and after the successful trimming flight the night before, I confidently set the Kamikaze off on its take-off run towards the assembled modellers and judges. Unfortunately after a lovely straight take-off it was very late turning left and clobbered the far wall. Luckily no structural damage, but big holes in the wing tissue, top and bottom where the wheel spat had punched through. For the second flight I tweaked the rudder a bit, but this just killed the climb and the model landed very early, then proceeded to taxi madly round the sports hall before taxiing speedily into the wall.

The second round was after lunch. I put the rudder back where it was, and added the smallest piece of clay on the left wing tip to encourage it to start the turn. On my third flight one of the battery wires came loose half way through the take-off run, and the model just stopped. At least it did not happen half way through the flight. Fourth flight - last chance saloon, with the battery wires just taped onto the tags as I did not have a soldering iron with me. I let the power build up while holding the tail against the back wall, then released. It went straight as a die, lifted off, then at the last possible minute started to turn and continued circling at the other end of the hall. As the second stage kicked in and it started to come down, it only just missed the netting support posts in front of the competitors, came back into the hall and did a nice gentle landing. It would have been much less stressful if the hall had been 10 yards longer! I got very good marks for the straight take off run, but it is not anything I have intentionally trimmed into the model – it just does it by itself. The Val was similar, so maybe the wheel pants have something to do with it? Could they be acting as extra rudders holding the model straight on the take-off run? Anyway, with a good flight score and reasonable static marks, I ended up placing third, which I was very happy with.

Peter Smart got the Heinkel He 111 flying better and better as the competition went on, with the model gradually gaining more height and flying in a very stable fashion. On the final competition flight it too got very close to the netting posts - in fact overflying them and some spectators under the balcony before making a perfect landing and got a great round of applause from the spectators. This excellent flight sealed second place in class for Peter behind Derek Knight’s much rebuilt Tiger Moth – Thanks to Michal Gasparin for this marvellous photo.

Click here to see a video of this superb model in action. (file size 5 MB).

Richard Crossley entered his Crosley Flea again, but unlike last year the model struggled to gain much height and thus lost out on flying marks, eventually finishing fifth in class. Another great photo from Michal Gasparin.

Robert Pajas entered this amazing 1/48 scale Avro 504 in the electric/CO2 class - fantastic detailing on such a tiny model. The all up weight is 5.7 grams, 3.7 of which is the airframe. The Gasparin G09UL motor, MUC1-T timer and 20 mAh Li-Poly cell come to just under 2 grams.

Dave Hanks chose an unusual and attractive subject for his new electric model, this Spartan Cruiser. Unfortunately the model proved uncooperative on its first outing, so he entered his Chief Oshkosh again in the competition

In the Peanut class I entered my newly finished Gloucestershire Gannet. The good news was that it got a reasonable static score and proved to be a stable and consistent flier, but the bad news was it would only stay up for 29 seconds, and the undercarriage is too short for it to ROG and get the 10 bonus seconds on offer. Still, 10th in class was not too terrible

This is Richard Crossley's new foam Ju 87 Stuka which put in three flights over 70 seconds, and achieved the best flight score in the Peanut class finishing 2nd behind Mike Hadland's familar Bucker Jungmann. As you can see, Richard's documentation continues to be almost as impressive as his models. Click here to see a video of one of the Stuka's impressive flights (file size 7 MB).

John Valiant was another entrant with a new foam peanut model, this time a Yak 18. Note the excellent airbrushed finish with the structure simulated using clever shading. John worked on improving the trim during the day, and was rewarded with a best flight time of 50 seconds.

It was good to welcome Andre Petit and Jacques Cartigney from France again this year. This is Jaccques' Darmstat D.11, another foam peanut, and another fine flier, achieving three flights of 63 seconds. The model placed 7th in class, one place behind John Valiant's Yak. Click here to see a video of the model in action (file size 6 MB).

Chris Chapman entered this neatly finished Hawker Fury in Peanut. Unusually, the construction was entirely sheet balsa.

This pretty little Tipsy S.2 peanut was built by Lous Boutista from the Netherlands. Another good flier, it managed a best flight of 50 seconds and finished 5th in class.

Another of Robert Pajas's remarkable models was this peanut scale Fokker F.VII 3m in CSA markings, with all three motors powered. Model weight is just 7 grams without rubbber and showed lots of flying potential. Unfortnately the flight pattern was rather erratic and it had a habit of hitting the walls, generally rather high up! Robert still got a 50 second flight in though.

here is Roel Lucassen's latest peanut scale model, an exquisitely detailed PZL L-2 - the photo really does not do it justice. Unfortunately the model did not make any official competition flights.

Peter Boys likes Wacos and this is his latest, a model UMF-5. With its immaculate finish and great detailing the model scored highly in static with the third best score in the competition.

Richard Crossley brought along last year's successful Brewster Bermuda to enter in the open rubber class, and finished first again. The model is a very realistic performer, as you can see here (file size 4 MB).

Peter Smart had his pair of Pitts along again, the pistachio version winning its class, and this larger open rubber version putting in some good flights in the open rubber class. Thanks again to Michal Gasparin for the photo.

Graham Banham had a new model for Open Rubber - this very pretty model of the Comper Swift prototype. The attractive colour scheme was very neatly applied. After a couple of excellent flights, the model lost its trim somewhat and ended up breaking a wing off after a collision with the wall. Graham says it will be repaired - the damage was not as bad as it first looked.

Chris Strachan must have a huge collection of models of US racing aircraft at home - he turned up this year with another new one, a Gee Bee Sportster Model X. Nicely finished as always by Chris, the model was a very smooth flyer - click here for a video (file size 4 MB). Photo by Michal Gasparin again.

Jacques Cartigney placed second in Pistachio Scale behind Peter Smart with this foam clipped wing Spitfire. It was a fine flyer as you can see in the video here (file size 5 MB).

Fantastic workmanship evident in this Pistachio Scale Albatros D.II by Robert Pajas which finished third in class.

Robert had brought along an even smaller model, though not entered in the competition, this remarkable electric powered 1/72 scale Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter. Construction is sheet balsa and the all-up weight is only 2.55 grams with the Gasparin G09UL motor contributing 0.35 grams. The controller is a Microinvent MUC1-T and the cell a 10 mAh LiPoly.

I've put in this photo of Robert and the Sopwith just to show how tiny it is! After launching it just spiraled up steady as you like to the roof of the hall.

Turning to the kit scale event, it seemed that this year in response to falling entries last year, some of the more experienced modellers had decided to have a go. Certainly the standard of flying in the class was outstanding this year. Now I am not prone to prophetic utterances, but allow me to quote from my kit review of the Thomas Designs 24” Piper Vagabond kit:

“The finished model should be a good flyer, and would be a good candidate for the BMFA kit scale class”.

Laurence Marks must have read this, because he ordered the kit from Greg Thomas, finished it the day before the competition, and won the class with a series of very realistic slow flights around the sports hall. Just have a look at the video here (file size 3 MB).

Chris Strachan finished second in the class with this Porterfield Collegiete from the old Tern kit design. Another great flier, it very nearly matched the Vagabond in flight points. Click here to see a video (file size 4 MB).

John Churchill got the highest static mark in Kit Scale with this Keil Kraft Piper Family Cruiser. Combined with the fourth best flight score, this was good enough for third overall.

I have fond memories of the old Veron Tru Flite Tiger Moth - one of the few in the series I got to fly well in my youth. Dave Whitehouse brought along this nicely built example which put in some good steady flights to finish 5th in class.

Graham Banham was flying his winning Flyline He 100D from last year again, and I suppose it is an indication of the very high standard of the flying that this time he only managed fourth place. Thanks to Michal Gasparin again for the photo. As you can see from the video here the Heinkel was still flying as well as ever (file size 4 MB).

Ian Melville's Champion Citabria was built from the Dumas laser cut kit.

An unusual entry in the kit scale class was this Bristol Bulldog built from the old Comet kit plan by Robert Pajas. An immaculate airbrushed finish and excellent detailing (including simulated wing rib tapes) raised this model to a level where it could easily have been entered in the open class. And yes, that really is a 9 cylinder Gasparin CO2 motor on the front. Unfortunately the model failed to make a successful qualifying flight.

It’s not all deadly serious competition at the Nats. As well as the mass launch that ends the meeting, the air race is always a highlight, organised as usual by Richard Granger. Here teams of two see how many laps they can manage flying round four pylons (string attached to beer cans with a helium balloon tied to the top) in 10 minutes. You are allowed to go either way round, so mayhem is guaranteed. You can decide to fly slowly around with long motor runs, or quickly around with more frequent rewinds after landing/crashing/hitting fellow competitors. I assisted Peter Smart with his peanut Rollason Beta, a model trimmed perfectly for just such an event. Things were going really well until the model flew directly into one of the strings at nearly full winds. The string then proceeded to wind itself very quickly round the prop, to such an extent that the balloon was wound down to about half its original height. Needless to say, it took a considerable time to untangle the mess, and by the time we were flying again we were well behind and ended up fifth with 19 laps. The event was tied for first place between Nick Peppiatt and Brian Stichbury (Chambermaid) and John Valiant and Gerald Cooper (Keith Ryder Firecracker), both with an impressive 31 laps. As always, the hall was littered with model parts afterwards…… Excellent fun for both the flyers and spectators.



Name Model Type Best Flying Score Static Score Total Position
Derek Knight D.H.82 Tiger Moth 1690.0 1724.0 3414.0 1
Peter Smart Heinkel He 111 1812.8 1356.0 3168.8 2
Mike Stuart Mitsubishi Karigane 1 1711.0 1378.5 3089.5 3
Divs Masters SE5A 1264.0 1548.0 2812.0 4
Robert Pajas Avro 504K 862.0 1518.0 2380.0 5
Richard Crossley Crosley Flea 743.0 1512.0 2255.0 6
Dave Hanks Wittman Chief Oshkosh 1005.0 1105.0 2110.0 7
Vibes Masters Lacey M.10 639.0 993.0 1632.0 8


Name Model Type Best two flights (sec) Flying place Static score Static place Total Overall place
Mike Hadland Bucker Jungmann 115 3 138 1 4 1
Richard Crossley Junkers Ju 87D Stuka 151 1 107 6 7 2
Andre Petit Denight DDT 101 5 112 4 9 3
Divs Masters SE5A 60 10 136 2 12 4
Lous Bautista Tipsy S2 97 6 94 9 15 5
John Valiant Yak 18 94 7 94 9 16 6
Jaques Cartigney Darmstadt D-11 126 2 71 15 17 7
Peter Boys Waco UMF-5 16 14 128 3 17 8
Chris Strachan Davis DA-2A 112 4 73 14 18 9
Mike Stuart Gloucestershire Gannet 56 11 106 7 18 10
Chris Chapman Hawker Fury 64 9 93 11 20 11
Robert Pajas Fokker Trimotor 89 8 81 13 21 12
Mike Havard Sorrel Hyperbipe 52 12 93 11 23 13
Mark Rossen DKW 7 15 99 8 23 14
Bryan Stichbury Avro 560 40 13 52 16 29 15


Name Model Type Best Flying Score Static Score Total Position
Richard Crossley Brewster Bermuda 1678.0 1576.0 3254.0 1
Mike Hadland Bucker Jungmann 1533.0 1491.5 3024.5 2
Andre Petit Southern Martlet 1200.0 1702.0 2902.0 3
Laurence Marks Piper Vagabond 1776.0 946.0 2722.0 4
Peter Smart Pitts Special 1390.0 1306.5 2696.5 5
Graham Banham Comper Swift prototype 1518.0 1073.0 2591.0 6
Chris Strachan Gee Bee Model X Sportster 1262.0 1162.5 2424.5 7
Reg Boor Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 1130.0 1201.5 2331.5 8
Divs Masters SE5A 380.0 1614.0 1994.0 9
Derek Knight Fairchild 24 1523.0 420.0 1943.0 10
Jaques Cartigney Farman F.455 0.0 1179.5 1179.5 11


Name Model Type Best two flights (sec) Flying place Static score Static place Total Overall place
Peter Smart Pitts Special 83 1 64 2 3 1
Jaques Cartigney Supermarine Spitfire 83 1 56 5 6 2
Robert Pajas Albatros D.II 62 6 62 3 9 3
Richard Crossley Polikarpov I-16 77 4 56 5 9 4
Mike Havard Piper Vagabond 83 1 46 8 9 5
Divs Masters SE5A 28 9 82 1 10 6
David Prior Cessna Bird Dog 45 8 60 4 12 7
Reg Boor Bristol Brownie 50 7 52 7 14 8
Chris Strachan Wittman Buster 75 5 44 9 14 9
Bryan Stichbury Piper Cub 12 10 24 10 20 10

Kit Scale Competition

Name Model Type Best two flight scores Static Score Total Position
Laurence Marks Piper Vagabond (Thomas Designs) 207 80 287 1
Chris Strachan Porterfield Collegiate (Tern) 198 75 273 2
John Churchill Piper Family Cruiser (Keil Kraft) 170 85 255 3
Graham Banham Heinkel He 100 (Flyline) 174 75 249 4
Dave Whitehouse D.H.82 Tiger Moth (Veron) 165 80 245 5
Derek Knight Fairchild 24 (Guillows) 170 65 235 6
Peter Smart D.H.Puss Moth (Skyleada) 149 55 204 7
Vibes Masters Cessna 180 (Herr) 128 75 203 8
Dave Crompton Piper Super Cruiser (Keil Kraft) 124 65 189 9
Ian Melville Bellanca Citabria (Dumas) 100 80 180 10
Bryan Stichbury Andreasson BA-4 (Peck) 109 55 164 11
Jack Prichard Fairey Junior (Keil Kraft) 102 55 157 12
Ken Bates Cessna 140 (Frog Junior) 92 60 152 13
Robert Pajas Bristol Bulldog (Comet) - 65 65 14

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