Does one scale suit all?

Paul Butler (
Mon, 29 May 1995 14:42:11 +1000

Phellow Phliers

I have noted a number of comments back and forth amongst our "static" modeler
friends, re 1/72, vs 1/48 etc. I am not certain of what is meant when 1/72
is called the "Master" scale, unless it means only master builders can do a
real classy job that small. Personally, I would have difficulty at 1/12 due to
failings of flesh and bone. Excuse the rambling but this leads to the point
of my enquiry, what scale do people prefer for R/C model?

I noticed Guy enquiring about 1/6 scale WW1 pilots and then Jon replying with a
suggested source for a 1/5 scale item. This I suspect might be indicative of
a general problem for sourcing the accessories we need. So far as I am aware
Williams Bros. (USA) have been producing such things as guns, wheels and other
bits and pieces in scales of 1/6 and 1/4. Do they also produce pilots?

None of these things are commonly available, in any Australian hobby shop that
I have observed, although you can be lucky at times. I suspect that there is not
much demand for WW1 stuff in Australia; but there are a number of people
specialising in jets and similiar go faster stuff. For instance, Ramtec fans
which now sell in the US and GB are made here in a satelite suburb of Melbourne.

Now to get to the real purpose of these ramblings.

My primary interest in modeling are biplanes of the period, 1914 to 1939 with
particular emphasis on WW1 German types. (Because they generally have more
character than the Brits. The French and Belgium types are are usually more
colourful also). Before you British fans get too upset, I should like to
point out that the more colourful the aeroplane, the easier it is to see against
grass and trees. PC10 does what it is supposed to, blend into the background.

I am intending to concentrate on German types and semi-mass produce the
accessories I need, guns, dummy engines etc. by investing in the necessary
tooling. I would also like to make the results of these efforts available to
others, hence the question about preferred scales.

I would very much like to hear your opinions and to get the ball rolling here
are some of my own:

1/6 A nice traditional size that used to be considered large (not so long ago).
It has the advantage of many plans being available, and accessories already in
productions (Williams etc.) Unless you are building a flying brick, there should
not be a problem staying under the 7kgm weight limit. Many commonly available
engines are suitable and as we all know from Guy, electrics are also suitable.
On the cons side, many WW1 types will be small (eg. Fokker Tripe is about 48")
and my experience and observation suggests that bigger usually fliers better
(probably because it is easier to keep the wing loading down).

1/4 Big models that are usually well over the 7 kgm limit and can cost heaps
to build and operate. In Australia, most would require special permission to
fly. Some plans around but in general, not the sort of thing the average sport
flier would tackle.

1/5 An interesting size which has a lot of potential. Some PICA kits I think
might be available. The engines are not getting into the lawn mower class and
with careful building the 7 kgm weight limit might not be exceeded.

1/5.5 Not a class that I know of but there are a number of 2.25" to the foot
(a close match) from various English plans services. There are a number of
possible advantages with this size. It is bigger than 1/6 so the potential is
there for a little smoother flying. Normal commercially available model aero
engines are suitable. Many WW1 types at this scale will still fit fully
assembled into the average station wagon or pick-up truck. (Many German single
seater types are about 30 feet wingspan and 24 feet long, which make the model
about 65.5" x 52.5". Two seaters are usually a little longer in the body and
about 36 feet in span, but these are both generalisations and I amm sure
someone can nominate a type that is different.)

Over to you

Paul Butler

PS. I copied the style of the opeining line from a writer friend of mine who
loves to mangle the language in jest (He is actually a very fine writer but
I suspect he gets bored at times).