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….of the Weston world.

     Things are not as they seem. This is no gentle floater. Imagine a Formula One racing car: rip off the wheels and wings and what have you got? A missile aiming at the horizon. Do the same to Joe Elgin's 1939 design, and you have a rocket, but with a powerful motor on the front, ready to fire at the clouds. The intention is that this will be aimed at that slight dark hollow at the base of a passing Cumulus with the steepest climb that I can manage. Or, perhaps, I shall be able to produce that kind of vertical barrel roll that we see from a well trimmed Slow Open Power job. Only then does it change character and wind itself into the thermal while I reach for the coffee and sandwiches.

     When the plan arrived, in two parts, I initially thought that I had been sent a mismatch: the wing looked too large for that little fuselage. A quick check proved that the plans were correct, the wing really is that big. As for the nose job: traditionally Playboys appear before the public with a large diesel bolted onto the front former, right underneath the leading edge. That looks and sounds good. In my case, however, having eschewed diesels (no prejudice, just laziness) I have an outrunner powered by a three cell LiPo in the same location; but since a spinning can is not as aesthetic as a polished four stroke, I have extended the bodywork forward to cover it. It doesn't prevent me from updating the motor, adding a gearbox, or even a folding propellor at a later stage should I wish. In this way, the model is a larger companion to my Lanzo Bomber which also appears on this website.

     Balancing the finished job was a problem; it needed ballast (I'd rather not say how much) crammed into a very small space. If only we could find something that's heavier than lead. First solution was to add a pair of large, very heavy wheels, but that made the model look like Bambi in boots, or Shirley Bassey on the Morecambe and Wise show. I could not sit in my workshop (which doubles as reading and music room) and contemplate such an ugly creation hanging on the wall. So, a neater pair of wheels (streamlined Williams Bros would be best, but that's £20 more on the outlay...perhaps next year.) Now, here's an idea: remove the 1/4” sheeting around the nose and replace it with sheet lead, with a plasterer's skim of balsa on the outside. Remember that the nose structure is not, er, structural as the motor is rear mounted. The air intake under the nose was a happy accident which just sort of happened while I was sanding down the block balsa, and the gills at the sides allow access to the motor mounting as well as an escape for hot air.

Covering is Polyester and heavy Esaki, both from Woodhouse. There are no snags in the building, I have split the wing into two parts with wire joiners, but the wing mount is strengthened, epoxied and screwed, in order to accept G-forces off the top of the climb. Power is a three cell LiPo, Waypoint E-3026-12 (at present) turning an APC 14” x 7”.

          John Ashmole,