It is surprisingly difficult to get good building tips from the older model building manuals. Primarily because the models discussed in those sources are generally A-frame pushers, tractor monoplanes or non-flying scale models. Some basic wisdom survives the decades, though.
Elmer Allen in the 1928 book, Model Airplanes: How to Build and Fly Them notes, “model airplane building has been said by some humorist to solve the problem of what to do with old razor blades, because they are certainly are about the handiest things possible for much of the delicate cutting necessary. By securing one of the holders obtainable for these blades, a very useful tool will be obtained.”
Edwin Hamilton in the Complete Model Aircraft Manual, published in 1933, didn’t even advise spending the money to buy a handle, and instead instructs on how to create handles and cutter of one’s own.
Edwin ends the chapter on tools with sound advice: “keep your tools sharp, clean and in good order, so that when they are needed they will be in condition to give you the required service.”
Landing Gear (Very) Basics
“Don’t glue the wheels on. Naturally they will not turn if you do!” This piece of advice comes from author, Merrill Hamburg, a well-known model aviation designer and competitor in the book Beginning to Fly: The Book of Model Airplanes.
This Baby ROG rubber-powered FF model was designed by Merrill Hamberg in 1927 and sold as a kit by American Boy magazine. Note that he followed his own advice, as the wheels are not glued on! There is a small drop of glue on the end of the wire, though, to prevent the wheels from falling off, a tip he had shared earlier in the publication.
These tips are presented honoring Model Aviation’s October issue on scratch building. More tips from the past will be shared next Friday. In the meantime, if you have some tried and tried and true building advice to share, feel free to do so in the comments or on the museum’s Facebook.