2019 US Scale Masters National Championships

Another Jet Hangar Hobbies Scale Masters Champion! I can’t even believe it! 🙂

Scale competition has been a big part of what I enjoy in this hobby.  There’s just something about building and flying a model that you’ve created with so much effort to try and simulate and/or replicate a full scale aircraft.  For me, it’s so much about flying an airplane that I never in my wildest dreams will have the chance to fly in full scale.  That said, competition scale modelling hasn’t been a large focus for me the last couple years.   Filming and writing these reviews and tutorials takes quite a bit of time, and I’ve been having a good time flying a number of different models in the process.  However, when the Scale Masters Championships came back to California again this year (October 17-20, 2019), being hosted by the Clovis RC club, I got the bug and I knew that I wanted to give it another go.  I could only hope to replicate the magic of my 2016 win with my Jet Hangar Mirage IIIRS.  Truth be told, following 2016, I was inspired to get my big Mark Frankel Skyray built for the next championships.  Well, strangely enough, you actually have to work on a model to get it done!  Who knew?!  Not to mention Elf labor has gotten so expensive in California these days.  So, in the absence of a big Skyray, I wanted to give the championships a try with my Jet Hangar Hobbies A-7 Corsair II and I can’t even believe that I would be reporting a second time that I came out of the event as the “Grand National Champion” finishing 1st place in Expert for 2019!

40 YEARS OF COMPETITION

Organized by the U.S. Scale Masters Association, 2019 marked the 40th annual Championships event.  Though the hobby has evolved, the technology has improved and new classes have been added to the competition mix, the goal of the Scale Masters has never changed which has been to highlight the best in RC scale modeling.  And those 40 years have seen so many of the best scale modelers compete from the US and around the world.  In fact, my dad competed in the very first Scale Masters Continue reading

Warbirds & Classics RC Airshow 2019

Tale of the Brand New RUNWAY!

I have always loved going to the Scale Squadron’s Warbirds & Classics event.  Hosted at the OCMA field, it’s such a good time flying at a really picturesque location to fly.  I was on vacation for last year’s event and wasn’t able to make it, so I was excited to get back out there again this year.  The big news was that a newly paved runway had been installed just in time for the event!   Fresh pavement and fresh paint, it was a glorious site to behold.  There had also been some recent rains which meant that the surrounding greenery was actually green! (as opposed to the typical SoCal brown that we get…)

Through the weekend, the weather couldn’t have been much better with cool overcast mornings followed by warm and slightly breezy sunny afternoons.  As a result there was endless flying from sun up to sun down for those in attendance.  It truly doesn’t get much better than that and the new runway was just the icing on the cake!  In terms of Continue reading

From the Bench — AMA Expo West Pomona 2018 & Scale Weathering How-To Video

Weather me this…

During the AMA expo January 2018, it was announced that the show was being moved to the Pomona Fairplex and would also occur in November.  Well, needless to say, November arrived before I could blink and it was time to start thinking about the show!  This time around, kicking off the new venue, the AMA reached out asking about doing some how-to clinics throughout the weekend.  The idea I had was to provide some weathering how-to’s on a couple airplanes through the course of the weekend and then on Sunday afternoon, give those airplanes away.  Well, thanks to the AMA and Horizon Hobby, we were able to make that happen and it was a great time.  Horizon Hobby donated an E-Flite P-51 and an FMS Yak-130 for me to work on during the weekend which we gave away on Sunday afternoon.

This year, I had a full booth and through the course of the weekend, I was showing weathering techniques on the donated airplanes provided by Horizon Hobby.  For one of the clinics, I was able to do a weathering session on the main stage for the purposes of recording video.  Below is the end result as well as a few pictures of the finished airplanes.  The techniques mentioned in the video kind of run through the gamut of what I like to employ when I’m weathering up an airplane and are applicable to any medium of aircraft foam, glass or otherwise not to mention any size.  Additionally, combinations Continue reading

Best in the West RC Jet Rally 2018

Sport jets, jets, JETS!

Having made it out to the Best in the West Jet Rally the year before last after not attending for a few years, it was an event that I knew I wanted to get back to again this past year.  It’s an RC jet pilots dream flying from the 3200+ ft long Elk Hills-Buttonwillow airstrip runway, though even now, I think I’m still cleaning that Buttonwillow dust off my airplanes!  I think the airplanes come home heavier than they arrive there’s so much dust that they collect… 😉

In terms of the event it was bigger than ever this year with over 150 registered pilots and the weather was almost perfect once again.   Every year is different in the airplanes that you see at the event but one thing is consistent, BIG!  Last year featured a good assortment of really nice scale jets which I was really excited to see.  Well, 2018 I would say was the year of the Continue reading

Top Gun 2018 – 30th Annual RC Scale Model Competition

THE BEST OF THE BEST IN RC SCALE

The Top Gun Invitational scale model competition is an event that I’ve been wanting to witness for a long time.  In fact, it’s an event I hope to compete in some year (once I have the right airplane!).  Many of the airplanes and pilots competing there represent some of the best in the world, so it’s hard not to want to try my hand in that setting.  So, every year when the event comes around, it just happens to get mentioned in my house.  So, when it was mentioned this year and met with a, “do you want to go?!”  I quickly responded, “YES!”  It wasn’t a trip to compete, and that was completely fine with me as I just wanted to witness the competition and the caliber of airplanes that are brought.  Plus, you know, it would be a scouting mission for next time… 😉

Held at Paradise Field in Lakeland, Florida, this year was the 30th annual for the competition and some of the models there were nothing short of spectacular.  Individuals and teams from all over the world came to fight for the title and represented themselves well.  For me, it was a trip to capture media and understand the competition and just take it all in.  To be able to witness some of the Continue reading

AMA West Expo 2018 RC Trade Show

Another year, and another AMA West Expo show! Catching up with old friends and seeing what’s new is always the name of the game and there was certainly plenty of that!  The big news this year was that the expo will be held in a new location next year (which will actually be this November), the Pomona Fair Grounds (promo vid at the end of this article).  This should be a nice change for the show as it will allow significantly more outdoor activities including flying, racing and all that other good stuff that we can only get limited doses of in Ontario.  For the show itself, there was a nice assortment of vendors as there always is, but there seems to be a bit of turnover in the hobby right now.  Some of the old stand-by vendors and shops don’t seem to be standing by as much as they used to and newer vendors seem to come and go.  Hopefully this new location will help re-invigorate things a bit and bring in some additional interest and vendors!

For me this year, I was only able to make it on the Saturday so I setup shop with a couple airplanes on display in the Scale Squadron booth.  I didn’t think the bring Lady Alice last year, so I brought it along with our kit bashed Kfir which fit well within the booth.  There was also on hand an absolutely gorgeously built F3D Skynight in work by Rob Han (his own design).  I’ve known Rob for a long time and he has always done some really ingenious work.  He actually plans to run the airplane with a geared glow engine driving two ducted fans.  I of course told him EDF would be far simpler! 😉

Some of the “new stuff” highlights included getting a sneak peak at Horizon Hobbies’ Continue reading

Best in the West RC Jet Rally 2017

5 straight days of nothing but jet time!

The Best in the West Jet Rally if I had to guess, is one of the largest RC Jet gatherings on the west coast.  Held at the Elk Hills-Buttonwillow airport with regularly over 100+ registered pilots, the result is 5 straight days of non-stop jet flying from a measly 3200+ ft long runway.  Plus, being held in early October in Southern California means that the weather is usually just about perfect (and it was this year!).

It had been a few years since my last visit to this event.  I had actually attempted to get there last year (even paid my entry), but wasn’t able to work it out based on the proximity of the dates to the US Scale Masters Championships.  So, when the event came around again this year, I knew that I wanted to get out there.  The cool thing was, my dad decided to come with me and so it was a great weekend spent flying jets with my hero!  That really made the weekend that much more memorable and fun.

There’s always a nice assortment of airplanes at the event ranging from sport jets to scale.  And they all typically have one common theme…BIG!  In years past, I remembered there being notably more sport jets than scale jets.  However, my observation this year was that sport jets were far less prevalent and scale jets reigned supreme!  For this scale geek, it was nice to see and there were some absolutely Continue reading

Warbirds & Classics 2017 RC Airshow

It’s hard to believe that the year is half over already!  It feels like since the US Scale Master’s Championships last year until now, I haven’t done all that much flying.  At least certainly not as much as I could hope for.  Between my kids getting into competitive travel sports added to having limited accessibility to our flying field here where I fly my large airplanes, it’s been a little difficult just getting to the field.  So when the Scale Squadron’s Warbirds & Classics event peeked around the corner, needless to say I was excited!  It was going to be 2 straight days of RC airplane goodness and some much needed flying!  Leading up to the event, I had been focusing my spare time in the shop trying to get our little kfir kit bash project finished up for the event and this was her debut outing!

Between the Scale Squadron’s hospitality, the picturesque back drop of OCMA’s Black Starr canyon flying site, and the incredible assortment of airplanes, this event is a must go for me.  I look forward to it every year and there’s always a ton of flying to be had.  Plus, it’s a chance to spend a weekend flying with my dad which I cherish deeply.  The beauty of the event is that there’s a great assortment of airplanes, but there’s never an issue with the flight line backing up causing much of a line.  Anytime anyone wants a flight, it usually happens straight away.

The event took place Saturday June 9 thru Sunday June 11.  I was there Friday and Saturday with my A-7 Corsair II, ASM Tigercat, and newly finished Kfir.  Through those two days, I Continue reading