Website visitor Jim P. wrote to ask whether I would scan the
Tenderfoot article in the March 1969 American Aircraft Modeler
for the Musketeer, a 1/2A profile control line model for beginners.
Mr. Jim Davis designed the model and drew the plans.
by Jim Davis
plane makes good controlliner trainer for 049 engine. Plan is full
THE Musketeer, a common sight at local
airports, is a popular craft for business or sport flying and flight
In a model, a good trainer usually must
depart from scale because of the necessary change in nose and tail
lengths, and the proper location of the C.G. (center of gravity).
In this case, the Musketeer fuselage is a near-perfect scale profile.
Only the wing and stabilizer area had to be changed to obtain gentle
The Musketeer model construction
was made as simple as possible to keep beginners' problems to a
minimum. The secret of a good flying model is proper alignment;
in this case, most of the construction is done on a flat board.
Every beginner has trouble installing elevator hinges properly,
yet this is one of the most important phases of the construction.
They must move freely in order to have good control of the model.
The elevator hinge problem was solved by installing rubber bands
in a figure-eight fashion. The method is simple and it is less likely
Do a neat job putting on trim and decorations and your ship
will gain respect at any flying site. Note muffler. Won't miss
Proper alignment is important on any flying model. With wing
laid flat on the building board, the stabilizer is lined up.
It is easy to glue fin on straight if you sight carefully along
fuselage after ship has been placed flat on your building board.
The plywood firewall (motor mount) is glued against front of
fuselage. Note the sturdy supports and the wing fillet pieces.
If landing gear is used, strut clamps in place between engine
tank and motor mount.
Detail of engine mount. Washers tilt engine thrust-line toward
the outside of circle.
hinges will break in a crack-up than if cloth is used.
This hinge method was used for years by the author for emergency
repairs when flying in combat competition.
The plans are full-size. Instead of cutting
up your magazine, take a sheet of tracing paper and tape it to the
magazine page with masking tape, then carefully trace the parts.
The tracings can be cemented to the wood with rubber cement, then
cut out. If you have access to a jig saw or band saw, it will be
easier to cut out the 1/4" fuselage side. Make sure all the parts
are cut accurately since they key together and align themselves.
The tracing paper can then be peeled off and the remaining cement
rubbed off with your finger.
The wing is made of 1/8 x 3
x 24 balsa.
Mark the center of the piece (12") and place the
center portion of your tracing there. The tracings for the wing
tips are then placed at the ends of the balsa piece. If you think
the wing has an odd shape, take a look at a real Musketeer. It has
the same shape.
Pin the wing down to a flat board, then
apply cement liberally to the center of the wing and set the fuselage
in place. Add the 1/4 x 1/4 x 3 fillets to each side and hold in
place with pins. Use a small triangle to be sure the fuselage is
exactly vertical. Apply cement to the center of the stabilizer and
slide into position in the fuselage slot. Use your triangle again
to be sure the trailing edge of the stabilizer is at right angle
to the fuselage. Measure the distance of each tip down to the board
to be sure they are the same. This is to be sure the stabilizer
is parallel to the wing.
Add the two pieces of 1/8 x 1/8
x 2 fillets.
Cement the three vertical fin parts in place. If
desired, the trailing edge of the rear piece can be offset 1/8"
to the right to give better flying-line tension.
cement to the back of the plywood firewall and also to the two 1/2"
triangles and set them in place. Hold with pins. Be sure the firewall
is up tight against the front of the fuselage.
one of the 1/16" plywood pieces to the top of the wing at the bellcrank
location. After you are sure all of the cement is dry, remove the
model from the board. Cement the second 1/16 plywood piece to the
bottom of the wing.
Cut a 2 x 4 strip of ordinary gauze bandage
and cement it to the front of the firewall and around the sides.
This reinforces the engine mount. Coat the top of the gauze with
cement. It would be best at this point to allow everything to dry
overnight. Then begin painting.
Since your Musketeer is
being built for flying, not for appearance, keep the painting to
a minimum. The fillets on the wing and stabilizer can be carved
to triangular shape or left square. First, sand all surfaces and
round all edges with fine sandpaper or 6/0 garnet paper, then apply
a coat of clear dope. After it dries, sand lightly and apply two
more coats of clear dope. When dry, apply the color dope. Since
the wing is a long, flat sheet, the shrinking qualities of the dope
may warp the wood. To prevent this, paint only half of one side
then the entire other side; finally, paint the remainder of the
first side. If a warp should develop, hold the wing over an open
pan of boiling water and let the steam penetrate the wing. Do this
to both sides then pin the wing panel down to a fiat board.
After the final coat of dope has dried, the controls and engine
can be installed. Mount the horn in the elevator then bend the pushrod,
using the fuselage side view on the plan as a guide. Insert one
end of the pushrod into the horn and the other end in the outer
hole of the bellcrank. Set the bellcrank on the platform 1/16 plywood)
and mark the location of the mounting screw with a pencil. Drill
a 3/32 hole into both plywood pieces and wing.
in the leadout wires and attach to the bellcrank. Mount the bellcrank
in place. Bend the wire leadout guide as shown on the plans and
insert the leadout wires through it. Cement a metal washer to the
bottom of the wing on the right side. This counterbalances the weight
of the flying lines. Instead of a metal washer for weight, you can
use 1/4 oz. of modeling clay.
Use #3 wood screws to mount
the engine. Place a #3 fiat washer between the two left engine mounting
lugs and the firewall for engine offset. This points the engine
slightly to the right towards the outside of the flying circle)
for proper line tension. If landing gear is used, two washers may
If you care to have a landing gear, one can be made from 1/16 music
wire and mounted between engine and firewall.
gear is an optional feature mainly because it is difficult to take
off on grass with a small model, while concrete will allow a takeoff
but can cause severe damage in a crack-up. Therefore, grass is the
preferred surface for a beginner. If grass, the model would take
off by hand launch. When ready for takeoff be sure the elevator
is neutral, then have your helper run with the model with the nose
pointed level and slightly to the right. He should also be keeping
the lines tight. Have him run until the model flies out of his hand
and you be ready to step back if the lines go slack.
the model fly by itself and you correct the level of flight only
when necessary. Most beginners will tend to over control. To prevent
this, hold your arm straight out and raise and lower your whole
arm instead of using your wrist to control the model. Above all,
don't be afraid of a crack-up. If your model hits the ground, pick
it up, dust it off, and try again. Any damage can be easily repaired
with a little cement. Your model will last a long time because of
its simple, wood construction.
1 pc. 1/8 x 3 x 24 balsa
1 pc. 1/4 x 3 x 12 balsa
pc. 3/32 x 3 x 12 balsa
2 pcs. 1/4 x 1/4 x 3 balsa
1/8 x 1/8 x 2 balsa
2 pcs. 1/2 x 1-3/4 balsa triangle
pcs. 1/16 x 3/4 x 1 plywood (thicker wood
may be used)
1 pc. 1/8 x 1-1/4 x 1-3/4 plywood
pc. 2" X 4" gauze
1 1/2A size bellcrank & horn
4 # 10
1 pc .055 x 12 music wire
.020 x 14 music wire
4 #3 x 3/8 wood screws
2 # 3 flat washers
1 .049 engine (see your
engine instructions for prop size)
1 1/2A·size control
handle and lines
1 can 1/2A fuel
1 fuel pump
1-1/2 volt starting battery
1 battery cord and clip.
<click image for larger version>
The AMA Plans Service offers a full-size
version of many of the plans show here at a very reasonable cost. They will scale the plans any size for you. It is always
best to buy printed plans because my scanner versions often have distortions that can cause parts to fit poorly. Purchasing
plans also help to support the operation of the Academy of Model
Aeronautics - the #1 advocate for model aviation throughout the world. If the AMA no longer has this plan on file, I
will be glad to send you my higher resolution version.
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Posted January 26, 2011