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Sketchbook - Model Building Tips
August 1954 Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men

August 1954 Air Trails
August 1954 Air Trails Cover - Airplanes and RocketsTable of Contents

Some things never grow old. These pages from vintage modeling magazines like American Aircraft Modeler, American Modeler, Air Trails, Flying Aces, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, & Young Men captured the era. I will be glad to scan articles for you. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.

This is the earliest edition I have of Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men, so this is also the first edition of Sketchbook I have. Sketchbook continued for many years as a monthly feature where modelers wrote to the magazine with handy ideas for saving time and/or money, and just for offering tips and suggestions on a different way of doing something. In those days there was not the plethora of accessories available for building models, so a lot of creativity was involved. Even items as commonplace as bellcranks for control line models and dethermalizers for free flight were fabricated from salvaged parts like metal soup cans and hairpins. I'm guessing no magazine today would publish a scheme to attach bottle rockets to a model airplane as is shown here.


Earl Cayton, Salem, Oregon, employs dural firewall plate - Airplanes and Rockets
Earl Cayton, Salem, Oregon, employs dural firewall plate as firm base for thrust adjustment washers in radially-mounted engine of free flight gassie -

 - Airplanes and Rockets
Have you developed something new in construction, control, or flying? Send a rough sketch - we'll redraw it and pay $5 for each accepted. Contributions should be original ideas; sorry, we cannot enter into any correspondence on submissions.

Ad hoc modeling tools by Arthur Lederle, Southold, New York - Airplanes and Rockets
Inexpensive model "tools" for easier handling of small model parts - Arthur Lederle, Southold, New York.

Fabric covering by Eric Knox, San Francisco, California - Airplanes and Rockets
Fabric covering is easily applied with paste adhesive. Spread over frame with fingertip, it allows 15 min. period for stretching covering before setting. By Eric Knox, San Francisco, California.
Hair com grilles by Phil Boretto, Santa Rosa, California - Airplanes and Rockets
Sections cut from combs make realistic grills for cowl openings. Ideal for team racers, stunt & scale models of all sizes says Phil Boretto, Santa Rosa, California.

Fuel line coupling by L.M. Waldorf, Binghampton, New York - Airplanes and Rockets
L.M. Waldorf, Binghampton, New York, makes small coupling at firewall to facilitate replacing fuel line to "sealed-in" tank.

Nail polish spinner, Keith Red, 12, Union City, Michigan - Airplanes and Rockets
Great variety in shapes of plastic nail polish caps include some suitable for A/2 engine spinners suggests Keith Red, 12, Union City, Michigan.

Richard Chang, Hong Kong, China, rigs realistic rocket - Airplanes and Rockets
Richard Chang, Hong Kong, China, rigs realistic rocket batteries under wing of control-line model -

Click for full size page scans

Sketch-book from August 1954 Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men (p64) - Airplanes and RocketsSketch-book from August 1954 Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men (p65) - Airplanes and Rockets

Sketchbook Editions
| Aug 1954 | Sep 1954 | Dec 1954 | Mar 1955 | Jan 1957 | Feb 1957 | Mar 1957 | Apr 1957 | May 1957 | Jun 1957 | Jul 1957 | Sep 1957 | Oct 1957 | Nov 1957 | Dec 1957 | Oct 1958 | Mar 1959 | Jul 1959 | Aug 1959 |Nov 1959 | Dec 1959 | Feb 1961 | Apr 1961 | Aug 1961 | Dec 1961 | Mar 1962 | Jan 1962 |Feb 1962 | June 1962 | Jul 1962 | Oct 1962 | Sep 1962 | Dec 1962 | Jan/Feb 1963 | Mar/Apr 1963 | May/Jun 1963 |Jul/Aug 1963 | Sep/Oct 1963 | Nov/Dec 1963 | Mar 1967 | Oct 1967 | Feb 1968 | Apr 1968 | Jun 1968 | Jul 1968 | Sep 1968 |

Back when the Sketchbook, Gadgetry, Powerless Pointers, and Engine Info columns were run, there were very few pre-built models, and there simply was not as much available in the way of hardware and specialized modeling tools. We were still a nation of designers and builders. The workforce was full of people who worked on production lines, built houses and buildings with hand tools, and did not have distractions like Nintendos and X-Boxes. Remember that plastics were not common material until the early 1950s and the transistor wasn't invented until late 1947. Enjoy the tips. Some of you will no doubt wax nostalgic over the methods, since you can remember the days when you did the exact same thing!





Posted October 5, 2013

About Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets
Kirt Blattenberger
Carpe Diem!
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Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD. There is a lot of good information and there are lot of pictures throughout the website that you will probably find useful, and might even bring back some old memories from your own days of yore. The website began life around 1996 as an EarthLink screen name of ModelAirplanes, and quickly grew to where more server space ...

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