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Old 12-07-2005, 04:52 PM
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Default RE: ARF vs Kit build?

I offer this humorous tidbit that plays into the skill required to build model. We received written permission to from Mr. Raskin to reprint this in our club newsletter. Unfortunately, Jef has passed recently, but I’m sure as a avid modeler, he would have no problem with me posting this here.

A Sure Guide to Determining a Modeler’s Skill Level - By Jef Raskin

After a while in this hobby, you can walk up to somebody, look at his or her model or workshop, and immediately put them into one of four classes: Novice, Builder, Expert, or Master. So that you can tell one from another, here are a few tips.

1. Take a look at the control horns. If you weren't reading this Guide, you might think to look at how they're positioned and attached, but here's the real secret.

Novice: They still have the little bumps where they used to be attached to the plastic runner.
Builder: The little bumps have been neatly cut off.
Expert: The horns are scratch-built from aircraft plywood, sanded and varnished.
Master: The horns are hand made from polished T2024 aircraft aluminum and carbon fiber, coated for corrosion protection with the metal parts having been anodized to match
the finish of the aircraft. Did I mention the stainless steel ball joints?

2. Covering quality can be a dead giveaway.

Novice: Looks like the entire Belgian Army has slept on it for a week.
Builder: Looks like it has been slept on by a cat for one night.
Expert: Is as crisp as a freshly made bed.
Master: Looks as taut as a bed made up by a drill sergeant at boot camp.

3. Study the trailing edges of the wing.

Novice: Square and over 1/8 inch thick.
Builder: Nicely rounded.
Expert: Feather edge.
Master: Uses the trailing edge to shave.

4. How well are the uncovered wood parts finished?

Novice: Raw wood
Builder: Has been sanded and painted.
Expert: Sanding sealer, five coats of urethane paint, each coat wet-sanded, followed by rubbing compound and a fine European hard wax.
Master: Impossible to tell how it was done, looks like one piece of polished granite; wear

5. On many models, it is possible to see the framework. Look at it carefully.

Novice: Hard to tell that it's an airplane.
Builder: Reasonably straight and true.
Expert: Joints have no gaps, no warps, corners, gusseted, looks like it was carved from a
solid piece of wood with the grain always going in the strongest direction.
Master: It was carved from a solid piece of wood with the grain always going in the
strongest direction.

6. What aircraft do they choose to model?

Novice: Piper Cubs.
Builder: WWII fighters.
Expert: Anything with elaborate detail or impossible surface finish and markings,
scale operating engines, retracts, and all instruments work. Windshield wipers
come on automatically when it rains.
Master: Piper Cubs.

7. Glues they use.

Novice: Mucilage
Builder: CA, Epoxy
Expert: CA in three viscosities, aliphatic resins, four different epoxies, contact glues,
special canopy cement, and has a friend in the adhesives industry.
Master: Parts interlock so well that glue is not needed.
Clanking Armor, Page 5
8. Find out what shop equipment they use.

Novice: One old hobby knife.
Builder: Hobby knife, supply of fresh blades, handheld electric tools, box full of small
Expert: 2000 square foot shop with drill press, lathe, milling machine, table saw, router,
vacuum forming machine, foam cutter, and all are computer controlled. There is
also a rolling tool chest with larger tools, and a magnificent walnut machinist's tool chest with precision tools that cost as much as the GNP of a third world country. Each.
Master: One old hobby knife AND a sharpening stone.

9. Aerodynamic knowledge

Novice: Totally mystified, and has been since sixth grade.
Builder: Has read one book on the topic and forgotten it.
Expert:Runs simulations on computers that make NASA jealous; solves differential
equations mentally in seconds; and can give name, date of publication, and the
author(s) of every theoretical work since 1892.
Master: If it looks right, it is right.

10. Radio system choice
Novice: 2 Channel radio with elevator on left stick.
Builder: 4 Channel radio with two sticks.
Expert: 17 Channel radio made in Germany with an unpronounceable name and more levers and switches than the cockpit of a 747.
Master: Free flight.

11. How they fly them.
Novice: Crashes on takeoff.
Builder: Crashes on downwind turns.
Expert: Only crashes when it is someone else's fault.
Master: Knows better than to fly them.

About the author
Among other things, Jef Raskin has been a professor of computers at the University of California at San Diego; for most people that would be goal enough. Mr. Raskin went on to do seminal work on GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces--Microsoft Windows is an example of a GUIs-Editor-). He conceived, proposed, and was project head on the development of the Apple Macintosh. His most recent book on the subject is ‘The Humane Interface’, which has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, German, Spanish, and Russian editions, with French, Italian, Korean and Dutch versions to come. A prolific writer and researcher with hundreds of articles in print, he is an avid model builder and competitor and an active musician and composer. He has consulted on computer interface and system design for dozens of companies, from startups to multinationals worldwide.
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