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  1. #1
    RFJ's Avatar
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    Mike Birch Models

    You may have seen mention of Mike in the "Old Magazine Ads" thread. I think it deserves a seperate thread to discuss Mike and his two well known designs Moonglow and Capricorn. I am hoping Alan (Furyguy) will contribute something as he knew Mike personally and was given two of his models after Mike unfortunately died some years ago.

    To kick things off, here are some shots of Mike and his Moonglows from the late 1960's.

    Ray
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  2. #2
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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    To give you some idea of Mike's dominance of the UK pattern scene for almost ten years, here is his contest record.

    British Nationals -

    1967 6th Moonglow prototype
    1968 1st Moonglow
    1969 1st Moonglow
    1970 2nd Moonglow
    1971 1st Capricorn
    1972 3rd Capricorn International
    1973 1st Capricorn International
    1974 1st Capricorn International
    1975 7th Capricorn International
    1976 Did not enter
    1977 Entered but did not place

    World F3A Championships -

    1969 13th Moonglow
    1971 13th Capricorn
    1973 11th Capricorn International

    Ray

  3. #3
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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    In 1970 Mike moved from the Moonglow to the Capricorn. Apart from the fashionable deep "fish" type fuselage the models were dimensionally similar. The Moonglow wing planform was reversed to give more leading edge than trailing edge sweep.

    Ray
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  4. #4

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    That's an very impressive record, especially to string so many wins in a row at that level. Thanks for sharing that Ray!

    FB

  5. #5
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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    It certainly is FB. Mike is probably not that well known to many American readers but was, along with Ken Binks, the most consistently successful British F3A flyer. He was a great influence and inspiration to me as this was the beginning of the period when I was starting to fly F3A "seriously".

    Anyway, to complete the story. In late 1971/early 1972 Mike enlarged the Capricorn by 10% in line with the trend for larger models and called it the International. This was his last F3A design.

    Ray
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  6. #6

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    Hello,
    As far as I'm aware it was kitted by Mick Reeves for a while. Maybe Mick Reeves has some info on it.
    An old pattern flier/fellow club member had some of these Capricorns which he used to compete with yonks ago. I had hoped to get some parts or plans off him for a guy in NZ. Unfortunately he skipped them all along with the plans years ago.
    If you can get hold of plans, then one of the guys from NZ who uses this forum (PIMMS NZ I think) was trying to hold of plans.
    rodders

  7. #7
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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    Rodders,

    Yes Mick Reeves did a kit for the Capricorn but some years earlier Mike himself sold them. This ad appeared very briefly in the summer of 1973 and is where I got my kit, accompanied by a very nice letter from Mike answering some dumb questions I had asked. The kit was the usual glass fuselage/foam wing job so there were no plans as such. Wish now I had bought a couple [sm=cry_smile.gif]

    Ray
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  8. #8
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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    It was around 1974 when Mike appeared on an English TV program called (I think) β€œModel Magic”. He taxied the beautiful multi coloured Capricorn International across the studio floor in front of the camera and I was hooked. I joined my local model club the following week and have never looked back. A couple of years later I bought a Superstar mk3 kit (very similar) and painted it in the same colour scheme. Fitted with a Webra 60, and Skyleader TSX7 radio, it flew like it was on rails.


    The ghost of aviation, she was swallowed by the sky.
    Or by the sea, like me she had a dream to fly.

  9. #9
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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    Piro - I also (vaguely) remember that. Think it was 1975, called "Model World" and presented by Bob Symes. I do remember the show's theme tune was "Planes & Boats & Trains"

    Ray

  10. #10
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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    that's right, and a very inspiring program it was too with its catchy theme and its Father Christmas lookalike presenter.

    The ghost of aviation, she was swallowed by the sky.
    Or by the sea, like me she had a dream to fly.

  11. #11

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    Superstar 3? I have plans for SS1 and SS2, I have a SS2 serviceable, and have seen piccies of SS3, but I have seen no plans for 3, and certainly no mention of a kit, I am intrigued! We are talking about the Matt model? Damn, Capricorn, and now SS3, there is no end in sight yet!
    Evan.

  12. #12
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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    My understanding is that Matt used at the 1969, 1971 & 1973 World Champs a Superstar 1,2 & 3 respectively. Looking at the photographs I can see little difference between any of them. The 2 of course had a deeper nose to accommodate a retract and a thicker tailplane than the 1. The 3 looks identical to the 2 but I guess there must be some subtle differences.

    For reference the 1 plan was published in the February 1970 RCM&E and the 2 plan in the February 1972 issue. Never seen a 3 plan and don't remember a UK produced Superstar kit although a glass fuselage and foam wings were available.

    Ray

  13. #13
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    RE: Mike Birch Models


    ORIGINAL: pimmnz

    Superstar 3? I have plans for SS1 and SS2, I have a SS2 serviceable, and have seen piccies of SS3, but I have seen no plans for 3, and certainly no mention of a kit, I am intrigued! We are talking about the Matt model? Damn, Capricorn, and now SS3, there is no end in sight yet!
    Evan.
    hi there

    it was a glass and foam kit bought in England in about 1976.
    i have a pic somewhere of a long haired youth posing with it in mum's bedroom.
    The ghost of aviation, she was swallowed by the sky.
    Or by the sea, like me she had a dream to fly.

  14. #14

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    Hello Pimmnz,
    I did try to get hold of some parts and plans for you, I even put a wanted add in BMFA classifiedes
    Hopefully someone on here can get you parts you wanted.
    I think I remember one of those colour pictures being used as the cover of a magazine (an iconic immage).

    Do you think that Mike Burch made the original Capricorn from wood before going into kit production, using fiberglass and foam and that some plans might exist?
    Regards,
    Rodders

  15. #15

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    Thanks mate, and yes, I believe Mike would have done a wooden one first, as described in one of the RCM&E's to convert Moonglow to Capricorn. But were there plans? Might have been, but long lost now I would think.
    Evan.

  16. #16
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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    I believe Mike would have done a wooden one first, as described in one of the RCM&E's
    Haven't been able to find that RCM&E reference. I doubt there was a wooden version. It would be a beast to build as there wasn't a straight line or flat surface anywhere []

    As has been mentioned, some years after Mike had quit competition aerobatics, the two sizes of Capricorn were briefly offered in kit form by Mick Reeves Models and distributed by Ripmax Models. This is one of the first ads which appeared in the April 1981 RCM&E.

    Ray
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  17. #17

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    The Capricorn was sculpted out of Jelutong by Mike himself and then he used it as a plug to make the moulds for the Fuzz , never originally a built up flying Fuzz unlike the moonglow , nice to see a thread here about Mike , I will contribute more once l get some reality stuff sorted out and post some pics of Mike and l building the last plane we did together  , Alan

  18. #18

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    P.S. .......... I will be doing some Capricorn plans for you all as soon as the Ex and my house are sorted ;o)

  19. #19

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    You beauty! Good luck with the other stuff too.
    Evan.

  20. #20

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    I have a Ripmax Mike Birch 'International' kit still in the box if anyone in the UK is interested.
    Stevie D

  21. #21

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    Hi Stevie D.

    Very interested. PM sent.

    jwmm

  22. #22

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    Oh indeed yes , it was Model World with Bob Symes , I remember Mike telling me how much he hated doing that program mainly because Symes was a Train buff and rattled on without really taking much notice of Mikes comments , I think Mikes words were " Silly old duffer " funnily l've been looking for that edition of Model World for some time , l believe it was on BBC2 .
    Alan

  23. #23

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    I think l will find out the copyright on the Capricorn and if it's ok l may even kit them again in Mikes memory if there are enough people interested , just a thought  , let me know , thanks , Alan

  24. #24

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    To all those who have indicated an interest in the Mike Birch International kit, many thanks. I have contacted Furyguy (who also lives in Doncaster) and he has a long association with Mike Birch. Alan intends to kit these ( subject to permission being given) and this will open up the design to all those who are interested.

    Stevie D

  25. #25

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    RE: Mike Birch Models

    Many thanks Steve , I am most certainly going to make the International available to all who are interested , time to get epoxy every where again , this ones for you , Mike
    Alan


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