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Old 01-01-2009, 04:28 PM
stuntflyr's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Tucson, Arizona
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Default RE: Sterling Spitfire

Hi Dick,
I found this thread wandering through the forum and saw another Sterling guy. And it's you!
Not knowing what was going on in 1969, as a 10 year old I went to the Sterling factory and got a tour during the Nats at Willow Grove. Terry Prather had just had his Winder combat ship kitted and he and a bunch of us in our C/L club went along. Dad didn't seem too impressed by the R/C Mustang top blocks being shaped. It started with a block that had a nice slot for the fin, once it was shaped the slot was gone, replaced with a flat spot. I thought maybe the tool was badly out of calibration (though I didn't know those words then).
As far as weight, after collecting kits for the last 35 years I have seen a bit of interesting and puzzling trends in materials. In Berkeley kits the ply became luan, and then finally cardboard! It'd work I'm sure, but it just wasn't high quality anymore. Metal stamped parts became plastic (good as far as I'm concerned for flight). It seems that when buying large quantities of wood during the Viet Nam war, light stuff was hard to get cheap. Also, during the 60's and 70's the aerospace industry was using balsa for airliners and that put a big strain on the supply of cheap wood. I kind of thought of Ed, the owner of Sterling when I toured the place, as a business man that happened to have a model kit manufacturing plant. Could be he was keeping the place going when times were hard, or just watching the bottom line. Must be hard balancing the needs of business and modelers desires, anyway.
I used the top block from a Sterling Skylark C/L Stunt kit and found that it was very light after I mototooled it down to about a 1/8th to 1/16th. Easy to carve as it didn't get brittle or tear of on the corners, (takes some sharp tools though) It was still pretty solid after hollowing!

So are you going to build that Sterling Spitfire? Any updates on construction? How about pics of yours from long ago?