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        Discussion Outerzone - your thoughts and input

#1 WMD Oct 06, 2012 05:26 AM

Outerzone - your thoughts and input
 
I thought I'd try opening a discussion thread on the subject of Outerzone. There may or may not actually be a need or an audience for this, we'll see, but there are a couple of things I defininitely hope to get out of it. And it might be helpful to others, of course.

Some quick background for anyone new to this: My name is Steve, and I run www.outerzone.co.uk which is a free website that hosts copies of vintage and old-timer plans for free download. It is a volunteer run, not-for-profit operation - essentially that means I do it, and I do it in my free time. Currently there are 3,452 plans on there. The site has been up and running since March 2011, and the figure I have here for total downloads is: 2,459,580 (actually, that's since 28/06/2011). Outerzone grew out of the Vintage plans thread here at RCgroups http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1265873 titled - Vintage & Old-Timer Plans which was started by Orange&White. If that thread had not ever started, Outerzone would not exist. I really just wanted to build myself a way of saving and recording all the plans together in one place that was safe and had a search function on the front end. Then like Topsy it just grew.

Aaaaanyway. That's where we are now. I am hoping this thread will do a couple of things: Firstly, I always want feedback and ideas from users on how it can be improved. So if you have any ideas on how to make it look better, work better, whatever, then here is your chance. Secondly, we can (if you want to get into this) discuss the finer points of what should and should not appear on Outerzone. For example, what is an 'original' plan? Should plans be modified in any way? Is Outerzone creating a problem by hosting 'un-original' plans, and thus giving them weight and validity they do not merit? We can stroke our chins and ponder this philosophically.

Thirdly, my knowledge of modelling history is patchy (to say the least). In day to day running of Outerzone I often come across points and queries that I would like to be able to ask smarter people. Just off the top of my head: is the JD McHard F4U Corsair plan - http://www.outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=747 - actually by JD McHard? - this has been questioned, and I don't know the answer. It would help me to get solid answers to this kind of stuff.

I'm not proposing that anyone should post plans here onto this thread. There are much better threads for that. I suggest we keep this to just text. Just discussion.

Steve

#2 Sundancer Oct 06, 2012 05:43 AM

Point No. 1 Steve; the Outerzone is GREAT - first place I look when trying to find something. The only problem I see is that many people coming new to the forum just don't know it exists, unless they read the first post on the vintage plans thread (and many clearly either don't or don't understand the import of what it says there) they just never get to use this invaluable resource. I don't know what the answer is - maybe a sticky thread "Search for plans" which has just one post, the Outer Zone URL, or something?

Personally, it suits my requirements very well just as it is, and I don't have any problems with plans which have been redrawn to make them more legible, but it would be nice if there was some way of identifying entirely "original" plans - whatever they might be deemed to be!

On the subject of helping with queries such as the Doug McHard one you mention (I have no idea whether JDMcH did design the model in question, but it looks like a nice plan and I could well believe he did), it is just a question of finding the right vehicle to expose these queries - maybe this thread? - and I am sure that anyone who has the necessary knowledge would respond.

And finally - thanks for starting the Outerzone, it has certainly made things a heck of a lot easier for all who use it.

#3 algy2 Oct 06, 2012 06:43 AM

Hi Steve,

I can see nothing wrong or needing to be improved with OUTERZONE. The filling system is quick and easy to use if you are looking for a particular plan.

To the question of whether the legendary DOUG McHARD designed the VOUGHT F4U CORSAIR published in FLYING SCALE MODELS OF WW11 he did not.

I have just checked my much thumbed copy of this great book and it was designed by FRANK SCOTT.

Doug does have four of his designs published there and they are the HAWKER HURRICANE, SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE, MESSERSCHMITT BF-109E and the CURTISS P-40C.

Seems someone got their wires slightly crossed on the original post. It happens.


Cheers

Algy2

#4 WMD Oct 06, 2012 06:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sundancer (Post 22927082)
...I don't have any problems with plans which have been redrawn to make them more legible, but it would be nice if there was some way of identifying entirely "original" plans - whatever they might be deemed to be!

Thanks Sundancer. I could add a yes/no tag for 'original' (or not so) and then use that to highlight plans that have not been altered in any way, I guess. It seems to me then the next question would be what does 'in any way' mean? For instance, the Earl Stahl plans are mostly originally printed over say 4 pages of a 10x8 magazine - if I then edit those together into 1 large sheet for ease of use, is that still original? Im not trying to be funny here, just wondering how far to go... how pure is pure?

For example the Earl Stahl Hurricane I have here http://www.outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=3323 has been edited, and had thick outer plan border lines removed for clarity, then the two fuselage sections mated together. The original scans of course are from http://www.theplanpage.com/esp/hurri.htm

#5 WMD Oct 06, 2012 07:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by algy2 (Post 22927294)
To the question of whether the legendary DOUG McHARD designed the VOUGHT F4U CORSAIR published in FLYING MODELS OF WW11 he did not. I have just checked my much thumbed copy of this great book and it was designed by FRANK SCOTT.

Aha! Thanks Algy, that's great.

Edit: just occurred to me, I'd love to see a contents listing of that book, I suspect there are a few treasures in there not yet posted...

#6 raglafart Oct 06, 2012 07:30 AM

Steve, what you've done is make a whole lot of aeromodellers extremely happy.
I daily peruse the site along with other plan sites, HPA being another.
Please keep up the invaluable work you've done and know that it is well and truly appreciated.
The plans thread started here and your site is one of the reasons I've dipped my toe into trying to restore some plans rather than just download all the time.
I'd have only one question, how do we upload plans directly to Outerzone?
All the best
Cheers John

#7 Edubarca Oct 06, 2012 08:58 AM

Steve: Your web page is the best I have seen. And now that feature of clicking reload and new plans appear has been a great help in finding surprise plans. As for modified or redrawn plans, they should also be posted. Even plans that do not have "all formers complete", for example some of Berkeley and Sterling kit plans. No matter, formers can almost always be developed from the plan itself. Keep up your work Steve!!!!! We love Outerzone, It is our daily breakfast!!

#8 WMD Oct 06, 2012 09:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raglafart (Post 22927475)
...I'd have only one question, how do we upload plans directly to Outerzone?

Hi John, good question. I did start out doing it that way, and to cut a long story short, technically it is easy enough to do it that way, and I did set up the pages and the code to do it. Some plans were done that way. Maybe a hundred or so. But it caused me some problems with security - letting users upload files direct onto the server also meant that other malicious users also had more room to maneouvre.

Currently, there's only me doing uploads. So plans tend to just get emailed to me personally, then I do the admin, the upload. All users can choose to register and get a login, but that only gives them access to submit comments for each plan, no higher access is open at the moment.

I guess I could open up a quarantine area for file uploads, a kind of DMZ, and let users fill in the forms with title, date, etc... I don't know how much demand there is for that. Anyone else feel a burning desire to upload files direct? If there is a crowd of you clamouring, then maybe that's something I should look at.

#9 WMD Oct 06, 2012 09:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Edubarca (Post 22927938)
...As for modified or redrawn plans, they should also be posted. Even plans that do not have "all formers complete", for example some of Berkeley and Sterling kit plans. No matter, formers can almost always be developed from the plan itself

Thanks Eduardo, I am inclined to agree, I think all plans have some merit, and I personally feel that if no good plan of a subject is available, then a bad plan of it is better than no plan at all. Although another point is that server space is becoming less expensive, less of a problem now. When I started out I was trying to keep filesize down and to average the filesize allocated to each plan title at 800KB. This is not so much a problem now, and I can see a future now where this limit is ignored, and I simply keep mutiple versions of each plan (maybe one will be perfectly original), so that users can choose whichever one suits them best. That way everyone will be (I think) happy. As long as everything is clearly labelled.

#10 piperjoe Oct 06, 2012 09:21 AM

Hi, Steve. I'd like to say that what you are doing with Outerzone is absolutely great. I check it out everyday to see what is new and often download a plan or two. It's just "plane fun" (...sorry, but I could not resist...). Many of the plans I have viewed on Outerzone are ones I never expected to see again and many others are offerings that were unknown to me. Outerzone is THE best go-to site I have found for model aircraft plans. Perhaps a possible boat plans addition in the future would be of interest to Outerzone visitors? For many of us who grew up during the early years of model building/flying, visiting Outerzone is like visiting with old friends again. My sincere thank you to Steve and all those who have made Outerzone a wonderful site for modelers who still like to build models the old-fashioned way.

Soft landings,

Joe

#11 WMD Oct 06, 2012 09:56 AM

Hi Joe, and thanks. I'm not sure about boats, simply because I don't know anything about them. From a tech point of view I could re-use all the same framework of db code and pages to build another site that instead of planes just did boats - but I'd definitely need volunteers to admin it. Again, if there is a big wave of support for this, then it could happen.

#12 WMD Oct 06, 2012 10:09 AM

I fully intend to pick all of your brains as we go along here... this will take the form of seemly random and unrelated questions re plans, that have been raised by users over on Outerzone submitting a correction entry, like this here. This is a perfect example, just in now: the Dallaire Nieport 17 here http://www.outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=536 is scaled to print out with a wingspan of 26in, and that can't be right. Anyone know the correct span?

#13 Circlip Oct 06, 2012 11:45 AM

If you're happy to keep doing the admin Steve, better that you keep your hand on the joystick rather than the free for all of everybody and their dogs posting ad lib on the site.:rolleyes:

Regards Ian.

#14 piperjoe Oct 06, 2012 01:23 PM

Good thought, Ian. Steve is doing a remarkable job with his superb site. As for my above suggestion (in a moment of 'ol fart weakness)...what was I thinking!? ;<)

Soft landings,

Joe

#15 GeeW Oct 06, 2012 02:06 PM

Steve
My only request is DON'T CHANGE OUTERZONE. It is a superb resource and I waste many a happy hour/evening/weekend on there.
Too often IT bods fiddle and try to fix what isn't broke.
I think it, (assuming you are happy doing it?) is best that only a very limited (like one or two) number of people are allowed to add plans.
If a boat section gets incorporated then I'm happy with that.

Whatever happens please do not stop!

Best Regards

Gordon


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