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Jun 01, 2014, 02:15 PM
Diesel Danny
danny mz's Avatar
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When is a vintage model no longer vintage?


Many of the old time designs are a bit lacking in sophistication, but the fun is to fly them as they were originally designed.

Nowadays, I notice a lot of 'modified' plans, plastic covering and electric power etc....

Not to detract from the people who are having fun or are noise restricted but I like to try to reproduce the original model, warts and all.

So what constitutes a genuine vintage model?

A genuine vintage engine, silk covering, ancient single channel r/c?

What I am basically asking is "When is a vintage model no longer vintage ?"

Please do not turn this topic into a sh*t fight, I just want to know the general opinion.

Regards * Danny *
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Jun 01, 2014, 02:28 PM
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E-Challenged's Avatar
Are you asking what is "legal" for an old-timer contest entry? I imagine that varies with the type of contest and what country contest is being held in.

Wow, here's an index to SAM rules. Lots of 'em, looks like electric power is excluded.


I was wrong, SAM has some electric powered old timer classes:
Last edited by E-Challenged; Jun 01, 2014 at 03:43 PM.
Jun 01, 2014, 03:42 PM
TLAR Aviation
Harry D's Avatar
And here we go AGAIN.
Jun 01, 2014, 04:28 PM
I like real wooden aeroplanes!
Sundancer's Avatar
If it has to conform to some particular class rules for use in a contest - date of publication, type of power etc. well that is easy to determine.

Otherwise, my criteria is; do I find it attractive, do I want to build it, will I enjoy flying it, does it have some special nostalgic meaning for me (i.e. did I either build one or covert it but it was beyond my means/skill sixty years ago) - if so fine, if not, move on to something else. It is a hobby and all about enjoying what you do.

For example, I wouldn't be interested in building a Lanzo Bomber - it might be the best for a certain vintage class, but it has no historical significance for me and I don't find it particularly aesthetically attractive, so, great flying model though I am sure it is, I won't be adding to the legion of replicas.
Last edited by Sundancer; Jun 02, 2014 at 04:17 PM.
Jun 02, 2014, 02:21 AM
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DeeBee1's Avatar
Hi Danny,

For me vintage items (including models) are usually relatively old and have a certain look that defines them as belonging to a particular period. Even certain electric powered helicopters from the last decade are being considered 'vintage' now.

I also like to build models as close to the original design as possible (engine, covering etc.) but many people like to modernise and experiment with some of the older designs, which I think is good for the hobby.
Jun 02, 2014, 02:40 AM
Registered User
When I build what I think of as vintage models I'll be starting from an old design that I like the look of and/or that has some meaning to me but I have no desire to make accurate historical replicas. They will be modified to take into account some of the things that have improved over the years. In particular they'll nearly all be electric powered.

That may be in some way "wrong" but I don't think I've ever built anything designed by someone else without that terrible modellers urge to "improve" it and I'm not going to change that habit just because the design is old.

I guess that makes them not proper "vintage" in some eyes but I don't honestly care. I build them for me .

Jun 02, 2014, 02:55 AM
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Monza Red's Avatar
I have been told that in the UK the standard definition of a Vintage Model is a model that first flew before 1951. I believe that the American cut-off date is somewhere in the early Forties but as we were rather busy in the Old Country at the time, there wasn't much model flying activity, quite a bit of full sized aviation though! Models which flew between 1952 and 1965 are allowed at SAM 35 events to allow for the incorporation of models like the Keil Kraft Super Sixty, though I have seen models like the late David Boddington's Barnstormer fly at SAM 35 events, ailerons and all, and this model did not fly until the late 1960s.

There are doubtless fundamentalists who insist in absolute authenticity and cover their models in silk, nylon or tissue paper, use balsa cement, fit period engines and never fit a radio to a free flight model. They are overwhelmingly outnumbered by those who cover their models in Solartex or even film, fit Japanese fourstrokes or electric motors and guide them with proportional radios. At every Sam 35 event I have been to over 95% of the models which were there fitted this description.

As for me, I my interest is not limited to vintage models. I also like scale models and models which are more exciting and challenging to fly like the WOT 4 and the Acrowot.

By the way, I organised a Vintage Day at my local club in 2012. We had a turn-out of nearly 30 vintage models, not bad out of a general model flying club with 80 members, but only one was a member of SAM, me. This suggests to me that there is a lot more vintage flying going on outside the vintage model organisations, than they may like to admit.
Jun 02, 2014, 08:17 AM
Thermals, Tom
RyanNX211's Avatar
I've been guilty of many things that jeopardize the vintage nature of a model but I stop at ailerons.
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Jun 02, 2014, 10:45 AM
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Monza Red's Avatar
The larger Barnstormers could be built with ailerons and the purists would have it that they're not vintage models. They do feature fully built-up construction however, just like a "proper" vintage model.
Jun 02, 2014, 11:19 AM
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earlwb's Avatar
Well, the old vintage planes were all free flight. They had only trims for control surfaces, if that much. As such they could be built quite light as they didn't normally do any aerobatics of course. But to convert for RC you needed to reinforce the wing, fuselage some and tail too. Then you needed to add a elevator and rudder to it. You could probably go rudder only too. Since most wings have a lot of dihedral to them, ailerons wind up to be pretty much useless, as the rudder works fine on them.

So I think that if you only did modifications to enable a vintage plane to have some RC control, then that would be reasonable. But the RC gear was simply to keep the airplane on the flying field so that you didn't have to chase it off over the countryside.

But yes, the SAM and other groups have had to put in lots of rules governing the vintage planes as like usual people tend to abuse the rules.
Last edited by earlwb; Jun 02, 2014 at 11:22 AM. Reason: add more info
Jun 02, 2014, 11:21 AM
AMA 7224
Leadchucker's Avatar
Plastic covering could be vintage as well. Megow Models from Philadelphia offered a 'plastic' heat shrinkable material in their 1940 catalouge.
Jun 02, 2014, 01:26 PM
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earlwb's Avatar
I would think that the plastic heat shrink coverings would be Ok nowadays as the tissue and silkspan are getting mighty hard to come by. Not even counting the costs either.
Jun 02, 2014, 03:08 PM
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Captain Dunsel's Avatar
I would think that the plastic heat shrink coverings would be Ok nowadays as the tissue and silkspan are getting mighty hard to come by. Not even counting the costs either.
There are also iron-ons that at least look like fabric or tissue; i.e., Fibafilm/Micafilm.

I'll echo Slipstick; I build my models for my enjoyment (and my wife's). If I were going to compete in a contest where I had to use period wheels, hardware, covering, power source, etc., then I'd worry about the details. But I don't compete, so I won't worry.

Jun 02, 2014, 06:40 PM
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Jim Kraft's Avatar
I am one that likes to build them warts and all. I fly a lot of old control line models and a few Old Timer free flights converted to radio. Most of them have old ignition engines in them as that is what I like and the field where I fly noise is not a problem. I do fly the control line ignition planes in competition, but not the old free flights. I still cover with silk and dope and do most every thing the old way. I make almost everything that I need such as gas tanks, and build all of my models from plans. There are not many of us left that are as old school as I am, but there are still a few of us.

Having said all of that, I flew RC pattern competition for 25 years from 1969 to 1994 and enjoyed it a lot. Since I retired from that I just enjoy the old stuff the way it use to be.

I can also see doing it however you like as this is a hobby.
Jun 02, 2014, 11:09 PM
Balsadustus Producerus
As a Vintage Radio Control Society EC member, I would be remiss if I didn't post this to a direct question about what we do:

WHAT AIRCRAFT ARE ELIGIBLE? (Revised and Effective 1/1/08)
Any model airplane that employed radio control and was kitted, published or flown (attested to by the builder) and falls into one of the following classifications:

Pioneer: Prior to January 1, 1955
Classic: Prior to January 1, 1965
Nostalgia: 35 years old prior to the first of each calendar year.

As lifted off the VR/CS website:

Haha, I've never noticed it before, but it seems the Vintage R/C Society doesn't have a category for, well, Vintage, specifically. Sort of like the FAA: As an A&P with an Inspection Authorization, I'm required to maintain full-size airplanes in an airworthy condition, but for years didn't define what 'airworthy' meant

Although I signed on long enough ago to have membership #207, I really don't know why those dates were chosen. As an EC member for the Southwest US, I still don't. I think it has to do with how R/C advanced along that timeline. These dates are intended to be observed for Reunions, which are not in an attempt to say "See, the other guy would've won if only...". They are for the enjoyment of those who were there in the day and to simply have a good time flying model airplanes around, this time with good radios and engines. And decent adhesives and finishing products that don't stink up the house. I must admit, though, my current project is a 1966 "Ugly Stik" by Phil Kraft from the Grid Leaks magazine plans, and I intend to silk and dope it, because I want to, is all. And, no, it's not going to have Great War German markings, either

As Slipstick mentioned, I also build what interests me, then go out and fly it. Afterward, I might find out it's seen as a "Classic" airplane and my response will be "Oh, OK ". The only event held at a VR/CS Reunion that is concerned about re-creating an airplane exactly as it was is the 'Concours" event, where points are awarded for those who followed the old ways most closely.

I've built five VR/CS-type airplanes and they've all been modern radios, engines, covering and so on. Contrary to what I heard at the AMA EXPO January last from visitors, VR/CS does not recommend using the radios of the day, unless you know exactly what you are doing and do so with the understanding you may well lose the airplane in the process. There is a very good reason for this--those radios were very unreliable in the day and the ensuing years have not been kind to them...they are more unreliable now than when new. Having said that, there is a short list on the VR/CS website where you can find someone who will go through your old system but it is not a good idea to do this for daily flying. My most recent vintage airplane is a Lil Roughneck II, which has an outrunner for power, a 2.4 radio system and was built using modern adhesives and coatings. Not to mention laser-cut parts

I think what it comes down to is: What do you feel is a vintage airplane to you? To me, that's going to be anything designed or kitted when I couldn't afford to buy it, as a kid (I'm 63 now). Others may feel a later time period is appropriate, or maybe in the Fifties or Forties. It's really rather open as to how you might approach this part of the hobby. What counts here, I think, is to enjoy the hobby and all it offers.
Last edited by Balsabird; Jun 04, 2014 at 10:28 AM.

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