AAL / mps
Mini-Old Timer Selection Matrix


A customer asked for recommendations on which mini-old timer to build first, as he had bought most of the kits and was a bit overwhelmed at the selection. I put together this matrix and sent it to him. I'm not really sure how much it helped him to make a decision, but there is some information here that could be of value if you are wondering about how to pick from the list which now numbers 25 airplanes.

The categorization is mine, as are the comments, and I'll take responsibility for what is listed. Hope you find this of some help! / AL

Scale is 1 to 5, with 5 being highest/best.
Until I get around to adding the photo links, please look up models on the "Master List and Photo Finder".

Model Name Building Ease Charisma Flight Capability Notes
Answer 24"; plan only 2 5 5 A
Baby Corsair 3 4 4 B
Bombshell 18"; Ser. 1 3 3 4 C
Brooklyn Dodger 21"; Ser. 4 2 4 3 D
Champion 22"; Ser. C 3 5 4 E
Cumulus 21"; Ser. A 3 5 4 F
Debby 22"; Ser. C 3 2 4 G
Flea 23"; Ser. A 4 3 4 H
GHQ Sportster 22"; Ser. C 4 4 4 I
Interceptor 21"; Ser. 3 2 3 4 J
Kerswap 21"; Ser. 3 4 3 5 K
Miss America 23"; Ser. 4 4 4 5 L
Miss Tiny 22"; Ser B 2 5+ 4 M
New Ruler 20"; Ser. 1 2 2 3 N
Pacemaker 20"; plan only 2 3 3 O
Playboy 21"; Ser. 2 3 3 3 P
Powerhouse 21.75"; plan only 4 3 5 Q
Record Breaker 21"; Ser. 2 3 4 4 R
Rocketeer A 21"; Ser. 3 2 5 5 S
Simplex 22"; Ser. B 5 3 4 T
Skyscraper 22"; Ser. A 4 4 5 U
Spearhead Jr. 22"; Ser. B 2 4 4 V
Strato-Streak 29.8"; Mini-XL 4 3 5 W
Sunduster 19.5"; Ser. 1 1 3 3 X
Trenton Terror 20"; Ser. 2 5 2 5 Y
Viking 29.8"; 'XL' 4 5+ 5+ Z
Wedgy 22"; Ser. 4 3 5 5 AA

A. Answer: One of the most graceful - an excellent flyer - but it's bigger than all the rest (except the new Viking), so needs at least a Mini6 or a GM120 - unless you just want to fly around without lots of altitude - a favorite.
B. Baby Corsair: from Beshar Models. This is a 'new' OT model for me - found it in the back of John Pond's catalog. As A Mini-XL, it needs the Mini-6 or a comparable CO2 motor. Neat looking, nice flyer.
C. Bombshell: Joe Knoefes' classic cabin model; OK with a Brown A-23.
D. Brooklyn Dodger: Another Sal taibi 'great'.
E. Champion is another good looking, good flying, Ben Shereshaw model; what more can I say?
F. Cumulus: Comic book style shoulder-wing 'racer' - but about same vintage as Record Breaker.
G. Debby: Fairly simple cabin plane.
H. Flea was originally sold as a rubber-powered 'gas model look-alike'. My Fleas was flown 'sort-of' rc with a CETO unit. The plane can easily carry the extra weight but rc reliability was poor.
I. GHQ: Looks a bit like a crop duster/sprayer; lots of area. Be sure to build up the dummy engine!
J. Interceptor: The definitive pylon model, recognized by all the old timers.
K. Kerswap!: Named for the noise a model makes when it hits the ground too hard, Kerswap is a great flyer.
L. Miss America: With red, white & blue tissue + stars, this one draws the interest - good flier,too.
M. Miss Tiny: One of the 'classic' pre-WWII models! Has the look of a Stinson or Fairchild cabin plane.
N. New Ruler: Henry Struck's best.
O. Pacemaker: Low wing - not the easiest to build or fly.
P. Playboy: Joe Elgin's great pylon model.
Q. Powerhouse: First mini I did (M.A.N.:9/78) - still a good flyer - kind of defines the class, but no DT as shown. Sal Taibi is aware of these (incl Br dodger) - gets a kick out them.
F. Sunduster: Lots of pieces, but realistically represents the full sized model.
R. Record Breaker: Neat wire wing mount - shows its early antique background - excellent flyer in any size.
S. Rocketeer A: Lots of work in the body - but well worth it - probably my all time favorite model.
T. Simplex IS really easy to build.
U. Skyscraper has a unique shape with a mild elliptical dihedral plus one wheel and 2 skids.
V. Spearhead Jr.: Combines the look of a cabin model with the proportions of a pylon.
W. Strato-Streak: One of Louis Garami's BEST. As a Mini-XL, it will need a Mini-6 or comparable size CO2 motor. Great model, in any size - and who else has 5 fins?
X. Sunduster: Lots of pieces, but it builds into a nice replica of the full sized model. This is the only one of the minis with a fully cowled motor.
Y. Trenton Terror: Homely, but like the VW bug, it's a very effective flyer.
Z. Viking, as the first 'XL' model seems to redefine the mini concept. Good looker, really GREAT flyer. New: 7/98
AA. Wedgy: Probably the favorite among SW Regional modelers and spectators. When I don't bring it out for a demo, they complain - mine is overpowered with GM 120 - exhibits qualities of the full sized model - lays hard over to the left, makes a tight circle and heads up, very quickly!

"Series" notes:
'Plan only' means just that - shipped as a plan plus how-to text.
Series 1 thru 4 are semi-kits of 3 models/set; plans + balsa printwood only.
Series A, B, C are full kits of 3 models/set; plans, balsa & ply printwood, stick wood, wire, windshield plastic, wheels, balsa blocks where needed, and 6 sheets of genuine Esaki Japanese tissue.
"XL" models (just Viking, so far) are full kits for one model: balsa & ply printwood, sticks, wire, windshield plastic, and 4 sheets of genuine Esaki Japanese tissue.

Power notes:
With few exceptions, all of the Minis can fly well with a HiLine Micro-4 or any of the CO2 motors of 60 cu. mm. size on up, including Brown, Telco, Shark, and GMs. The Bombshell works OK with a Brown A23 peanut motor. The Wedgy flys nicely with a GM120 CO2. The throttle capability of CO2 motors helps adjust power levels to match the airplane. The GM63 can work OK even up to 30" wing, but there won't be much altitude gained.
The Skyscraper is flying well with a Brown twin, which looks nice on the front of a model. Answer, Miss America, Flea & GHQ are too big for a HiLine Micro4, but can fly well with 3 cells instead of the standard 2. These 3 planes would do better with a Mini-6 or VL HY70.
The Viking was designed to be used with a Mini-6 or VL HY70 to take advantage of the largest size permitted in the FAC electric replica event.

OK - there's your 'objective' matrix, but it was prepared by a biased, subjective reviewer. Did it help? - probably not, as I think you may just get stuck in the 'so many models, so little time' box. The remedy? - just pick one and have at it.

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