ABC Robin


This is a scale model for BMFA Indoor and Outdoor contests and is an own design. At the time of writing it is nearly finished but has been flown at the BMFA Indoor Nationals. 

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Brief History

The ABC Robin was the only aircraft produced by ABC Motors of Kingston, much better known for producing the difficult, but technically advanced, Dragonfly radial engine at the end of the Great War.  

Designed by A. A. Fletcher, previously at Martynside, the Robin was powered by the ABC Scorpion engine and weighed just over 700lbs.  The first flight took place at Brooklands in June 1929, with evaluation trials taking place at Martlesham Heath in May 1930.  The aircraft was not a sucess; it was underpowered, difficult to land and there were serious concerns raised over its construction.  After extensive modification the only example was scrapped at Brooklands in 1932. 

The Model

In some respects the Robin is a perfect subject for a scale model, being somewhat like a vintage rubber model in configuration, and having an unusual amount of dihedral.  There are however a number of downsides. The first is the small tailplane area, but the second is much more critical if the model is to be entered into a BMFA competition.  Basically the extant photos of the aircraft are not good enough to document the model properly, and there isn't a single colour picture in existence.  This is a problem which in my opinion blights many good potential subjects, and scale events would be made better if a solution to this problem could be found. 

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The model was drawn using DS Draftsight and is based the Andy Sephton 3-view from the Aeromodeller in the 1980's. It is smaller than Andy's nationals winning model and an entirely new design. 

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Construction is entirely traditional, and yes I did cut all the holes in the ribs one by one with a modelling knife.


Paint is thinned Humbrol Enamel (using cellulose thinners) and the lettering is done by cutting letters from doped and sprayed tissue.  These are then stuck on using spray adhesive (3M Craft Mount, which is somewhat more permanent than Spray Mount).

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Nearly finished and with the battery charging for a test of the electronic systems.

The Robin flying at the Nottingham Nationals.  Not 100% sorted but certainly putting in qualifying times. Thanks to Andrew "Phugoid"  Darby for posting the video.  These videos are an incredibly useful trimming aid.  

And other video - this one shot by Barbara.

Previous Robin

A couple of years ago I built a bigger Robin for outdoor events.  This was destroyed in 2010 because it hit a spectator, who after repeated warnings, still wouldn't move away from the flight line. 

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These pictures were taken at Port Meadow

© Laurence Marks 2012