Aviation Collectibles

Written by Michael O'Brien
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For the airplane enthusiast, aviation collectibles are not only a captivating pastime, but an absolute passion. After all, can you blame those who love these model airplanes? Who wouldn't want to relive or imagine flying a high speed fighter craft and dog-fighting at breakneck speeds? As a model builder myself, the intricacy found in aviation collectibles and other highly detailed models takes you inside the cockpit and right into the middle of the adventure.

Aviation Collectibles: Into the Wild Blue Yonder

My father has always been a huge lover of airplanes and aviation collectibles. Besides having had the chance to actually pilot a small, one engine Cessna a couple of times, he is an avid radio controlled model airplane builder and pilot. He's had quite a few successes and failures. It's always heart breaking when a model you've put so much time into crashes and breaks, but it happens.

The best way to avoid crashing a radio controlled plane is to make sure you have a reliable radio receiver and controller. This has been the chief source of problems for my Dad. Almost every time a crash has occurred, it's been when he had intended to perform a maneuver of some kind and the plane simply did its own thing.

As with a real airplane, it's also important to perform a pre-flight check with a radio controlled model. Always check the fuel levels before you send your plane up to make sure the tank is full. If you are going a long time between flights, it's best to drain excess fuel and empty the tank when you are done flying in order to avoid fuel line clogs. Lastly, before bringing the engine up to speed and flying it, check the flaps and throttle to make sure they are responding to your radio controller and are not malfunctioning.

Static Flights

Another category of aviation collectibles is of a slightly less mobile variety. Static models are an extremely popular hobby among most aviation collectibles enthusiasts. There is a bit of a difference between model airplanes that are designed to sit on a shelf and those that are designed to fly. Besides the obvious flight factor is the level of detail. Radio controlled planes are made of much lighter weight materials proportionately, are bigger, and are much less detailed.

Static models are meant to be detailed, accurate replicas of actual airplanes that do exist or once existed. Building such aviation collectibles is not so much about mechanical knowledge or an understanding of aerodynamics. Rather, static model planes require a great deal of patience, a steady hand, and an amazing eye for detail.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Where my Dad likes the kind of models that really fly, I prefer the kind that stay on the desk or shelf. For me, my imagination takes over. When I paint or apply decals to the cockpit of a model plane, I am in that cockpit. When I paint the craft, I imagine it flying at mach two and performing fantastic aerial maneuvers.

The hobby shop is the model aviation collectibles enthusiast's candy store. Testors makes many standard model supplies such as glues, paints, and thinners. I find, however, that Model Master makes a much wider variety of paint colors, especially for more specialized applications such as military models. After applying paint and decals, I recommend spraying the model with a glossy or matte lacquer coat to protect your work and to give the model a more realistic, unified appearance. Just be sure to place the canopy and other clear plastic pieces afterwards so they remain clean.

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