If I had $20 to spend and wanted to get started
in RC modeling, what would you recommend?
Beginner in Borox, CA
Two more zeros or some other hobby.
You shouldn't discourage prospective modelers like "Beginner"
in the last letter by scaring them off with horror stories
about the cost of our hobby.
For $20, a newcomer could purchase several books on modeling,
or a magazine subscription, or a how-to video.
So please, in the future, don't deter our future modelers
from the pursuit of such a wonderful hobby.
-Wallace in Walla Walla, WA
For 20 bucks I can buy "Dorf on Golf, " but that doesn't
make me a golfer.
I know you're good at naming things, and I've really been
stuck trying to come up with a name for my latest project.
So, enclosed is a picture which I hope will inspire a name
to pop into your head. What do you think?
-Marty in Martinsville, TN
Well, I would have to say "Blonde Bimbo," but is there
any chance you sent me the wrong photo?
Maybe I'm from the old school, but I have a hard time accepting
the modern engines on today's market. In my time, there was
just one needle valve and you wound it clockwise until the
engine ran right. Nowadays, you've got high, low, and mid-range
needles to adjust; hot, cold, and lukewarm glow plugs to choose
from; nitro and oil levels to worry about in your fuel; and
a blankety-blank tuned pipe that must be set within a millimeter
of the ideal length. That ideal length, of course, is a function
of all those other
variables, not to mention air temperature, altitude, and
relative humidity. It's a miracle anybody can get one of these
modern wonders to even start, let alone run with any consistency.
Don't you agree? Don't you think there must be a better way?
-Fundamentalist in Fremont, TX
I do agree, and there is an alternative. It's called rubber
power. And just like that old needle valve you mentioned,
all you have to do to get a rubberband motor to run right
is to wind it clockwise.
I heard that Barney the Dinosaur is named after Barney Oldfield,
the famous daredevi1 and race car driver. Is this true? My
kids just love Barney, and so do I. He's so cute and adorable.
Why, I know if I ever met him, I'd give him a great big hug!
-Dad in Decatur, IL
As far as I know, Barney is just a name that they thought
would appeal to young children and would be easy for them
to say. I don't believe there is any connection to the early
days of motor sports.
Isn 't it funny how two people can have entirely different
reactions to the same person or thing! Whenever I see Barney,
I get the urge to grab that overstuffed talking eggplant by
the throat and wring his purple neck until his cardboard teeth
fall off. Well, different strokes for different folks, I guess.
With miniaturized RC systems on the market and quiet electric
motors available, why aren't more of us flying right out of
-Preston in Pacoima, CA
I don't know about more of us in general, but what keeps
me from flying in my backyard is my neighbor's dog. He's eaten
the last two patio chairs I bought and my lawnmower is missing.
I have a feeling if I landed a model airplane in my yard,
it would just become more kibbles for Cujo.