Model aircraft can be found across a broad spectrum of society and cross both economic and social boundaries. They are often thought of as toys and many enthusiasts around the world, old and young alike derive a great deal of pleasure from either builing and/or collecting scale model aeroplanes.
Airlines and manufactures use them for marketing, as well as for testing a prototype.
Scale model aircraft are basically scaled down replica’s of the real thing, standard scales range from tiny to relatively large.(There is no limit, it depends on whatever scale someone may decide to start a project.) One of the joys of scale model building/collecting is that you can recreate virtually any aircraft from any era you wish. So if you have a passionate interest in the Second World War, and the European conflict is your interest, you can recreate all of the aircraft that saw action in that theatre, researching colours, markings, some people even research plane numbers and the pilots who flew them.
Another avenue, which is obviously more costly, is to collect/build a radio controlled flying scale model, which can give one a great sense of satisfaction and achievement. These aircraft have some brilliant engineering and ingenuity investing into them.
Now with the advancement of PC graphics and software, it can be an inexpensive pursuit to actually fly a specific plane, of which you may have a model of using a program like Microsoft flight simulator, with its countless add on’s.
Props and scenery are also used, your models could be housed in your scaled down airport, which using flight simulator you can get to take off and land at that specific airport. Some people include service crews,workshops and depots.
Scale models are probably the envy of most men and boys, even if you don’t collect or fly them, the attraction when you see them can be very consuming. (Not to appear sexist, there are also many female enthusiasts out there who equally drool at the sight of well detailed scale models; – although they are usually not our wives!)
As a youngster I spent some time building plastic scale model aircraft, and one thing it did teach me was patience. In saying that, patience tends to be acquired over many years as I had many planes half built and flung across the room in anger, only making my frustration worse when you have to now repair the additional broken pieces. Watching my son put together a scale model was like a trip down memory lane watching the tantrums and frustration, but a huge sense of achievement once the finished product was achieved.
When I see articles on dedicated enthusiasts who have entire sheds dedicated to building scale models, they even build a scale aircraft factory to produce the miniature parts they need, you have to admire the ingenuity. I sometimes ask myself, if only this person had taken a different route in life, or had had other opportunities, how great a contribution could he have made to industry. One thing about working with scale model aircraft is that you can become an aeronautical engineer or pilot no matter what your qualifications or background, yor abilities can produce what you want.
This is a slightly edited & updated version of an article originally published on “ScaleModelAircraft.net”