Musings from the Combat Pits

Combat 60 years ago

Looking back at the early days

January 2019

By Buzz Wilson

Next to my stationary exercise bike sits a bookshelf. Both of these are in my workshop. The bookshelf holds notebooks of old articles from magazines as well as some model magazines that I have had since the mid 1950s. With winter rains upon us, I retreated to indoor riding. I find that I can ride and do mundane model building like sanding or reading. The other day I pulled out two items from the 1950s from the bookshelf. The first was the AMA rulebook for 1957-1958. The second was the February 1959 issue of American Modeler. I scanned them and they are attached to this article.

In 1957-1958, you were allowed two models for the entire combat contest. Oh, for the “good ole days.”  As I read the rules I now know why my only trophy during that time came from hand-launch gliders.

Scoring: The objective of this event is for a contestant to maneuver his model to “cut” his opponent’s streamer in the shortest possible time. Scoring will be made only for number of times the streamer is cut and how quickly a “kill” can be made ... Read on.

It is interesting that the pilot was required to start their on engine.  If they were flying elimination combat, if no score was made during the match the judges could award the win to the better flier.

The February 1959 issue of American Modeler article is on beginning combat.  It contains many relevant tips that are applicable today. These consist of both building and flying. One interesting rule that is reiterated here is that you were not permitted to fly inverted or less than 8 feet altitude for more than one lap.

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This page was upated Jan. 10, 2018