Zoot's Mixture

April 2010

Building the Micro-Ringmaster

Mike Hazel shows off the Micro-Ringmaster before its maiden flight at the Roseburg fun-fly in February 2010. Flying Lines photo.

By Zoot Zoomer    

Greetings fellow CL hipsters!  As the masthead sez, "fast is cool."  But sometimes there can be other flavors of cool.  Awhile back I had the thought that small and cute can also be cool.  On the "long list" of planes to build, was the concept of a miniature Ringmaster.  Somewhere between the pages of the Control Line World magazine I saw a reference to a Micro-Ringmaster made available by Pat King.  I contacted him regarding same, sent him some bucks and a few days later a tiny kit arrived in the mailbox.

In the kit were some fairly precision cut pieces of balsa for the wing, fuselage, and tailfeathers.  There were some itsy bitsy teeny weeny laser-cut plywood pieces for the bellcrank, elevator horn, leadout guide, and wheels.  Also included were bits of hardware (screws), instructions and full size plans.  The design has a wingspan of 10-1/2 inches which makes this a quarter-scale model.  How cool is that..... a scale model of a model? 

Now for some critique..... again, all of the wood pieces were cut in a very precision-like manner.  However, I did not use all of them.  I did not like the idea of a wood bellcrank, so used a Perfect brand 1/2 A unit which was trimmed down.  Also the little plywood elevator horn which looks scale and cute as per the original design, I wound up breaking in the process of putting in the control pushrod (not supplied in kit).  So I just bent up a tiny piece of shim stock and bolted it on with 2-56 screw.  By the way, I used a piece of scrap .033 wire for the pushrod (Jet speed size!) I also didn't like the idea of wood wheels so some 1/2 inch Perfect brand ones were substituted.

Photo at right: The Micro-Ringmaster looks like a tiny dot in the sky when flying -- even when viewed close-up! Flying Lines photo.

A couple of other things I changed to beef up the structure.  First off, the engine mount area is probably strong enough as shown, but I added more meat to this area, which also strengthened the fuselage/wing joint. Another layer of thin plywood was added to the engine mounting firewall, which gave more meat for the engine mount screws to grab into and also incorporated a V-shaped slot for the .045 wire landing gear (not supplied). The leadout guide looked like something just waiting to break, being butt-glued onto the bottom of the wing.  I made up another guide slightly larger, and then cut a tight slot in the wing so that this joint was "captured".

The elevator hinging was done with thread sewn figure eight style.  If I had it to do over again, I would use something harder (and heavier) than balsa for the stab/elevator since tailweight was necessary anyway. Speaking of weight, there is no mention or note of wingtip weight on the plan.  I pounded out a couple of thin lead discs and cut holes in the outboard wingtip to match.  The lead discs were epoxied into place and filler sanded out over each side for a no-see approach.  Next, an epoxy finish was applied, controls installed, and we were just about ready to try this thing. 

Before mounting the new Cox .010 engine, it seemed a good idea to test run it for some break-in time.  I mixed up a batch of suitable bitty-bore brew, and added one extra gasket to the glow-head.  I didn't have a clip that would work for the tiny glow-head, so used extra small alligator clips.   One clip of course goes to the glow-head, but the other end I had to improvise:  Some bare copper wire wrapped around the crankcase behind the cylinder with a pigtail hanging below for clip attachment. 

The engine came with a spring starter which made life lots easier.  By the way, and this should come as no surprise, these tiny engines are really easy to flood!  After a half dozen runs or so with holding the engine in my fingers while running it sounded pretty good. After the engine was mounted on the plane it was ready to go. 

The plane made it's maiden flight at the Roseburg fun fly in February.  The lines are .008 braided by 22 feet long.  I have some .006  single strand wires that I might also try.  The plane balances a bit nose heavy and zooms around like a little racer.  What next for a tiny plane?  Maybe something with a built-up wing set up for stunting??????   Nah!!!!

     For plans or the kit from Pat King, write him at:  5133 Jason Drive, Monee, IL 60449.  Until next time, be cool ya'll!

  -- Zoot

More photos of the Micro-Ringmaster

A close-up. Simple construction, power by Cox TeeDee .010. Flying Lines photo.

On the 22-foot lines, you can fly it in a good-sized back yard! Gene Pape waits for launch at Roseburg. Flying Lines photo.

It won't quite fit in a pocket, but certainly takes up less space than a full-size stunt plane. The tail section at left is of an Ares, not that big a stunter! Flying Lines photo.

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This page was upated April 14, 2010