Peanut Scale : Walt Mooney : Wickner “Wicko”

PeanutScale.com [This article was published in the June 1974 issue of  Model Builder magazine.]

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PEANUT WICKNER ”WICKO”

Whoever said you have to stick with some basic popular name designs in order to be assured of good scale flying had not reckoned with the likes of our resident Peanut Bender … WALT MOONEY

Wickner "Wicko" Walt Mooney Model Builder

The Wicko was a pre-WWII British light plane of simple construction. The fuselage was essentially a plywood box. This makes for a simple model fuselage; except for the nose, the fuselage has a simple, square cross-section. The in-line engine, with its relatively high thrust line, allows a large propeller without having to extend the landing gear beyond the scale size. The high wing allows a stable flying model with only a modest amount of dihedral.

The model uses the old standard construction techniques all over, so we’ll not go through a detailed construction article. Somewhat out of ordinary is the fact that the Wicko had streamlined fairings on the roots of the struts, and the landing gear leg fairings were rather thick in cross-section. These details, if you in tend to put them on the model, will have to be carved from small blocks of balsa. Douglas elected to omit them, and to use a simple sheet landing gear fairing for simplicity. From the photos, it doesn’t seem to hurt the appearance of the model too much.

Wickner "Wicko" Walt Mooney Model Builder
The Wicko in these photos was built by Walt’s son Douglas. Pictures were taken at one of the huge blimp hangars in Santa Ana, California.

Douglas used a Sleek Streek propeller that just clears the ground when the model is in the three point position. This is fine for hand launched flights (so far, legal under peanut rules, although the author believes all scale models should be required to R.O.G.), but makes takeoffs a chancy thing. The model flies quite well. Best flight indoors has been an official 58 seconds, with many flights of more than 45 seconds. The model is covered in yellow superfine tissue with red tissue letters, and weighs 1/2 ounce without the rubber motor.

Doug used rather light wood in his model, and that is to be recommended if your model is to be flown strictly indoors. However, try to get relatively firm sticks for the longerons. Doug’s were a little on the soft side, and you may see in the photos an extra set of fuselage uprights and cross pieces he added after some handling damage to the longerons. The model is drawn with a sheet balsa cowl top wrapped over three formers … if desired, the cowl top can be carved from a solid balsa block and then hollowed out for the motor clearance.

One of the questions that is asked from time to time, and that needs answering in some detail is: “Where can I find a three-view of my model?” I’ll try to cover the answer as well as possible, but of course, it all depends on the airplane being modeled.

If the model is a common production airplane, that had a large production run, or is still in production, writing to the manufacturer will often result in solving the problem. Some of the larger manufacturers have a public relations department which tries to take care of these kinds of questions. However, you are a “real” scale addict, even these three-views can sometimes be disappointing. Airplanes tend to change after the first three-view is drawn and it isn’t always profitable to bring the drawing up to date.

Wickner "Wicko" Walt Mooney Model Builder
Ship has nice proportions for stable flight, and the long scale landing gear and high thrust line allow a generous size propeller.

Three-views have been published from time to time in almost every model and full sized airplane magazine. There are literally dozens of such magazines presently in publication (of which this is one of the best), and there have been literally hundreds printed over the last 60 years. Therefore, a “used magazine” store can be a gold mine of information (see the Classifieds, Page 71). Unfortunately, you won’t usually find a three-view of the particular airplane being researched, but you’ll get a lot of other inspiration. Following this approach long enough will result in obtaining a rather good library of designs to choose from. This system will work very well in the larger cities, and most of the avid scale builders I know can’t resist hitting a used magazine shop in any city they visit. Sometimes this also works in antique stores in smaller towns.

Large city libraries usually have an aviation section. With modern copy machines, it’s easy to obtain a copy of any three-view found in any of their books.

Jane’s “All the World’s Aircraft” is an annual publication that has been published every year since 1909. It is the “bible” when it comes to scale modelers. The price of a new one is approximately 60 dollars these days, so you have to think a bit before you purchase one. However, most large libraries have a copy or two. The best issues, in my opinion, were 1909, 1919, 1936, 1945, and the latest one. The 1909, 191 9, and 1945 issues have recently been reprinted by ARCO Publishing Co. Inc., 219 Park Avenue South, New York, N.Y. 10003.

The Aircraft Year Book was published every year by the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America. The issues up to 1943 have quite nice three-views. Since the war, this book has been somewhat disappointing.

Funk & Wagnall s, of New York, has published several very good aviation books containing data such as: “Aircraft of the Royal Air Force Since 1918”, “Vickers Aircraft Since 1908”, “Japanese Aircraft in WW 11”, etc., etc.

Wickner "Wicko" Walt Mooney Model Builder
Next month’s project: Steve Wittman’s VW
powered racer. By Walt Mooney.

Another source of information is a series written by Kenneth Munson. These go by the title of, “The Pocket Encyclopedia of World Aircraft in Color”. These small books, of which there are several, cove r classes, or ages of aircraft. Each aircraft is shown in a colored two view (no front view, but the plan view is half top and half bottom view), with a summary of its important data. In the last section of each book there is a capsule history of each type, including such things as the number produced, famous flights and famous pilots. A partial list of titles in this series, published by the Macmillan Company, 866 Third Avenue, New York, N. Y. 10022 follows:

  • Pioneer Aircraft 1902-14
  • Fighters and Bombers 1914-19 (Two Vols.)
  • Fighters and Bombers 191 9-39 (Two Vols.)
  • Fighters and Bombers 1939-45
  • Airliners Since 1946
  • Private Aircraft
  • Fighters and Bombers in Service (Two Vols.)
  • Helicopters
  • Flying Boats and Seaplanes
  • Airliners Between the Wars 1919-39

Present price of each volume is a little less than $5.00 and they are truly delightful little books.

From my point of view, proof of scale, as far as the fun event of Peanut Scale goes, should not require more than a couple of photos of the real airplane, or these Munson two views.

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