Born Loser by Kermit Walker

Kermit unveiled his "Born Loser" Embryo Endurance Class biplane at St. Vincent's today. It is an impressive model, expertly built and decorated with markings inspired by Golden Age air racing biplanes. Kermit thinks it looks "a bit gaudy" but this really is a fine looking airplane.

The striking yellow-and-black color scheme (checkerboard under the flying surfaces and starburst on top) is eye catching, but Kermit's attention to detail is most impressive. Little things like adjustable rudder and carbon fiber motor peg. Finely crafted parts like the spinner, windshield, exhaust pipes, and landing gear make this sport flyer look like a scale model. The only thing missing is a pilot, and Kermit will get to that eventually.

Kermit reveals some of his techniques: Covering and markings are yellow and black Esaki, finished with nitrate dope, except the checkerboard (from Shorty's Basement) is misted with Krylon so the markings don't smear. The spinner is blue foam turned on a Dremel tool, coated with two heavy coats of epoxy glue, sanded and sprayed with black Krylon Fusion paint, hollowed out to accommodate the freewheeling prop. Kermit used his heat gun to increase the pitch of the 7" Peck prop, subsequently painted. The windshield is a piece of .008" clear plastic sheet, bent into a "V" shape, and the framing is done with black Sharpie. Wheels are 3/4" diameter balsa laminations, turned on Dremel with bamboo skewer axle hubs. Exhaust pipes are black heat shrink tubing.

The model weighs 20.7 grams and Kermit thinks it capable of one minute flights. Initial test flights look good.

When shown pictures of this model, its designer Al Backstrom said: "That is really a beautiful model Kermit. It is always good to see such nice work."

Dave W.

No comments: