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The World of Miniature Warbirds

War has never been very much use to the world. The only benefit arising this century has been the massive advances in aerospace technology that have been driven by military needs. If it had not been for the demands of the 1939-45 war, we would still be flying around in airships which were streets ahead of fixed wing aircraft for load capacity, range and safety in the 1930s before the outbreak of war. But if there's a full size airplane out there then you can be sure a modeller will want to reproduce it in small scale - and so were born the model airplane miniature Warbirds.

In the modelling community Warbirds are looked after by the World Miniature Warbird Association (WMWA) , a Special Interest Group of the Academy of Model Aeronautices (AMA). The WMWA defines warbirds, has created a community of warbird enthusiasts, a group directory covering participants all over the world and organises a number of special events.

Anyone with a love of building or flying warbirds is welcome in the WMWA. To maintain this friendly environment the rules for warbird status are pretty relaxed with no specifics about size, or engines or even scale provided only that the model looks like a warbird. It's the definition of the original warbird aircraft that defines a warbird model. The definition runs like this:

“The WMWA defines a 'Warbird Aircraft' as a model of any aircraft used for military purposes by any Country at any time. It must be a scale or semi-scale rendering, recognizable as such, and marked accordingly. Any prototype offered to the military but not accepted would also fall into the category of a 'Warbird Aircraft.' It cannot be a model of any aircraft made to look like a 'Warbird Aircraft' by applying military markings to it.” (WMWA Constitution)

Contrary to the original military purpose of the full size airplanes on which it is based, friendship is the name of the game in the World Miniature Warbirds Association. Members of the association gather in a spirit of camaraderie rather than competition. This niche of the model airplane hobby really does enjoy the process of construction, often replicating the originals in painstaking detail, then taking pleasure in watching those lovingly constructed model airplanes take to the air.

The main miniature warbird event is the fly-in. Spectacular model aircraft make their mark in the sky and on the ground as fellow RC aviators and spectators look on. Fly-in events also include things like intro pilot training programs, guest speakers, and low-key contests. It is quite astonishing to witness tens of museum-quality aircraft, with wingspans from two to more than thirty feet, decorated to the hilt, en masse.

One of the characteristics of the WMWA for model airplane enthusiast is the world-wide network of 'Wings' which specialize in particular types. This can be of great benefit to individual members as the Wing can put them in touch with other members with their specific interest. They can then pool their research efforts, exchange information and generally collaborate to produce the most accurate representation in their model airplane of the full size airplane on which it is based - wherever in the world it may have originated from.

So if you are interested in building or flying a warbird then the World Miniature Warbird Association is the best place to start. You need to base your model on the definition published by the WMWA to ensure that your model airplane qualifies. You can select from any type; bombers, fighters, transport airplanes or helicopters and you can start from scratch or base it on an existing kit or plan. Any type, any method as long as the finished model airplane gives a good representation of the original as defined by the Association. It's a great project for the winter months - so maybe do some planning this summer and then get to it as next winter approaches.

Submitted by:

Bruce Bird

Bruce Bird makes it easy for the beginner to quickly get a grasp of the broad range of exciting activities that make up airplane modeling. To receive his free 5 part mini-series visit http://www.modelairplanesecrets.com/warbirds.html





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