Tom E Boy

Derek Robertson (April 2013)

After having attended most of the ADS sessions over the last couple of very enjoyable years, it was obvious to me that I either had the wrong model or that the hall was far too "nippit". Probably both in actual fact!

A number of the regular flyers opted for heli`s, quad-copters or the likes of Mircosiks, Vapors or tiddley 3D models, but none of them really floated my boat. However when Mike Pirie turned up with a natty little peanut scale "Lacey" which could handle the confines of the Lads Club gym, I was interested. Mike`s model was kit jobbie that required purchasing the expensive RC components separately ...... a cost that my meagre pocket money wouldn`t stretch to. So would I abandon indoor flying altogether?

Mike was good enough to give me a web link to some of the indoor model sites that he`d viewed, and after perusing the "Model Mountains" site I discovered that they did a wee 23.7in span Tom E Boy kit (a mini version of the Vic Smeed "Tom Boy" 0.75 free-flighterfrom the `60`s) that used the RC gear from the current Parkzone indoor models. But as I already had an E-RC Spitfire that seemed to have a mind of it`s own in an indoor environment (basically down to crap piloting I should add), I thought that the Spit`s motor/gearbox and electronic components would be an ideal donor for the Tom E Boy. Should I, shouldn`t I? Well, I figured that at £27 for the kit my wife wouldn`t divorce me over it, so I immediately ordered the bloody thing!

The kit arrived along with two sheets of Solite film covering material which added another £11 to the total cost (didn`t tell the misses about that though). Wow, I was most impressed! The American manufactured kit comprised of balsa and ply components on beautifully laser cut sheets complete with a full size plan.

Construction was a doddle, all the parts interlocking together nicely and just requiring a dab of cyano to make the bond. When it came to installing the RC gear from the Spitfire it became apparent that a mod was required. The Parkzone Rx/linear servo block only needed to be stuck to the floor of the fuz with double sided tape, but my E-RC unit had the rudder and elevator drives output from above and below the printed circuit board, requiring a different mount to be fitted. No big deal, but all the electronics would now be clearly visible through the canopy.

Covering such a delicate airframe was next and a new experience for me ....... never used this "Solite" stuff before ..... very thin and ultra light weight it was, but in practice proved really easy to apply without inducing any warps at all. Yippee!

The model was now complete but very definitely tail heavy. If the plans were correct it showed the Parkzone motor/gearbox assembly as a physically much bigger unit than the one I had fitted, so I had to pack a bit of plasticene in the nose to get the correct CG.

"The completed model along with the donor Spitfire. Hopefully the Tom E Boy won`t end up getting the boot too!"

So far, I`ve only managed a couple of flights outdoors in less than ideal conditions, but it does seem to perform relatively well ...... a few more flights in a flat calm summer`s day should see me get it trimmed out (and hopefully lose some of that extra nose weight) before attempting to avoid the Lads Club brick walls. A wing and a prayer job then!

The wife also thinks it`s really cute, but she hasn`t seen the bank statement yet!

Derek R.


23.7 in wing span
coreless brushed motor with gearbox
5.5in prop
single cell 130mah Lipo
AUW of 1.8ozs
that`s the projected weight although I`ve no way of measuring how heavy/light my Tom E Boy actually is.
The Spitfire (electronics donor) had a wingspan of only 14.5in (approx half the wing area) had an AUW of 1.1oz. so the "TOMMY BOY" might be a real goer!