I  am very pleased that our website has (so far) resisted all attacks and I hope the shop will soon be open for business.  I'm not yet able to give the site the attention it needs - the gallery for example needs greatly expanding  and I've not been as assiduous with the 'blogs' as I should be.  I have also, so far, resisted all requests to go on to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like!

It's not too early to be thinking about models for 2018, and, since we know what sort of motors we've got (powerful L-1's, feisty L-2X's and very nice, if low power (< 10 0mN)) L-2 LT's we can design/ size our models accordingly.  As some of you will know, I have a 'thing' about the idiosyncratic Swedish jets like the Draken,and Viggen and have medelled these more than once.  As to the earlier, rather more conventional  Lansen, read on! Some years ago Howard Metcalfe came across a very colourful ARTF Lansen:


The provenance of this model is something of a conundrum, and it was not made, as I had thought, by Semo, who produced balsa profile models for Jetex power in the 1960s.

And very nice they were too, but the Lansen is different in that it is printed in many, quite garish, colours, and though the flying surfaces are balsa, the fuselage appears to be light plastic, possibly Depron with printed plastic attached.  We do not even know when (or where) it was made, or even if also it was for Jetex, or similar power.  There is only a small amount of 'decalage' (wing incidence angle), this suggests it was intended for  catapult launch.

Nevertheless, I thought it was a very attractive, if 'inauthentic', model and made up my own version by printing Howard's original scans on light Modelspan which were then transferred to sheet balsa.  It made for a very attractive model:

It  flies splendidly and reliably with an L-1, and is, with the Wren, my favourite 'windy weather' model.  But it is now about seven years old and it was about time I revisited this model, especially, with my increasing computer graphics skills I could now tidy up the lines, take out the wood grain and add authentic details like numbers and squadron markings.    I was quite pleased with the template:

Please tell me if you would like copies.

My Draken too, is a proven flier and has proved quite popular as a part kit:

Above: Chris Richards' Draken from the jetex.org part kit.  Flies well.

But, again, this model is now quite long in the tooth and could do with a bit of a 'going over'.  Fortunately, Rob Smith has done just this:

It flies just as well as my original.

Above: Andy Blackwell with Rob Smith's Rapier L-2 powered colourful Draken (Old Warden, 2012)

Semo, as shown in the first photo,  also made a model of the Draken's successor. the Viggen.  My de novo model was an early assay in real  'computer design':

Above: Viggen templates printed on silver tissue and transferred to balsa.  Now ready for assembly!

It  looks quite attractive when assembled, but I wouldn't call it an easy model to trim out and fly!

And then there's the Viggen's successor, the smaller, but by all accounts, more potent, Gripen (Griffon).  I had wanted to build one of these ever since I saw a couple cruising around my village.  My desire was reinforced when I saw  Mark Digby's model at Old Warden.  Mark has now sorted its trim and it flies beautifully in blustery conditions as proved by its triumph at Peterboro Flying Aces :

Above: Mark Digby's splendid Gripen for Rapier L-2.  Now fully trimmed out and flying well.

I just had to have one!  Mark has promised me the plan/template, but, perfectionist that he is,  I am still waiting ... Mark's colourful version is of a later mk., so I thought I would have a go at the prototype. I will detail the development of my Gripen templates in the forum  in the 'building thread, but here it is ready for 'beta testing:

Please tell me if you would like copies of  to print out transfer to balsa sheet (or Depron).  For a small fee I can also produce a 'part kit' ready for assembly.  But you will have to sort out its trim on your own!


Onwards and upwards,


Roger October 2017.



Dr Zigmund, developer and manufacturer of our 'one shot' Rapier motors, delivered a fresh batch of three types of L-2's (L-2 LT, L-2-X and L-2 HP) when he visited Old Warden's model meeting in July.

I have now tested these with the following results 


 These are quite pleasing: the L-2X motors appear a bit more powerful than the 'HPs' but both are usable.  The L-2 LTs have less 'oomph' than last year's, but, again, they are perfectly acceptable.

The L-1 motors are quite powerful:


 We have good stocks of all these motors, so please contact me for details of how to get them.



Flying small model aeroplanes with rockets is a thrilling activity, one open to all, but in the last couple of years there have been questions about the availability of Rapier motors, and their reliability and performance when you can get them.

Although they are not now sold by model shops like the splendid 'SAMS Models', who nevertheless sell models for them, see: 


Rapiers are still made by Dr Zigmund in the Czech Republic and available in this country. They can be collected at meetings or by personal delivery. The situation is not unlike that of the more powerful motors for model rockets. But, if you want 'em, you can get them, and the latest 2013 batches are well worth having.

The latest L-1 motors put out 100mN for 10 sec, giving my Swedish Lansen (above) a sparkling performance:

The latest L-2 motors are also pretty potent, and so far, I've had no blowouts. So we can build and fly with confidence!


 Welcome to the first of what I hope will be regular 'Jetex and Rapier related 'blogs'. As this is my first foray into the 'blogosphere' it will take me time to find my niche, so please bear with me.

These will of course be full of interesting observations about the modern 'small model jet plane flying' scene which will motivate a loyal cadre of enthusiasts to keep up with the latest news about motor availability, upcoming meetings and how to take part in what I hope will be a growing part of the free flight aeromodelling scene. Note the 'free flight' bit. I have nothing to say about those marvellous and sophisticated RC jets that we see showing off at meetings. However, free flight EDF is pertinent to our hobby and is one way of keeping our models flying. We shall see!

What with the winter weather – my own flying field is more suited to hydroplanes than aeroplanes at the moment – I have been designing some new models for the new flying season. These are simple 'semi-profile' models like the Cougar above  suitable for the latest batch of Rapier L-1 and L-2 motors.

One of the inventors of the original Jetex motors, Joe Mansour, explored innovative ways of building models – for example the 'Tailored' series with internal motors:


An original Jetex Tailored Hawker Hunter rescued from eBay and beautifully restored by Ian Hobbs.


A feature of these models, the fully moulded balsa fuselage, is not too difficult to reproduce, for example this Draken:


Draken for Rapier L-2. The fuselage is moulded; the wings and tail are built up.


The trick is to use the very lightest balsa available, and I can fully recommend online suppliers like

The Draken is a little over 30g – much lighter than an old Tailored model and should fly well, but, what with the weather at meetings we had last year, has not been fully trimmed out.