The idea for the Speed Rex came about after having a lot of fun throwing toy planes around in the park with my son, who at the time, was around 5 or 6 years old. He was also really into dinosaurs! I had been trying my hand at small control liners made from artists foam board – a plane called ‘The platter’ – and an old 049 Cox Baby Bee glow motor, details of which I discovered on a great site called Aeromaniacs.com. Me , my brother and my young son had tons of fun in the park with the noisy Cox and battered foam board plane.
The bug had bit and soon after, he started asking me to build him a ‘proper airplane’ and so in no time at all, I found myself sketching ideas for a simple all balsa control line plane that we could build together in my spare time – a model that would be cheap, quick to build, tough and could take the inevitable crashes.
Once I thought of an idea for a simple profile aeroplane design, I sketched it out in pencil and inked it in. I thought it was a pretty cool looking plane. For the motor, I used the same old Cox engine and bought a few sheets of wood from my local model shop. I used whatever else I had lying around on the work bench to complete the model, including some white gloss spray paint laying about the garage and some green Solarfilm for a bit of decorative trim.
Pretty soon it was finished and one sunny Sunday morning, my son and I and his best friend at the time with dad in tow took to the local park. We started the engine up. I’ll never forget how loud the engine sounded on that quiet Sunday morning and how excited the boys were! I grabbed the handle to the control lines which were hooked up to the model, and his friends dad held the model. He trotted a little then tossed it into the air.
It flew around very tail heavy! After the engine stopped I quickly added a little bit of weight to the front and we tried again. BOOM!! the model zipped around. It was flying! We had great fun that sunny Sunday morning. In the subsequent months my son flew the pants off the plane. What really impressed me though was how easily and quickly he learnt how to fly with this plane and how tough it was even after a lot of crashes!
After a year or so, it was looking pretty banged up so I stripped off the paint finish, patched it up a little and gave it a new purple, yellow and white paint scheme – which is what the model has in the pics.
If you fancy having a go at building and flying this model, then head to the home page and hit the download button to get your free plans! It’s a simple download consisting of four A4 PDF prints which, once printed on your home printer, you tape together to start building! Then check out the ‘Speed Rex build’ by clicking the tab. It’s a step-by-step gallery of photos of us building the plane, which I hope you will find really helpful 🙂 There’s also a materials list page , which is basically a shopping list of all the parts needed. Don’t worry it’s fairly cheap! It’s a great little project for parent and child to get involved with, or even with you and your mates…and I guarantee you’ll have plenty of fun flying it!
I feel the model has great potential and I have a few ideas for developing it some more… so watch this space!!
Oh.. how did it get that name? Well, like I mentioned earlier, my son was, at the time, really into dinosaurs and he kept calling it “the Rex plane”, after a T-Rex. And because the model was pretty quick when we first flew it, the name Speed Rex was born 🙂