My subscription to Model Airplane News is up for renewal, and I was
thinking about changing to another magazine instead. Any suggestions?
When I originally subscribed to MAN a couple of years ago, I was just
getting back into the hobby after 13 years of being out. What
attracted me was the great color photography and what, at the time,
were interesting articles. Now the photography still seems great, but
the articles seem to me a little lacking. Any suggestions would be
AKA "Treker in Minnesota"
I to have found MAN to be lacking lately, they seem to be going the same
direction that RCM has went, "Glossy advertisement catalog". You might want
to try RC Report magazine, you should be able to pick up a copy at your LHS
to see if you like it. I haven't looked through one in awhile but I seem to
remember that the articles were not near as biased as the big 2. The mag
used to be on flat news print so it didn't have the flash of RCM or MAN. The
website for RC Report is at: http://www.rcreport.ws If you scroll down to
the bottom of the page you will find a link to their subscription page.
You can argue that one of the magazines may be "better" than another,
but I look at it more from the standpoint of what my interests are and how
well the articles in whatever mag address those interests.
My personal favorite at the moment is RCReport but magazines aren't that
expensive for a single issue so I'd suggest you go to one of the larger
hobby shops in your area that sells all of the R/C magazines and buy a
single issue of each of them.
Once you page through them, you'll find out for yourself which one is
more interesting to you better than any of us can suggest, and that's where
you'll want to send your subscription money.
A new publication is on the shelf right now. Premier issue, October 2003,
of Fly RC is out. It has great coverage of a variety of topics. There is
an in-depth tech discussion on tuning a two-stroke for optimum performance
that is better than anything I remember seeing in ANY other RC mag. The kit
reviews range from beginner to TOC 3D stuff. A unique feature in these
reviews is a description of who the kit is intended for - beginner,
It's reasonably priced and a 6-issue annual subscription is $9.95 right now.
That's tough to beat even if you don't do anything but line the bird cage
I've been subscribing to MAN, Flying Models, R/C Report, and, of course, the AMA
rag. I just dropped MAN, since the only thing it has going for it IMHO is Dave
Gierke, and he's not a regular columnist. His reports on the under $100.00 .40s
a while back, and his more recent report on .60s is real world, useful
information. Next time he does an article, I'll just buy it at a newsstand.
R/C Report is a down-home, folksy publication that may annoy the "all business"
types, but, being a native Southerner, I like it, and they don't seem to be
"owned" by Great Planes, Sig, and Hobbico, as the slick rags are.
I see the replies and I do note everyone's comments. MAN is trying to keep
up with good content and I encourage you all to email the magazine
firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions and comments to help us improve. Really I
do! :^) we on a regular basis, evaluate comments and emails to the editors
to see what we can improve. I and other editors also monitor (Ominous word)
several of the forums to see what the opinions of readers is.
Specifically we are trying to improve content of reviews and features as
well as look for contributors who can offer DIY (How To articles) another
important element is constantly offering Beginner Information to help new
comers. many older readers will find this material of little or no use
because we will talk about basics.
Features like Dave Gierke's engine round ups are examples of what we want to
continue to offer our readers, but as you can imagine, those kind of
articles take time to develop. And remember, contributors like Dave are not
on office staff. They do this for fun and supplement their own personal
incomes... Editors can't write everything because we edit for a living and
the articles we write are usually on our own time or done in-house
supplementing our other daily work loads. No excuses, just an honest effort
to try and give you guys what we can and keep it of value.
If you have a good suggestion on how to improve content. email me and we can
consider it! Loved to hear from you.
I'd say RC report is the best of the lot. I still like RCM.
MAN is trash. They are trying too hard and dumbing it down too much to
slick looking "sound bites". Their plans are overpriced. And of course,
their reviews are 99.9% positive. Their negatives in the reviews are
little things like "balsa too hard", or "landing gear too soft". The
usual excuse (as is most magazines other than RC report) as to why they
don't print negative reviews is that when they find a defect, they
tell the manufacturer to give him a chance to correct it.
IOW, don't bite the advertisers hand. They just don't get it.
There is also RC excellence, but I don't recommend it either. It likes
to tout the fact that they are the official publication of several SIGs,
which is a bad thing cause the magazine is nothing more than a big
quarterly event report.
I know garry will disagree (about MAN), but then he's the editor, so
he's biased. That magazine needs to follow the recommendations of the
readers, not just "monitor" groups, or take suggestions they won't follow.
I hope your subscriptions are going up. I am one of the older modelers that
looked to MAN for something other than what it now offers. As a result, I
let my subscription lapse. The last thing I want to see is another ARF
review. There are plenty of newcomers that may need what you are now
offering, so I hope from a business point of view that you have made the
Hi JR, Subscriptions for MAN are doing OK. I don't have exact numbers but
with regard to ARFs, yes, they are very popular these days. Far more ARFs
are sold than are kits, though as good kits come out, we try to get them in
the mag. As you can imagine, it takes upwards of a year for some
contributors to build a wood kit and take photos along the way. Being that
the ARFs are what fuel the industry now, that's what you see in the mags. I
for one like to build kits and even scratch build now and then, but for most
sport models, if it weren't for the ARFs I'd not have many plans to fly. 12
year old daughter and 50 hour per week job really cuts into the shop time.
But I appreciate your comments. MAN is trying to maintain a balance between
beginner and hardcore veteran modeler content so we do have our work cut out
for us. A good way to affect the industry is to contact the big companies
and tell them you don't like ARFs and want more kits. Enough people tell 'em
that and it does make a difference. For now, sales figures guide the
companies down the quick build path. Good or bad??? hard to tell. I wonder
what the AMA new comer numbers are?
Let's see if I can help you out here.
1. Hire Gordo as Editor
2. Hire Dick Pettit and Pat McCurry.
3. Get Frankie T to do a column
4. Steal Jerry Festa back from RCM,
5. Put FS stuff in for free
6. Do away with about 60% of your adds.
Wallah, you got it babe!
Gerry Yarrish wrote:
Guess it all depends on what you want. For my money RC Report is the
best. Its not as pretty but as we all know, no one looks at the
pictures in magazines. Sorry couldn't resist. Seems to me RCR is the
only magazine that will tell you in a review if there were problems.
Personally when my subscriptions to RCM and MAN run out I'm done with
both. I've subscribed to RC Scale Internation for a couple years now
and its a good one in my book too.
Jay Bickford wrote:
The brand new Fly R/C mag is the best I have seen! They will send you a free
issue to see if you like it. When mine came, I spent hours reading every
article and immediately subscribed. It was great! It comes out 6 times a
year and is only $9.95.
Check it out here: http://flyrcmag.com /
P.S. I don't work for 'em!!
Depends on your perspective of the hobby and what interests you this
RC Report is IMHO arguably the best of the lot, U.S.-wise, of model
aviation mags. Not much nonsense in that mag, other than the
obliviously-intentional nonsense. Pretty savvy publisher, don'tcha
think, who can pick a future AMA Hall Of Famer to replace Pete Waters
when Pete headed for The Bikini State ?
Atta boy, Gordon !
I also favor Scale R/C International, Radio Control Model World, and
Radio Control Models and Electronics (RCM&E). All from across the
pond, and thereby a bit more pricey than U.S. magazines. You can snag
a subscription to any or all online at
The scale articles in SRCI, and the tech articles in RCM&E and RCMW
are first rate stuff. Mind you, that lot writes English, so you may
need to find a copy of BabelFish.
Having spewed all that, there is another approach to building a decent
reference library . . . if you're so inclined.
Learn how to "Google" and go find threads of interest from past posts
in this news group.
A goodly number of the lunatic denizens herein actually seem to know
what they're talking about, and a great many of those technical
threads are worth preserving. Many of the online suppliers and
resources may have withered, but the "tech talks" in this news group
are worth reading. Learning the 'best way' is worth doing, even if
you have to work around a particular supplier having disappeared from
If three different people have responded that doing something a
particular way is a bad idea, odds are better than even that one of
them is right. Equally true, when three different people say one
particular way to do something is the best way, maybe pay attention.
As always, any thread which generates more than three levels of
responses, or is still accumulating responses after a week, has
inevitably devolved into pissing contests or at best an AMA-bashing
party, so beware deeply-threaded subjects.
It may take some time, but it's well worth doing. I've got four
three-ring binders of tech jabber stashed in the building shop. Some
of those tech notes came from the sadly-gone RIME model and aviation
conferences, which predated this news group by at least a decade.
I've also got three more binders jammed with magazine articles.
The other thing to do is go find the model airplane groups in Yahoo.
Some of the groups are impressive to say the least. The GSWarbirds
list is headed by a gent who, while he doesn't exactly say so, seems
to spend his income-earning hours building UAVs from Unobtanium and
carbon fiber, to be used by no-sense-of-humor guys from the five-sided
If he thinks it's a bad idea, it is.
Ditto for the GSAL (Giant Scale Aerobatics List), and a few others.
A great many of the 'groups' in Yahoo Groups are one-person 'lookit
what I did' things, so Caveat Emptor.
You may want to prowl a bit 'til you find a niche that suits you.
One word of advice on Yahoo Groups/Lists - it it's not moderated,
don't bother. If the owner/moderator is a regular contributor, it
might a place 'where you can spit on the rug and call the cat a
bastard', in Mr. Robinson's parlance.
the dash plumber at mindspring dot com
Fred, I subscribe to one of the BritMags also. Even though several of
their "new product" review columns are just press releases, as are MAN's
and most everyone elses, they do have more overall content than
advertising. Heck, a couple of them even supply a REAL, full-sized plan in
Speaking of plans, do any of you know who bought the late Bill Effinger's
plans? Someone told me it was some outfit in Texas called Orbit
Electronics, and gave me their number, but I've never gotten anyone to
answer the phone there. I've since tossed the number out.
Thanks for all the replies. I went to the LHS and bought a copy of RC
Report, and even though the pictures are not as pretty as in MAN, the
written content looks pretty interesting.
Also, thanks to Gerry for his response about what MAN is up to. I can
surely appreciate that most of the market is now in ARF's, and that
they are trying to appeal to a pretty broad audience with their
magazine. My personal feeling is that the magazine is not bad, it
just is not what I am looking for at the moment.
Thanks again for all the input.
On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 02:46:49 GMT, Jay Bickford
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