|Video Review - If You Think You've Seen Large Models - Think Again!|
I must admit the name of AFV (Aviation Video Fred) was not one I recognised! But when Richard Crapp posted details on the uk.rec.models.radio-control.air Newsgroup of the latest La Ferte Alais 2001 video from AVF, I jumped at the chance to see just what all the fuss was about, at the famous huge model aircraft get together in France.
Richard had already filed a pictorial report from La Ferte Alais on this site a couple of months ago, so I had an idea as to the models to expect. I eagerly awaited the thud on the mat to announce the arrival of the tape from Ireland. I didn't have to wait long! It arrived within two days!
On opening the jiffy bag I was presented with a very professional looking case and printed insert sleeve. Incidentally, as the case is of the translucent type, Fred Harno, the driving force behind AVF, has also printed details of all the other videos they produce on the reverse of the insert sleeve. So when you open the box you are not only presented with the tape but also AFV's other products!
Fred and his team have been making documentaries about RC model flying for three decades. Beginning with Super 8 and 16mm films for clubs in Germany and Ireland, Fred turned to more serious and structured recording with the advent of more sophisticated video cameras. Today, all AVF recordings are produced with professional DV and DV CAM cameras, often using two cameras and operators.
The video opens with a quick look around the museum, where, amongst others you can see full size examples of a Stearman, Bleriot and more up to date, a Pitts Special. Then it's show time! For the next ninety five minutes it's non stop action!
I think nearly every model that was flown at the show must appear on this tape. Some of the highlights for me where seeing Gordon Nichols' B17 and John Greenfield's Vickers Wellington in close formation performing low passes over the field. Not an easy feat when you consider that the Wellington has a wing span of 6.3m and a weight of 50kg.
In a show of large models one would think that a 1/6th scale model would not produce a big aircraft. Think again! Ray Malardy had brought his huge Super Constellation over from Belgium. Powered by four ZDZ 120 engines and weighing 146kg, the Constellation thrilled the crowds with several passes and a perfect landing.
There is no commentary provided on this tape but AFV keeps the viewer informed with captions describing the action, aircraft type and weight, as well a pointing out other interesting facts. Some captions however, do have certain 'Celtic' variations to catch you out! Each scene is linked via DVE's (Digital Video Effects). From a box shape to rolling the picture into a tube, we are treated to a variety effects.
The tape continues with all the famous aircraft that you have probably seen in the recent Magazine Pictorials, but seeing them for 'real' does add that extra dimension to the experience. To see as many aircraft as possible, a large number are shown taking off, with generally one pass then a landing. The DC3 Dakota is one to look out for! We are being constantly told not to haul our models of the deck. I'm sure the pilot of the ''Dak' needed a change of underwear when he ignored this basic advice. He was VERY lucky to get away with it!
Often in the video, we see an aircraft at rest and wonder why is it at a large model event? It seems just like any model we could see on a Saturday afternoon. It's not until its owner walks into shot that you can get a perspective on the size of the aircraft. More often than not the top of the fin is at head height or above! These models are huge, some weighing in at over 100kg.
There are so many models featured on this video, it would be impossible to comment on all of them. But to round off, a special mention should go to two of them. Stefan Wurm amazed the crowd with a perfect demonstration of precision aerobatics. He performed knife edge passes at only four feet from the ground, and some spectacular prop hanging. Stefan's displays, with his 40% scale black Ulitmate built from a Weihershauser kit, earned him the 'Best Pilot' Trophy. As a finally to the video, the 'King of the Beasts' was a totally awesome B 29. Spanning 8.8m and weighing 205kg, the B 29 flew around the French skies with great realism. The touch down was near perfect! All I can say is that the pilot must have nerves of steel.
As the Team manager for the Irish F3A world championship 1979 and former Irish champion in Large scale Fred's understanding of the sport, different model types and the technical detail behind successful models and pilots provides a solid platform for AFV's camera and editing work. For many years as a free journalist, Fred contributed regularly to the MACI (Model Aeronautics Council of Ireland) "Flight Lines" magazine and other German RC model magazines.
With this background Fred and his team have a great knowledge for what a modeller wants to see and this is reflected in this video. An all whistles and bells documentary in the BBC tradition this tape is not, but as a fascinating insight into the weekend's events from a modeller's perspective this video is great buy. If you weren't there then this tape is probably the next best thing.
Please mention 'Flying Sites' when contacting Air Video Fred.