RCM Polecat

Here’s one for Pete
Retro helicopters
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Posts: 573
Joined: 17 Feb 2018, 05:26
Location: Wellington, NZ

RCM Polecat

Post by Wayne_H »

Also rediscovered (exhumed :o ) in my deep dives into the storage unit was my RCM Polecat heli. Published in 1974 - https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=6688 - it immediately caught my attention. The plan was ordered from the US as soon as I saw the magazine and I started sourcing the numerous bits based on the magazine article straight away. Ultimately the vast majority of gears, belts, bearings, the clutch (off a Dumas? R/C car), etc., came in from America, so gathering all the bits & pieces effectively took a year. Throw in my Senior High School final year exams & I was into it with the speed of a startled snail :oops:

Considering my metalworking skills at the time were "extensive" enough to allow me to hack a motor mounting plate or an undercarriage out of a piece of duralium, but not much more, I'd embarked on a serious undertaking :shock: There is no match for blissful ignorance driven on by the confidence of youth :lol:

Then Life interrupted - first job, part-time Uni 4 nights/week, off to site every uni break, courtship & marriage - suddenly 3 or 4 years had slipped by. My Polecat was actually finished whilst caring for my wife while she was bed-ridden for 3 months after a badly botched c-section delivery of our first son. Whenever they were both asleep I was in the shed sawing, filing, drilling, tapping, etc.

Test hops took place in the back yard. Imagine my repeated surprise when the close formation of all the bits I'd made/assembled to resemble a helicopter, worked mostly in harmony. I stripped some gears, made various repairs and or mods, but it worked multiple times!!!! For some time afterwards, the Polecat hung from the ceiling in the house to show off my model engineering prowess 8-) . It eventually regressed into storage & disrepair, ending up the way it is today.
BUT, I never once considered getting rid of it. An electric conversion has always been the plan. Now, I can also reinstall the '75 EK Logictrol (after conversion), for the whole "back to the future" heli experience.

Once a Retrobate, always a Retrobate............ ;)
Posts: 243
Joined: 16 Feb 2018, 13:57
Location: South Devon, UK

Re: RCM Polecat

Post by Pchristy »

Nice project! Following this one with interest!


Posts: 166
Joined: 19 Jun 2019, 04:09

Re: RCM Polecat

Post by bluejets »

Hi Wayne,
Did a similar build back in the late 80's using one of the heli books, Drake or Schlutter I think.
Chopper was a 60 size so the parts to build were not too small .
Followed most of the detail but varied to allow for materials I could get my hands on.
Hand made the blades and a blade balancer to check my work.
Tail drive was via a piano wire from a sync belt, gears were out of a disused hand drill I believe. Yeah...heavy.

Bench tests were done but then, as with you, shelved the project due to work commitments.
Trouble was, the shelf was below the 2013 flood level here, as was most of my gear, and all went to the dump.
Actually found the swash plate I made a few months back but thought, what the hell, don't need that anymore, so out it went also.

Did build a couple of the Morley heli's for different people and test flew those in the back paddock.
Used to get a few interested neighbours looking over the back fence.
These days I'd probably get hunted by whatever authority .............. :D :D
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Joined: 04 Apr 2021, 12:34

Re: RCM Polecat

Post by Pufango »

Hello ,
Has anyone built the John Drake design helicopter . Have been going to build one for the last forty years ! Have finally acquired all the materials including the muffet gear box (£150 ouch) Have Been building live steam locomotives so time for a change (there getting to heavy for me to lift ) .
Tony .
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