Hobby Express has been in business for 50 years. The company started under the name Hobby Lobby International, Inc. in 1964. Fifty years later, we have a brand new name and website, but the same core values and commitment to bringing customers the greatest hobby products around!
A big part of this company’s history is our Telemaster model airplanes and kits. We’ve always said, “Nothing flies like a Telemaster,” and that’s because it’s true! The Telemaster has played a pivotal role in our past and will certainly continue to play a pivotal role in our future. For now, we want to take a look back at this fan favorite model airplane and share a bit more about its long and acclaimed history.
It’s believed that the first Telemaster was designed back in 1967 or so by acclaimed German model designer Karl-Heinz Denzin, who was employed by Alexander Engel, the model producer. At first, there were just three sizes: standard, senior and junior. Each size brought about fun for the owners and each were gas-powered. In 1973, Joseph Bridi simplified the original Telemaster design for kits that are sold here at Hobby Express today. This redesign included the same outlines and plans, but used aluminum sheet gear in some kits and also had a steerable tail wheel. Other changes were made to the wing, using strip ailerons and stingers on top and bottom wings instead of sheeting. 1973 was also the year in which former owner of Hobby Lobby, Jim Martin, obtained the rights to the Telemaster and the popularity of the plane took off both in the U.S. and overseas soon after.
Throughout the years there have been standard 70 inch wingspan Telemasters, to the 96 inch senior and even a 12 foot version still available today. Here’s a look at Hobby Express employee Neal Davis carrying one of the first ever Telemasters. You can see it’s quite large, especially for its time and is finished with a striking stripe of blue. Most model planes in the 1960’s were smaller than six feet long. The Telemasters are also quite lightweight, but they are designed to carry varying sizes of loads.
Telemasters employ a classic look with great curvature, some with the feel of a military plane. The design of the Telemaster has really withstood the test of time, but one major change throughout the years was the way it was powered. The model pictured is gas powered. Years after the Telemaster launched , the Hobby Lobby Electric Motor was introduced. Brushless motor technology has revolutionized the RC arena and Hobby Express is proud to be at the forefront of the movement. We were first to enter electric flight with the Telemaster and have continued to be on the leading edge of clean, electric power. Many hobbyists have applauded the way the Telemaster flies with its electric motor.
Telemasters in flight are extremely smooth and very steady. Hobby connoisseurs will be impressed by the ease of us in the air. Watching a Telemaster land is something exciting to see; the flaperons allow the plane to appear to hover over the ground before it lands. Flying and landing the Telemaster is something that is fairly simple when compared to other model airplanes on the market, so novice to experienced hobbyists can enjoy them. Assembly is also straightforward and can be accomplished with ease. While the Telemaster is not known to be an aerobatic plane (though it can handle a loop or two), its other attributes make it quite appealing. The Telemaster has been known to be a great option for aerial photography and can tug light loads.
When it comes to price, the Telemaster has been a great value in all of its years. In its early years, the Telemasters were priced as individual parts. These days, various kit sizes ranging in price from 50 dollars to more than one-thousand dollars for the 12 foot model.
Telemasters are now available in several shapes and sizes, with each boasting the ability to bring users a new level of ease and precision. The 12 foot Telemaster ARF is our largest, while our newest product, the Mini Telemaster Kit V2 is our smallest with a wingspan of 45”. This kit provides an easy to build RC model airplane that includes one laser cut model, full size plans, photo-illustrated instructions, bent wire main landing gear, tail wheel and all hardware.
For hobby enthusiasts, the Telemaster models have become a favorite, classic model plane option. Hundreds of modelers have had their first successful flying experience with a Telemaster and many beginners have successfully flown a Telemaster 40 without assistance. Those looking for a smooth flying plane will enjoy the beauty and classic look of the Telemaster.