REVIEW   MINI TOTE
 
 March 2000 R/C Modeler
 Vol. 37 - No. 3
 Site Sponsor: R/C Modeler

Product Review

MINI TOTE
Carl Goldberg Models

By
Jim Feldmann
  

SPECIFICATIONS

Name MINI TOTE

Item Type Field Box

Mfg. By Carl Goldberg Models, Inc., 4734 West Chicago Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60651, phone (773) 626-9550, fax (773) 626-9566

Mfg. Sug. Retail Price $24.99

Available From Retail Outlets

Length 12 Inches

Width 8 Inches

Height 14 Inches

Fits Fuel Container Size Up To 128 Oz.

Basic Materials Used In Construction Ply

Building Instructions on Plan Sheets No Plans

Instruction Manual Yes (1 page)

Construction Photos Yes

Weight, Ready to Use 19 Lbs.,(Loaded, w/1 Gallon Fuel)

SUMMARY WE LIKED THE:

Ease of assembly, fit of parts, and performs its intended function perfectly.

WE DIDN'T LIKE THE:

Some warping of plywood (see text).

Everyone who operates fuel-burning models, be they cars, boats, or airplanes, has some sort of field box to carry around the necessary support equipment. Like most of us, I started out with a gallon can of fuel plus a fuel bulb, a chicken stick, and a lantern battery in a cardboard box. That situation didn't last long though.

I soon discovered that a few tools, spare parts, glue, tape, etc., would be very useful at the field. The fuel bulb and chicken stick were soon replaced by an electric pump and starter, plus a power panel and 12-volt battery to go with them. How about ESV's, field chargers, tachometers, and a few other electronic goodies? Then "a few tools" became "a lot of tools." It wasn't too long before my field box was the size of a suitcase and weighed upwards of 50 pounds!

That's okay if you park right next to where you fly, but I got very tired of lugging my "portable" workshop to some distant pit area, especially when it was uphill! Did I really need all that stuff in the pits or at the flight line? No, of course not. I leave most of it in the truck these days. What we really need to fly an airplane or run a car or boat will fit easily in a small and reasonably lightweight package.

That brings me to the Goldberg Mini Tote. The completed Mini Tote is only 1' long and 8" wide (about the size of two gallons of fuel). Yet it comfortably carries: One gallon fuel jug; 12-volt gel cell; power panel; electric starter; glow plug lead; electric fuel pump with fuel lines; four-way wrench; screwdrivers for assembling the model and adjusting the idle; spare glow plugs; and shop rags to clean the model. And best of all, it weighs under 20 pounds fully loaded, including a full gallon of fuel. All of those things that "I might need" or "it would be good to have" stay in the truck and are available in the unlikely event that I actually get a chance to use them.

Assembly

The Mini Tote kit comes in a 14" x 8-1/4" box that's only 1-1/2" high, and includes ten pieces of 1/8" and 3/8" hard plywood, some finishing nails to reinforce critical joints, and a foam handle grip. The parts are cleanly machine-cut and they fit together very well. It took me about half an hour to put the Mini Tote together using Great Planes Pro thick CA glue (that's the extra thick variety that is sometimes called "Slow CA"). You can use white glue or epoxy, but the longer drying time will slow you down quite a bit. I used silicon adhesive to attach the foam handle grip for a little more flexibility in that area.

One thing to note here: The 1/8" plywood pieces were perfectly flat when I took them out of the box, but I left them sitting around for several days before doing any assembly and, when I finally got back to them, they had warped quite badly. Most of the warping was eliminated in the assembly process and what's left doesn't affect fit or function. Still, I would recommend that you not open the package until you are ready to assemble the Mini Tote.

Finishing

You can spend as much or as little time on finishing the Mini Tote as you desire. Cover it with iron-on film, paint it with a brush, or spray on a bright color. How about some racing stripes? A nice dark stain and several coats of hand-rubbed varnish would make it look like fine furniture! I filled the grain of the plywood with a couple of coats of water-base polyurethane varnish mixed with talcum powder, sanded everything smooth, and then applied a coat of Top Flite LustreKote white primer. A final light sanding and a couple of coats of LustreKote yellow gave the Mini Tote a smooth, durable finish, and the provided stickers make it look very professional.

Conclusion

The Goldberg Mini Tote provides compact, lightweight storage for the basic support equipment needed for fuel-burning models. It is a well thought out design that is inexpensive, quick and easy to assemble, attractive, and functional in use. Most of all, I like the new freedom it gives me. Going out to the field for a quick flight or two is a lot less hassle now than it used to be, and for a street price of around $20.00, it's a very welcome addition.

Available from Carl Goldberg Models, Inc., 4734 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60651, (773) 626 -9550.

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