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Found 11 results

  1. A little model from 2014, five years ago: History can some times be terribly unjust. In the field of aviation, innovation and creative ideas were often ridiculed, laughed-at and dismissed, when not blatantly calumniated. As many of you know I have a special fondness for what some modelers shun as ugly or weird. As I research those strange, arcane, neglected, esoteric types, many times I find inaccurate comments, misleading reports, irresponsible repetitions from shady sources, and even lies. Examples: "That contraption never actually flew". Well, many times the contraption not only flew, but flew very well. The exiguous expression "It crashed" in a context that suggest that it never worked, curiously omits the fact that an airport truck smashed into it after a long time of safe flying. A few uninfomed journalists and "aviation historians" pass on what they hear or read elsewhere, whatever true or not. This particular case, the Fernic "tandems", are just another bead in the long string of stupidities written about innovative planes. Both Fernic designs, the FT-9 (larger) and the FT-10 (smaller, presented here) flew perfectly well. The latter "crashed" only after being flown plenty of times, in different locations, in front of diverse audiences, and just happen to have crashed after performing flawlessly many daring acrobatics for a long time, only because an engine component blew off and struck the pilot -no other than its designer- in the head, with predictable consequences. To chose to ignore the flying logs of both planes, their impeccable records, their proven capabilities and dismiss everything as "those weird creations of Fernic were doomed" is not only a disservice to aviation, is a lie that still perpetuates after all this time. Not only unorthodox designs were unjustly ridiculed, but also a certain xenophobia was likely a component of that despicable behavior (Fernic was a Romanian immigrant). As aviation ignoramus laugh at what branches out off the "norm", they not only miss talent, discoveries, creativity, evolution and intelligence, but also and in the same operation reveal their ignorance, prejudice and lack of vision (not to mention respect), because, after all, aviation is weird by itself, and was for a long time an "impossibility". So, once more, a mostly unknown type never modeled before -that I am aware of-, is researched and brought to life. The colors are to an extent speculative, since no source known to me at this time describes them. The curious among you may like to use a search engine to find out more about this designer and his creations, which deserved no doubt a more fair treatment. Tiny in 1/72 scale with a span of 7.62 meters for the original, is nevertheless a nice model of what could have been -if tragedy had not intervened- a cute little sport two-seat machine with sound aerodynamics, a convenient price and simplicity of operation. I found a couple plans on the Net, but after my premature excitement of course I noticed a number of gross inaccuracies and a surprising amount of plan BS, so out with the pencil and the photos I could find. That exercise is always rewarding if properly done, because a lot is learned as one scans for data and images, and many details are brought to attention that otherwise would have been overlooked. So esteemed aviation buffs, here is one of Fernic's planes, the FT-10. The bigger brother is much more complex to scratch, but who knows, one day... You may think that I got a tail sitter, but as you can see the mechanics were performing some maintenance and needed to prop the plane up Aeroclub wheels were used:
  2. These are all old builds, and in retrospect should have been posted at the beginning of these series. They often represent the first, hesitant steps on scratchbuilding. Here is another from 2008, 11 years ago (original text as posted then): The Golden year of 1935. Mr. Neil Mc Gaffey from Inglewood, California (a few miles from where I live) wanted to build a plane from out-of-the-shelf components. The idea goes more or less like this: you go to the auto parts store and get a couple of wheels, a dashboard, brakes, instruments, a seat, a big radiator and probably a dashboard hula dancer if you feel so inclined. Oh, don’t forget the engine; a Ford V8 will do just fine. With this concept in mind the Mc Gaffey AV8 Aviate was created. And it looks like the concept. So I had to build it. A double boom, single rudder and panted wheels make for the finer design details. As it happens too often, I had to take the hard-to-find three view and compare it with the equally hard to find, mostly grainy, small-sized photos. The comparison wasn’t at all favorable, so out with pencil to correct the (many) inaccuracies of the plan. I have to be grateful that a not-very-accurate 3v even existed, though. But either the 3v describes another incarnation of the same plane or the courageous draftsman had only a verbal description, given by his mother-in-law of the plane upon to base his work. A couple of points that were the merry occasion of some guessing: the interior of the fuselage (other than the side-by-side seating configuration) and the colors. I left the twin-booms without any bracing, because in spite of knowing that it should be some, I couldn’t find any views of the area; so I’ll have to add it later when evidence appears (it will sure do, immediately after this article is posted). I followed two parallel courses regarding the engineering of the fuselage pod. You will see both in the accompanying images. They are self-explanatory (which means that they explain it to themselves, not to you). At the end the less revolutionary method (the one I have been using lately, implying the masking of an all-transparent upper half) was the one chosen. The other method uses and internally glued transparent part, affixed to the roof of an opaque part in which the windows are previously cut (the wider frames, anyway; the narrow ones were lately added). This approach was devised in order to escape precise paper masking, and use instead liquid mask painted over the “windows”. There was, of course, a difference in depth that looked convincing enough in 1/72, but would probably look better in larger scales. I had the option of lightly sand away some of the cockpit frames, especially close to the windowed areas, but opted instead for the normal masking. It is something I liked to experiment with, though, for future reference. The prop was carved from a popsicle stick. The spats (five parts each) and a few more parts were then fabricated. Main and tail wheels are aftermarket products. The good news is that you learn a lot when you scratch-build your models. The bad news is that you learn mostly by committing mistakes. Painting involved some exhaustive masking, and I made a mess trying liquid Micro-Mask for some areas. This is the first time I used the product, although I have used similar ones in a large number of occasions. It will take ages to dry, it will creep where it shouldn’t and after hours either will leave wet spots or hard to remove areas. May be it was a bad flask. Who knows. The few available photos are not a very good quality indeed, and no registrations or marks are visible. On the rudder and bellow the left wing panel something can be almost guessed in that regard, but it could be anything, so no marks for this one. Again, after this article is published, an encyclopedia on the Aviate will be published in Lichtenstein -in Esperanto- by a Bora-Bora scholar. And I will have to be heading towards the printer. The sound of that Ford V8 in the air and the sight of the twin-boom marvel was for sure an unexpected and awesome experience. Ah, the wonders of the 30’s!
  3. These are all old builds, and in retrospect should have been posted at the beginning of these series. They often represent the first, hesitant steps on scratchbuilding. Here is another from 2007, 12 years ago (original text as posted then: In 1933 took to the air an experimental plane that reputedly contributed to raise French fashion design to even higher standards. The plane made use of an adapted Farman series 400 fuselage to which a semi-circular wing of large area was attached. One can only image the discussion between the control surfaces about which will have to control what. Nevertheless the plane flew, and flew well, in-spite of the pilot reputedly having to deal with an abundance of levers protruding from every conceivable corner of the cockpit. The model: For those of us with a bias toward the unusual, this is one that ranks high in the list; simple enough to avoid much head-scratching and good looking enough to spark the construction flame. Haute -flying- couture!
  4. Found a few more that I have forgotten to post, from long ago, when the hand was even less able than today. (Model built in -and text from- 2007, that is 12 years ago, when I was starting to dabble on scratchs): Retro-futurism at its best. Credited as the first delta wing plane and the first delta canard, this extremely streamlined racing machine was created by French designer Roland Nicolas Payen. It was supposed to receive an inline engine to fit the carefully polished lines of the plane, but what it got was a radial that had to be adapted to the existing fuselage, creating a sight that we only thought could come out of a comic magazine of the era. Before you ask, yes, it did fly. It never made it to the races or speed record flights, but for sure all involved had a lot of fun. The first –very cautious- flight was made by Louis Massotte, chief pilot for Bleriot, on October 1934. In April 1935 is flown by Jean Meunier. After several flights that demonstrate the critics the viability of the design, it had a bad landing and although not very badly damaged it is decided to proceed instead with other designs. Prop and wheels came from Aeroclub.
  5. A build from 3 years ago: (After this long series of models posted aiming to present the case that there is life beyond the usual modeling subjects, today I post what I believe is the last of what I can offer to you on this matter. I had selected an posted these last months a large number of models of unusual planes and/or unusual media. I left out of this chronology a number of more mundane builds for one reason or another, not considering them relevant in this context. Today I post what you may see as my closing arguments regarding what I been building during the past 12 years or so, so from now on I hope I will continue to post the normal builds as WiPs or completed models (I still have no fondness whatsoever for the phrase "Ready for Inspection" and would gladly substitute it for RtF -Ready to Fly). Anyway, here we go: I simply can't resist the bizarre. (A photo of the original plane -and the model- were featured in the very informative aviation publication Arawasi International magazine #13, Summer 2017). Long ago, when I saw on a Japanese site this beauty, I took note and opened a folder for it. The folder, in spite of my best efforts, remained after many years with only that one photo. My Japanese friends and the Japanese sites I wrote to, weren't able to find anything on it. As you can see this delightful contraption was based on a Nieuport 24, of which the Japanese had many, some in very nice civil liveries for which you can even get decals (Rising Sun, for example, produces a set for J-BAFC). I also found online an interesting photo of three Nieuport 24 that were apparently raced by female pilots for a demonstration (J-BAIF, J-TEIO and J-BAPB), may be for another model down the lane. After the long wait during which no info came, I decided to give it a go anyway and bought the Nieuport 24 from Roden (Choroszy also produces the Japanese-built version, the Nakajima Ko-3). The kit from Roden is very nice, in line with their known standards, and as an unexpected bonus you get a bunch of spare parts (engine, props, wheels, stab, rudder, little thingies, etc.) since more than one version is packed in the same sprues. No decals are needed for this project, and that makes things easier (if you don't think on the 234 struts and many parts you have to scratchbuild). In fact, very little will be used from the kit, just the fuselage sub-assembly minus the bang-bang bits. Work starts then by intensely staring at the one photo and trying to make sense of it. A sketch was produced based on the proportions of the many elements and known measures of the kit's fuselage. The plane has two vanes protruding from the mid-line fuselage, a bit ahead of the pilot (acting most likely as ailerons) a "wing" on top of the fuselage and then above it two separate panels for yet another wing. This might thus qualify as a negative aspect ratio triplane. The mystery remains: what was it? who built it? and why? Did it fly? is it a triplane? is it a random accretion of parts flying now in orderly formation? Will we ever know? And meanwhile, should we call it Wingzilla? Here with another negative aspect ratio model posted here before, the Flick-Reinig Apteroid:
  6. A build from 10 years ago: I know, I know. So easy to call it names. But look at it from another perspective, more art-like: imagine you see it in the MoMA, MoCA, or SFMoMA. I don’t know what intentions brothers Ervin and Lyle Joy had, but I know what they achieved: A remarkable, out-of-the-ordinary design, considering that the year was 1935. Regarding the flying abilities, one could say that it hoped and it hopped. Eventually, a wire fence prevented what could have been a record number of UFO sighting reports. With five rudders, two engines and what can be considered as a lifting body lodging a no doubt pensive pilot, this apparatus deserves our admiration just for the mere fact of being. The Joy JX quite precisely falls –in this case the use of the verb depicts more than it intends- in the category of lifting fuselage designs. Usually you have in “normal” planes different parts accomplishing specific functions: The fuselage lodges the payload, the wings are in charge of the lift and the tail performs the control and gives stability to the whole. In the case of lifting bodies or flying wings, those functions are accomplished blending, eliminating or fusing some of the above-mentioned elements together, thus reducing drag, weight and cost, and hopefully improving the overall efficiency of the system. The search for information on this one was arduous and rendered just enough to go ahead and concoct a three view. Since this was bigger than what my Super-Mattel Psychedelic Machine can handle in its little vacuforming plate, two styrene shells were cut and formed, trying to convey the underlying tubular structure of the original. An interior was produced as well as the other, many, flying surfaces –one fin/rudder, one stab/elevator, two auxiliary rudders under the stab, two more following the engines nacelles, one fin under the fuselage and last but no least a small wing between the engines. Bombs from the spares bin were transformed into more useful engine nacelles (I always like that part). The abundance of struts was dealt with using metal Strutz, and Aeroclub aftermarket Salmsons and wheels. Decals of course were home made. It wasn’t that difficult: just get a stork, an umbrella, a pancake, two blenders and a fish. Mix everything well and Presto! I can’t feel but admiration for the boldness, creativity and gills of the remarkable bunch of designers, mechanics and pilots -some times one and the same person- that contributed so much to aviation and, in the process, to general amusement. A real Joy.
  7. (Build from a year ago to further illustrate the recent Northrop Delta posts): During the 30s nobody knew with certainty what would happen to passengers, crew and pilots flying for hours around and above the 33,000 feet height mark (that's about 10.000 meters, you normal people). May be you would be overcome by the irresistible desire of do silly walks. The advantages were obvious: to fly above most of the weather and turbulence, at higher speeds (less air density = less drag) with higher fuel economy and less stress on the airframe. Not to mention to be closer to the angels. Pilot Tommy Tomlinson made a number of flights in a specially modified Northrop Gamma. You can read a detailed and illustrated article by Edward M. Young in The Aviation Historian (issue 12 2015) that also covers flights in other machines. This sort of weather plane can be made modifying the venerable (although a bit vetust) 1/72 Northrop Gamma kit from Williams Bros. The origin of mine is very satisfying: it came as a surprise birthday gift from Andrew Nickeas of Fogland (England in metric system). It has raised panel lines (I engraved them on the model) but can be built into a very decent replica, especially if you add detail and accomplish a neat painting and decaling job. With a little bit of ingenuity, research and work, you can squeeze so many different versions with beautiful liveries of this kit that you will be surprised. Some require minor touches and self-made or commissioned decals, some require surgery and scratchbuilding impetus, like the versions with inline engine. You can have the model representing real planes on skis, floats or wheels, even in registrations from another countries. The kit itself provides from the start several versions, but you can add a long (and very appealing) list. I will leave to others to make a detailed list, since I am not so much of the chatty-chatty but more of the buildy-buildy type. Among the Gammas -all beautiful no doubt- perhaps the most stylized are the 2G and 2D variants. To the latter belongs the "Experimental Overweather Laboratory" flown by TWA to study flight at high altitudes, pioneering and heralding the era of the now customary 33,000+ region for everyday passenger flights. Flying "over the weather" was the goal then. Needless to say, it required superchargers (for the piston engines), pressurization and control of temperature and breathable air mix (due to the low level of oxygen at that height). Before its high-flying career, the TWA machine NR/NX13758 was doing the mail route and flew regularly with the airline, together with Gammas 13757 and 13759, all D models. In 1936 modifications were introduced for high ceiling: a turbocharger, a new engine, and a set of instruments for the observer/engineer inside the fuselage ahead of the pilot. The 2D is a variant that unfortunately can't just be shaken off from the old William Bros mold, and the modification will take some little effort. As with the Conqueror Gamma I posted before, modifications are surely needed, none of which is really beyond the skills of a modeler that can call her/himself such. Modifications include: Wing: engraving of ailerons, modification of three aileron ribs, drilling new landing lights under the wing. Deletion of kit's landing lights and conduit under central panel. Addition of two conduits running parallel in place of former. Panel lines engraving if desired. Fuselage: re-location of cockpit, blanking of old positions. Re-shaping and re-location of cockpit floor. New turtledeck. New canopy. Loop antenna (only for the later livery, with bands on vertical tail). Hatches and interior if desired. Conduit on the right upper fuselage. Antenna wire under the fuselage. Fin/rudder: changing of hinge line to balanced variant. Nose/ Cowl: adaptation/replacement of kit's parts to match photos. As it is in the kit, the cowl is too small for this version. Many variations can be observed in shape, decoration and details related to turbocharger and exhaust. Decals: William Brothers produces now a decal sheet that includes this variant (and many others), but not for all the decorations of the TWA/Weather Laboratory during its life, so pay attention to your references and over all, trust only photos. The William Bros set has some hiccups, and may be questionable regarding the color choice of some lettering (Experimental Overweather Laboratory is very likely black, not red, as easily deduced comparing it to the adjacent TWA logo on the fuselage). Decals come as NC, but do not have the NR visible on most photos on the real plane with the Experimental Overweather Laboratory lettering; the "R" can not be chopped from another reg. on the sheet, for the wing, since it is outlined in green, and not in black. Neither for the rudder, where you will have to look for another solution. "Air Express" comes in black, when it was actually red. The little TWA round logo is missing, it goes on the cowl on both, left and right side. The are is a small lettering -also missing on the decal sheet- the reads "U.S. Mail AM2". Nevertheless, it is a good set, and I encourage you to get it, since it is useful for other liveries. Beware that there were mainly two liveries in which the "laboratory" flew, one has the three words "Experimental Overweather Laboratory" on top of each other, while the other has "Overweather Experimental Laboratory", one word after the other, and as you can see the first two words were transposed. Arctic Decals is producing a complementary/corrective set. Propeller: the plane flew with two and three-blade props, the latter, a Curtiss, with and without spinner. Once more, study the photos so you don't end up combining features of the plane at different stages of its life.
  8. New's For fan jet experimental aircraft - Soviet Experimental Research Aircraft MAI (Moscow Aviation Institute) FOTON by VSV-Product 1/72 Resine Model Kits with photoetced: Resource: https://propjet.ucoz.ru/forum/2-74-98 About original aircraft: http://www.airwar.ru/enc/xplane/foton.html https://tech.wikireading.ru/14138 https://topwar.ru/amp:21577-eksperimentalnyy-samolet-foton.html B.R. Serge
  9. My build of the Anigrand 1/72 kit, using AK Interactive's Xtreme Metallics, not without problems. This model represents the first of the two prototypes, in her original configuration, as tested at Edwards AFB in 1949.
  10. - experimental vehicles - prototypes - record breakers (if specially modified) - flying laboratories - one of a kind Examples (some qualify by in more than one category) : Experimental: XB-35, X-29, X-47B, Su-47, Maus tank Ptototypes YB-49, YF-23, Sukhoi T-50, Concorde G-BSST, A-380 and B-787 in "First Flight" livery Record breakers TB-1 "Strana Sovetov", Bloodhound SSC, Ruthan Voyager SR-71 is an example that DOES NOT qualify as no special modifications were made Flying Laboratories NB-52, Tu-144LL One of a kind An-225, Sukhoi T-4, Wright Flyer Worth trying ?
  11. On a rare occasion I do finish a model. This time it came out like that: (some last adjustments:) and here we go: Ok, enough. Off to the scrapyard Full story can be found here http://www.kampfgruppe144.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3271. Short story: Panel lines (Matchbox-style) were removed, some brass bits from upcoming Shelf Oddity set added. And then there was miserable process of filling and sanding and filling and sanding and filling and sanding and filling and sanding and... which seemed to have no end. But finally I got to dust off my airbrush. Metal parts are AK Xtreme Metal (easy and foolproof). Kit decals turned out to be excellent (save for NACA tail band), panel lines were reinstated using pencil and shaky hand and this is it.
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