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The Phoenix raises again! For the step-by-step building post you may go to: To avoid any confusion, let's start by saying that the plane in the movie was...several planes. As you know, the Fairchild Packet is the plane that crashes. Then a (not actually flying) plane is "made from it" that is used in the film scenes as a static prop. At the same time, a flying plane was designed by Otto Timm and built by Talmantz Aviation for the filming of the flying scenes. After the crash that took the life of Paul Mantz, another plane was converted to have a vague resemblance to the general lines of the Phoenix, a North American O-47. The model I am presenting here is that of the Timm-Tallmantz Phoenix P-1, the plane flown by Paul Mantz to film the flying sequences, and not the non-flying prop used for many other scenes on the ground. All those planes differed noticeably from each other. Knowing that a AT-6 Texan nose, engine, propeller, cockpit and wheels were used, plus the wings from C-45 Expeditor, I used those -combined with the measures of the actual plane- to draw a set of sketches as a guide for the construction of the model. This plane never took off or landed on the desert (real or film location), but operated from a local airfield. It had silhouettes to represent the "passengers" in order not to have drag and weight added. The only windshield was that of the pilot, the ones for the passengers were just frames. Yet once again I take pleasure in transforming bellicose machines into higher-purposed birds. The construction of the model employed known techniques and utilized a few already-made kit parts cited above. Some long hours were spent needless to say checking photographs (there are much less images available than one would have thought) in order to adjust and re-adjust the home-made construction sketches. I usually don't weather models, but the plane was stained to show signs of (in the movie) its "problematic origins". The only decal was -as usual- commissioned from and provided by Arctic Decals from Finland, the country as you all know where all the planes' fins are made. Mantz obituary in the New York Times (at the Cloverfield.org page: https://cloverfield.org/people/mantz_pa/index.php goes as far as stating that the movie was based on actual events, mentioning that during WW2 a mechanic refashioned a twin-engine plane into a single-engine one and took six men strapped to the wing to as nearby base, which is absolutely bogus, as far as I can tell, and no records whatsoever exist of that. I think the Times was the victim of an ethically-questionable movie studios ploy to sell more. Ethics were as scarce then as they are today in much more important places, if you get my meaning. Finally, as those who are familiar with the movie know, the Phoenix, born from the ashes, returned to the ashes after its crash, only to be re-born again an again in our models to illustrate one of the most beautiful metaphors about life.
The epic movie "The Flight of the Phoenix" is a favorite of many modelers and aviation enthusiasts. Two versions exist, from 1965 and 2004. The first is the one that will occupy our attention here. It would be redundant for me to abound in comments and notes about the movie itself, since most are familiar with it, and if not a quick Internet search will provide all the necessary background, plus I like to use the available time to build. Suffice to say that the movie used several airframes for its static and motion shoots. Of course there is the "original" plane that has the "panne", the Fairchild Packet. Then the plane that is "built" from it, then the plane used by Paul Mantz (Timm-Tallmantz P-1) for the real flying sequences, and then the modified North American 0-47 used for some shots to cover for the demise of the Timm-Tallmantz P-1. (Here at Britmodeller you have an excellent representation of the "static" plane by Mike N): I will be aiming for the plane used to film the flying sequences (there were actually two, see below). There are many differences between the filming static prop and the flying machine designed by Otto Timm. The static prop has a three blade prop, if you excuse the redundancy, while the flying machine has a two blade prop. The wing on the static prop has a more elongated appearance with more squarish tips, while the flying machine has a shorter wing with round and narrow tips. The noses are very different, even if at first glance they look somewhat alike. Many other differences can be spotted. Sources state that to expedite construction of the flying machine Tallmantz Aviation used the nose, engine, prop, cockpit and wheels of a North American T-6 Texan, as well as the outer wing panels from a Beechcraft C-45 Expeditor, so I got those kits ("used", at a fair price) to expedite my construction too, although this is not going to be a fast one, since the schedule ahead looks busy. The main body is a cylinder, while the tail is a cone, as in the original. The tail feathers will be the usual styrene sheet construction with spars. The old Heller kit and the parts that may be used: Since these are going to be cannibalized, get affordable ones in a used state: Parts that may be used from the Texan: A couple parts are glued to determine the diameter needed for the main body:
Okey-dokey...Here's a doozy...Merlin Models Tommy, 1/72nd scale, with all the warts these kits had...chunky plastic, poorly molded white metal...an old bag of stuff to boot. The decals are yellowed and, yes, the kit I bought on Ebay seems to be missing some parts--rudder and tail feathers. I'll be scratching those out of plastic card. I will also be digging through the spares box for better wheels, guns, motor, decals, anything...It's going to be some work, so I might as well share the pain and joy with you all! I would like to make it as one of the movie planes from 'Dawn Patrol', but I do not have the 'wasp' insignia...I might do it up as Cole Palen's aircraft...maybe. If anyone has an ALPS printer out there and is willing to print me a couple of insects in 1/72nd, I would be eternally grateful. --John