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An Airbus Widebody Jigsaw Puzzle


XV571

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Hi everyone,

There's some great builds going on so I thought I'd try a project I've been thinking about for a while.

I'm going to have a go at bashing this pair:

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into one of these (but not necessarily a Lufthansa one :D):

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Now you may be wondering, why do this when Bra.Z have a conversion to use with Revell's Beluga?; but here are my reasons: i) the cost, ii) the challenge of combining the two to produce one of the unsung modern airliners and iii) the cost :lol:. Like many airliner modellers I'd like an A300-600 as part of my Airbus line-up but, at £45 for the conversion, I thought the money would be better off being put toward a A340-600 set instead.

As you're all aware, Airbus use a standard fuselage diameter for all their current widebody aircraft. With the obvious exception of the Beluga, the nose and front fuselage section is identical from the A300 all the way up to the A340. Fortunately the Beluga's forward section joins at Station 1764 which is the common join-up point on all the passenger aircraft. By cutting along this and the panel line just behind the rear cargo door it's possible to produce a section to recreate the standard A300-600 lower centre fuselage that can be inserted into the cut-down A340 fuselage.

So the basic plan is to take the centre section, wings, engines and landing gear from the Beluga, cut the A340 fuselage down and modify the horizontal stabilisers using an A310 set as a pattern. I haven't decided whose livery it will end up in; so far I'm considering either adapting the American Airlines scheme from the TwoSix 767 sheet, a Thai Airways jet using the TwoSix A330/A340 sheet or a FedEx freighter using the Draw Decal sheet. That way I can use the kit's engines as they are all GE CF6 operators.

Anyway, on to the build...

First cuts to the Beluga:

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The A340 kit is starting to show its age. The right fuselage half on both examples I bought recently have a lot of flash including a large 'tag' where the lower centre panel sits and a noticeable warp at the rear. Hopefully this won't affect the build.

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The cuts on the A340 fuselage have to remove the large wing to body fairing and reduce the length to match the Beluga lower section. Here's the right hand fuselage cut to achieve this (I've left out filling the centre windows until the fuselage is at the right length):

A306_1.jpg

As a rough guide the fuselage should be slightly longer than the Airfix A300B2:

A306_2.jpg

I've cut the left half in a different pattern to try and give some strength when joining it all up. There's some fettling to do to tidy up the joints but I'm happy with the outcome so far. In the next post I'll mark up the other A340's fuselage and add pics plus a diagram to show you where the cuts were made.

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I'll be following this with interest, It's been a revelation the way you airliner bods can casually chop up a couple of kits, pick and mix the bits then add a dab of filler and end up with something better than I get straight from the box.

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if I had enough kits I'd have a go at this...but I havent, so I wont.

But I will keep an eye on this fascinating topic

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Jess - the RV 310 isnt "that" bad....ok it's not brilliant and there are a number of areas to fix but I wouldnt have described it so badly.

XV - the tail wings on the A300-600 were smaller than the earlier A300 I believe?

How will you deal with that? Or are the -340 stabs ok as they are?

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Jess - the RV 310 isnt "that" bad....ok it's not brilliant and there are a number of areas to fix but I wouldnt have described it so badly.

XV - the tail wings on the A300-600 were smaller than the earlier A300 I believe?

How will you deal with that? Or are the -340 stabs ok as they are?

Kevan I'm afraid to say the Revell A310 is horrific and deserves vining or lots of fixing like I'm intending on doing with my 3.

The Nose shape is completley wrong, it's not at all Airbus shaped

The engines are incorrect for the -300, only the -200.

Very little detail

The engines in the kit need the rear end fixing

The landing gear bays have net to no detail

Most of that is being fussy though

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Add to that the inboard trailing edges are not cambered properly and the fuselage diameter is too small. The Revell -310 is a case of "jack up the windscreen and replace everything else, then once you've done that find a replacement windscreen as well".

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i actually have an old pair of elevators from an A310 i got 2nd hand, i had replacement stabs to put on it, the A310s are the same as on the A300-600s, if you want i will post them to you so you dont have to go through the hassle of re sizing the A340 ones :)

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PM me your address and i will post them tommorow or Monday.

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Thanks everyone for the kind words and encouragement ;). I haven't had much time to work on the 'Frankenbus' this week but I hope to crack on with closing up the fuselage and applying the vast quantity of filler to the joins this weekend. Here are some pictures of the marked up A340 fuselage showing the sections I cut out to shorten it:

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Here's a pic of both cut down fuselages. They were reinforced with sections of the cut-out parts and 10 thou plasticard:

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I'm quite pleased with how well the pieces fitted together; it should be possible to retain quite a lot of the panel details with a bit of care.

Kev: yes the horizontal tail planes (or HTP as Airbus calls them) are quite a bit smaller on the A300-600. This is the difference between the A310 and the A340 ones:

DSCF0656.jpg

I was considering cutting down the A340 ones but having checked the Beluga SRM, it seems that the standard HTP was used with additional structural reinforcement and fairings at the tips to support the large vertical endplates. Plan B was therefore to cut off the ends of the Beluga ones and use the tips from the A340 then reshape the ends to match those of the A310. That way you'd keep most of the detail relevant to the A300-600 tails.

Bradley: thank you very much for the offer; they'll save me a job :thumbsup:. I may have a go at reworking the Beluga's as well to give others a guide if they can't source an A310 set.

Jessica: Yes, in theory it's possible since the A310 fuselage is shortened from the A300-600's. I have heard it was called the A310 because it's 10 Frames shorter (but wouldn't that have made it the A290? :lol:). You would have to use the Revell A310 wing though since it was a completely new design. While the two types have the same span the biggest difference is that the A310 wing has a narrower chord. It would need the leading edge to be cut off and a new one added further back for a start; the flaps, spoilers and ailerons would also require filling and rescribing. Maybe our only hope for a new one is Zvezda considering Aeroflot used to operate them and there are quite a few still in Russian service.

Cheers for now,

Jonathan.

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so that's all thats wrong with RV's A310 then?....thought I was in trouble there for a minute....

keep going XV - this is awesome; an A300-600 that will actually look like an A300-600!!!

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A quick update on progress. Unfortunately no real work on the fuselage this weekend, just some minor stuff. The raised cover plates for the horizontal tail have been sanded back and the nose has been fettled to fit the Beluga nose wheel well so the correct nose gear can be used. I have also been working on modifying the A340 flight deck as I'm not a big fan of the cockpit decal look. It won't be exact, but then the one in the kit isn't exactly accurate for an A340 either ;).

A light coat of primer was sprayed on to highlight the area to be removed on the tail:

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The other work has been to join the wing halves. On the real aircraft the All Speed Ailerons and elevators droop when hydraulic pressure drops off. So these were cut and will be repositioned to simulate this, here's the left wing:

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This will also help to break up the 'plank-like' effect of the plain wing surface.

Now you may see pictures of A300s with the outer ailerons also drooping. This is only seen on the early A300B2 version. It was found they weren't necessary so when the A300B4 was designed they were replaced with a fixed panel made from carbon fibre. This was kept on the -600 since the basic wing is the same.

The elevators will be done when the tailplanes that Bradley has donated arrive (thanks Bradley, :thumbsup2:)

I've also begun painting the landing gear, wheel hubs and the fan blades using various Alclad shades. Not looking forward to all those tyres (but at least it's not an A380 or 747 :lol:).

Thanks for all your comments,

Jonathan

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I have also been working on modifying the A340 flight deck as I'm not a big fan of the cockpit decal look. It won't be exact, but then the one in the kit isn't exactly accurate for an A340 either ;).

On the real aircraft the All Speed Ailerons and elevators droop when hydraulic pressure drops off. So these were cut and will be repositioned to simulate this

Jonathan

a man after my own heart!!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well. it's about time for an update - not a huge amount of progress has been made. Mostly it's been sand, fill, sand, fill, prime, sand ,fill, sand... - well you get the idea :lol:

Before closing the fuselage, I've added the A340 cockpit with a little modification to bring it a little closer to the A300. Two control columns made from plastic rod and a section of bent staple were added together with a home-made decal of the instrument panel. This was made from the actual Airbus training manual layout shrunk down to fit, so it's absolutely authentic (even if the rest of the details aren't). Most of this won't be seen but, as I've already mentioned, it'll add to the nose area detail.

A306cockpit-1.jpg

Once installed, the nosewheel well from the Beluga was added. It only required a little fettling to fit; a better sit was also achieved by removing the location pin just in front of the well cut-out.

A306cockpit-2.jpg

Thanks to Bradley's prompt posting I now have a set of A310 tailplanes to use. Since he also acquired them second-hand, a little rework was in order. They were carefully separated in preparation for the original paint to be stripped off before being rescribed. First try was with the old faithful Tesco Value cleaner but without success. Next up was a dip in Fairy power cleaner - same result. Third try was a bath in oven cleaner - not a hint of the paint being removed! Isopropyl Alcohol or white spirit also failed to shift it. Time for a re-think :hmmm:; a long time ago I used a product called Modelstrip to good effect but as I didn't want to have to put in an order with Hannants so close to Telford unless absolutely necessary, it was time to try something else first. After a quick Google search, I came up with an intriguing option from one of the fantasy wargaming websites - Dettol ! Yes, the brown coloured antiseptic liquid that your Mum dabbed on your grazed knee when your latest bike stunt went wrong. I even found a bottle in a cupboard :).

So, I placed the four halves into a tray and poured the Dettol in. After leaving them overnight, I pulled one out and gave it a scrub with an old toothbrush under running water. The paint did come off but it was obviously oil based as when the water hit, it went all sticky and became impossible to scrub cleanly. Trying again using first the toothbrush then a paper towel dipped in Dettol worked. Just to make sure, the dip was repeated and once dry they were rinsed off. Success!! They now have a slightly matt surface suggesting that the paint had etched in to the plastic, but at least they're now ready for reworking.

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So, this is where it is at the moment. I've included shots of both sides so you can see the joints:

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There's still some seams and scribing to deal with but hopefully the wings will go on soon, then the engines and landing gear can be tackled.

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First "proper" Airliner I ever flew on was a Lufthansa A300B2, if I remember rightly it was D-AIAB (but could have been AD), I've got it written down somewhere.

LHR to Frankfurt on a Saturday evening in November '78.

I wish Zvezda would release one. Everyone email them with a request, an il-62 can wait

A bit OT, but I got an old (and I mean old) IL-62 in my loft, sort of half finished, from about 30 yrs ago. Main componenets glued and filled, and that's about it.

It's the old Flugzeug kit and it's bloody huge, I think it's 100th rather than 144th.

I spotted it the other day while I was fudging about trying to find something else.

Had a huge soft spot for Aeroflot Il-62's when I used to spot at Heathrow many years ago.

There's a Tu-144, Tu-134 and a Tu-154 up there somewhere too.

Edited by pte1643
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