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Summer in Australia seems finally to be over and I'm ready to get back into building. The change in season happily coincides with this group build, which already has some great-looking projects underway.

I'm going to build a Boeing 314 Pan Am Clipper in 1/144 from the Minicraft kit.

I am thinking about my prototype.

There are two particularly famous 314s. The Dixie Clipper, NC 18605, carried Franklin Roosevelt to Casablanca in January, 1943. The other -- and what to call it depends on when you're referring to -- made the first circumnavigation of the Earth by a commercial airliner in revenue service.

I didn't know the story, so I will relate it here. In short, NC18602, the California Clipper, was in the air at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. On arrival in Auckland, Pan Am ordered the crew to proceed home the long way -- to New York via Australia, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Brazil -- after stripping identifying marks from their aircraft. They made it about a month later, and Pan Am renamed the aircraft the Pacific Clipper (and also re-registered it NC18609), apparently to agree with newpaper stories.

I'm thinking about how to finish this kit. There are three options:

  • Out-of-the-box: The kit includes decals showing NC18609 and Pacific Clipper -- after the big flight, in other words. The upper-wing registration mark is unfortunately integrated with the international-orange region that Clippers had on their upper surfaces -- a feature I would prefer to paint.
  • Mid-flight: With the markings removed or painted over. I don't know how it was done, but it could make for an interesting depiction.
  • On arrival in Auckland: Designated NC18602 and California Clipper. I don't have decals for this. If I knew how to do figures and dioramas, I'd show Captain Ford on his mobile phone, getting the big surprise from headquarters.

Here's the boxtop:


Here's where I am already, after only an hour of work:


The kit seems to be fitting really well, considering that this is apparently a reworked Airfix kit from the 1960s.

These aircraft were natural metal, right, not painted silver?

Thanks for looking.

Some links:


In Search of an Icon

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Not that many parts as far as I can remember - good looking a/c though. Should look great when finished!

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Welcome to the GB Mach Turtle. :welcome:

I've always loved the purposeful look of these Clippers (dare I say less stodgy than the Empires?).


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Undeniable similarity of design, I think...



Purposeful is a good word.

No, not many parts. I debated doing something with interior lights, but now I am leaning toward modeling the failure of the number 3 engine on departure from Trincomalee. Insignia painted over, halfway home via the long path, fast climb to avoid a Japanese submarine on takeoff (really), sudden failure of number three. Oil streaming back over the wing, prop feathered, rudder angled to compensate.

Maybe I will give it a try.

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Thanks, Alan. I have been to Auckland many times, and it's good to see where the seaplane base was. It's right down Quay Street from the Hilton and ferry terminal, near where the Rainbow Warrior met her end, I believe.

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Wow, quick work so far! I recently acquired this kit myself, though a slightly different boxing. I look forward to seeing how yours progresses!


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Kev: There aren't that many parts. The challenge is going to be in the finish, which is bare metal and so always easy to stuff up. As well, I am thinking about doing this aircraft mid-circumnavigation (possibly on departure at Trincomalee), and so about as weatherbeaten as airliners get. Good luck with yours.

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Okay, I think I am going to model this one on departure from Trincomalee, shortly after the failure of the number 3 engine.

With number 3 out, the pilot would apply some left rudder, and I'd like to show this. My question is, how did the rudder move?

Here is the part:


I beleive that what I want to do is cut it like this, along the red lines...


...angle the rudder one way, and the tabs the other way. I am guessing that I need to cut around the horizontal stabilizer (the airfoil in the middle), based on this picture of the Constellation (it's on the Flickr archive of one Theo van Vliet, and I am apparently not supposed to link to it).

Can anyone confirm that that's true? Also, why does the flying tab appear to be in two parts? Is one the control tab and one the trim tab, controlled separately?

And, can anyone show a photo of a serious oil leak on a radial engine, please? Would oil stream out from behind the cowling only, or would it be blasted out the front as well to cover everything behind the prop? I guess it would depend on the nature of the failure, which in this case could not have been too bad because it was repaired.


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That trim tab may want filling

Theres a photo of the tail here: http://leehamnews.wordpress.com/tag/boeing-314-clipper/

Scroll to the bottom and click the picture for a bigger view


In that photo, that's not even a trim tab

Interesting a/c btw

Edit 2 - the photo is a replica need further research


More useful shot here: http://athenaintel.com/html/boeing314_4.html

Bottom trim tab is moving independantly of the top

Edited by Robert Stuart
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