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Chanex

BCAL's hotrod (what if/nearly was)

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Looking through some old aircraft magazines recently, I came across an article in the May 1977 edition of Aircraft Illustrated about the introduction of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 30 with British Caledonian. The article stated that BCAL had also evaluated the Boeing 747SP, and the proposed long range Lockheed L-1011 500, before eventually settling on the DC-10.

The 747SP was ruled of on cost, and the fact that if provided too much capacity for the airline at the time, however the TriStar 500 closely matched BCAL's route requirements and was suitable from both a performance and economic view point. At the time of the evaluation the production of the -500 had not been given the the official go-ahead by Lockheed and as an interim BCAL was offered the TriStar 100, until the new higher performance variant became available, which in turn swung the deal in favour of the DC-10. British Airways became  the official launch customer for the TriStar 500 in August 1976, and as they say the rest is history.

This got me thinking though - 'what if' BCAL had gone with Lockheed's offering and subsequently became the joint launch customer with B.A.?!? My model depicts what I imagine their second TriStar 'Bravo Mike' might have looked like when delivered to the airline in the spring of 79.

 

Now onto the model - I'll keep this brief. A under engineered, poorly executed, and horrendously over priced excuse of a model. Although I am quite pleased with the end result, it fought me every step of the way. The low point being the unequal lengths of the rear fuselage halves resulting in canyon sized gaps that had to be filled with numerous applications of epoxy resin and much sanding. Try as I might I couldn't completely eliminate the slight step where the tail section meets the main body.

The tail and cheatline colours were hand painted with Revell acrylics, with the BCAL titling, golden lions, a/c reg and names taken from the 26decals early BCAL DC-10 scheme sheet.I also used the Nazca decals L-1011 detail sheet , with fuselage and flight deck windows, and some aluminium trim from Authentic decals.

I hope you don't mind my little indulgence...now where did I put that Authentic Airliners 747SP?!?

 

 

 

halves4-F212-C0-F-6-ACB-49-F3-92-A9-F4-AEE45-DvvD863053-A-DB0-F-4-ABF-88-CF-C21-AA47407985-E460-FD-E4-A6-4211-A9-D3-19-BCF9-CEF28-D0-EB7-A9-BE80-4-C0-B-BEA6-B4-F58-D819

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Splendid job. The BCal livery looks very good on the TriStar especially how you did the tail, instead of painting it entirely blue. It's a shame the EE kit fought you.

Thanks for sharing your work.

 

Jeff

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Hi Nick,

Generally I don't like 'what ifs' but this one really has something! Fantastic job on the cheatline, especially difficult with the thin white stripes.

It must just be the 500 which has the problem with the fuselage/tail joint I've heard the 200 fits perfectly. No signs of any steps I can see though!

Great to see another TriStar especially one with AA windows!

Looking forward to seeing your 747SP.

Cheers,

Ian

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7 hours ago, pinky coffeeboat said:

Splendid job. The BCal livery looks very good on the TriStar especially how you did the tail, instead of painting it entirely blue. It's a shame the EE kit fought you.

Thanks for sharing your work.

 

Jeff

Thanks Jeff, I tried to keep the scheme as near to the one applied to BCAL’s intial DC-10 deliveries, and figured it was similar enough to their then current 1-11/707 fleet.

 

cheers, Nick.

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6 hours ago, Turbofan said:

Hi Nick,

Generally I don't like 'what ifs' but this one really has something! Fantastic job on the cheatline, especially difficult with the thin white stripes.

It must just be the 500 which has the problem with the fuselage/tail joint I've heard the 200 fits perfectly. No signs of any steps I can see though!

Great to see another TriStar especially one with AA windows!

Looking forward to seeing your 747SP.

Cheers,

Ian

Hi Ian,

Thanks for the comments. Tbh I wouldn’t generally do what-ifs myself, but given that this one so nearly could have been a reality, curiosity got the better of me!

cheers Nick.

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A truly brilliant what-if. The L1011 really fits B-CALS colours and it is nice to see them on a dash 500 as opposed to the alternatives. I have not tried the kit (yet) but struggled last year with the EE MD11 and suffered the same rear fuselage joint and length issues you mentioned - Your pictures don't reflect the ledge you mention so you could have kept that a secret!

 

The decals look great - I love the 3D flight deck which adds the final touch. I intend to make BWIA's latter steel pan dash 500 L1011 one day, using this kit but only when I am feeling brave.

 

That pair of wing hung Rollers look the part.

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That looks really good.

 

In a way, the "What-If" you envisaged did come true - kind of. After BA bought out B Cal, they rebranded the BA charter subsidiary (previously known as British Airtours) as Caledonian and painted the British Airtours fleet in Caledonian markings. British Airtours had received some British Airways Tristars so these ended up carrying Caledonian colours - and very handsome they looked. 

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First class TriStar. Love the 'might have been' level of your what-if. Very inspiring. I wonder what else would look good in BCAL colours?

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