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Back in the Saddle

Aircraft I've Flown Part I - A Tribute to the Mighty 747-436

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Following the confirmation late last night that British Airways intends to retire its entire fleet of Boeing 747-436's, I felt it was a fitting time to bring this kit to the workbench. I have flown the 747 since 2016, after a twelve year stint on the 757/767 fleet. My last flight on the aircraft was in March, just as lockdown was starting -  maybe I will get the chance to operate one more flight as the aircraft are dispersed...?

 

The kit is the Revell offering - here's the box:

 

box-art.jpg

 

Rather than the "Landor" scheme provided, I shall be finishing the model in one of the controversial "world tail" liveries, namely the "Colum" design worn by G-CIVP and supplied by Draw Decal:

 

colum.jpg

 

These will need some decal film applied, as there is some creasing in the top right corner which may have cracked the carrier film... The main aircraft stencils are provided in the Revell kit and look very comprehensive:

 

decals.jpg

 

A quick perusal of my logbook shows I have flown this particular aircraft 10 times, including flights to or from Phoenix, Mexico City, Vancouver, Toronto, Miami and Mumbai.

 

I will take my time and try to do justice to this iconic aircraft which has graced the skies for over 50 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great subject, and a fitting moment for it. Do you know if you are going to be deployed onto a different fleet? Nervous times for all you BA B747 guys and girls, I imagine.

 

I've never got round to an 'aircraft I have flown' model collection, but it would probably be a little less impressive than yours - mine would max out at 12 tonnes!

 

Jon

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Excellent! I have travelled many times in the 747 on business, mainly to the Far East but also to the US. I was fortunate enough to be allowed business class travel and I always tried to book a seat on the upper deck, which usually I managed to get. Up there you actually have no idea of what a huge plane you are flying in, it is quite small scale, comfortable and very cosy. Flat beds and good food, what's not to like?

 

I'm looking forward to see your build.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Jonners said:

 

I've never got round to an 'aircraft I have flown' model collection, but it would probably be a little less impressive than yours - mine would max out at 12 tonnes!

Would still make for an interesting and unique collection. And each model would have a personal story behind it. If you don't mind a suggestion:  GO FOR IT!

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What a story. I love builds like this.

I’ll pull up a stool and tag along if I may.

 

John.

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On 17/07/2020 at 19:16, Jonners said:

Do you know if you are going to be deployed onto a different fleet? Nervous times for all you BA B747 guys and girls, I imagine.

Hi Jon. Hopefully re-trained onto the 787,  but nothing is definite at the moment. It's not the best time for the airline industry...

On 17/07/2020 at 19:16, Jonners said:

I've never got round to an 'aircraft I have flown' model collection, but it would probably be a little less impressive than yours - mine would max out at 12 tonnes!

Size doesn't matter! My next model in this series will be much smaller! 😁

 

On 17/07/2020 at 20:45, Jur said:

Excellent! I have travelled many times in the 747 on business, mainly to the Far East but also to the US. I was fortunate enough to be allowed business class travel and I always tried to book a seat on the upper deck, which usually I managed to get. Up there you actually have no idea of what a huge plane you are flying in, it is quite small scale, comfortable and very cosy. Flat beds and good food, what's not to like?

 

I'm looking forward to see your build.

Thanks Jur. It is (or was?) a fantastic piece of kit to fly and I'm still trying to get my head around the idea that I will probably never operate a 747 again...😦 The upper deck was always popular, as was the nose! Once in the air the size was not really noticeable, although you had to plan ahead for energy management on the approach as there was so much momentum involved - it took a while to slow down.

 

On 18/07/2020 at 01:06, SAT69 said:

Would still make for an interesting and unique collection. And each model would have a personal story behind it. If you don't mind a suggestion:  GO FOR IT!

I agree whole-heartedly! Models with a personal connection mean much more than other models you have built.

 

On 19/07/2020 at 06:24, The Spadgent said:

What a story. I love builds like this.

I’ll pull up a stool and tag along if I may.

Hi Johnny. You're very welcome👋

 

On 19/07/2020 at 06:27, melvyn hiscock said:

I like this

Thanks Melvyn. I'm enjoying your Hunter build too👍.

 

So on to this build and what I have done so far.

The most important thing was ditching that stupid side-opening box provided by Revell... What sort of daft idea was that?! An old Airfix top-opening box is now the new home for this beast - and it's so much easier to see what you're working with!😃

 

I have also built the tailplanes and they await sanding. No photo of that, as it's not very exciting.

 

My next conundrum was what to do with the windows? Here's a section of the nose, showing what was supplied:

 

windows.jpg

 

Some of them are not quite right - either missing completely or in the wrong place...

 

Two options spring to mind. Plan A is to correct the apertures and I have ordered some Microscale Kristal Klear to make the windows. I have never used this product before, but the reviews were good and I have been very impressed by their Micro Set and Micro Sol products. However, if that doesn't work well enough, I have also ordered these as a potential Plan B backup:

decs.jpg

If correcting the windows proves too challenging, I can fill the holes and use these decals instead.👍

 

 

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Sad news about the BA jumbos, only ever photographed one of the retro birds 😔 this looks like a great tribute, though!

 

Al

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11 hours ago, Back in the Saddle said:

Thanks Melvyn. I'm enjoying your Hunter build too👍.

 

Much appreciated. It is frustrating waiting for the underwing serial letters, but I could do the roundels done and I can get xtradecal white letters for the serial. Fantasy Printshop are preparing codes and serials in all sizes And all colours. Just waiting for 36 in in 1/48 or 24in in 1/32.

 

it gives me a chance to finish off the guitarmaking book (Again) and I have a WNW DVII to do as the Memorial Flight one.

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"Aircraft I've flown"... well, that's a pretty cool theme. The number of aircraft I've flown runs to, well, none. I flew in plenty in my export manager days though. I found myself on a 747 a few times, once and once only in the upstairs bit, I was fascinated by the curve of the fuselage...

 

Enjoy the build, will watch with interest!

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I've used the Krystal Klear a bunch of times. Most recently for the windows on my Beverly build.

 

It takes a while to dry out, but once it has, the results are really good. Highly recommend using it.

 

Very much looking forward to joining you in your build too. Would have loved to have flown in a 747 though.....perhaps one day maybe?

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About the nose... if you indulge me in a little anecdote. I've flown in the nose twice, first time I got an upgrade from Business to First Class, yay!

 

The second time was very funny and I still get a chuckle out of it even now, years later. I boarded and went to my allocated business class seat, in the main cabin this time. The seat next to mine was occupied by a lady who was talking to her husband standing beside her in the aisle. I offered to swap my seat with her husband's so they could travel together and she enthusiastically accepted. Her husband looked a bit glum - when I asked him where his seat was he pointed to the nose. I had just unknowlingly cheated him out of his First Class seat 😂

 

Served him right though - letting his wife fly Business whilst flying First himself is hardly gentlemanly behaviour.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Jur said:

Served him right though - letting his wife fly Business whilst flying First himself is hardly gentlemanly behaviour.

Got what he deserved. A gentleman would have given his wife the first class seat, right?

 

(The one time I was "upstairs" it was part of economy - can't remember which airline but I was flying to Toronto to visit my then-girlfriend who was studying there. I was fascinated by the drop-in storage compartments between my seat and the window...)

Edited by TonyOD

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Though I have flown in various airliners and a couple of small light aircraft, there are only two that I have flown.

In 2004, on a family trip down to Disneyland, I went to Barnstorming Adventures and got an hour in their SNJ Texan. I got to take the controls for about half that time.

In 2007, on a return to Disneyland, I went up in their 1931 Travelaire. This was only about a 40 minute flight, but I flew it for at least half that time, too.

 

28542719458_d4a66de3e2_c.jpg

 

27545605957_253736f9d3_c.jpg

 

 

 

I've never been in a 747.

 

 

 

 

Chris

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On 20/07/2020 at 22:06, alhenderson said:

Sad news about the BA jumbos, only ever photographed one of the retro birds 😔 this looks like a great tribute, though!

Hi Al. It's certainly a sad time. It is the end of a long era, much like the early retirement of Concorde after 9/11. Covid-19 has finished this aircraft a few years ahead of time...

 

12 hours ago, melvyn hiscock said:

Much appreciated. It is frustrating waiting for the underwing serial letters, but I could do the roundels done and I can get xtradecal white letters for the serial. Fantasy Printshop are preparing codes and serials in all sizes And all colours. Just waiting for 36 in in 1/48 or 24in in 1/32.

 

it gives me a chance to finish off the guitarmaking book (Again) and I have a WNW DVII to do as the Memorial Flight one.

It will be worth the wait - at least you're making progress on your other projects.

 

10 hours ago, TonyOD said:

I found myself on a 747 a few times, once and once only in the upstairs bit, I was fascinated by the curve of the fuselage...

It's very pronounced on the top deck (and also the front cabin downstairs). I will see if I have any photos.

 

10 hours ago, Mikey-1980 said:

I've used the Krystal Klear a bunch of times. Most recently for the windows on my Beverly build.

 

It takes a while to dry out, but once it has, the results are really good. Highly recommend using it.

Thanks Mikey - this is still my Plan A!

 

9 hours ago, Jur said:

About the nose... if you indulge me in a little anecdote. I've flown in the nose twice, first time I got an upgrade from Business to First Class, yay!

 

The second time was very funny and I still get a chuckle out of it even now, years later. I boarded and went to my allocated business class seat, in the main cabin this time. The seat next to mine was occupied by a lady who was talking to her husband standing beside her in the aisle. I offered to swap my seat with her husband's so they could travel together and she enthusiastically accepted. Her husband looked a bit glum - when I asked him where his seat was he pointed to the nose. I had just unknowlingly cheated him out of his First Class seat 😂

 

Served him right though - letting his wife fly Business whilst flying First himself is hardly gentlemanly behaviour.

It is the behaviour of a cad! I think karma was at work here...😉 It's always a bonus to turn left after boarding!

 

1 hour ago, dogsbody said:

Though I have flown in various airliners and a couple of small light aircraft, there are one two that I have flown.

In 2004, on a family trip down to Disneyland, I went to Barnstorming Adventures and got an hour in their SNJ Texan. I got to take the controls for about half that time.

In 2007, on a return to Disneyland, I went up in their 1931 Travelaire. This was only about a 40 minute flight, but I flew it for at least half that time, too.

 

Sounds like a great couple of flights - a bit more exciting than a 747 (we try to avoid exciting, with 300+ passengers on board!)😁

 

Having flown many aircraft over the years, I would rank the 747 as the most satisfying, especially flying a good approach and landing. Disconnecting the autopilot before my first ever touchdown remains one of the most surreal flying experiences of my life - it is still a very vivid memory, some four years later. I think it was mainly awe; I had been a fan of the 747 for my whole life and it was the realisation that I finally had the chance to land one myself, albeit under the watchful eye of a training captain!

 

A bit more building progress today. Firstly I have ordered some mini needle files, in order to tidy up the aircraft windows - some of them have flash in their openings and none of my existing files are dinky enough for that job! I have also deviated from the very first instruction, which would have the nose gear installed before joining the fuselage halves. I thought that was another daft idea from Revell - it would be knocked off in no time...!

 

The undercarriage bays have been painted an appropriate colour:

 

bays.jpg

 

I will dry brush some aluminium over the pipework later, to highlight the detail.

 

I have also made a start on the cockpit:

 

pit.jpg

 

Not desperately accurate or detailed at the moment; I will add a bit more to this before closing the fuselage. It will hopefully provide something to see through the windscreens, rather than just an empty void!

 

I should get the wings built tomorrow, as these look like they will need a few filling and sanding sessions to bring them up to scratch.

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44 minutes ago, Back in the Saddle said:

It is the behaviour of a cad!

“Cad” is a term we don’t use enough nowadays, particularly as the world seems to be full of ‘em.

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9 hours ago, Back in the Saddle said:
9 hours ago, Back in the Saddle said:

 

 

22 hours ago, melvyn hiscock said:

Much appreciated. It is frustrating waiting for the underwing serial letters, but I could do the roundels done and I can get xtradecal white letters for the serial. Fantasy Printshop are preparing codes and serials in all sizes And all colours. Just waiting for 36 in in 1/48 or 24in in 1/32.

 

it gives me a chance to finish off the guitarmaking book (Again) and I have a WNW DVII to do as the Memorial Flight one.

It will be worth the wait - at least you're making progress on your other projects.

 

spacer.png

 

missing the hell out of this one, but I did let it nearly break me (honestly, you guys that get paid to go flying?......... no idea...............)

 

Full rebuild plus about 450 hours flying. It it any wonder I ended up broke?

 

I still miss flying like crazy, but for different reasons now.

 

spacer.png


off to the hospital to discuss the next rounds of ‘creative poisoning’ this afternoon. Please excuse the lecture, but wring the most out of what you have (do I regret going broke flying the Rearwin now???? It was only money) and NEVER miss a test!

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Great work so far Matt! With BA's announcement this is a very timely and poignant build! With all the recent 747 retirements models might be the only place most of us will get to see them :(  What made you choose that particular One World marking? And are you planning to have it displayed in flight or with gear down? (I guess gear down since you painted the wheel bays?)

 

Cheers

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Posted (edited)
On 7/20/2020 at 9:57 PM, Back in the Saddle said:

Once in the air the size was not really noticeable, although you had to plan ahead for energy management on the approach as there was so much momentum involved - it took a while to slow down.

It's amazing watching them land here at St Athan from their final journey.  It was standard for heavies to roll past the turn off which is about mid point, but it's a real pain because they are then required to shut down and be pushed all the way back off and to rest, closes the runway for a long time, pilots get bored etc etc.

Anyway, first BA 747 arrival on RW 25 amazed all here by hauling to a stop and making the turn off, it's something to see as they must be stopping in about 2500 meters, they are empty obviously. 

Some of the BA 767s that arrived also marked the last flights for a couple of Captains and were quite emotional.

 

The -436s must be one of the longest serving aircraft types in British Airways  I would have thought, shame that they won't now make their 30 years service, next year.

 

I've become completely enamoured by the 747, and utter respect to people like yourselves Matt that get to fly them, and I really wish the best for you all.

 

24847303232_4a9e2a0589_b.jpg

Boeing 747 -436 G-BNLX British Airways 11 Feb 16 by James Thomas, on Flickr

 

50131382186_2c38c328fe_b.jpg

Boeing 747 -436 G-BNLP by James Thomas, on Flickr

 

48122886358_49444fdb95_b.jpg

Boeing 747 -436 G-BNLN by James Thomas, on Flickr

 

Interesting (and sad) to see fourteen of them stored at nearby Cardiff at the moment.

 

50138831842_d09d8c1aab_b.jpg

Boeing 747 -436s G-CIVZ, G-CIVC, G-BYGG, G-CIVW, G-CIVF & G-CIVO, G-CIVU & G-CIVV by James Thomas, on Flickr

 

50045394077_a3699ee468_b.jpg

Boeing 747 -436s G-CIVZ , G-BNLY & G-BYGC by James Thomas, on Flickr

 

50138051768_f021c44c6b_b.jpg

Boeing 747 -436 G-BYGA & G-BYGE by James Thomas, on Flickr

 

 

Anyway, really looking forward to watching your build here and how you tackle it, and what you make of the Revell kit!

 

 

 

Edited by 71chally

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  1. I don’t normally follow airliner builds but this will be an exception. Having worked in ATC at Heathrow for 30 of my 40 years in the job I’ve seen more than my fair share but oddly never flown in one. As mentioned on another thread, I saw an all white 747 at fairly low level  a few days ago in my part of rural France, it was a ‘small’ one and possibly the last one I’m going to see at such close quarters.

 

John

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5 hours ago, 71chally said:

I've become completely enamoured by the 747, and utter respect to people like yourselves Matt that get to fly them, and I really wish the best for you all.

Says it for me too :)

 

The 747 has been around all my adult life and I felt rather stupidly sad when I heard the announcement that BA were retiring them :blush: 

4 hours ago, Biggles87 said:

I don’t normally follow airliner builds but this will be an exception

Likewise :D 

 

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11 minutes ago, Fritag said:

The 747 has been around all my adult life and I felt rather stupidly sad when I heard the announcement that BA were retiring them :blush: 

 

 

You weren't alone there Steve.... :(

 

I'm along for the ride too (shame it's not in the Queen of the Skies!)

 

Keith

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On 20/07/2020 at 21:57, Back in the Saddle said:

ordered these as a potential Plan B backup:

 

 

Hi Matt,

 

most of the prolific airliner modellers on here now swear by Authentic Airliners 'photo realistic' flight deck and cabin windows, and looking at their builds in RFI they really do look good - might be worth considering if you do decide to fill the window apertures;

 

https://www.authentic-airliner-decals.de/epages/17895661.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/17895661/Products/D144-BO-11

 

Keith

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Matt,

 

I'll follow this with interest having flown on BA 747s for many years in the 80/90s on the Hong Kong/London route. I well remember being on one of the first non-stop flights (with a -400) when that was quite an achievement. I'll refrain from making any comment on your chosen scheme. Fully appreciate the sentiment but it's not one of my favourites. Nice theme though.....one day I'll get around to completing my Hawks, Hunters, Gazelle, Scout, Wessex, Sea King HC.4 and SH-2F Sea Sprite.

 

Good luck for the future too.....difficult times for the airline industry, for sure.

 

   

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