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The Mighty Concorde (a French one though)


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I actually considered giving this thread a French title as well but since this is a British forum I thought naming this plane Concorde instead of Concord already was bold enough¬†ūüėĀ

 

The Concorde was the result of a megalomane project between UK aircraft manufacturer BAC and Sud (later Aérospatiale) from France. Both manufacturers did have supersonic transport airliner concepts on their drawing boards, but were facing higher challenges than they could overcome on their own. In the States, Boeing started their SST program as early as 1952 and to remain relevant in the aviation industry, Europe needed to join forces. It's no wonder the two factories that eventually came up with Concorde were absorbed by Airbus eventually (which is why there's an Airbus logo on the LEGO Concorde set!) 

 

 While airlines all over the world initially were interested in the Concorde, only 20 were ever built: 

 

- two prototypes: these did have a shorter tail cone, different engines, a different visor and a number of other differences from the actual production models. One was built in Toulouse, the other in Bristol. 

- four test aircraft:  again, two were built in France and two in the UK. 

- fourteen production aircraft: seven for Air France, seven for British Airways. 

 

The financial success of Concorde suffered from multiple factors, such as the oil crisis, environmental issues, the 9/11 attacks and, eventually, a horrendous accident in 2000 in which a French Concorde crashed into a hotel in Gonesse near Paris. In April 2003, BA and AF retired their Concordes simultaneously. 

 

Since I built this model for a French Aviation group build on a Dutch forum, I wanted to give my Concorde a French livery. Air France only carried one livery during Concorde's entire service life, which is a plain white aircraft with the French flag 'barcode' on the tail. However, several Concordes were painted in a more classic Air France livery for a brief period of time. The first one, F-WTSA, carried this classic livery on one side and British Airways on the other. This aircraft was used for testing, such as tests in icy conditions in Finland. F-WTSB, also a pre-production test aircraft, carried the livery on both sides. These two aircraft were never actually owned by Air France and never flew in commercial service. 

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Then there were F-WTSC and F-WTSD: these were actually delivered to Air France after some more flight tests. Upon delivery, they were re-registered as F-BTSC and F-BTSD and painted in the newer, plain white livery. I planned on building one of these, but F-WTSC is the aircraft that eventually crashed. I saw F-WTSD/BTSD on display at Le Bourget airport years ago, but I did not find a single photograph of it in the classic livery. I opted for WTSB in the end. 

 

For this model, I used the 1:144 Revell kit which has its pros and cons: 

+ generally accurate in shape and dimensions  

+ nice engraved surface details

+ very nice decal sheet

+ widely available and not too expensive 

 

- inaccurate cockpit windows, both the subsonic windows and supersonic visor

- no detail in the wheel bays 

- simplistic landing gear (nice wheel hubs though) 

- engine inlet and exhaust systems lack detail 

- incorrect location for the large antenna bump on the roof: it should be slightly off-centered, the kit has it in the middle. I discovered this too late.   

- the wings could use a lot more inner supports for a sturdier build 

 

Starting with the cockpit windows: the subsonic windscreen, which becomes visible when the supersonic visor is lowered, look nowhere near what the kit provides. The kit gives you a single rectangular transparent pane, much like a Citroen 2CV's windscreen. Even when built with the nose and visor up, this area could use a fix since it remains somewhat visible through the supersonic visor. I used some Evergreen and scraps to reshape the windscreen. I decided not to fill them up with 'glass' since my model will have the visor up. 

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The supersonic visor from the kit has a straight upper edge where it meets the fuselage roof. It should be angled like the subsonic windscreen. A simple fix as well. I polished the visor back to full transparency later in the build. 

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When seeing the kit's engine nacelles, you'd think the inlet channels need a LOT of work since they are plain square tunnels. However, this is pretty accurate to the real thing. The wall between both inlets is missing though, so I added it. I also cut up a plastic straw to improve the exhausts. I did not add any turbine detail since it's just two black holes now. 

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After painting, I tinted the supersonic visor so it has the same darkness as the side windows which I filled with white glue (as this becomes transparent once dry). For the frames, I used strips of white decal. 

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One of Concorde's many quirks is the tail wheel. While most airliners do have some form of tail strike protection on the aft belly, using an actual retractable double wheel is unique to Concorde (as far as I know). 

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The kit part could use some improvement though... 

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Using a fine CMK saw blade and a file I reshaped it into something a bit more accurate. 

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Using a scriber and a riveter I added some detail to the inside of the large main gear doors. These have a pretty weird colour as do the wheel bays: it's aluminium covered in a thick layer of flesh coloured anti-corrosive paste.    

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I used the F-DCAL set for the livery. I coated the large striping decals with a layer of Microscale Liquid Decal Film before applying them, as I was afraid they might tear up while getting them into the right position and lining them all up. 

The model was painted with Revell Aqua white 04 and the engine's hot sections with a variety of Alclad metallics. 

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And together with my other entries for the French group build, all in 1:144: 

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Greets,

Jelle

 

 

 

Edited by TheFlyingDutchman
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Hello Jelle,

 

building this kit currently as well (a French¬†British one though¬†of course¬†ūüėÄ), I have to comment that you did a wonderful work reshaping the cockpit windows, especially the inner ones!

 

The overall result is also great. Congratulations!

 

Best Regards,

 

Holger

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I thought this was 1/72 scale until I read through your introductory paragraphs more carefully.  
Amazing work!

Cool to see it in Air France colours too.

ūüĎŹūüĎŹūüĎŹ

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Nice model thanks for sharing, I used to see the evening BA arrival into Heathrow on its approach over central London most days. One of my great regrets is that I never did get to fly in one.

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Nice job! I have this in the stash to build as a BA aircraft but I'll be doing it in-flight and using your tips re the windshields to fix mine.

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