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Curtiss Condor by Glencoe: Where Murphy's And Parkinson's Laws Intersect....


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Here's the contents:

 

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I'm using these drawings, by Paul Matt and Putnams, in sorting the thing out:

 

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The Condor biplane made a big splash a sort of 'Pullman of the Skies', with paired seats that could be made up into sleeping berths.

 

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The interior is fairly well photograph, somebody could make a quite decent kit of this, in a standard scale.

 

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The 'sleeper' configuration does not seem to have caught on, being replaced by standard seating, with seats ranked in twos or threes.

 

This video focuses on a Condor flight, and shows the cabin and crew arrangements in useful detail.

 

 

 

The 1934 yearbook, too, has much material on the Condor:

 

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https://www.aia-aerospace.org/wp-content/uploads/the-1934-aircraft-year-book.pdf

 

Curtiss fitted out the Condor as a bomber for export, though there were few customers. The demonstrator model did wind up in service with the Nanking government in China, reputedly as Gen. Chiang Kai-shek's personal transport:

 

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The USAAC purchased two early production examples, which, under the designations YC-30 and C-30, were used as VIP transports operating from Bolling Field outside Washington, DC. I intend to finish this model as one of those, in 'Yellow Wings' Orange Yellow and Olive Drab.

 

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When rigged for VIP use, the cabin may have resembled this:

 

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The Navy bought two of these, of a later model, and this is a picture of one's interior. I didn't think the model could support the mostly aluminum lacquer finish of the Navy machines.

 

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Edited by Old Man
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Posted (edited)

Because there's so much to do to get this thing presentable, I jumped the gun a little, keeping Uncle Dennis apprised of what I was doing, to be sure I stayed clear of the 25% complete standard. Here's what I've done so far.

 

First, I've opened up wheel wells. The original kit was set for floats,  and so had solid nacelle bottoms. In the re-issue new lower wing undersurface pieces were supplied with open bays, but they don't come near fitting, their chord is much too narrow. It was easier to doctor the original part, and likely better for fuselage fit, too.

 

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I've gotten the glass-work sorted.

 

The opening for the cabin windows are irregular and wrongly sized.

 

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I cut out the whole area on each piece and put in a strip of 1mm clear plastic.

 

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I made both a bit over-height, so there would be room to dress the seams.

 

Taped the part to remain clear:

 

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Masked to leave open the spaces between the windows:

 

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Here's the result on the port piece:

 

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And the starboard:

 

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Next is cockpit glazing. It's three separate flat panels a side, meeting in front in a point. The bottom of the largest panel should jibe with the bottom sills of the cabin windows.

 

Here it is with two panels in on each side:

 

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They do have to match in front:

 

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Here the final two front panels are in:

 

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I've done a good deal of polishing since these were taken. I'll be happy with 'bottle bottom' quality, though, there won't be an interior. There are frames where you see seams, for which I expect I'll use decal strip painted.

 

I am not going for full accuracy, but for verisimilitude only. The fuselage is the worst bit of the kit, and to make it accurate would require extensive surgery. The size and shape of the cabin windows and their orientation with the cockpit glazing, is something that even a casual eye would note, looking from photograph to model, so I do very much want that looking right.

 

 

James

 

 

Edited by Old Man
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That's a lot of work to simply correct the kit parts before really getting started on the construction but the subject deserves it :speak_cool:

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Hi James

 

I believe that American Airlines persuaded Douglas to produce the DST (Douglas Sleeper Transport) aka DC-3 as an improved sleeper version of their DC-2 design with bunks fitted to replace the Condor, though as you say the concept of a "Luxury Night Sleeper Transport" does not seem to have really caught on, perhaps due to the smaller number of passengers that could be carried.

 

Pete

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Welcome to the Curtiss interwar club. I get an impression that Curtiss was the only aircraft producer in those years… 😉

Great choice - worthwhile to follow!

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21 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

Welcome James, even with all you’ve done so far you're definitely under the 25% mark. Looking forward to how this turn out. 

 

Thank you, Dennis. I appreciate the indulgence. This go I'm putting in the little triangular roof windows, 'floor and bulkhead' baffles in the cockpit, tending to surface detail on the fuselage pieces. and probably will get the lower wing halves together (they'll need assistance). Ribbing isn't half bad, and won't need much leveling.

 

 

James

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20 hours ago, Col. said:

That's a lot of work to simply correct the kit parts before really getting started on the construction but the subject deserves it :speak_cool:

 

That was my line if pressed, Col. This isn't assembling, it's just getting stuff in shape off the sprue....

 

I didn't know much about the aeroplane when I took this up, just of the kit and its noteriety. I knew some bulbous odd-duck flew Gen. Chiang about, and that there were biplane airliners here and there (mostly British). Looking for pointers on the kit before starting it up led to all sorts of places.

 

I don't know much about the commercial aircraft modelling scene, but it does seem this would be a natural. It's big, in 1/72 the wingspan would be 13 1/2 inches, and in the minor scale it's still going to come in at about a foot. Might do well in 1/144, struts and wires are pretty thick.

 

 

James

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9 hours ago, PeterB said:

Hi James

 

I believe that American Airlines persuaded Douglas to produce the DST (Douglas Sleeper Transport) aka DC-3 as an improved sleeper version of their DC-2 design with bunks fitted to replace the Condor, though as you say the concept of a "Luxury Night Sleeper Transport" does not seem to have really caught on, perhaps due to the smaller number of passengers that could be carried.

 

Pete

 

 

Thank you, Peter. I'm more familiar with the military aviation of the period than the commercial, and had no idea that was the origin of the DC3.

 

I think one of the problems with the concept was the relatively short duration of the flights. On a train you tuck in for the night, but the Condor, even if flown non-stop to the limit of its range, wouldn't be aloft but for about four hours, and most flights proceeded by shorter stages. The 'Luxury Sleeper Transport' didn't give you time for much more than a nap.

 

 

James

 

 

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8 hours ago, Toryu said:

Welcome to the Curtiss interwar club. I get an impression that Curtiss was the only aircraft producer in those years… 😉

Great choice - worthwhile to follow!

 

 

I'm already in it, friend. I like the Hawk biplanes, and am quite fond of the P-36. I do have a bit of a bone to pick at the company over, though. I've found it useful to think of Curtiss as a PR firm with aircraft factories attached. The GB banner features a P-6E, and it is widely seen as emblematic of the period. But there weren't quite four dozen of them ever built. The Army purchased three times as many of the P-12E, Boeing's contemporary biplane fighter. The difference is skill at publicity and salesmanship. Curtiss was not a pioneering company. It stuck with the tried and true, for example the biplane Hawk wings remained the same from the P-1 to the Export Hawk III (the metal-wing disaster of the BF2C being the sole exception). There were benefits from this, but reaping them foreclosed innovation.

 

 

Rant over....

 

 

James

 

 

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A fabulous choice James. I know they're not relevant to your build, but I'm loving those enormous skylights on the bomber version :coolio:

 

Cheers 

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9 hours ago, Toryu said:

Welcome to the Curtiss interwar club. I get an impression that Curtiss was the only aircraft producer in those years… 😉

Great choice - worthwhile to follow!

Well not the only one but definitely a leading one. They even opened up and operated their own airports. Glenview naval air station was one originally in the early days before being leased to the Gov’t. 

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6 hours ago, Old Man said:

The difference is skill at publicity and salesmanship.

 

... and successful lobbyism at Materiel Command (the BuAer threw them out earlier) when they tried to outmaneuver Seversky, Grumman and, later, North American. The unimaginative, though quite distiguished, career of the P-40 is another example.  In the end they went downhill like many modern companies that prefer lobbyism over innovation.  Notwithstanding I'm a great fan of the Curtiss fighters, most of which look very purposeful.

 

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12 hours ago, Old Man said:

The GB banner features a P-6E, and it is widely seen as emblematic of the period. But there weren't quite four dozen of them ever built.

The creator has offered to share a version without the aircraft. So you may opt to use this version ? 

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5 hours ago, Bobby No Mac said:

This is a new one on me, but what curious looking bird. The more I look at it, the more I like it. Best of luck :like:

If you ever want to see one flying check out the movie “Flying Tigers” with John Wayne. I believe there is one used towards the end for bombing ? 

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On 3/16/2024 at 10:10 PM, CliffB said:

A fabulous choice James. I know they're not relevant to your build, but I'm loving those enormous skylights on the bomber version :coolio:

 

Cheers 

 I thought about doing that one, Cliff. One of the old-line resin companies, Aardpol, did it in 1/72, but it's not something you see for sale nowadays.

 

They are turrets: here's a picture with the guns mounted:

 

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There was also a gunner's position in rear, certainly with a ventral gun, and likely with waist guns as well. A fixed gun forward for the pilot may have been provided.

 

I saw, in hunting up the kit, someone who started converting the Glencoe kit to the bomber version. He didn't finish, but did find the perfect match for the turrets --- 'googly-eyes' with the backing removed.

 

Curtiss sold a few to Bolivia during the Gran Chaco War despite an arms embargo on both belligerents. The attempt to deliver by slipping them through Peru failed, and they remained there as transports.

 

 

James

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On 3/17/2024 at 2:57 AM, John Masters said:

She's a beauty!

 

Thanks, John. The aeroplane does look good.

 

Can't speak for the model yet....

 

 

James

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On 3/18/2024 at 8:00 AM, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

If you ever want to see one flying check out the movie “Flying Tigers” with John Wayne. I believe there is one used towards the end for bombing ? 

 

That's quite a movie. I especially like the scene where, midway through it, they hear of Pearl Harbor on the radio. Be worth checking to see.

 

The advertising short above has a good deal of air to air footage of the civil type aloft.

 

 

James

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Here's how it stands now. The pics are the best of a bad lot; I don't know what I screwed up, but I did it royal.

 

In the cockpit roof are two small triangular glazings. The kit does have their shape engraved, I opened this out and after several tries got bits of clear 30thou sheet trimmed to fit.

 

There's a shallow floor, rear baffle/bulkhead, and a bit of dashboard in the cockpit now. All interior painted black.

 

I have the cabin windows to final form, and the side ribbing in, on the port fuselage half. The clear area was shielded by a strip of tape a hair over 4mm wide, and some olive drab applied. Areas needing to be sanded were. The tape was left on for protection when putting in ribbing above and below the windows. Draped curtains are painted on the inside of the windows, these often show in profile photographs and seem pale. I figured white would be most troublesome to keep inspection-ready, and so the most likely choice for an apex transport in the Army.

 

Here's the starboard side ready for improvement:

 

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Here's the 'interior'....

 

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Here's the cabin windows ready as they'll ever be on the port side, with ribbing in too:

 

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Here's some nose views, showing the roof glazing.

 

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This is how it will stand till the official start Saturday next, and I thank our Uncle Dennis for the indulgence.

 

 

James

 

Edited by Old Man
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4 hours ago, Old Man said:

I figured white would be most troublesome to keep inspection-ready, and so the most likely choice for an apex transport in the Army.

These are the words of a man with experience in such matters :lol:

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The condor was an absolutely lovely airplane. I really wish we could get one in 1/72 instead of yet another 109 whatever. I know, I know, the market and all that. But the market clearly has no taste!

 

Good luck with your project, James. I will be following closely.

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Posted (edited)

I've started the ribbing and settled the glass on the starboard fuselage half.

 

Here's how I do the ribbing:

 

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Tape is laid down where the 'ridge' denoting the rib is to be. On the Condor, the cabin windows are between two ribs.

 

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A shallow trough is put in using 'salon sticks' given a straight edge, thin emery sticks, and the scraping edge of a curved blade.

 

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Here is the next bit set up, with the window bottom rib covered, and tape laid down for the lower rib beneath the window bottoms.

 

I've started in on the wings:

 

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This seems more a warp problem than a fit problem, both mated quite well when pressed. The trailing edges are much too thick, and the leading edges pretty near flat. The ribbing on the wings is not bad at all, and once the edges are adjusted, ribbing will need some restoration, along with a general toning down a bit. In the upper wing center section, several fuel tanks must replace a good deal of ribbing. The greatest wing problem can be seen below:

 

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The upper wing isn't quite so long as a foot-rule. It ought to overlap it at both ends. Further, there's no real dihedral in the assembled piece, and there ought to be, with a level center section and tipped-up panels. From the Matt drawing, measured against the kit piece (with center figured as between the locating holes for cabane struts) the under-scale span comes from a shortfall in the center section. Both I think can be fixed at once, the panels separated from the center, the center extended at each cut, the panels re-attached at a proper angle.

 

The lower wing is properly scaled, and squared away with a level center out to the nacelles, and panels tipped up from there. I haven't checked the chord --- if it's off I don't want to know.

 

The starboard side cabin windows are squared away to match those portside. The fuselage is ready to close, but I'm going to let it simmer while I tend to the wings, and sort out the motors and landing gear.

 

James

 

 

 

 

Edited by Old Man
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