In addition to my A-20 Havoc build, I am also working part of the time on building a repop of an old Monogram Box Scale Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation. This was a Christmas gift from my son and it piqued my interest enough to start on it fairly soon after the holidays. Work on it is proceeding slowly mainly because I have a lot to do on the A-20 build.
This kit scales out to 1/133 scale which makes it small enough to display on a reasonable diorama base and large enough to add a bit of detailing to.
The plan for this kit is to build a small diorama of the Connie taxiing away from the boarding area. This will be one of those lovely 1950’s era boarding areas, where people walked up to the plane and entered via a rolling stairs. The boarding area was separated from the passengers entry by a simple chain link fence. That’s what I hope to duplicate, although the number of figures will be limited mainly because all I have are two tiny stewardesses that come with the kit. My plan is also to fill in the windows and paint them light blue in the style of desktop display models, but the props will be spinning.
The kit is typical of the era it was molded, decent shape, overdone external details and simplified construction. Right up my alley.
I’ve started by sanding down all the external detail and filling in the trenches that were some of the panel lines. As mentioned, I am filling in the windows as well. There are some incorrect details on the wings and probably elsewhere as well which I will deal with as I can get to it. Lots of sanding and polishing ahead for me. Then, rescribing and some riveting.
Gotta love those battleship rivets! Just think of the wind resistance if they were real…
The Connie is such a beautiful plane.
Yes, a beautiful plane indeed!
I built the 1/72 scale Heller L-749 Constellation kit many years ago (30 plus I think) and it was gigantic for 1/72. Much bigger than the B-17 and in fact I would venture bigger than a B-29, but that’s just a guess. UNfortunately that model ended up flying in the hands of my 3 year old son at the time. It was the first ever metal finish model I built and it was okay, but I didn’t really know what I was doing back then.
Always good to see someone tackling those old classics.
I’ve wanted to do one, most likely in 1/1/44, in bare metal for a Berlin Airlift dio.
Watching yours with interest to see how it turns out without all of those rivets.
kind of a toss up between it and a Spitfire MK.II as to which is prettier!!
Well, now that my A-20 build is completed, I can shift focus on the Connie. After sanding everything smooth and filling and sanding down the windows, I’ve started the long process of rescribing the panel lines. The upper wings are first. I still have a way to go on these.
The kit comes with a fairly inaccurate representation of the openings at the trailing edge of the wing. It also has a poorly done rectangular grill forward of that area. I am not sure how I am going to reproduce the grill area yet, but after looking at photos of the openings (not sure yet what these are for), I decided to cut away the wing and box this in.I’ve thinned the aft edge of the cutout as well.
The dark rectangular area just forward of the cutout is where the grill area will be reproduced.
Here is the reference photo I am going from.
And here are the model wing parts…
I also didn’t make it clear what livery I was going to use for the paint. It might be confusing because I’ve placed this build thread in the Cold War area of the forum, but it seemed the closest match. Anyway, I plan on reproducing the TWA livery on the box art, although I will probably paint most of the markings rather than use the decals.
I considered doing an Air Force bird, but the airliners are so pretty, I couldn’t resist.
Unfortunately, the fit of the wing and the engine cowlings, as well as the fit of the wing to the fuselage is pretty bad. I am not sure of molds this old can stretch but the upper left hand wing was slightly wider (chordwise) than the lower surface near the fuselage joint and the leading and trailing edges overlapped.
The cowlings were slightly larger diameter than the nacelles and the fit between the upper and lower nacelles was also bad. This kit was originally molded in 1956 and this is a fairly recent re-pop from Revell under the Revell / Monogram Classics series. So it’s been quite a long time since the molds were originally cut.
Anyway, I am working on correcting the mismatches, restoring panel lines after sanding away the overdone external details on wings and fuselage, and also working on some improvements of details.
It’s slow going, but I am actually enjoying the process as there is quite a bit of satisfaction in being able to turn this old kit into something better than original.
Shows the mismatch between one of the cowlings and the engine nacelles
After filling with black CA glue and initial sanding. The width of some of the black CA shows the extent of the mismatch. The cowling is actually fairly smooth now. It will require finer sanding and detail restoration.
I am gradually adding the vertical panel lines back to the fuselage. This curvy body makes it difficult to measure and mark where the scribing tape goes, difficult to get the tape to lay down correctly, and will require some additional clean up when I am completed.
I am restoring panel lines as well as some access panel details. The air scoops between the engines will be scribed on their opening face to give the appearance of an opening (once a wash is applied later).
It’s a Zen thing - the joy of fixing exceeds the joy of not having to fix…
Ah the TWA Connie. My father worked for TWA from the mid 50’s until the early 90’s. The Connie was his favorite type to work on from his time on ground crew when he first started with the airline. Following this one for sure.
Man, this is why I build square green things, you fly boys have an entirely different skill set, good luck with this one, I love the profile of the Connie, it’s gangly hawmping fuselage is so ugly it’s appealing.
Saw this at a hobby shop yesterday:
What always amazed me about the Constellation was how the designer managed to get corporate big wigs and their penny pinching accountants to sign off on the design. You’d never see anything like that today. Everything today is about function and efficiency. No originality allowed anymore.
For something designed in '39 I think it was way ahead of its time.