SEARCH FINESCALE.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Charter Flight to the Mountains of Madness (Airfix 1/72 Ford Trimotor)

779 views
20 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Charter Flight to the Mountains of Madness (Airfix 1/72 Ford Trimotor)
Posted by gregbale on Monday, September 17, 2018 10:37 PM

Miskatonic University

Fall Semester, 1930-31

Courses for graduate students:

GEOL 670: Special Study

(Cross-listed with ANTHR, HIST, MYTH, OCST, SOC)

 Cr. 6 F.

Join Professor William Dyer and staff colleagues for a multi-disciplinary exploratory expedition to Antarctica to investigate the remains of a strange prehistoric civilization previously unknown to science.

Side-explorations to the Plateau of Leng and the lost city of R'lyeh may be mounted, as circumstances permit.

[N.B.: Prospective volunteers should be aware of the slight possibility of the development of minor psychic disturbances or subtle physical alterations resulting from their participation in this expedition. Transient symptoms of profound paranoia...spontaneous glossolalia...manic hallucinatory episodes...and/or the sudden growth of extra limbs---or tentacles---may be experienced.]

Having picked up this venerable Airfix gem at a too-good-to-resist price on an auction site, the kit proved to be complete as advertised...but the included original (and rather indistinctly-printed) 'American Airways' decals were a crusty sepia tone that suggested they were well-past resuscitation. As a 'fun project' alternative, I started casting about for something more in keeping with the sturdy 'Tin Goose's' iconic look suggesting 1930s mystery and intrigue. I originally considered doing the 'Lao Che Air Freight' Trimotor from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom...but while 'trawling' for images on the interweb, another more dramatic possibility raised its (multiple) heads: one of the ski-equipped charter aircraft from Miskatonic University's ill-fated 1930-31 Antarctic Expedition...as depicted in the classic H.P Lovecraft horror novella "At The Mountains Of Madness."

Airfix's old but well-engineered kit was built per the yellowing instructions, save for half the passenger seats being replaced with a scratch-built 'cargo' of supplies and scientific equipment well-secured in the aft cabin. Skis were made up from laminated styrene sheet and bits of strip. The Airfix kit had earlier donated its 'speed ring' P&W Wasp Junior outer engines to my recent Williams Brothers Boeing 247 conversion, so that kit's similar engines and cowlings were adapted to serve here. I used the cut-down cowlings simply to help conceal the notable lack of detail in the engines themselves; my 'rationale' for the unconventional style cowlings (for a Trimotor) is that they are modified Lockheed Electra cowlings, 'specially fitted' here to improve engine performance in grueling antarctic conditions.

An online build/review conveniently alerted me to the fact that Airfix got the well-molded 2-blade props backwards---with the 'concave' part of the blades facing forward. It was an easy fix simply to trim the molded-in 'shaft' to become the new 'hub,' and flip the props front-to-back...and since I tend to glue my props solidly in place anyway, I just used the original hub as a 'stub' shaft to mount them to the engines.

Color scheme is a standard one for the type, mostly natural metal with areas of colored trim around the nose and passenger windows. The high-visibility orange panels were commonly applied to aircraft which were intended to operate over water...or, in this case, the vast and empty Antarctic wastes. I couldn't resist adding a light wash overall to highlight Airfix's lovingly-rendered corrugated surface...and then partially-removing it in 'sketchy' fashion to give the aircraft a well-used and 'lived in' look suitable to its challenging polar mission.

Decals were home-made, with the 'expedition seal' graphic being adapted from widely-circulated internet images, here modified specifically to depict a Ford Trimotor. The 'Ward' in the charter-company name is a none-too-subtle nod to yet another one of Lovecraft's well-known horror tales. The number chosen for the aircraft's registry---taken from the actual range of those assigned to Trimotor production---seemed the obvious choice, given the sinister ambiance of the project.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

 

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."

 

"

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, September 17, 2018 11:34 PM

Bow DownBow DownBow Down

Frankly, speachless.

That's a great story, as good as the model which is first among any.

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 2:35 AM

Great job on a really interesting subject and backstory.   Working that corrugated surface seems like a challenge and you knocked it out of the park!  A+ on the course ;)

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    September, 2017
  • From: western North Carolina
Posted by kensar on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 6:30 AM

Too cool not to comment.  Love the model and story.  Excellent rigging detail.

If it only had a pack of sled dogs inside...

Kensar

 

  • Member since
    June, 2017
  • From: Winter Park, FL
Posted by fotofrank on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 7:50 AM

Just too cool. I like the cowlings on the wing engines. Kinda reminiscent of Marty Caidin's old "Iron Annie." With the corrugated surface, how tough was it to mask the color for paint?

OK. On the bench:

Way too much to build in one lifetime...

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 7:56 AM

Oh wow love the idea and beautiful model Greg!!!!! 

I have to ask though, how on earth did you mask over the corregated areas? Did you burnish the tape down into every little valley there???

 

First explorer: putting on his running shoes.

Second explorer: 'Surely you don't think you can outrun a shoggoth!?!'

First explorer: 'Nope, I just have to outrun you!

 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 8:45 AM

Beautiful!

 

I had that model and gave up on it- I could not get the nacelles to line up properly with the struts.  They didn't seem to be the right length.  Did you have any problems with them?

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 9:44 AM

Wow,

That turned out phenomenally. Stick out tongue

Pat

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 9:51 AM

Ah!

 Me be tinkin you should be hyred to find my team what gotted lost there too . Wuttya say to dat ? 

 Oh ! to translate my friend wants to hire the plane ! Very well built ride .

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 10:45 AM

Wow, guys, thanks to all for the positive response!

Gamera
First explorer: putting on his running shoes. Second explorer: 'Surely you don't think you can outrun a shoggoth!?!' First explorer: 'Nope, I just have to outrun you!

As Cthulhu is my witness, the first thing that popped into my head reading Kensar's comment about the sled dogs was "They were eaten by the shoggoth...." Big Smile

Fotofrank & Gamera:

The masking actually turned out to be easier than I had expected. My NM basecoat was sturdy Testors 'square bottle' enamel (rather than my usual Tamiya acrylics, which I used for the trim and the high-viz areas), so I knew that if I got overspray it would be dead-easy to remove. In fact, just by laying down 'snug' applications of Tamiya tape---not bothering to push it down into every crevice---and keeping my low-pressure airbrush spray as perpendicular as I could to the masking edge, it came out pretty well on the first try. A few bits of overspray here and there, but they wiped away from the enamel quite cleanly with a little Windex on a cotton swab.

To be fair, if it had been a larger scale...like a 1/48 Ju52...I don't think I'd have gotten away with it quite so lazily!

Don:

I did, indeed have troubles with the 'floating' engine nacelles. I think the kit instructions may have parts mis-numbered, since I repeatedly found myself having to flip the 'Z' shaped braces around to get something close to a fit. (I got the kit with many parts loose in the box, so I may just have mis-connected the drawings with the required numbers.) In any case, the holes for the pegs didn't seem to match the spacing of the struts. I ended up fixing the front brace solidly to the pod...then finessing the rear brace until everything looked 'square'...then applying CA like a madman, before everything skewed apart again. I fitted the diagonal 'middle' braces last, by cutting off the locating peg from one end and gluing it where it looked right. (The unused holes virtually invisible unless one goes hunting for them.)

All that having been said...when I had it 'on its back' while rigging, I happened to notice that one nacelle is positioned slightly farther-forward than the other. It's barely noticeable---except to me, where I can now see nothing else---so I count it as yet another 'learning experience.'Wink

I also had to trim the landing gear struts themselves to get a good fit. One 'leg' is still slightly askew. [Note no tell-tale 'head-on' shots in the gallery.]

(And looking at my photos, I realized I forgot to rig the bracing wires on the tail. It never ends....)

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."

 

"

GAF
  • Member since
    June, 2012
  • From: Anniston, AL
Posted by GAF on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 11:33 AM

Greg> What an innovative use of an old kit!  Reminds me of the time we caught Cthulhu on a fishing hoist after harpooning one of our comrades to retrieve the body.  I distinctly remember someone saying "We need a bigger boat!"  That's about all I remember as my brains were dribbling out my ears at the time...  Ick!

Gary

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 4:33 PM

The paint job set's the plane off !!!!!!!!!

She's P R E T T Y !!!!!!!!!!

 Dont worry about the thumbprint, paint it Rust , and call it "Battle Damage".

  

 

    

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Northern California
Posted by jeaton01 on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 7:32 PM

Nice going, Greg.

John

To see build logs of my models, go here: http://goldeneramodel.com/mymodels/mymodels.htm

  

  • Member since
    February, 2012
Posted by Liegghio on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 11:06 PM

Fantastic job! Even an interior, and a beautiful paint scheme!

My Miskatonic Antarctic Expedtion plane was a much simpler quickie job.  There aren’t any existing kits of the Dornier planes that were mentioned in the novel, but I had an ancient Heller kit of the Couzinet 70 trimotor plane “Arc en Ciel“ that I thought was the perfect exotic shape for a lurid sci-fi novel. I only added resin turbochargers (the pass through the mountains was 24,000 feet high), intercooler ducting, ski adapters and home printed decals. Since there was more than one plane in the novel, I figured the planes would be individually named and I marked mine as  “Dunwich”, tail number NX6166.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 8:05 AM

Liegghio

Fantastic job! Even an interior, and a beautiful paint scheme!

My Miskatonic Antarctic Expedtion plane was a much simpler quickie job.  There aren’t any existing kits of the Dornier planes that were mentioned in the novel, but I had an ancient Heller kit of the Couzinet 70 trimotor plane “Arc en Ciel“ that I thought was the perfect exotic shape for a lurid sci-fi novel. I only added resin turbochargers (the pass through the mountains was 24,000 feet high), intercooler ducting, ski adapters and home printed decals. Since there was more than one plane in the novel, I figured the planes would be individually named and I marked mine as  “Dunwich”, tail number NX6166.

 

 
The Couzinet is perhaps my all-time favorite 'Art Deco with Wings' design---a category of which I am almost obsessively fond! Shame you don't have any photos of your 'Dunwich'---we could end up modeling the entire expedition's fleet!

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."

 

"

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 8:32 AM

gregbale

Don:

I did, indeed have troubles with the 'floating' engine nacelles. I think the kit instructions may have parts mis-numbered, since I repeatedly found myself having to flip the 'Z' shaped braces around to get something close to a fit. (I got the kit with many parts loose in the box, so I may just have mis-connected the drawings with the required numbers.) In any case, the holes for the pegs didn't seem to match the spacing of the struts. I ended up fixing the front brace solidly to the pod...then finessing the rear brace until everything looked 'square'...then applying CA like a madman, before everything skewed apart again. I fitted the diagonal 'middle' braces last, by cutting off the locating peg from one end and gluing it where it looked right. (The unused holes virtually invisible unless one goes hunting for them.)

All that having been said...when I had it 'on its back' while rigging, I happened to notice that one nacelle is positioned slightly farther-forward than the other. It's barely noticeable---except to me, where I can now see nothing else---so I count it as yet another 'learning experience.'Wink

I also had to trim the landing gear struts themselves to get a good fit. One 'leg' is still slightly askew. [Note no tell-tale 'head-on' shots in the gallery.]

(And looking at my photos, I realized I forgot to rig the bracing wires on the tail. It never ends....)

 

Thanks, Greg.  I pitched the kit awhile ago, but I will look again at shows and swap meets (that is where I got the first kit).  Still wish someone would make a topnotch quality kit with Tamiya-like fit.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 11:23 AM

Thanks Greg for explaining there! Somehow even when I watch the angle I still get overspray. Great idea there on using different types of paint so you can wipe it up! 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:15 PM

Tremendous work, as usual, Greg. A truly beaulitiful model.

Glad Cliff and Frank asked about the masking, I wondered too. Thanks for the explanation. A simple solution but not necessarily obvious.

-Greg

  • Member since
    February, 2012
Posted by Liegghio on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 7:08 PM

OK here is a photo. Also I did some research to find the Dornier airplane of that era that might most closely match the description of "mighty Dornier aircraft".

Miskatonic

Miskatonic 2

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 7:35 PM

Dornier really liked that tandem engine layout. All the way through the Do -335.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 8:32 PM

Thanks, guys.

Liegghio

OK here is a photo. Also I did some research to find the Dornier airplane of that era that might most closely match the description of "mighty Dornier aircraft".

Miskatonic

Miskatonic 2

 

That Arc En Ciel is freakin' magnificent!
(And it's amazing how great minds think alike! The too-small-to-read line of lettering on my Trimotor beneath the 'Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition' inscription reads 'In Association With The Nathaniel Derby Pickman Foundation'....credit where it's due, eh?) Thanks very much for sharing that. Geeked

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."

 

"

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

SEARCH FORUMS

FREE NEWSLETTER
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.