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Why aren't civil aircraft interesting.

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  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Why aren't civil aircraft interesting.
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 9:15 AM

The relative numbers of posts between this forum and the Aircraft forum shows the problem.  I have sometimes asked aircraft modeling friends who only build military aircraft why they never build civil subjects, and the answers are generally something like "they are boring," or "they just aren't interesting."  But they really can't say why.

I have sometimes suspected that other modelers just don't want to do glossy painting, but some of these guys are really accomplished modelers, so I doubt if this explains much of it.  There has been a thread in another area that discusses why they tackle a particular model out of their stash, and a frequent reason is because they have just seen a movie or TV program on a particular aircraft, or a book on one.  A station in this area is doing re-runs on Baa Baa Black Sheep, so I'll see if we get a bunch of local builds of Corsairs.

Anyway, what do you guys think is the reason so few people are interested in civil aircraft?

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March 2005
  • From: near Nashville, TN
Posted by TarnShip on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 10:48 AM

I really don't get it either, Don.

I have a Chartwell's that starts at the earliest days of flight and goes up to 2001. There are literally more aircraft types in that one book than in the military history of the US.  I don't have a list, but there are a good number of civil kits available also,,,,,,and some of the aircraft that would require scratchbuilding wouldn't be that difficult to do.

With sizes ranging from Pitts S2 up to 747, a person could go with models that fit their own purposes, just like the military modelers do.

I will wind up with about 20 civil aircraft in my collection, just because I can't see leaving those designs out, some, like the Beech Bonanza have features that stand out too proud to ignore.

Rex

almost gone

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Lyons Colorado, USA
Posted by Ray Marotta on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 10:53 AM

It could be a lack of adequate kits.  Most airliners are very large so, kits are limited by scale sizes and detail is limited by scale.  General Aviation aircraft tend to be pretty small and simple so, even large scale kits lack the intricacy of detail modelers like.  I am currently building a 1/7th scale 1930s General Aviation monoplane from an antique kit that's been in my stash for over 30 years.  Just my two cents worth...

 ]

 

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Podunkville, USA
Posted by rommelkiste on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 10:54 AM

Don, I dont do aircraft very often and not sure my opinion is worth much.  When I do look at aircraft in a hobby shop or on line, I see hundreds of military stuff to choose from and very little of the other.  I looked a while for a Convair 580 so I could build an example of what used to be in large numbers at my local airport.  When I found Frontier decals for the kit, they cost about twice what the kit did.  I don't look that often at aircraft but I never seem to see civil aircraft kits.  It may just be me or where I look as I am not really an aircraft modeler.  

Nothing ever fits……..and when it does, its the wrong scale.

To make mistakes is human.  To blame it on someone else shows management potential. 

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Boston
Posted by mach71 on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 10:59 AM

Good question.

I have built both, but if it's an aircraft it's usually military.

Many more military models are available than civilian.

Military aircraft are generally more exciting/have more story's associated

with them.

Military aircraft change much more frequently. A new airliner/civil aircraft comes out only

a few times every decade.

The detail is much more apparent on fighter type aircraft. I'm guessing that military cargo type

aircraft are modeled at a much lower rate than the fighter type.

look at the detail available on a 1/72 scale fighter vs a 1/144  airliner.

Size/cost, it is much easier to display/build/purchase a fighter type aircraft than a large transport type aircraft.    

Aftermarket stuff. For airliners the availability of an airlines livery might not be available.

What do others think?

  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: Brunswick, Ohio
Posted by Buckeye on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 11:24 AM

For me there is just more history and drama behind military aircraft verses civilian.  There are several civilian aircraft that I'm very fond of like the 727 and Constellation but I just haven't gotten around to building one yet.

Mike

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 11:31 AM

I think the glossy paint is part of it. I don't model much civil aviation for the same reason I don't build autos- glossy finishes and they have be so clean! I guess I could do some beat-up dirty Alaskan bush plane sometime though?  

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

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Phoenix, AZ
Posted by Fly-n-hi on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 11:45 AM

Airliner paint jobs tend to be the hardest.  

First, they usually have to be very glossy.  Gloss finishes are just harder to get right.  Second, they have difficult schemes to paint.  Its very tough to get the stripes and belly areas right when there are so many curves involved.  It is incredibly difficult to get "wrap around" paint jobs correct.  Its usually a masking nightmare to paint airliners.  Third, the wings are a different color...and they typically have 3 colors that aren't really easy to mask.  Fourth, the decals can be large, awkward and difficult to work with.

But I think a well done airliner is as interesting as any military plane.  I've got one I'm about to finish (a TWA 767-200) and a few more airliners in my stash.

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • From: Nampa, Idaho
Posted by jelliott523 on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 11:48 AM

From my perspective it has a lot to do with what is available and the scales.  When it comes to military models I mainly build 1/48, obviously many commercial aircraft would be HUGE if they were done in 1/48; however, on the same note, I would love to find a 737 in 1/48 scale.

So basically to sum up my side of things, the reason I don't build many airliners or civilian aircraft is that it has to do with scale.  I don't like 1/144 scale as its basically just a fuselage and wings with very little detail.

On the Bench:  Lots of unfinished projects!  Smile

  • Member since
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  • From: Illinois: Hive of Scum and Villany
Posted by Sprue-ce Goose on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 12:06 PM

I suppose I do not build many civil aircraft for a combination of reasons:

1-Most airline models seem to be in 1:144 scale due to the sheer size of the actual aircraft , plus military aircraft models in that scale simply do not have the interior detail available in larger scales

2- Civil aircraft aren't always the fastest aircraft of their era, though the 1930s spawned some very fast civil aircraft.

3- While many airliners are colorful, military aircraft can have a much wider variation in color schemes with both friend and foe markings.

4- Not many small civil aircraft models are available ( I'd prefer 1.72 or 1/48th ) - though I did just buy a Monogram Piper Tri-pacer re-issue as a nostalgia build.

5- I do have an AURORA Pan Am Orion III airliner in my stash if that counts as civil. Wink  The all white scheme might seem a bit boring but it just makes those blue Pan Am logos stand out.Big Smile

  • Member since
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  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 12:20 PM

I don't know,I just have zero interest in building them,much the same way I don't build civilian vehichles.Just preference I guess.

  • Member since
    February 2014
  • From: N. MS
Posted by CN Spots on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 1:11 PM

^ What Tojo said.

A Ford TriMotor maybe, with it's exposed radials would make a cool build as would the Spirit of St. Louis but the new stuff just doesn't strike my fancy.

It seems like I would almost have to have some kind of connection (owned, flew, maintained) to a modern civilian aircraft to want to build one.  Most are such commonplace machines. Kinda like building a model of a modern Greyhound bus. Bleh. 

I admit though, since I work in Memphis, a DC-10 in Fed-Ex dress would make a nice display for the office.

  • Member since
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  • From: From the Mit, but live in Mason, O high ho
Posted by hogfanfs on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 1:15 PM

Civilian aircraft do not have guns, missiles, bombs, or any other type of weapon. To me, this is what makes Military subjects more interesting. But, I will not rule out that my interest could change. One of these days, I will venture to build an airliner.

 Bruce

 

 On the bench:  1/48 Eduard MiG-21MF

                        1/35 Takom Merkava Mk.I

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 1:19 PM

Same for me, no interest in civilian subjects whether they be aircraft ships or anything else. My life has revolved around all things military for as long as I can remember, its one of the reasons I always wanted to join the army. It might seem a bit sad and narrow minded, but its what peaks my interest. I think the only none military kit I have in the stash is Anakin Skywalker's pod racer.

I am a Norfolk man and i glory in being so

 

On the bench: Airfix 1/72nd Harrier GR.3/Fujimi 1/72nd Ju 87D-3

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Posted by artworks2 on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 3:38 PM

Back in the pre plastic days the world wasn't entertaining the notion that aircraft would be more than for defense. While wood was the way to build models military has a more noble purpose and reason. I've heard and read about identification models that were meant to teach civilians as well as military to recognize an aircrafts shape as friend or foe. Every model one could build has been emulated. Once plastic took hold in manufacturing with injection molding made it easier for all sorts of presentation models of military aircraft. Trade shows are a great place to see Civilian models in impressive scales where military has a stronger  presence still. At the model manufacturing end, kits of military has always been by how history sees a particular aircraft.

On the other hand civilian modeling is vague and much less popular as we all have gotten a model of some military aircraft as a gift in our lives. I feel it's a matter of interest. This also shows up in scales offered Civilian VS Military. I washed aircraft for years so I got use to seeing all sorts of civil aircraft. Really to be sure as modelers we do tend to go for what catches our interest. Modelers in this forum do take great pride in their Military builds...

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Posted by patrick206 on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 4:50 PM

Thought provoking question. I'd guess civilian aircraft just don't instill quite the same excitement level in most folks, especially the younger ones. At airshows you don't see many airliners represented, except Paris and Farnborough, then when they do their flight routine it's usually just some flybys and gentle maneuvers.

Military A/C go by at nearly Mach speeds, full afterburners and maneuvers so tight the pilot has to look out his belly button to see where he's going. They can be so colorful and exotic, that it stirs interest just seeing them.

As a pilot of 600 mph commercial aircraft, often I heard passengers say they "found airline flying to be boring, it just seemed like we were hardly moving." At 35-40K feet it would seem that way, and our ops manual stressed the importance of smooth aircraft handling, to enhance passenger comfort.

For a 1:48 military model a tremendous amount of detail can be represented and highly visible, for a 1:144 scale airliner the perspective really changes, not as much scale detail would be that readily seen in comparison.

I build a few commercial A/C models, but much prefer the military types myself. I just consider a camo finish on an F-4, F-105 or F-101 to peak my interest a good bit more. Then there are solid color WWll types with a modest amount of weathering, the Corsair, P-51, P-47 and P-38 A/C hold major interest for me.

Patrick      

  • Member since
    July 2014
Posted by modelcrazy on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 5:10 PM

I guess it's because a bus isn't as exciting as a sports car. Don't get me wrong, I used to own and fly a Cessna 172, I could never think about piloting a 737, but they just aren't as heart pounding as an F16.

Also, if the manufactures could build a airline model with more pizazz, like extended flaps, open reversers and a larger scale, there may be more interest.

See my post "727 worth a hoot" cs.finescale.com/.../161962.aspxTongue Tied

Steve

Building a kit from your stash is like cutting a head off a Hydra, two more take it's place.

 

 

http://www.spamodeler.com/forum/

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Posted by jmcquate on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 6:00 PM

I think it's all about dreams. Many of us would have loved to strap an F-14 to our backs and burn holes in the sky, but never will, not even as a passenger. Flying in an Airbus is only a few mouse clicks away.

  • Member since
    March 2003
Posted by jmcquate on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 6:00 PM

I think it's all about dreams. Many of us would have loved to strap an F-14 to our backs and burn holes in the sky, but never will, not even as a passenger. Flying in an Airbus is only a few mouse clicks away.

  • Member since
    March 2005
  • From: near Nashville, TN
Posted by TarnShip on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 7:40 PM

part of the reason that there aren't more civil aircraft models is explained in this thread

Civil aircraft include quite a few real hot rods,,,,,,but, most people think airliner when they read civil aircraft.  This ignores the Pitts, the Bonanza, the Lear, the Starship, the Cub,  the Sneider Cup aircraft, the DH 88, and things like Able Cat and Miss America. Heck, even the AG Cat would be a fun civil aircraft to build.  And color schemes are very much NOT limited to Airline livery.

I have been enjoying the flybys during race coverage lately, lots of different civil aircraft and warbirds instead of jets flashing past.

almost gone

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, October 2, 2014 8:32 AM

Hmm.  My own dream is to have a Lear.  However, not only could I not afford the plane in the first place, I couldn't afford the operating costs :-)   However, sure would like to be able to buzz around at 40,000 feet right near the Mach corner, and get to destinations in a hurry.

I wonder if the "more military kits available" situation is a chicken and egg thing.  More interest makes mfgs put out more kits, vs more people like military because more kits.

I guess I went to more small, local airshows than the big ones, so I saw much more civil aircraft flying.  Not many of the shows I went to featured Blue Angels or Thunderbirds, but sure saw a lot of Betty Skelton, Art-- forget his last name, my age is catching up to me- with the Dehavilland trainer, and lots of Pitts and Wacos being thrown around the skies.  Maybe that is why I like the civil stuff more.  Hung around the pea patch airports, not the international ones.

Sure wish there were a decent Ercoupe kit available- only plane I ever owned.  Loved it, nice airplane.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February 2011
Posted by knox on Thursday, October 2, 2014 9:21 AM

 For me it is the scale and numbers.  I like to have more than one of an aircraft that i'm interested in.  1/200 was a fun scale for me.  I had 8 747's and even more of other airliners.  There were also a number of websites that you could get decals from for  a reasonable price.  

      Hasagawa put most of this scale on the back burner , so I made an airport for my son and gave him my models.  I am not a great modeler so no quality was harmed in this action.

       As for the lack of interest,  the comments that have been posted explain much and are really interesting.  My two additions will be about engines and subject matter.

       I find the engines on airliners really interesting,  like the difference between the ones on a 727-200 and a 777,  yet model companies treat them like afterthoughts.  Making the engines a well engineered kit within a kit would help with interest.  ( Maybe ).

       It was considered a risk when Hasagawa brought out their new tool 109 all those years ago because jets ruled.  The risk paid off and the rest is history.  Although it would never reach the interest of other modeling subjects,  well engineered and tooled  civilian/military subject matter might have legs.  I know it would lighten my wallet.

       Thank-you Don for starting this thread.  It has been very informative.

                                                                                                                                 knox

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  • From: near Nashville, TN
Posted by TarnShip on Thursday, October 2, 2014 11:18 AM

That Ercoupe sounds fun, Don,,,,,,and I don't know why, but reading your post made me wish there was a Mooney in 1/72. I also always wanted a Navion in 1/72, to complete my "Mustang to Fury" collection, and I had hoped that someone would someday replace the Aurora (?) Air Commander kit (I had that one so long ago that I have forgotten who released it)

almost gone

  • Member since
    March 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Thursday, October 2, 2014 11:46 AM

That was Art Scholl, Don. He always flew with his little dog Aileron, they departed Earth together while practicing for an airshow, quite a pilot.

Patrick

  • Member since
    March 2010
  • From: Boston
Posted by mach71 on Thursday, October 2, 2014 12:02 PM

I remember Art Scholl at the small airshows I went to in my younger years. His act was amazing. Watching him do a lumshevak was an experience! Bob Hover was another great airshow pilot.

I believe Art Scholl died filming "Top Gun"

For those unfamiliar with a lumshevak here you go:

www.youtube.com/watch

  • Member since
    June 2009
Posted by jimbot58 on Friday, October 3, 2014 2:53 AM

Maybe people just like flashy things that go fast. I had a collection of airline kits when I was a kid, but now enjoy mostly military craft. I have been interested in trying another commercial aircraft, but hesitate to due the reasons mentioned above. Glossy finishes, complicated decal/paint schemes and the bare metal usually seen on wings.

I had a school friend who's father was an airline pilot, and this kid lived and breathed airliners.His room was filled with with models of them and often went out to just hang out at the airport.  

*******

On my workbench now:

 

Fujimi F-4K Phantom "Yellow Bird" and Zvezda Su-27SM Flanker


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  • From: Scotland
Posted by Milairjunkie on Friday, October 3, 2014 8:04 AM

Between the draw of the box art & the fact that my Grandfather had served in WW2, when I was a kid I simply couldn't get past the excitement of making something like a Spit of FW-190. This seems to have set a trend through my teenage years & since returning little has changed.

Airliners are generally very sleek & white, once the fuselage has been zipped up & wings fitted there isn't really that much to do or look at, no guns, turrets, camo, pylons or weapons.

The few airliner models that I have made have let me down on the windows side of things, not great fitting & if you can see through them, not much to see. When I was younger the large fuselage length decals were also pretty hard to deal with. I can clearly remember searching for Christmas presents in the house as a child & finding an Airfix BAC 1-11 - I can clearly remember thinking "where on earth did they get that idea from".

On thinking about it, it can't be the sleek / white thing as I had great pleasure in building Trumpeters Tu-160, which is very sleek & white - I suppose it does have swing wings, nukes & huge engines though... 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, October 3, 2014 8:59 AM

I guess one of the reasons for the scale problem- too many scales represented in civil aircraft- may be an indication of the wide range of aircraft types that fit under the category of "civil aircraft."

With military, we have bombers, fighters, recon, and transports.  But civil varies all the way from tiny Formula 1 racers and aerobatic planes like Stits up to giant airliners like the A-380s and 787s.  From crop dusters to biz jets to NASA planes.  And, of course, for any type size varies with age.  Even military has that problem- 1:72 WW1 planes are tiny, modern bombers and mil transports are hugeeven in same scale.

I see Roden has a Jetstar in 1:144.  Sounds like it would be pretty small, but I think I will try one- like to do more business jets (still need to finish my Testors Learjet in  1:48).

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July 2014
Posted by modelcrazy on Friday, October 3, 2014 10:22 AM

I would be VERY interested in a 1/48 Extra 300, Super Skybolt, Pits, Etc. if anybody made one. Maybe they do and I just can't find it.

I would even be happy with any of them in 1/72.

Steve

Building a kit from your stash is like cutting a head off a Hydra, two more take it's place.

 

 

http://www.spamodeler.com/forum/

  • Member since
    March 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Friday, October 3, 2014 1:06 PM

When I check on airshows to go to, these days I  look for those that are typically at the smaller local airports. I really appreciate seeing the old Stinson's, Fairchild 24's, Curtiss Robin's and especially the supremely graceful Stinson Reliant. For the bi-planes I always loved the Stearman, Waco UPF-7, Skybolt and the Pitts. Many others as well, but those just struck a chord with me.

I'm so glad that the dedicated owners and craftsmen who are making sure these beauties soldier on, have the desire, ability and time, (plus deep pockets,) to stay on top of the care needed. It won't be much longer before some of the early types will see the century mark, and they still look and fly beautifully.

So, I know the antique aircraft market is limited for the model manufacturers, they do need to have a return on their investments, but still I would love to see a few more of the above kitted in 1;48th or 1:32. I bought the latest Revell Stearman and it looks to be a great kit.

Maybe a 1:32nd Reliant, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE?????????

Patrick

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