Phillip Noel 88" Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation AKA EC-121
I had been creating a CAD model for the Super Connie but it was taking forever and at some point someone was so kind as to give me a set of plans. Charlie at Manzano Laser is cutting the parts for a short kit for me right now. I am going for as much scale detail as I can without making it super heavy. The goal is to build a model that looks better than the last ones, that is fun to fly, that is unusual and could be used in scale competition (especially warbird meets and fly-ins).
Based on Phillip Noel's build I am estimating the AUW to be around 10 lbs. As such here are the configuration details:
1. Power System:
-4X Headsup RC Power Up .15 motors
-4X Headsup RC Hurc 40 amp ESC's
-1 5000 3S battery pack
-10X6X3 props (3 bladed)
2. Flight system:
1500-2000 Mah NMH flight battery
8 channel FAAST or FHSS receiver
7X 17 gram Headsup Hobby metal gear servos
6 channel, Aileron, Elevator, Throttle, Rudder, Gear and Flaps
45 gram metal trunion retracts
3X Robostruts with tandem scale Robart wheels/tires
Finish to be sheeted and lightly glassed and then covered with Flite Metal aluminum panels.
Panel a rivet details
Lighting System, markers, strobes, beacons and landing lights
Laser Kit $345
Wheels (mains) $28
Wheels (nose) $14
Struts (Mains) $110
Struts (nose) $71
Running Total $942
In the past my multi-motor builds have yielded planes that flew fine but were close to being under powered. It seemed like .10 or strong .480 size motors would be fine but since I have a record of going a little low on power and since these big multi-motor planes are very draggy (not to mention the 3 bladed props are not as effective as 2 bladed ones) I decided to go to a .15 power system. This should provide plenty of power but cruise at 1/2 throttle. I am a little concerned that a 5000 3S may be a little light on flight time.
At this point the power system, servos and short kit have been ordered. I have the receiver and plans in hand.
I am thinking of doing the "Batcat" Early warning version (EC-121R) that would have been stationed in Korat Thailand in the 60's and 70's.
1. The cost of the short kit. I can't really afford to do this project but I sold/sacrificed a number of hand built scale planes to fund it. Normally this is outside my budget.
2. As we have discussed , the plans are currently made from unobtanium
3. Plastic and fiberglass parts are not available. I may have to design my own and make master forms from 3D prints etc.
4. This is a big model but fortunately the design is superb and it is set up to have the wings come off and split it two at the center joint. The fuse also splits just behind the leading edge of the wing making it possible to transport in a small car.
If you read Phil's build log you will find one posting where he talks about throwing in the towel and getting out of the business. Folks, right now this cottage industry of designing short kits and providing parts is going away. This year Pat Tritle for example discontinued two of his best designs because of low sales (his Cessna 310 and DC-6B). I built 2 of the 310's and 3 of the DC-6's, several of the Tritle civilian planes as well. If we want unique designs like multi-engine planes we have to support these designers before they all bail. However, with all the cheap ARF's, foamies etc. it is going to get harder for these guys to survive and for us to build something unique. In Phil's build log he rants about the state of the hobby. I agree with what he is saying.
Right now to build something really special you have to design it yourself, salvage some plans from someone, or do what Robert did and take some tired old Clevand plans from the 50's and redesign it for modern electric. See the following thread if you are not already following it:
Zeke's Park models sells two very unique designs. They have some large scale models of the XF-11 and XF-12. I want to build the XF-12 but it is also a $350 plus kit and I cannot afford it right now. I think from what I have been told there have only been 3 XF-12's built. I hope to get one before they decide to discontinue as well.
The Republic XF-12 Rainbow:
The Hughes XF-11:
Great choice of subject. This will be a real treat to follow.
I hear you about the challenges of making cottage-industry designing and kitting financially viable, but I think designers need to be careful of falling into the trap of wishful thinking. Phillip's designs are brilliant and very appealing, but given their size and cost are realistically within reach of only a small minority of the shrinking pool of builders. It must be heartbreaking to pour your time, energy, heart and soul into designs as jaw-dropping as his, only to realize how limited a market actually exists for them. Perhaps a better approach (or at least a less heartbreaking one) would be to design a model for oneself, because one liked it and enjoyed the design and build processes, and then knock off a couple short kits for any interested buyers. Either way, unless one is Pat Tritle, one is unlikely to make a living designing and producing short kits. Sad perhaps, but probably unavoidable in this day of instant gratification.
My 5 cents (Canada stopped making pennies last year, so 2 cents has now been rounded up...)
I think your right. For a time now builders have had it pretty good. It took some digging but there were a lot of choices out there not from Goldberg or other classic kit makers but from small operators producing better designs (lighter and more scale like). It is still pretty good but some of the more unique planes are getting harder to find. Dare had some nice stuff but they sold to a control line company who doesn't seem to be marketing the Dare line very well.
One good thing is I just realized Manzano started selling Pat's 310 and DC-6 as a short kit with plastic parts!
Also, Pat had two sizes of a P-3 Orion which he never brought to market but the plans can be purchased from Pat and the short kit balsa from Manzano. Pat also had in the works a DC-3.
When it comes to the Connie it is kind of amazing no one even makes plans for it. It is one of the most desirable multi engine planes I have ever seen.
Received this from Traplet (the owners of the plans?) I would assume this means the plans may be available at the same time???:
Re: 88: Super Connie
The plastic parts will be available in week or two on our website.
Traplet Publications Ltd.
Traplet Publications Ltd
Tel: +44 1684 588 500
Fax: +44 1684 575 979
The last couple of days I have spent some time practicing making fake flush rivets on a 52" P-51B. I like the way this works and I think on a thin aluminum panel it will look very real especially when it breaks through the paint and kind of makes the rivet stand out a little.
Here are some of my practice panels:
Joined Jul 2004
I think we met at Neat several years back. I saw your Hughes twin fly, excellent model!
If you decide to make molds for your Connie, I would be happy to vacuum form your parts. Material cost and shipping ONLY. I have an 18x34” 18x24” 12x18” & 9x12 machines.
Most interesting project! Wish you much continued success,
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