Jun 13, 2010

Early Father's Day Gift, Post by David

For those of you who do not know it, I am multi-faceted, with many interests besides cars, and trains. Among my other interests are architecture, Black and White chemical development photography (Ansel Adams, O. Winston Link), carpentry and wood-working, Art-Deco, Jazz, and aircraft. So it's not that I'm just a mechanical nightmare looking for a place to happen. The mechanical stuff that I like must be aesthetically pleasing. Many automobiles, railroad locomotives and train-sets (a complete passenger train as envisioned by its designers - Raymond Loewy, Henri Dreyfuss, Otto Kuhler, John Fredrick Harbeson, Paul Philippe Cret, and Richard Dilworth), aircraft, and buildings built between 1935 and 1974 are quite beautiful in design. The Golden Age of America was reflected in the products that it produced.

So when I mentioned that I thought that North American Aviation's (XB-70) Valkyrie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_XB-70_Valkyrie) was one of the most beautiful planes ever built and they knew that there was a model available down at the local Hobby Lobby, I should have known that I would wind up getting it. Daniel and Sarah-Kate (Susan included) picked it up for me as an early Father's Day Present on the Saturday before Memorial Day: an Italeri 1:72 scale model that could be built as either version 1 or version 2, with both USAF and NASA decals. It's been a long time since I had built a model, so I dusted off my files, created a space on the drafting table and started to build it last Saturday. The model, like the airplane (the only one left is a Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio) is huge at 31.5" long (without the Pitot tube being installed on the nose) and 17.5 inches wide (with the wingtips in the "up" configuration for take-off, landing, and low speed maneuvering). To show how big the real thing is, consider that the pilot sits 20 feet off of the ground. Here's a picture of the plane to give you a sense of scale http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:XB-70.jpg. (Yes, that's a B-29 Strato-Fortress next to it on the right!)

It's basically finished, with the need for body putty at the seams, blending the putty in with 800 grit wet-dry sand paper, painting and sanding. I've mentioned that this model is big, but words don't seem to do it justice. Here is a picture of me holding it just after finishing it to show just how large it is. Now to find a place to display it....

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