I have built this plane/boat a couple of months ago, but didn’t yet come to take proper photos and finally publish this post I had kicking around as draft for almost as long as the model itself. Ironically as these lines here are written, the MOC, in the way you see it here, doesn’t exists anymore.
What did happen? Originally I was quite happy with it and had it on display at Littleworlds HQ, but while re-evaluating a couple of builds I made last year, especially a star fighter (which didn’t convince me anymore at all) I found that, with the given parts, I can do a much nicer variant of a flying boat – in white! So I took the unfortunate spacecraft and the flying boat apart and transformed them into an elegant “swan”!
Nevertheless, I find it is quite interesting to look at the previous model and my line of thinking leading to it. Here what I have written about it:
“I do like vintage air planes a lot. Canvas, propeller, open cockpits – I think you get the idea. For years I wanted to build a minifigure-scale biplane with proper look (something even official sets hardly ever achieve) and maybe even with a working piston engine – because why not!
This didn’t happen however. Except for the piston engine part 😉 The vintage biplane became a vintage flying boat and I am really happy with the way my construction turned out.
The design of my flying boat leans very much towards the late 1910s and early 1920s, when – due to limited engine power – the planes were pretty light-weight and open cockpits were still standard. So while the design is typical for its time, the boat isn’t modelled after a particular type. It combines elements seen in various types of its day. The parasol monoplane wing with the engine mounted on its top, with the propeller facing backwards, is fairly typical for seaplanes, for example, but the lattice tail construction made of Technic-parts is taken from the WW1-fighter plane Airco D.H.2., which is a pusher-type plane too.
The lattice tail not only adds a nice exotic flavour to my flying boat, it also solves the awkward issue of properly tapering the tail using Lego bricks. The downside however is that the tail was quite wobbly first. You could actually twist it to a significant degree without causing any harm to the construction – it just looked pretty silly. A few minor changes though (as in the strategic placement of bricks in the right spots) could eliminate this issue almost entirely.
Building the engine proved to be rather tricky at first. Building it in a size which doesn’t makes it look too big for the plane itself, to be precise! As I mentioned before, the two working pistons weren’t negotiable, so some creativity was required and a number of revisions of course! Eventually I think I got the engine to a suitable size for the boat. It’s certainly on the larger end of the spectrum, but not oversized really and the muzzle certainly contributes to a quite aerodynamic look.
The fuselage is naturally pretty boat-like, because it will be the part where the plane will float in the (imaginary) water. That’s the difference between flying boats and seaplanes, btw. A flying boat uses its fuselage as floating body, while a seaplane has floats attached to its fuselage (and often wings too), for that, keeping the rest of the plane well above water.
Being a model from the 1920s, the flying boat is meant to be a lightweight and rather adventurous vehicle, with most parts made of wood and canvas. So sand-coloured pieces was the way to go. Sadly I couldn’t use them for all of the parts I wanted to.
I think all in all the flying boat turned out pretty nicely and I think it catches the spirit of the 20s. Despite mass-production of air-planes back then, aviation was still pretty adventurous. It is certainly a deviation from the usual designs. And being different is always a good thing 🙂
Oh and let’s not forget our brave pilot, who was eagerly waiting for me to complete the construction, so he could finally take off into the blue!”
So much for this look into the past – next time we take a look at the glorious present of this craft!