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If 1/48th was an airliner scale...


Gaston
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I made these comparisons in response to a thread elesewhere, and I just thought the data would be interesting to post here... This part of the discussion was sparked by the recent announcement of an upcoming 1/32 scale B-17G, which got me crunching some numbers as to what would be comparable in the smaller scale...

 

If recent 1/32 releases are any guide, 1/48th could easily be a "classic 1930s airliners" scale, and even a viable small to mid-size modern airliner scale (not the transoceanic ones though):

 

A Boeing 737 in 1/48th would be a very reasonable 59.6 cm in span and about the same in length: 23.4 inches, similar in length but much smaller in span the existing Monogram B-29, which goes in at 89 cm or 35 inches in wingspan...

 

The 737 would thus be quite big in length, but otherwise reasonable in 1/48th, being a little under a Ju-52 in span, that old airliner being 23.9 inches...

 

Nobody seems to have complained the Ju-52 was an unmanageable monster in size... And the price of that was about the same as that of a single-engine WWII fighter by Tamiya in the same scale (and far less than a similar Hasegawa fighter today)... If you can take a Ju-52, a 737 is only larger in length and heigth. Granted, the length and height is similar to a B-29, which is big, but many modellers have built those and do display them, despite the much bigger wings...

 

Another easy to overlook aspect of modern airliners, that mitigates this larger fuselage size issue, is that their swept wings should allow a somewhat easier diagonal display than the more cumbersome straight wings of most prop types...

 

Because of this, an Airbus A-320 might still be reasonable, but definitely more on the outer limits for length: 78 cm, but significantly less than that in span: 71 cm. 30 inches in length by 27 inches in width: Only about four inches more wingspan than a Ju-52, and still seven inches less than the 35 inches wingspan of the B-29... But the A-320 is really a bit beyond anything reasonable because of its fuselage length, if not by that much, taking into account the swept wings.

 

With the Boeing 767, 1/48th really gets into unreal territory: Even the basic unstretched version is around 1 meter in span and length...

 

The 747 is at 1.4 m length per 1.34 m. Or 55 inches by 52... Clearly out of the range of sanity...

 

To illustrate just how non-versatile 1:32 scale is by comparison, the upcoming B-17G in 1/32 comes in at 98.7 cm in span(!), or nearly a meter of sheer styrene plastic mouldings across: About the same size as the transcontinental Boeing 767 in 1/48th... In addition, with straight wings projecting far forward, it is probably just as cumbersome to display as the 767 would be, despite its shorter 70 cm fuselage (vs one full meter on the 1/48th 767)...

 

So if the above B-17G is not a problem, then 1/48th really is a potential airliner scale, minus the 747... (Unless 1/32nd scale comes out with a mainstream B-29!)

 

I think if a 1/48th airliner had a genuine aura of excellence around it, without any after-market help necessary, every modeller would buy one just as a "one off" in their collection (probably to remain unbuilt, but manufacturers don't care about that)...

 

As far modern 1/48th airliners go, there probably would be room in the market for only one or two of the medium size jet airliners: I would think one 737 and one 727 at most, plus maybe a Caravelle (for the European market) and a limited handful of smaller regional jets or turboprops, and that would be about it... But they would be the few kits of their kind (at best half a dozen), and most would have a huge selection of colourful liveries.

 

And actual real windows would let you see some of the interior: Other scales can't really offer this...

 

In Japan there is a huge selection of very obscure modern 1/32 Japanese buses, absolutely top-end in quality and complete with huge decal sheets and pre-cut window masks: They are $80-110 apiece, and the one I have (Hino S'elega "Super High Deck") is probably one of the most complete, accurate and high-tech kits I have ever seen... The market for a similar-quality 1/48th 737, even at twice that price range, should be far larger: How many of us have a relative or knows someone directly involved with one of those?

 

Very likely a modeller would never build more than one or two, just like now few would build multiples B-29s or even B-17s in that scale... But the fact that they would be unique in the scale, and yet with a large choice of markings, would be a selling point in itself: Even military jet builders would enjoy having just one airliner to give a sense of scale to the rest of their collection... Because of this 1/48th Airliners could sell better than many think.

 

Of course, compared to 1/144th, you better choose your 1/48th airline markings well, as I doubt you could spare the room to make many different schemes...

 

Gaston

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The only 1/48 airliner I can think of is the Monogram DC-3 issued in Eastern Air Lines livery. Some decal makers gambled on other markings for this kit.

 

Ed

 

I just made a quick inventory in my decal stash: American Airlines, Lufthansa, Classic Air, Swiss Air Lines, KLM, Finnair, De Vliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman), Trans World Airlines (TWA), U.S. Army Missile Command, Eastern Air Lines, Delta, and Western Air Lines. I have one kit and all these choices in the box.

Edited by ewahl
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I'd just be happy seeing some of these airliner kits in 1/72 scale, especially the Boeing 747. I'd love to make Air Force One. I mean, geez, if they can make a 1/32 scale B-17, why not a 1/72 scale 747, or even a C-5A?

 

I do hope that some model manufacturers get your information Gaston; soon we may actually see some of this come about.

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I've got a bunch of the 1/100 scale entex airliners and the are pretty good size. A 1/72 747 would be awesome but a 1/48 would be too much IMO. I would think a 1/48 737 would be on the large but managable size. I would also guess it would be pretty expensive as an interior would probably be needed among many other details (dropped flaps?).

The hardest part would be deciding which version to do because as we all know, if any one version is done, folks would be crying that it shoulda been another version, lol.

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Airliners in 1/72 scale are out there. I think Duke has most of them on his ceiling already. A rare large injection plastic 1/72 airliner is the KMC issue of the Boeing 727-200 in American Airlines markings. These are hard to find. There are many more choices in vacuform. For example, I have the Douglas DC-4 and Douglas DC-7C. Some of the bigger plastic airliners are the Boeing 707-300 Intercontinental, Boeing B-377 Stratocruiser, Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation, and Douglas DC-6B. There are enough decal choices to make you dizzy.

 

Ed

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Hi guys,

 

Here is my two cents worth on this subject. 1/48th 737 passenger aircraft... some, but not alot of takers. 1/48th P-8 Poseidon sub chaser...bigger audience. If you make the military version of a commercial aircraft, I think there is more of a chance that it could be done. A 737-200 model is also alot smaller than the -800. If the military version took off (get it) with buyers, then I think maybe the company might give a go at the commercial side.

 

I think 1/72nd scale would be a logical step in commercial aircraft model progession. Duke, you'd have a whole new world out there for yourself.

 

This is just an opinion of mine. By the way, I'd buy a 1/48th Poseidon. Cool bird.

 

Bill

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ah, the wet-dream of the 1:48 scale modeler - the airliner! Every since seeing a rather large (probably 1:50 scale) display piece at a travel agency, I have desired an airliner in my favorite scale (same goes for the Saturn V rocket...) 1:72 scale is obviously more manageable than quarter scale for airliners, but given the size of current kits in the 1:32 scale range, a 1:48 scale airliner isn't impractical from a purely technical production aspect. With the often constant cross section fuselages that lends to being molded in 'rings', plus many repetitive interior components (not to mention repetitive landing wheels...) which reduces the costs of tooling overall. Still, the market is very constricted for any kit that exceeds the $60-$80 threshold which a 1:48 airliner would certainly do. We'd have to start looking at the wooden ship kit marketing paradigm (craftsman kit with low production runs), not the mass-market 'car kit, pocket money' paradigm we tend to adopt. Why don't we get a bunch of guys together to pick a subject, research the heck out of it, make some masters for multi-media production and run off a couple of hundred - just to see where it goes? Heck, we might even find some 3D CAD 'sensei' amongst us who could produce the 'boilerplate' digital model that could serve as the starting point for any number of production outlets. The biggest hurtle is usually the research to properly define the subject well enough to start cutting material - and who has that on hand?

 

Of course, you can also take a paper model design and enlarge it to 1:48 scale:

http://www.skylinepapermodels.com/products/172-scale-airliners?pagesize=12

and a new B-767 in the works by the same guy:

http://www.papermodelers.com/forum/design-threads/22827-skyline-b767-1-72-a.html

 

Something to chew on... nice analysis, BTW, Gaston...

Regards,

Robert

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One of our members had the newest 1/72 Boeing 737 kit at the meeting tonight an IT goes for $100! You can safely assume a 1/48 kit is going to be closer to $150, so I agree that the market would be very restricted. Also, at that size display space becomes an issue, and even those interested may pass because of not having a place to put it!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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Perhaps my memory is fuzzy, but I recall that Aurora did a 1/72 Boeing 737 (probably the -100 model). Someone with the History of Aurora Models could look that up and verify (or not) this old impression.

 

Ed

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I did managed to get a 1/32 727 at the Anniston show two years ago. It was a lobby model in a previous life, for Northeast I was told.

I did start filling the chips and reprimed it, but now it's just sitting there as I wait for it to get warmer cuz the beast is toooooooo big for my model desk!

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Perhaps my memory is fuzzy, but I recall that Aurora did a 1/72 Boeing 737 (probably the -100 model). Someone with the History of Aurora Models could look that up and verify (or not) this old impression.

 

Ed

Ed,

 

You're right, a quick Google search turned up a few on Ebay (it looks like Monogram reissued it at some point).

 

I was surprised that the 737s were flying before Aurora faded away; I don't remember seeing a 737 until the late 1980s, although Wikipedia says they went into service in 1968! This must have been one of Auroras last kits.

 

My first flight was in 1982 (job interviews and then the occasional work trip), and it seemed like most every trip out of Pittsburgh was on a 727 (with a rare 707 thrown in for good measure). One of the scarier moments of my life was on a KAL 727 landing in Po Hang, South Korea, which would probably lead me to buy a 1/48 727 if it were ever kitted. For the curious: the airport was visual landing only and completely clouded over - we were circling for about 30 minutes - when suddenly a tiny patch of runway appeared in a break in the clouds and the pilot made a banking diving turn that made me think "roller coaster" - seemed like we were on the ground about 30 seconds later...

 

Don

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