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Tom Cleaver
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Another Bill Bosworth Masterpiece – 1/48 Sikorsky S-40 (scratchbuilt)

March 22, 2017 · in Aviation · · 18 · 3.2K

Whoops - it's ! Still has a 32-inch wingspan

For those who don't know what the S.40 was:

Sikorsky designed the S-40 in response to a request from Juan Trippe, president of Pan American Airways, for a larger passenger carrying airplane. The S-40s could carry 38 passengers, a significant increase over the S-38's capacity of eight passengers. The aircraft featured a pantry with an electric refrigerator and stove as well as beautifully appointed smoking lounge with book-ended mahogany wood paneling. Six life rafts were carried on board. Despite its significant capacity increase, the S-40s were not the most aerodynamic aircraft due in large part to the numerous flying wires and strut braces that were used as an exterior support framework, hence the nickname "Flying Forest". Only three were built as Sikorsky was designing (during the maiden flight of the S-40) and building the more modern S-42 as a replacement aircraft.

A total of three aircraft were built by the Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft Division of the United Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, Connecticut. The three aircraft in the S-40 series were:

NC80V - American Clipper  

NC81V - Caribbean Clipper
NC752V - Southern Clipper

In 1935 a new version, the Sikorsky S-40A, was created by upgrading the original three aircraft. Their 575 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1860 Hornet B engines were replaced by smaller, heavily supercharged 660 hp R-1690 Hornet T2D1 engines, the landing gear was eliminated, and the maximum weight was slightly increased.

Passenger carrying service was initiated on the November 19, 1931, with a S-40 piloted by Charles Lindbergh, flying from Miami, Florida to the Panama Canal Zone with stops at Cienfuegos, Cuba; Kingston, Jamaica and Barranquilla, Colombia.

The S-40 was Pan American's first large flying boat. The American Clipper served as the flagship of Pan Am's clipper fleet and this aircraft model was the first to earn the popular designation of "Clipper" or "Pan Am Clipper". The three S-40s served without incident during their civilian lives, flying a total of over 10 million miles. They were turned over to the US Navy during World War II and were used as trainers for four-engined flight instruction. All three of the S-40s were eventually retired and scrapped starting in 1943.

The model is another of Bill Bosworth's masterpieces. Definitely a case of "We're not worthy!"

Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

7 additional images. Click to enlarge.

18 responses

  1. How in hell do you "scratch build" something like that...? I wouldn't even know where to begin. This, my friends, is the work of a true "model maker" rather than the" plastic assembler" category into which most of us fall. Amazing craftsmanship indeed.

  2. Craig, he was a master! One of a kind, he and John Alcorn. A craftsman of the old school. You look at their work, and it just stops you in your tracks, while your mind tries to figure out what you're looking at. Disbelief and incredulity, quickly followed by stunned admiration. Great work!

  3. Beautiful ... just beautiful!

  4. Go big or go home I guess! I think this would have been impressive in 1/48, but he bumped the wow factor up a couple of notches! I like the control cables for the engines on the roof of the cabin! Would love to see it in person at a show. Now, with the S-38 and -39 replicas flying today, when will someone attempt this?

  5. I assume all the wheels retract up out of the way for water landings...?

  6. Amazing! Beyond the work of mere mortals...

  7. I totally missed that this is 48th. I was thinking 32nd, at least. Or one of them museum scales, particularly given the interior detail.

  8. Imagination, skill, dexterity & perseverance: the hallmarks of an exceptional modeller. Thanks for the inspiration & thanks for posting.

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