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HU-16RD Albatross

I built this replica of the on display at the Hiller Aviation Museum. The actual aircraft was highly modified for a round-the-world trek following the route intended by Amelia Earhart.

I used ’s 1:48 HU-16A as the basis. I modified parts, cast a new nose, added blade antennae and other bumps. Also I made custom decals and painted her using MM paints.

I built a rudimentary interior, just in case. You really can’t see anything unless you hold a light just right, but I wasn’t sure at the start so... I just did it for the experience. And the possibility.

Finally, I scratch built a viewing stair to mimic the one in the museum. I put all of it into a mini-diorama suggesting a family spending some quality time together.

Overall, I had a blast, but my OCD and AMS were always there to challenge the tranquility I cherish when I’m building.

The highlight was presenting it to Mr. Reid Dennis, the owner of the original. Seen here inside the cabin of the actual aircraft.

7 additional images. Click to enlarge.

37 responses

  1. Gary, what a tease. Sounds incredible - please upload the photos as I can't wait to see this!

  2. I guess my images were too large when I first posted. I reduced their sizes and it appears to work now.

  3. Fantastic, Gary. It's a little surreal looking at the shot of your model and the real thing. Beautiful build, lovingly done.

  4. Ficou muito bom, parabéns Gary.

  5. This is so cool, a great build, I love it.

  6. Excellent work Gary! Especially like the pic showing the model in the foreground and the 1 to 1 model in the background. Must have been quite an honor to present your model to Mr Dennis, how was his reaction?

  7. Stellar workmanship, sir...really nice work! Maybe it's just me, but the model sure looks bigger than 48th scale.

  8. Ditto on the fantastic! great build!

  9. Gary, well done! I was in the museum last year, what happened to the marvelous model collection they had, the last time I was out, previously?

  10. Thanks to all of you for the nice comments.

  11. Great idea, Gary, and very well carried out.

  12. Sympathetic looking plane and model. Fantastic, smooth preparation with my favourite color composition - blue/white.

  13. It's a fantastic model, executed to perfection. The Albatros has always been my brother's dream a/c. A flier and a nomad to some extent, he saw the a/c as his answer to total freedom. My guess is he'd have spent more time tinkering and maintaining than hopping round the world. Great model. Well done and nice touch with the museum.

  14. Hi Gary,
    very impressed with the final result. Master Modeler. Would be nice if it could be displayed in the same area as the real AC.
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

  15. This is a great looking build. You normally don't see too many of these built up, much less converted into a civilian plane. Yours looks as if you magically shrank the real thing down to 1/48 size. The picture with the real plane in the background is very cool !

  16. Thanks again to each and every one of you for you kind comments.

  17. Gary, thanks for posting it. Nice reminder of a great museum, and a pleasant afternoon. Recommended. Wish the one I volunteer with was as roomy and nicely arranged.

  18. Absolutely gorgeous, Gary! I really can't think of anything that hasn't been said, but it's just perfect! The real one with its' Son in front - priceless ... a true Kodak moment. (Remember real film? Ha!)

    I think it's great that the museum curator said he'd add a display case for your model. A real tribute to the plane AND yours.

  19. Gary,
    This is stunning.. You have captured the beauty of this airplane. Over the years I have gone to Hiller many times and this particular airplane really stands out. I would imagine the owner was trilled to see your model of it. Hiller has developed into quite a museum particularly covering CA aviation history. I have taken my grandson to it numerous times. Again, my compliments on this extrodiary model.

  20. Well done! And I love your definition of "quality time!"

  21. Amazing build! Really excellent!

  22. Thanks again guys for the nice comments.

  23. Gary did a fantastic job with this kit. And for those that don't know, this aircraft was a challenge. The original aircraft was a derelict rescued by Reid Dennis. He then proceeded to put this aircraft together with best features of each version. The end result was an aircraft so unique that the FAA had to create a special classification to certify it. While this made the real aircraft perform much better than any of it's predecessors, it proved to be quite a challenge to convert the kit into the finished product that you see here. Gary has mentioned only a few of the modifications that had to be done. You did an excellent job, my friend!

  24. Just getting to see this build. I really missed something b/c this is out of this world. What a super nice model. This was one of my favorite planes growing up as an airplane nut. I was in the Civil Air Patrol as a Cadet at age 13. While away at the program camp we visited a Coast Guard Station in Cape Cod, MA. I was lucky enough to get a ride in their vintage USCG Albatross prior to it being retired. It was so old that it was no longer allowed to land in open war due to metal fatigue. Great memory and I have only built the old 1/72 Monogram version a few times as a kid. Now I really want to build this big Trumpeter version and do it in USCG scheme. Thanx for sharing!

    • Thanks Paul. This kit was really fun to build. And scratch-building some additions made it that much more enjoyable. You would enjoy building it, and with your skills... what a treat that would be to see it on here. I would love to have the opportunity to fly in one of these. About 10 years ago the airport in Carson City, Nevada had about half a dozen or so of these parked there. I used to go out of my way to drive by and take a look at them.

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