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Marvin Reyes
30 articles

Big Heller Lockheed Constellation

December 7, 2019 · in Aviation · · 30 · 5.5K

This is the Lockheed , in 1/72nd scale. The model is big, with a length of about 22 inches, and a span of about the same. Not only is the kit big, I added a bunch of weight in the nose, making the model nose-heavy and awkward to hold. To the basic Heller kit, I added Fisher resin engines/props, and wheels. I also used G-Factor brass landing gear to hold the weight of the completed model. Vintage Flyer decals were used for the TWA markings.

The basic Heller plastic is just that...basic, requiring the use of aftermarket resin. I would like to mention that I purchased the terrific Fisher resin details before the terrible fire that wiped out the town of Paradise California, as well as Paul Fisher's resin business. A terrible loss for us all, indeed.

The model went together OK, but, since I was using decals for the windows, I had to fill all of the cabin windows. I used super glue with accelerator to fill the windows, followed by lots and lots of sanding. The paint job is simple white and silver, but the forward demarcation line curved down, and this curve had to follow the red TWA cheat line, so it was tricky. I made a copy of the decal cheat line, then cut this out and attached it to the fuselage using rubber cement. Using this method, I was able to get the correct curve on the fuselage. following paint, I applied the excellent Vintage Flyer decals. The VF decalls are printed using one carrier film, which required cutting each decal apart seperately. I chose not to cut apart all of the letters and numbers, but that is certainly an option...if you want to take the time to do it.

Please note that the large antenna on the top of the forward fuselage got bent over, and I didn't get it straightened out at time of picture taking.

Overall, the 1/72nd scale Heller L1049 Constellation builds up into an impressive size, so you need to have the space required to park it.

Reader reactions:
18  Awesome

4 additional images. Click to enlarge.

30 responses

  1. Lovely! A beautiful vintage airliner... I've always loved the Connie with it's tri-tail- especially in the red & white livery of the long departed TWA. A very nice job on an unexpectedly different subject. Thank you for this.

  2. My all-time favorite airliner (actually got to fly on one as a teenager), and you have done wonders with this project. I love the result! Just super work! Liked!


  3. I like the clean look and well defined panel lines of your model. That gives a vintage look that suits this beautiful aircraft well.

    • Jerome: Thank you. The weathering was kept light on top. I did add a lot more weathering to the bottom of the nacelles, however. No pix of that area, unfortunately. Sorry.

      Thanks again.

  4. Nicely done Marvin, on one of the most graceful looking aircraft in my humble opinion. Nice presentation of your Connie.

  5. One of the most elegant ladies to fly the skies. Great model Marvin. Well done, well done indeed.

    Two thumbs up, brings back memories.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  6. Nice work Marvin! One of my favorite planes.

    • Thank you, John. The Constellation is simply one of the most outstanding designs ever drawn. No computers back then either; all done with slide rules, and hand-drawn on big drafting tables. A different time, for sure.

  7. A real beauty!, model and actual aircraft, looks great in TWA livery.

  8. Excellent work Marvin ! I remember building a much smaller version that was boxed by Monogram in the 1970's... Mine also had TWA markings, but it was a whole lot smaller and didn't look nearly as good as yours does... These planes were way ahead of their time, and they looked so elegant. I also think they used them as "Hurricane Hunters" when they first started flying planes into these storms to measure the wind speeds and wind direction. It has to be one tough plane, and even tougher crew to do that !

    Thanks for posting this beauty... and the trip down memory lane.


    • Louis: You are very kind: I appreciate the compliments.
      TWA Constellations were at the end of the propellor era, when jets took over. Even so, the Constellation was a beauty. Thanks again.

  9. Absolutely fabulous! Beautiful paint job!

  10. Well, the rest have said it all, but I have to add my version: ausgezeichnet!

    You've done a beautiful job on one of, if not THE most beautiful aircraft ever made! (in My Most Humble Opinion) Well done, Marvin! Like Tom, I had the privilege of a couple flights in a Super G Constellation - just like yours, except I was on Varig Airliners, from New York City, USA to Rio De Janeiro, Brasil and back. I actually got to sit in the Pilot's seat and "fly" the plane. (At my age of 8 - then - I had no concept of Autopilot) but I "flew" our plane for about 5 minutes while crossing the Equator. And I have a Varig Airlines Certificate to remember the occasion! Of course, this was back in 1959 ... that wouldn't happen today, sadly.


    • Jeff: while I'm old enough to have flown on a Constellation, I never had the opportunity to do so. I recall seeing spectacular propliners at SFO, like the DC-7C, but never got to fly on one. My first flight on an airliner was in 1968, when I joined the USAF, and flew on some jet airliner to San Antonio, Texas. Frankly, I don't recall the airline or what kind of airplane it was. OTH, if it had been a beautiful Constellation, I most certainly would have remembered that.

  11. Having built this kit I am very impressed with your effort and talent! Beautiful model, beautiful aircraft!

  12. Incredible build of one of the most beautiful planes ever designed

  13. Wonderful job on the old Connie! Looks fantastic.

  14. Profile Photo
    said on June 12, 2020

    Hey i only just saw this ? i built this kit around 1990 give or take a year. I built it straight from the box and used the kit decals it looked just like yours . This is the first time i have seen another built up . I enjoyed building it and it sat on my shelf for over 20 years and looked as good then as it did when i built it. Good memories ?

  15. Beautiful model, Can you describe your painting method? Paint manufacturer, airbrush, clearcoat etc.. Any polishing done to remove orange peel?

  16. Happy New Year, Don!

    It's been a couple years since I built this Heller Connie, so my memory is a little fuzzy about the construction. I must say that the big Heller Connie was a journey down the path of big, unwieldy models, for sure.

    The painting of this kit is basically white, silver, grey, and black. I used Tamiya white primer in the sparay can for the white; I generally airbrush models, but this was such a large model that I used a spray can to get good coverage. Tamiya white primer is what I use for all white paint schemes, because it gives excellent coverage, and can be polished out to use as the final paint coat. I micromeshed the white primer, then used Testors Glosskote as the final finish. The silver is Alclad aluminum, also coated with Testors Glosskote. The grey on top of the wings is Gunze Mr. Surfacer grey primer, lightened with a little white primer. Flat black (unknown which paint) was used for the deicer boots, radome, and the walkways. Once all of the painting was done, and the decals applied, Testors Glosskote was applied over the entire model, using a Paasche H, single-action airbrush, with a #5 tip to provide sufficient paint flow. The final coat was applied "wet" to give a nice shine.

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge.

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