Maquette 1/72 Boeing C-75
The famous 307 Stratoliner, from which the C-75 emerged, was itself an ingenious Boeing 1935 design, combining the wings, tail, rudder, landing gear and engines of the B-17C, with a new circular cross-section fuselage of 138 in diameter, designed to allow pressurization, so the then spacious airliner could fly in comfort above the weather.
Only ten 307s were built. Apart from the first, ill-fated NX 19901, that crashed on March 18, 1939, while being demonstrated to representatives of KLM, three were delivered to Pan-Am, five to TWA and one to Howard Hughes.
Conversion of the 307 to the C-75 included removal of the pressurization equipment to save weight, removal of the forward four (or five) of the nine reclining seats along the port side and alteration of the two forward Pullman-like compartments (in order to provide space for crew requirements on extremely long flights).
The C-75 fleet was operated under contract from TWA's Intercontinental Division. Tilil the arrival of the Douglas C-54 Skymaster, they were the only U.S. built commercial aircraft able to cross the Atlantic with a payload.
Once returned to TWA, they were restored by Boeing to SA-307B-1 civilian status, with new B-17G wings and engines and B-29 electronics. From 1951 and onwards, they were gradually passed to and operated by Air Laos, where they ended their flying careers by 1975.
C-75 #42-88625, started its life as TWA’s N-19907, named “Zuni”. Upon returning to TWA after the war, it was sold together with the rest four to the French airline Aigle Azur. Registered F-BELX, it was used on scheduled flights from France to North and Central Africa, and later to French Indo-China. It was later transferred to Aigle Azur's Vietnamese subsidiary (Aigle Azur Extrême-Orient) and used in South East Asia, with the exact history of the specific aircraft becoming quite complex.
Only one 307 survives today at the Smithsonian Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Washington DC, USA. It is the famous Pan Am’s N-19903 "Clipper Flying Cloud", meticulously restored and preserved in flying condition, despite the fact that it was ditched in Elliot Bay near Seattle in 2002!
Introduced in small numbers 1998 and never reissued since then the now extremely hard to find Maquette kit is basically the 1975 Frog B-17E with the fuselage parts replaced by "Stratoliner" ones molded by Maquette and being quite crude). The kit did pose an amount of challenge, in order to put it together, not only due to the crudity of the fuselage halves, but also due to the fact that the Frog parts plastic did not react to stryrene glue and I had to use cyanoacrylate.
🙂 Yes, I could not resist and also added some slight gas staining aft of the upper wing cooling air exit louvers (yes, I know it is just exiting cooling air, but it might have had chances to lightly stain the areas... 🙂 ).
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