I’m in finally. Gee Bee model ”Z”- from Rocketeer

  • 20 posts
  • Last reply 1 year ago
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  • Gábor Szabó said 1 year, 2 months ago:

    Hi All! I think it’s a good excuse to finish my long ago started Williams Bros Gee Bee. I had several issues with the yellow paint (I probably used a too old Testors primer which reacted badly to the additional layers of paint) so I set this project aside – now I dug it out and I’ll try to finish it – which involves a nearly full repaint also. Fingers crossed. Previously I made some progress on it that you can see here: https://imodeler.com/groups/work-in-progress-aircraft/forum/topic/gee-bee-z-williams-bros-132/


  • Tom Bebout said 1 year, 2 months ago:

    Great fun movie and a great plane as well. Welcome aboard.

  • Robert Royes said 1 year, 2 months ago:

    Nice! One of the first kits I remember building [with the help of my Dad] was the old Hawk 7/11 Gee Bee.

  • david leigh-smith said 1 year, 2 months ago:

    Hi Gabor. Hope you get to working on this again, would be great to see any progress. Sad to note the last comment on your WiP was by Bernard. Encouraging as always.

    Hope you are well – the build does look fantastic.

  • Gábor Szabó said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Sad indeed 🙁 He was a great guy.
    David: just for you 🙂 I had several issues with the painting (the yellow I used was probably too old and remained sticky … for months) anyway I managed the situation somehow. Won’t be perfect but presentable. I think. I hope… errr.

    39 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Gábor Szabó said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Some serious masking.

    23 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • david leigh-smith said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Fantastic posts, Gabor, a masterclass! Love your work and it’d be great to see more of it.

  • Gábor Szabó said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Thank you, David. I ordered a spare decal set from WilliamsBros and it was a wise step as finally I had to use all of them. The old decals are better in size but behaved very nasty. I struggled a lot with them. Also I remade the cockpit canopy as I didn’t like my originally made one – this is a vacformed piece and now fits well so I can present the model also with closed canopy. Finished pictures soon.

    11 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Tom Bebout said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    That is some serious masking, well done Gabor.

  • Tom Cleaver said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Beautiful work Gabor, you have recalled the original. The airplane flown in “The Rocketeer” was my old friend the late Bill Turner’s replica that he built in the late 70s ( saw it at its first public appearance at the Merced Calif. Antique Airplane Fly-In in 1979, the day before he crashed it at Half Moon Bay returning from the show, then had to rebuild it). The only person who ever flew it successfully was Steve Hinton, who flew it for the movie. He said it was just as nasty as every other Gee Bee, and flying they did for the movie was about two hours total that he called “hair raising”. When I sat in it at the show, in the the tail down attitude you couldn’t see anything inside an area you can describe if you extend you arms fully down to about level with your hips, then bring them up to meet above your head. Everything inside that is blocked off by that big honking engine out front. You couldn’t have made me fly that thing for a high eight-figure sum in dollars!

    Anyway, you have that thing looking beautiful! Bill Turner did several other full-scale flying replicas of 30s racers, including Roscoe Turner’s Laird-Turner Special (another one you couldn’t pay me enough to fly) and his last was the DeHavilland Comet replica. Bill was a legendary character out here in California “funny” aviation. Those guys back then had stainless steel cojones. Tony Levier’s Firecracker, that he took second in the 1939 National Air Races, is out hanging from the ceiling in a hangar at Chino, and most people mistake it for a big R/C model.

  • Gábor Szabó said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Thank you, Tom. Wow! Awesome stories. I think it was definitely a great experince to see and feel this kind of an aeroplane – even a replica – in life. I thought that the “Z” is one of the better proportioned GeeBees (and to the eyes definitely the best shaped among the “Supers”) so it looks more flyable than the “R” or even the QED. Well it’s strange and – as a former amateur pilot – I strongly agree the old sentence that what’s not looks good won’t fly good 😀 . Your friends also must have stainless steel organs as they replicate the golden age fast planes and even want to fly them! Oh, for the movie 🙂 I made a tiny ad about Bigelow’s Flying Circus. I’m curious how many people will notivce it 😀

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  • Tom Cleaver said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    That ad is the perfect things to put with it.

    The only Gee Bee that ever flew well was the replica “R” which had a more appropriate airfoil in the wing than the Clark-Y of the original (which works fine on a J-3 Cub, but… ) In fact, I saw the guy who built it do an aerobatics routine with it where he did knife edge maneuvers without loss of altitude because that fuselage was an airfoil of its own when put on its side. Apparently the whole problem with the Gee Bees was the incorrect airfoil on the wing.

  • Greg Kittinger said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Fantastic finish on this pudgy little puppy!

  • Michael E Rieth said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Without the cowl, it looks like an egg plane. Outstanding job on the masking and painting.

  • Josh Patterson said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Yes Tom. Delmar did things with R2 that seemed like it shouldn’t do safely for a decade or so. He did have a mishap in Germany one year where he came in a bit short and clipped a berm short of the runway. Once on the runway he was on the brakes so hard it looked like it was going to tip on its nose! A few years back Kermit Weeks had the Z out and running and it sounded like he was asking Delmar to fly the R again. It would be nice to see both in the air again together! Didn’t Bill Turner also do a Super Solution or was that Jim Moss? Here’s Delmar’s trip to Germany. The hair raising landing is around the 17 minute mark. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nStjpGgc28

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