Ever since I was very little, I have always had a fascination with the British Aerospatiale CONCORDE Super Sonic Transport (SST) as I was only 5 when she first flew and have seen it many times during the years on her visits to Sydney. It was a sad day on the 3d of October 2003 when the last three BRITISH AIRWAYS Aircraft touched down at Heathrow Airport and taxied to their hangar.
CONCORDE was described by the late Sir David Frost as one of the three most beautiful man-made objects in the world. They are “The view of New York City from the Brooklyn Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and CONCORDE”.
Years ago I saw a photo of a 1/3rd scale model of CONCORDE which sits at a large roundabout at Heathrow Airport. The model is, of course, huge and sits on a large dark blue plinth in the position of taking off. It was a great add for BA CONCORDE in her heyday with the words “Timeless” on each side along with the BA logo and “CONCORDE”.
I knew that I had to one day do a model of her in this position. I was planning on doing the model in 1:144 scale, but when I saw that AIRFIX had released a 1:72 scale kit, I just had to do that one. I left it a bit late though and couldn’t find a kit. I finally managed to find a kit in the UK on eBay and purchased it.
I started construction of the model and whilst doing so, visited a client in Canberra to whom I was delivering several completed models to. I was chatting to him about the model of CONCORDE I was doing and much to my surprise he opened his kit cupboard and there was the same kit sitting in his stash. He asked how much to complete the model in the same way as what I was doing. He then presented me with the model and I took it back with me. So, instead of building one CONCORDE kit, I built the two of them side by side.
One of the things I really wanted to do was to place LEDs into the engine exhausts to simulate the afterburners being lit. I bought eight 10mm diameter bright white LEDs and fitted them into the assembled afterburner cans. These had a clear orange lens glued over them. The effect was great. To carry the power to these, the undercarriage was drilled out and a 2mm brass rod bent into shape was passed through the main legs into the wing and then into the fuselage. The model was also held in place with these rods. One leg was for the negative terminal and the other for the positive.
The model was completed pretty much out of the box after that and painted in a high gloss white enamel. Once completed the model was fitted to its dark blue plinth and wired from underneath. Along with the afterburner LEDs, six smaller 3mm LEDs were fitting into boxes into the base which shine up onto the undersides, nose and tail of the aircraft. Two more were fitted into the nose wheel gear doors where the landing lights shine down onto the tarmac.
Our client’s model was completed almost exactly the same as the version we were keeping and he loved it. Overall the effect of this big model is great. It measures around 850mm in length on the base and draws many compliments and stories of experiences with the CONCORDE from customers passing our shop.