For 99% of our representation of the history of propeller driven civil aviation in 1:400 scale we have Aeroclassics to thank. They have produced a wonderful selection of piston props and turboprops over the years. Although anecdotally sales of props haven’t been great recently Aeroclassics still slips out the odd DC-4, DC-6B, DC-7C and L-1649 Starliner to keep fans of reciprocating engines happy.
The Super Connie has always been a favourite of mine and the most famous incarnation of it is the L-1049G in TWA colours, which being radar equipped has the long nose. The radar-equipped version is the version that Aeroclassics old 1:400 mould shows, but it was far from the normal version and for the majority of its prime the Super Connie was mainly short nosed.
In new build Super Connies radars weren’t available until the L-1049G, which began deliveries in 1955 and even then, like the wingtip tanks, it was an optional extra. Considering that the first Super Connies entered service in 1951, and 104 pre-Super G versions were built, you can see that, with the addition of short nosed Super Gs, nearly half the 249 civilian Super Connies that were built would have had the short nose.
Unlike the short stretch that distinguishes the DC-6 from the DC-6B the nose change impacts the look of the L-1049 in a major way. Having no version of it in 1:400 leaves a big chunk of the 1950s empty of representation for the flagship of many national airlines.
Only Dragon Wings made a short-nosed Connie and interestingly it is much superior to their long nose mould, in which the nose is a problem of itself. Unfortunately, they only used it twice (for Northwest and Flying Tigers) and their mould is long out of circulation. Aeroclassics has meanwhile sometimes produced short nose Connies on the long nose mould (Northwest is an example). This is far from ideal, but academic anyway as the Aeroclassics Connie has been gone for sometime, or at least partially converted to the L-1649 anyway.
In my opinion the short-nosed Connie is high on the list of moulds that need reincarnating in 1:400. This wishlist is designed to illustrate that point. Although I admit I don’t hold much hope for new pistion-liner moulds in the 2020s I can still dream.
I hadn't realised BOAC had operated the L-1049 but they apparently did lease a couple from Seaboard & Western - more about that here.
Air France's Super Gs never received the radar nose or tip tanks but were converted to freighters in their later years opening up two model possibilities:
KLM's later Super Gs were modified with the long nose but the early L-1049Cs did not have it or tip tanks. The first L-1049Gs also lacked the radar but did have tip-tanks. That's another two variants.
Airlinte Eireann / Irish International operated its L-1049s without radar noses. Although Aeroclassics have made these models they incorrectly have the long nose.
The definitive Super Connie operator obviously operated a lot of short nose Super Connies like this one. Likewise Eastern's Super Connies started out with the short nose too:
Rest of World
Additionally this excellent website has a variety of lovely computer generated renditions of early Super Connies in full colour:
I know it's a long shot but hopefully one day someone in 1:400 will see fit to do the Super Connie justice and these 26 liveries give good scope for a return on investment and some beautiful models.
I'm Richard Stretton, an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale model aircraft. This blog discusses ongoing events in the world of 400 scale.
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