Lockheed Airliners
Lockheed 18 Lodestar- Lockheed 1649 Starliner – Lockheed 1011 Tristar

Last time we looked at three exotic Lockheed aircraft so I thought we might look at three Lockheeds that were relatively common and you could see at airports around the world in their day. Lockheed made a range of airliners which were not always as popular as those of other companies such as Boeing and Douglas, but the airliners they did make were good machines. Generally, however, they suffered problems during production or because the airliners they offered faced stiff competition, but they did make an important contribution to aviation history. Here are three interesting Lockheed airliners.

Lockheed 18 Lodestar in 1/144 by F-Rsin
This aircraft was a stretched version of the earlier Lockheed 14 airliner. While that aircraft had superior performance to the Douglas DC-3 it carried less passengers which meant it was less profitable to use and so was not very attractive to customers. To overcome this problem Lockheed stretched the model 14 by about five feet and added an extra row of seats, which improved its profitability. However, by the time it was available for service in 1940 many airlines were committed to Douglas aircraft so sales were not great. Eventually over 600 were manufactured, mainly to fill military roles during World War 2, though some were converted back to civil use after the war was over.

This model was made using the F-Rsin resin kit. Although it was published only a few years ago it is no longer in their catalogue though it might be available somewhere on the interweb. It was not a difficult kit to make and came in several options, one of them being for the Lockheed 18s that flew briefly for TAA in the early 1950s. In 1/72 the only option is the Special Hobby kit that was published in three different boxings from 2006.

Lockheed 1649 Starliner made in 1/144 using Welsh Models and Minicaft parts
One of the most well known Lockheed aircraft was the Constellation airliner which was the first pressurized airliner to go into widespread use, from 1943. Lockheed followed it with the stretched and otherwise improved Super Constellation that was introduced into service in 1951. It was very popular with customers and almost 700 were manufactured for civil and military use. Following on from the Super Constellation, Lockheed improved it into the Starliner with a new wing and other innovations. It was probably the best of all large four piston engined airliners but it entered service in 1957 just as jet powered airliners were entering production so only 44 were manufactured and were soon replaced in front line service by aircraft like the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8.

I made this model using parts from the Welsh Models Starliner vacform kit and the Minicraft Super Constellation. This more of less duplicated the Starliner itself which had a Super Constellation fuselage and new Starliner wings. It was not an easy conversion but I wrote it up briefly in a Workbench Note that you can look at if you are feeling unnaturally brave.  However, you don’t have to do any of that because now Welsh Models offer a kit of the Starliner in civil and military guises which looks like much more fun to build.

Lockheed 1011 Tristar in 1/144 by Airfix
This aircraft was Lockeed’s attempt to enter the jet powered airliner market. It was a response to an American Airlines request for an airliner that could carry 250 passengers on transcontinental routes. Douglas responded to the same request with the DC-10 which used established technologies as much as possible while Lockheed invested heavily in new technical innovations, which made the Tristar more expensive. Both aircraft used a three engine layout to provide enough thrust for such a large aircraft and because of a regulation that limited the distance an airliner powered by only two engines was allowed to fly over water. Troubles in developing Rolls Royce engines delayed this aircraft’s entry into service so it did not sell well and only250 were made. This failure led Lockheed to withdraw from the civil aviation market.

I made this model using the old Airfix kit that was first published in 1971. It’s okay to build but if you want to make a Tristar your best bet is the Eastern Express kit that was published in both the long and short versions, first in 2015. I am always in two minds about Eastern Express kits which can sometimes be dreadful. However, there is a good build review of this kit on the Britmodeller forum which covers any of the problems you are likely to find in building this and results in a good looking model.  I have invested in one and look forward to making it.