Author Topic: Project Loening Eagle - Going from 1/87 to 1/72 in 2 Days Flat  (Read 924 times)

Offline Brian da Basher

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The Loening Aeronautical Engineering Corporation was one of many forgettable inter-war manufacturers who was perhaps best known for their OL amphibian.



The firm got off the ground after U.S. entry into World War I when it was contracted to develop aircraft for the U.S. Army Air Service.





Loening eventually rolled out the M-8 but it came to late to serve in the war. This aircraft would spawn a smaller version for the U.S. Navy known as the M-2.



The Army, jealous of anything the Navy had that it didn't, asked Loening to build them a better version for their Air Service.



In 1921, Loening would deliver the XM-9M, a small but powerful single-seat, high-wing monoplane that would be closer to an ultra-light than an actual airplane by modern standards. It was also by some miracle, able to carry the standard aircraft armament of the day, two .30 caliber machine guns synchronized to fire through the propeller arc.



Officially known as the Loening XM-9M Eagle, crews dubbed it the "Midget" due to its diminutive size. The tiny aircraft passed flight trials and was surprisingly maneuverable if a bit unstable in the longitudinal axis.



The Air Service was impressed but the XM-9M was an aircraft without a mission. Fortunately, the Air Service Air Staff were up to snuff and quickly wrote a yellowing whitepaper arguing for a "Light Point-Defense Pursuit" to defend critical installations from sneak attack. Of course, the tiny XM-9M was seen as ideal for this role because it was easy to transport and had minimal airfield requirements.



Intially seen as a benefit, the design's compactness would be its un-doing. The Loening test-pilot was the epitome of "Mr Five by Five" and was comfortable in the Midget's cramped cockpit. However, General Billy Mitchell, a robust, strapping man, found the aircraft claustrophobic and angrily ordered it cancelled once he was able to extricate himself from the pint-sized pursuit.



No more XM-9M Midgets would ever be built and the lone prototype was quickly scrapped before the General could set eyes on it again. All that remains of the Loening Midget today is this Pigasus short-run model kit of which only one was ever produced.



Due to a paucity of duckumentary evidence, the so-called "experts" refuse to believe the XM-9M ever was and insist any such aircraft only exists in the fantasies of some kind of mental midget.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 08:34:21 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Project Loening Eagle - Going from 1/87 to 1/72 in 2 Days Flat
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2019, 07:59:10 AM »
This all started a couple of years ago when a good friend (thanks a million, hamsterman!) sent me a real odd-ball kit by an unknown maker, a 1/87 scale Ryan Spirit of St. Louis. There's no box art because it came in a bag, but I doubt many of you have seen these sprues before.



Thankfully a kit this complex comes with rather detailed instructions.



But wait, something seems to be missing...



Well, that's ok I'll manage somehow.

First, I decided this needed a cockpit you can't see.



I got a kick out of using a modern stick. I think it's from an F-86. Goodness knows where the seat came from. I filled in the windows with Liquitex acrylic gloss medium.



Despite looks, modifications were minimal. I drilled a hole thru the wing for that invisible 'pit and stuck in piece of instrument panel decal which you probably can't make out either. I added a head rest cut from an F-86 drop-tank and made cockpit coaming from white glue. I put a prop-shaft grommet on the nose and topped it off with a 1/72 Chipmunk prop. In back, I swapped out the kit fin & rudder with one from a Sopwith Camel, re-shaped to fit.



A Spitfire donated some exhausts and an La-5 sacrificed the belly radiator. The guns were made from ends of landing gear struts. I also added struts for the horiz stabs and a pitot tube made from this great plastic wire from Mr Fontaine. The windscreen is from a 1/72 P-26 and the wheels are spare from a Nieuport 17.



The model was brush-painted by hand with the old hairy stick in acrylics, Model Masters Desert Tan mostly.



A custom mix was used for the olive drab OD and on the guns. The pipes were done with Model Masters Jet Exhaust, the tires in Gull Gray and the coaming with Semi-Gloss Black. Sloth Brown was used to replicate wood on the prop. Model Masters White primer and Insignia Blue were used for the rudder stripes along with Vallejo Model Color (ugh) Red.



Decals were a mix from spares.



Before I forget, here's a couple of shots with a U.S. penny for scale.



This is one tiny model but it's only a bit shorter than a 1/72 S.E. 5.



It only took me a couple of days from start to finish and I had a blast the entire time! Many thanks to Bill for his kindness in sending me this cool little kit. I couldn't have done it without him!



I hope you enjoyed the Loening XM-9M Midget and reading a bit more forgotten aircraft history even if the whole thing is so tiny as to be almost insignificant.





Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 08:09:41 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline finsrin

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Re: Project Loening Eagle - Going from 1/87 to 1/72 in 2 Days Flat
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2019, 08:59:45 AM »
Exemplary example of excellent background research. 
Integration of cockpit windscreen headrest looks "natural", makes scale change invisible.
Convincing colors and kinda cute for deadly fighter.  :smiley:
« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 10:37:33 AM by finsrin »

Offline Robomog

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Re: Project Loening Eagle - Going from 1/87 to 1/72 in 2 Days Flat
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2019, 03:44:54 PM »
Nice one Brian,  really looks the part. always liked the American pre-war  stars and colour schemes plus only a two day build. You can be justifiably proud of this one.

Mog
>^-.-^<
Mostly Harmless...............

Offline ed s

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Re: Project Loening Eagle - Going from 1/87 to 1/72 in 2 Days Flat
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2019, 11:39:53 PM »
Nice and as a 2 day it is amazing!

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Project Loening Eagle - Going from 1/87 to 1/72 in 2 Days Flat
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2019, 05:12:32 AM »
Excellent scaleorama! Love all of the details but those Spitfire exhaust manifolds take the cake ... they almost look like a turboprop from the side  ;D
"And loot some for the old folks, Can't loot for themselves"

Offline finsrin

  • The Dr Frankenstein of the modelling world...when not hiding from SBA
  • Finds part glues it on, finds part glues it on....
Re: Project Loening Eagle - Going from 1/87 to 1/72 in 2 Days Flat
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2019, 05:52:53 AM »
Excellent scaleorama! Love all of the details but those Spitfire exhaust manifolds take the cake ... they almost look like a turboprop from the side  ;D

They do add "character"

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Project Loening Eagle - Going from 1/87 to 1/72 in 2 Days Flat
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2019, 07:45:27 AM »
Beautiful little thing!!  And in only two days?  Color me "Impressed!".

Offline Frank3k

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Re: Project Loening Eagle - Going from 1/87 to 1/72 in 2 Days Flat
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2019, 08:11:12 AM »
I love this little plane, Brian! One of your best.