Author Topic: Pennsylvania Railroad Airship Keystone Clipper  (Read 427 times)

Offline Brian da Basher

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Pennsylvania Railroad Airship Keystone Clipper
« on: June 01, 2019, 02:55:12 AM »


After the 1929 Holy Toledo Nor'wester washed out Horseshoe Curve, cutting the rail link between Altoona and points west, the Pittsburgh Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad



proposed entering the airship age by offering lighter-than-air service.



It was hoped this new mode of transport might one day even supersede old-fashioned ground-bound locomotives.





The board of the Pennsylvania Railroad approved the Pittsburgh Division's proposal and extended a tender offer to the Goodyear-Zeppelin Co. of Akron, Ohio for construction of a passenger-carrying dirigible.



The contract was signed on October 29, 1929 which would prove to be a very fateful day indeed.



Things began briskly and initial design studies were completed by June, 1930. The Pennsylvania Railroad dirigible was optimized for carrying both passengers and freight with a large cargo hatch near the tail. It also featured the latest in cutting-edge airship design such as the gondola-mounted planes for low-and-slow maneuverability.



The Goodyear-Zeppelin Co. also conceived of a new multi-point mooring system which allowed this planned behemoth of the skies to land in any open space that could accommodate it without need of a mooring mast. This was accomplished by spiked mooring lines which were rocket-propelled and launched from barbettes in the belly of the ship. These mooring lines would impale themselves into the earth and the airship would then winch itself to down to the ground automatically. The spikes on the lines could be detached either manually or by small explosive charges in an emergency.



The design phase was protracted due to complications coming up with a workable way to pivot the four enormous Packard 2500 engines. After many delays, this feature was eventually abandoned due to the complexity it entailed. This did not deter the PA RR's PR dept. from developing a potent marketing campaign, however.



Sadly, the project would never get off the ground as the Great Depression took hold and this fantastically expensive futuristic airship was cancelled. Nothing exists of it today except this overly-optimistic Goodyear-Zeppelin desk-top model which was discovered a derelict building slated for demolition in an Akron, Ohio office park.



Whether the Goodyear-Zeppelin Co. objected to the requested black color scheme which could cause disastrous "super-heating" of the lifting gas is unknown.



This model was badly damaged while in transit to be appraised at the Antiques Roadshow Ohio Extravaganza! in 2002 and its true value was never determined.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 04:10:33 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Pennsylvania Railroad Airship Keystone Clipper
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2019, 03:24:57 AM »
This all started many moons ago when an old, second-hand black Nautilus (?) sub hull showed up in a package from my good friends Bill & Jeff (thanks a million, amigos!). Shortly thereafter, Evan mentioned he'd like to see an airship done in that famous black PA RR scheme. I filed this away for the right moment and this seems to be it. Besides, how can you have a Transports GB without airships, I ask you?



So I chopped off the sub's fins (sorry Bill) and original conning tower which was far to tall for a gondola. However, I had another sub part that came with a set of planes that was a very nice fit.



I covered a big hole in back with blister pack and now it's an XXXL sized cargo hatch. I added new fins cut from card (phone cards actually) and engine pods made out of spare ordnance.



I also drilled a hole in the bottom so I could pose it on my favorite big Airfix stand. I'm always pleased as punch when I can use it.

It only took me a few evenings' work to get this far then it was off to the paint shop.



The old hairy stick returned in its dotage for yet another command performance loaded up with Model Color Black acrylic. This proved to be an utter disaster as it was terribly inconsistent even when thinned a little and seems only good for a well-worn finish. Lesson learned, I cracked open my last bottle of lovely Model Masters Flat Black acrylic which went on like a dream as it always does. Then I added cut-down props swiped from a 1/144 DC-6 and painted them Model Masters Steel.



Those Pennsy decals and cheat lines were from a custom railroad sheet and the windows are from an aftermarket airline set I got on the cheap.



It took me a week and a half to put this together mostly due to the bad paint sapping my motivation. Before I forget, here's the "money shot", U.S. penny for scale. For me, this is a big model, over a foot (a million cm I think) long.



I'd like to thank Bill & Jeff for kindly sending me the decommissioned sub hull and always inspiring me, Evan for the great livery idea, Mr JCF for bravely moderating this GB and the rest of you who are playing along or just taking a look. I hope you enjoyed reading a little more forgotten airship history even if the so-called "experts" refuse to be rail-roaded because the whole thing's all just full of gas.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 04:19:37 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Pennsylvania Railroad Airship Keystone Clipper
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2019, 04:20:37 AM »
That turned out rather nice.  Good to see that repurposing of model parts does work well
"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Pennsylvania Railroad Airship Keystone Clipper
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2019, 05:43:47 AM »
 :smiley: :-*
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Robomog

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Re: Pennsylvania Railroad Airship Keystone Clipper
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2019, 07:31:35 AM »
Like wow !  Beautifully repurposed and congratulations on the consistant black finish. I'm having a real problem getting Tamiya/Revel paints to behave just lately.

Nice one Brian

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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Pennsylvania Railroad Airship Keystone Clipper
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2019, 12:21:09 PM »
Beautiful, gorgeous even, though I believe the color usually was a deep green (labeled "Brunswick Green" by the PRR) or a deep maroon ("Tuscan Red").  The only black PRR locomotives I know of are/were their steam locomotives (at least the non-streamlined ones) and the locomotives that went on to Penn Central and were painted a flat black.

Offline kitnut617

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Re: Pennsylvania Railroad Airship Keystone Clipper
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2019, 09:53:05 PM »
There's something about airships  ------     :-*

Very nice Brian  :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: