TWA Lockheed L-1011 N31001 Lockness Models (AC) 1:400 April 2019

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TWA’s first L-1011 TriStar N31001 arrives at the gate for her inaugural flight 10 June 1972, St Louis to Los Angeles

The Lockheed L-1011-1 TriStar was not the worlds greatest commercial success. Only 250 were actually built by 1984 and it nearly bankrupted Lockheed. Troubled by delays, many of them related to engine supplier Rolls Royce whose industrial relations at the time were near cataclysmic, a common 1970’s problem.

Furthermore the Douglas DC-10 was almost exactly the same in terms of capacity and range, and while it sold more aircraft the two manufacturers just didn’t have the cash or resources to properly compete. Other than the 747, these were the only wide bodies then available, with 8 seats across.

Both Douglas and Lockheed paid for their efforts – neither ever developed another aircraft independently again.

The TWA TriStar under registration N31001 had its maiden flight on June 10 1972, flying from St Louis to Los Angeles.

Prior to that Lockheed took the aircraft to TWA and it’s amazing interior can be seen here as they prepare for training TWA crews.

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The forward section of D Zone as seen during the delivery flight of TWA’s first L-1011, en route from Palmdale-PMD to Kansas City-MCI. Two TWA instructors are seen taking close-up photographs for flight attendant training classes May 10 1972 (which happens to be exactly 47 years ago today as I write)
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D Zone as seen during the delivery flight of TWA’s first L-1011, en route from Palmdale-PMD to Kansas City-MCI. The “passengers” are Lockheed instructors being transported to TWA’s overhaul base to train employees on the new aircraft Photos ©Jon Procter
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This is a much later photo, as the 1011 has been put on the centre engine and the registration moved. The model appears to be a launch date version.
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Her sister was quickly sold off to Saudi Arabia, here already with it’s new registration

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You can see from the photos above the L-1011 is a very different aircraft from what we have now.  An (older) friend of mine flew them in the late 70’s as cabin crew – at 67 she still fits in the uniform and has threatened many times to put it on, but the silk scarf they wore back then, with this aircraft printed on it is now framed as a memento!

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TWA Cabin crew scarf from 1976, with the L-1011 at the bottom, it represented the development of TWA’s aircraft over the years. ©EileenSchalk

So where did she end up?

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According to GoogleEarth she turned up on this spot at Roswell, New Mexico, by October 2011 and was still there in October 2014. There are no newer images.

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So what of the model? First off Lockness Models is another one of Aeroclassics labels. Lochness (the correct spelling I might add), has a strap line of “take the mystery out of collecting”. The model was sold by Airspotters.com and everyone else as Aeroclassics, so what the point of the separate branding is, remains beyond me, in fact it’s a mystery.

1.Fuselage

Well it certainly has that air of AC quality about it, with the starboard wing hanging off, although it can easily be glued.

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The primary mistake is that the polished steel lower half cuts too far up to the cockpit, when it was actually lower and you can clearly see white paint up to the nose cone on the real thing.

There is no aerial on the roof.

The red arrow over the windows seems to be spot on, with excellent window detail and paint quality.

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Technically the doors and cargo loading bays, along with technical detail on the high-polish finish are excellent.

I’m sure someone will disagree but the overall shape and mould detail looks pretty good to me. The thing I see that isn’t quite right is the top of the tail looks too narrow, it’s partly subjective but if anyone would care to offer an opinion, I’ll happily hear it!

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2.Wings

Oh for the age of shiny metals and bright chrome! In the day of carbon fibre how we miss such things. Lavish quantities of bright work abound, on leading and trailing edges, with a nice realistic matt grey at the wing centres. if only the wings had been properly fitted, as when they are they’re pretty near seamless.

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3.Landing gear

So AC do know how to make decent landing gear! Pity they couldn’t apply it to the A320 series! The gear rotates, and the tyres are lump free, with silver wheels. Nice.

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4.Engines

The wing mounted engines are excellent, with RR logos and neat rims. Even the fans are a good colour, unusually for AC nearly black. This is a good thing. The rims are a tiny bit rough but not too terrible.

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Awful mould!

The problem is the centre engine. What on earth is going on with that chrome rim? While it fits, the inner rim mould is awful and lop sided, a positive eyesore.

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This model wasn’t cheap at £39 plus delivery and I expect a bit better than this.

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5.Nose detail

For the most part this is as good as you’d want it to be, with lots of nice detail, however I draw your attention to the inaccuracies highlighted in the fuselage section. This is a quality issue because what I didn’t tell you then but will now is that the starboard side is perfectly OK, it’s the port side that’s wrong. Just not good enough at this price point.

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Right!
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Wrong!

6.Tail detail

From my observations, other than the top of the tail, and possibly the angle of the vertical leading edge, it looks pretty good. The logos are excellent, but of course that weird engine rim is a spoiler.

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In later years the registration was moved back and down and 1011 appeared where it is here.

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7.Colours

No issues, it looks first-rate.

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8.Score and conclusions

Accuracy

  • -1 for lack of a roof aerial
  • -4 for the detailing at the nose on the port side

Score 45/50

Quality

  • -10 for the wing being loose – it was never glued in
  • -6 for the truly unsightly centre engine rim mould
  • -1 for rim paint on engines

Score 33/50

Overall score: 78%

So, what do I think of my first L-1011 from AC? Once it’s fixed and the wing is OK, and you don’t let your eye get drawn to that eyesore of a centre engine rim, it’s a handsome model. But it is flawed in too many ways to be really something I’d consider special. It nearly gets there, but it’s just so Aeroclassics; well intentioned but sloppy.

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3 thoughts on “TWA Lockheed L-1011 N31001 Lockness Models (AC) 1:400 April 2019

  1. I just got the Air Canada version of this model. Exactly the same issue with the right wing; seems they forgot the glue it! Easily fixed tho. Center engine rim on mine however looks good (centered). Asides from that an OK model – nice overall shape and good landing gears. The Air Canada paint (lines etc) seem a bit neater than this TWA.

  2. I have this model too as these were regular at London Heathrow. The main issue I have with it is the cockpit windows are printed too small and too high. Look at the photos of the rear thing and the base of the black cockpit anti-glare patch is virtually horizonal. Because the cockpit is printed too high, it curves down on the model.

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