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.
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!
So where did she end up?
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.
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.
Well it certainly has that air of AC quality about it, with the starboard wing hanging off, although it can easily be glued.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
This model wasn’t cheap at £39 plus delivery and I expect a bit better than this.
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.
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.
No issues, it looks first-rate.
8.Score and conclusions
- -1 for lack of a roof aerial
- -4 for the detailing at the nose on the port side
- -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
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.