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Lockheed Electra at Big Lots

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Yesthatphil writes:

Pulp fans should love it … as soon as I saw this old article in the sidebar I though … 'that's the plane they leave in at the end of Casablanca!' More so, of course, as the plane in the movie was also a model …


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I've never heard of the SkyPilot line of model aircraft before, but I spotted two models (out of six in the product line) at the Big Lots close-out stores this week - selling for $5.00 USD. The manufacturer is NewRay.

Plane kit

The kit I picked up was the 20365 A Lockheed 10 Electra, the well-known 1930's airliner. A plastic tray contains the plane body, tail, props and a screwdriver; other plastic bags contain the wings, flight stand, screws and pins. The plane is already painted, and only requires assembly.

The minuscule instruction sheet shows the basics. Metal pins are inserted into holes on one side of the fuselage, the tail and another piece (hole down!) are sandwiched into place, then the fuselage halves are pressed into place. The engine nacelles drop into the lower wing-piece (you don't even need to touch the screws), then the top wing-pieces screw into place. The wing assembly then slides into the fuselage, and is secured by another screw (the long one). The instructions say to add the landing gear now, but the main gears came assembled with mine; the tail wheel is easier to add if you do it before putting the fuselage together.

Assembled plane (wheels down)

There is an optional black flight stand, which connects to a plug that fits in the bottom of the plane.

Plane on flight stand

The propellers spin and the wheels retract.

Lockheed Electra in flight

Be careful when picking this one up at the store - it took me a few tries to find a kit that was complete and intact.

Lockheed Electra (bottom)

One of the engine nacelles turned out to be missing its screws - which makes it removable at the moment (I may glue it down). As you can see in the bottom view, one of the lower wing pieces wouldn't quite fit (though I never spotted what the problem was). There are also two "loops" on the bottom of the fuselage, probably intended for suspending the plane.

Wing markings

Another fit problem is the upper fuselage, which gaps slightly once the tail is in place (creating the black line down the middle). A careful application of superglue would probably mend that.

Plane markings

The plane comes with markings for "Northwest Airways Inc." "U.S. Airmail Express" "Passenger Service" "Lockheed" plus the registration number (in three places). The door measures 17mm in height, so this aircraft should work fine with 15mm and 20mm figures.