avatar_Brian da Basher

Ford "Four-Motor" airliner from the old Revell Trimotor

Started by Brian da Basher, July 30, 2009, 02:23:43 PM

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Brian da Basher

While the Ford Tri-Motor is one of the most famous airliners and played a pivotal role in the growth of air travel, little remembered is its predecessor, the Ford Four-Motor.

Forgotten to all but the most arcane historians, the Four-Motor was the original design for a prototype that would one day become the trailblazing Tri-Motor. Ford completed the four-engined prototype in 1927 and after obtaining a Civil Aeronautics Board airworthiness certificate, it was offered to Eastern Airlines for trials.

Eastern Airlines made history not only by putting the Four-Motor in service on the New York to Connersville, Indiana run but also for having the first in-flight stewardesses, starting with a rather petite and shapely brunette, Miss Cora Gatehead. Pioneering air travelers appreciated Cora Gatehead's devotion to duty and their comfort and also her short skirts which showed off her "aerodynamic" form to great effect.

Eventually the bean counters determined the extra engine and expensive spatted landing gear weren't very cost-effective and Ford began producing the more economical Tri-Motor whose design was an evolution of the original Four-Motor.

The Ford Four-Motor was eventually scrapped in 1932 after finishing its career flying the "divorce run" between Los Angeles and Reno, Nevada for Western Airlines. All that remains today of this behemoth it this desk model, found in the abandoned Ford Dearborn Design Museum.

Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

I was looking for a nice quick project and thought the venerable 1/77 scale Revell Ford Tri-Motor kit would fit the bill. I recently picked up two of these from a fire sale at Squadron for $5 each. Here's what a completed Tri-Motor kit should look like:


As I didn't need the engines for one of the Tri-Motor projects, turning this one into a Four-Motor seemed a natural.

I started by amputating the nose engine and making a new nose from sheet plastic. Next I added some spatted landing gear vacuformed for me by Jeff Fontaine (thanks, JJ!). Then I trimmed back the kit engines a little and attached cowlings leftover from Boeing P-12s. The last modification was painting the inside of the clear parts gray as the kit has no interior detail (but it does come with some nice skis, arctic explorers, dog sled and dogs).
Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

I tried something new on this project and left the kit mostly unpainted except for the nose, landing gear and struts and engines. What little painting there was I did by hand in acrylics. The decals were from a sheet for a 1/144 Lockheed Electra turboprop that I got on the cheap from Airline Hobby Supplies. It's a good thing they were cheap because many of them curled badly and I used most of two sets of them for this project.

I hope you enjoyed the model and history of the Ford Four-Motor and the first stewardess Cora Gatehead.
Brian da Basher

Jeffry Fontaine

Wicked!  Don't you eat that yellow snow from out there where the huskies go...
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Outstanding!  :thumbsup: :wub:

I like the grey windows: they somehow don't draw your attention the way black or blue ones do.

I also like the unpainted silver finish. That thought occurred to me looking at my copy of this kit because it doesn't have the random swirls in it that silver plastic normally does, so it's nice to see that it works!
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."
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John Howling Mouse

Ah yes, the lovely corrugated Cora.  Great ribs.
Great model, Brian.  I like this way better than the Tri.
Didn't they originally nickname this one the "Four-by-Ford"?

Love it!

Styrene in my blood and an impressive void in my cranium.

Ed S

A Ford Four with spats. Ingenius.  Well done again Brian.

We don't just embrace insanity here.  We feel it up, french kiss it and then buy it a drink.


I don't really like tri-motors, so I like this quad motor! I love the new new nose - it looks like a finch or a canary -  and the podded engines


Nice! :thumbsup:
Quote from: Brian da Basher on July 30, 2009, 02:45:56 PM
I recently picked up two of these
As I didn't need the engines for one of the Tri-Motor projects, turning this one into a Four-Motor seemed a natural.
And with the other one, what will you invent? :unsure: Will this be a duplex 4-engined "Tri-Motor" + "Tri-Motor" glider?? ;D :wub:
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]


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Nice one Brian,  I think I've read there was a four-engined version of the Trimotor touted, only the engines were in push me-pull me nacelles
If I'm not building models, I'm out riding my dirtbike



Another winner, and done quickly. Maybe you could have outfitted the "divorce run" plane with "consummation chambers" for newlyweds, and other chambers equipped with cheap breakables for the about-to-be divorcees! Maybe "Cora" could make a little money on the side, too!
My mind is like a compost heap: both "fertile" and "rotten"!

Brian da Basher

Quote from: kitnut617 on July 31, 2009, 06:28:28 AM
Nice one Brian,  I think I've read there was a four-engined version of the Trimotor touted, only the engines were in push me-pull me nacelles

You must've read my mind as that's what I've got planned for the other Tri-Motor kit.

I'm really glad you guys enjoyed the Four-Motor and the story of Miss Cora Gatehead.