avatar_Brian da Basher

Convairail 8-8-8 from the classic Glencoe kit

Started by Brian da Basher, September 08, 2009, 12:21:15 PM

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Brian da Basher

Dire business conditions forced the merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central rail roads in 1968. The new entity was known as the Penn Central rail road. After an executive brainstorming session held at Bubba's Buffalo Wings N' Brew in Buffalo, NY, it was decided that to remain competitive, the Penn Central had to launch its own commuter/feeder airline. A short to mid-range aircraft was needed that could make use of the short runways at smaller airports. Convair came to the rescue by offering it's new Convairail 888 which was the old 880 model with beefed up landing gear and flaps and its four jets replaced by two 5500 h.p. Pratt & Whitney R 5500 engines. The new engines gave the Convairail 888 very economical performance and they could be put in reverse which, when coupled with the modified flaps, provided excellent short-field capability.

The new Convairail 888 (dubbed the "8-8-8" in railroad fashion by Penn Central crews) went into service on the Sharon to Pittsburgh and Elmira to Buffalo run in November, 1969. Business travellers appreciated the speed with which they were able to travel from small hamlets along the Penn Central line to major eastern cities.

Unfortunately, nothing could keep most railroads viable and the Penn Central folded in 1976, its passenger service being taken over by AmTrak. The Convairail 8-8-8s were retired except for three which were used by AmTrak commissioners. The last 8-8-8 was sent to the scrap heap in 1979 after having been bought at auction by the Buffalo Springfield and flown on their North American tour. The only remnant of that once graceful aircraft is this travel agent's desk model found at the Saratoga Springs Summer Swap Meet and Buffalo Wing festival.
Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

The basis of this project was venerable box-scale (1/126 I think) Glencoe Convair 880 I picked up for $8 at Squadron. Here's what a Convair 880 should look like:


Actually, the only modification I made was leaving off the kit's jet engines and replacing them with two piston engines. The nacelles were cut from one of the pods leftover from a 1/144 B-58 and the cowlings and invisible engines inside them were leftover from a 1/144 DC-6. The props were courtesy of Sequoia Ranger, and I tried to make them match by filing back the blades and adding spinners cut from bombs in the spares box. The cockpit "glass" was made with Elmer's glue as there was no clear part in the kit.
Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

The entire kit was brush-painted by hand with acrylics, Model Masters Primer Gray and Euro Green mostly. Model Masters Steel and Gunmetal were used on the props and engines and Gunship Gray was used for the passenger windows as I didn't have any window decals that fit.

To me, decals make any airliner. The Penn Central decals are N scale by Microscale and went on easily. I decided to use the boxcar weight tables and electrical access panel placards to blur the line between rail and air.
Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

The entire project took me about two weeks to complete. It's like a trip down memory lane for me as I often saw Penn Central freight trains as a child. I really had a blast with this project even though the Glencoe kit is full of challenges. I hope you enjoy my Convairail 8-8-8 as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.
Brian da Basher

Ed S

Imaginative and nicely done.  Do I see a trend of Railroad marked airliners?


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

Brian da Basher

I'm really glad you like it Ed! Unfortunately, I only picked up Pennsy and Penn Central decals, so while you may see more airliners in railroad markings, it will be a while until I move on to different "roads".
Brian da Basher


Nice half-breed, thanks... And so much improved in fuel efficiency... The designer (your father BdB? AdA?) was alas too much ahead of his time, then... ;D
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]

John Howling Mouse

Wow, love that finish!   The windows look so real, too!     :thumbsup:
Really great job, Brian.  Always brings a smile to my face to see another Basher creation.   -_-

You must be having SPATS! withdrawal by now, though?   :o
Styrene in my blood and an impressive void in my cranium.

Ian the Kiwi Herder

Quote from: John Howling Mouse on September 08, 2009, 07:37:33 PM
Always brings a smile to my face to see another Basher creation. 

Wholeheartedly agree !


"When the Carpet Monster tells you it's full....
....it's time to tidy the workbench"

Confuscious (maybe)

Captain Canada

Nice one ! Love the sleek sexy look of that aeroplane....combined with the props. Neat idea ! The front end looks like it could be used for a Bristol Britannia type thing.....

CANADA KICKS arse !!!!

Long Live the Commonwealth !!!
Vive les Canadiens !
Where's my beer ?


Will die without understanding this world.

Brian da Basher

Quote from: John Howling Mouse on September 08, 2009, 07:37:33 PM
You must be having SPATS! withdrawal by now, though?   :o

Yes it's been bad, Mr Howling Mouse. I've tried 12-step programs, group therapy, even knitting but I just can't shake the spats addiction.

Fortunately, I've got a project in the pipeline that should ease the shakes!
Brian da Basher


>The last 8-8-8 was sent to the scrap heap in 1979 after having been bought at auction by the Buffalo Springfield and flown on their North American tour.<

To my great sorrow, the Buffalo Springfield band broke up in 1969 (I saw them live twice, have all four of their albums--two different first versions--and can play most of their songs on guitar).

Richie Furay and Jim Messina went on with "Poco", Neil Young did his own thing, then co-operated with "Stray Gator Band", Steve Stills joined David (The Byrds) Crosby and Graham (The Hollies) Nash for their trio, later joined by Neil Young.

Nice aircraft just the same, and I *THINK* I recognize the propellers!  :mellow:
My mind is like a compost heap: both "fertile" and "rotten"!


Nice one BdB, I think I'll keep a look out for one of these kits as I need to copy the windshield for my Yukon project I have in mind.
If I'm not building models, I'm out riding my dirtbike


Nice, Brian!  The props don't look too bad on it.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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