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 Post subject: Movie Musings
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 8:09 pm 
Paper Model Overlord
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Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:15 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Alameda CA
Having built the Grumman Duck stock as an exercise I couldn't resist pulling the thing into Photoshop for some genuine improvements, and that of course raised the issue of what sort of paint scheme to doll the Duck up with, so I decided to go with the most famous Duck of them all, Murphy's Duck, from the Peter O'Toole movie "Murphy's War". Fortunately I own a DVD of the movie, so was able to capture many images of that Duck to get not just its colors and insignia right, but also any idiosyncratic features, and therein lies the nub of this post:

When building a movie airplane, there are actually two possible versions to build, both significantly different - which one to build?

There's the version represented by the story, and there's the version actually used for flying, and while superficially the "same" airplane, they are quite different beasts. Perhaps the most extreme example of this difference is the airplane built for "Flight of the Phoenix", the story of a crashed C-82 rebuilt into a single engine airplane from one of its tail booms. The homemade craft built by Tallmantz Aviation for the flying resembled the story airplane (and only barely) in rough outline only - in virtually every detail respect they were entirely different craft.

While the two versions of Murphy's Duck aren't as different as the two Phoenixes, they are enough to give the nit pickity modeler fits of indecision. The flying Duck in the movie, for example, is fitted with a custom windscreen and canopy (modified from a BT-13's windscreen and canopy) in order to provide as unobstructed a view as possible of Peter O'Toole in the cockpit from many different camera angles. The flying Duck also has multiple modern avionics aerials that didn't exist at the time of the story (1945). The ADF loop housing isn't the period football on a stick but the sleek inverted canoe of the 1950s. Finally the story airplane has real bullet holes in the fuselage; the flying Duck's "bullet holes" were painted on (I suppose here the difference between printed bullet holes and printed painted bullet holes could be insignificant until you consider that simulated bullet holes could be made with a large sewing needle rather than printed).

The biggest challenge with Murphy's Duck, regardless of which version I decide to build, is its exposed R-1820 engine. The story airplane's cowling was destroyed so they flew the real Duck with its cowling off (I wonder how long they could fly it before the cylinder head temps reached redline, or if they stayed cool even without the cowling). I'll be borrowing the R-1820 from a ModelFan Curtiss BFC2 Hawk I happen to have, after scanning and rescaling the parts.

So what do you guys think makes the most "authentic" model:

The story airplane, or the one actually flown to make the movie? Both are equally "real" in terms of making a minature replica.

Mark Baird
Alameda CA

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 1:54 pm 
FG Origami Master
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:24 pm
Posts: 223
Location: Hopewell Junction, NY
Interesting question, Mark. I think it depends on how you intend to display your model. If it is to be tethered dockside, vignette style, I'd use the "movie" airplane. If it's going to be depicted in flight, I'd use the "flying" model. On the other hand, if it's going to be a shelf model, either version would fit the bill. Maybe you can use your favorite scene from the movie to decide which version to build. Good luck. Sounds like an interesting project.


Currently working on: 1/48 Fokker DVII
Recently completed: 1/72 Douglas Skystreak

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:30 am 
FG Origami Master

Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:48 pm
Posts: 221
Location: liberty lake, wa
I think the Murphy's war duck is a great idea, and the exposed engine would make a nice addition to this model

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