Gee Bee Z/R (1930 racing aircraft)

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  03 March 2013
Gee Bee Z/R (1930 racing aircraft)

I got a burr up my ass two days ago about my days building model airplanes as a kid. I remembered a favorite of mine, the Gee Bee. I always thought the R-1 looked a little goofy, and the Z Sportster looked a little long. I have been out of 3DS Max for a while now and figured I'd get back in to fill the time during my joyous unemployment.

So I decided to smash em both together, and take some artistic license in... imagining a modern-day manufacture Gee Bee racer, and while I was at it I tried my best to come up with as modern as possible a replica of a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engine; though the radial layout itself really is deprecated in this age, it still looks like... 1930.

Critiques welcome!

Last edited by Quartermaster : 03 March 2013 at 11:15 PM.
  03 March 2013
** Reserved for next WIP render **
  03 March 2013
Wires! Just noticed I collapsed a few objects with IsoLine left on. >< Whatever. Good thing its a hard surface non-animation model :P

  03 March 2013
Some cockpit interior work in progress; also, since most Gee Bee pilots of the 1930s died while attempting to land, since this is a modern-day Gee Bee redesign, I have added leading edge slats to the wings for improved low-speed handling and less death.

The dashboard-top LCD is going to be a heading indicator & speed display in big idiot-proof digital display as a redundant heads-up display to the standard dashboard gauges which are in progress.

  03 March 2013
I like the level of details you've gotten into so far. Keep the work and updating please.
  03 March 2013
Moving on to exterior texturing and taking a break from obsessing over the cockpit. I honestly do not care for the Gee Bee's trademark scalloped paint scheme but... there's no other way to paint a Gee Bee.

  03 March 2013
Hey man,

Your model looks decent technically, but I think the design could be a little more old school. I know your re imagining the BeeGee, but I rather like the original one better. The real one has more distinct design features, while yours seems a little watered down. I really like the large cooling vents around the engine on the original.

I think the cockpit window would be level on top, and probably would bulge up like that. Your pilot would also likely not have enough leg room in front with the canopy pushed forwards like that.

Even if they made an updated version of this, it probably wouldn't be much different. The fastest non turbo prop planes are those souped up 70 year old air race mustangs.

  03 March 2013
I can certainly understand where you're coming from, and I understand if you have a taste for the original's more hand-drawn lines, etc.

With this model I put into practice what I learned as a kid building model airplanes, and figured - if we're building one today, we're using carbon fiber, monocoque construction, aluminum, figerblass, a few computers here and there, so on and so forth. So while a number of things don't change with time (rigging wires on the main spar, wheel spats etc. are necessary by design to maintain light weight in the size and shape given) a few things do. For example, the straight leading edge wing w/ accompanying slats would significantly improve stability at low speeds while modern-day control systems allow for stable flight at speed.

With improved controls comes the ability to manage a shorter moment on the center of gravity; e.g. the pilot can be forward a bit to keep weight as far forward as possible to allow for some semblance of natural stability, etc.

Also looking at original Granville schematics, provided you were able to construct this aircraft using a technique other than wooden ribbing, which obviously today we could, legroom isn't an issue given the materials we're using, also we don't have things like torque tube equipment running fore/aft to the pilot's controls. With self-sealing semi-rigid fuel tanks in the modern day composite wings, there's less of a need to fill the entire fuselage with a massive gas tank.

It's understandable, nobody ever likes to see a nostalgic favorite reformed in the modern age with a more straight-edge simple design when the original was drawn on a drafting table as much for beauty as it was for flight characteristics. But thats why this is a sketch of my own and is in no way a replica of anything the Granvilles ever designed.

This is just a hypothetical "If I could build my own Gee Bee Sportster today and had an unlimited budget..." for-fun model.
  03 March 2013
Cool man, no worries.

Part of what made this plane so special was the crazy design and the lack of safety. Its just hard to image how difficult it must have been to fly.

Its kind of like what happened to the muscle cars that used to have those big, open front grills. It was rubbish for fuel efficiency and bad for pedestrian safety, but it looked great. One wind tunnel testing, and modern regulations took hold, things got all boring looking with those smooth, flexible hoods.

Either way I look forward to seeing how this turns out. Thanks for continuing to share your progress!

  03 March 2013
Can anyone spot the WHOOOOPS fuckup I pulled there in plain sight and somehow missed...

  03 March 2013
I think the prop is backwards.
  03 March 2013
Fixed my stupid mistakes on the landing gear spats, slats and a few textures (lettering in the wrong place etc)

Exterior is 100% complete and ready for scenery, time for more work on the cockpit...

  03 March 2013
love love love LOVE this.

Gee Bee racers are my favourite planes. I've been trying to model the R1 on and off for ages, but never got any hting that I'm happy with. really pleased you picked this.

Happy for you to try the other one too!
  03 March 2013
Thanks! I actually uh... I have an itch to make a tongue-in-cheek militarized version of this Gee Bee.. whatcha think, underwing unguided rockets, maybe a couple brownings, some D-Day stripes, a little battle wear...
  03 March 2013
Very good modeling, Quartermaster!
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