Big Wing - The Airbus of The Early 30s

Discussion in 'Aircraft & Aviation' started by Bengt F, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. Bengt F

    Bengt F Active Member

    Hi all,

    Here is my latest airplane model project - a Junkers G.38 giant wing airliner of the Lufthansa fleet. I find the German "Nurflügel" or 'flying wing' designs interesting and this is related, although it has a tailplane that looks like a bomber from WWI. The Junkers G.38 was the largest land-based airplane of it´s day (the Dornier Do-X was a boat plane). It had about the same wing span as the Airbus 300 of today but it was shorter. Only two were built in Germany but it was also licenced to Japan, where six were built. Of the two built in Germany, the first one (the prototype, with the registration D-2000) crashed after a few years, due to a rudder failure. The second one, D-2500 (this model), was in service by the Lufthansa airline on the route Frankfurt - London.
    In the mid 30s, it also visited Sweden, when our new "Bromma International" airport opened - this airport was the first in Europe at the time to be built with two all-tarmac runways. This second production plane got the registration D-APIS and was later given the pompous name "Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg" for the Lufthansa service.
    In the middle of the 40s, in WW II, it was used as a troop carrier in the Mediterranian. It was bombed by Allied/British air forces at the end of the war, so nowadays only a couple of spare propeller exists of this giant aircraft (at the Hugo Junkers Museum in Dessau, in south-east Germany). What became of the six Japan-built aircraft, I don´t know.

    It is a German Schreiber-Bogen/Aue model, which I have scanned and enlarged slightly (from A4 to A3+ size, 329 x 483 mm) to be able to cut out all the small windows of the cockpit and fuselage. The original scale is 1:100 and think that my model is close to or perhaps slightly larger than 1:72:

    Web link: - to view it, click on the English flag in the left-hand margin, then "catalogue" and "Aeroplanes".

    Late yesterday night, I put all the cut-out parts next to each other and it turns out it will be a big one, with a wing span of about 70 cm. (I think I am going to need a somewhat bigger cutting mat!). It´s a bit of a messy picture, but it gives you an idea of the size and shape. Around the model parts are photos and plans from the period of the 'real thing':


    I kind of promised myself the day before yesterday that if I managed to cleanly cut out all the small windows of the cockpit with a sharp scalpel, and neatly fold the edges, I would continue with the rest of the build - and it turned out pretty well, don´t you think?:


    Due to the opened windows, I plan to add slightly smoke-colored plastic foil to the fuselage and wing windows (to hide some of the interior) and clear plastic to the cockpit. This of course calls for a reasonably detailed cockpit interior, with some pilot and radio operator seats and controls. I also need a vaccum-formed round plastic dome window for the top. I will try to get more info on this from the web. Is there anyone who has pictures or info on the interior of this plane, by the way?
    Because of the size and sheer weight of this model, I will have to reinforce the inner structure with thick card and add a few spars, longerons and formers, to get a straight and sturdy build. The fit of the internal formers, by the way, is terrible - they are much to small. It is not due to the up-scaling, because they are about 5mm too short. I will also add thick internal wire 'legs' to support the landing gear structure.
    I have added the 'historically correct' German national swastikas, that where added to the plane in 1933. I will also add a circular antenna below the nose, a pitot tube and a long wire antenna on the top of the fuselage. I am also thinking of adding real rubber tires to the card wheels, if I can find the right size.
    The passenger embarkation doors will open, to reveal a bit of the fuselage interior. I plan to make a German 'airfield diorama' display, with a Lufthansa stair on wheels just outside the doors, something similar to this photo:


    When I get it completely finished, with the airport diorama base, I will display it in a local hobby shop in Stockholm, where my Fokker Dr.I 425/17 1:20 scale Schreiber-Bogen model is currently on display. I have been promised a space here for permanent card model displays and I am also using it to supply interested modelers with info on card modeling.

    All the best,
    Bengt :wave:
  2. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    AWESOME! This is gonna be fun to watch :)
  3. dansls1

    dansls1 Member

    Very nice build of a big, ugly plane!

    Please don't take that the wrong way, sometimes big ugly things are cool in spite of (because of?) the ugliness. ;)
  4. rlwhitt

    rlwhitt Active Member

    Nice Bengt! This one is going to very interesting!

  5. Elliott

    Elliott Senior Member

    Wow, Bengt! When you tackle a big project, you tackle a BIG project! Looking forward to a most enjoyable build thread. I''m fascinated by the wing windows. These were for passenger seating?


  6. Lex

    Lex Dollmaker

    It's rare to see Schreiber's models these days... That's a great start, would like to see this one completed ^^
  7. cygielski

    cygielski Member

    My favorite era of aviation - and a great choice of model. I'm all eyes. :)
  8. outersketcher

    outersketcher Illustrator, Tinker

    Beautiful cutting job on those windows... I am particularly pleased to read about your efforts to enlighten others of the hidden treasures of papermodeling. As to the vacuum-formed dome, do you plan to create it yourself?

  9. SCEtoAux

    SCEtoAux Member

    Nice looking airplane.
    Perhaps some rubber o-rings could be used for the tires. They come in all kinds of diameters and thicknesses. :)
  10. MOS95B

    MOS95B Member

    Coooolllll....... The cabin stretches into the wings, huh??
  11. Alcides

    Alcides Member

    Very interesting bird. Really looking forward for more about this build.
  12. Bengt F

    Bengt F Active Member

    Some Progress - Landing Gear Support and Wing Spars

    Hi all,

    Thanks to you all for all the positive support. Thanks, SCEtoAux, for the tip on rubber o-rings - I´ll definately try that!
    Yes, the passenger area of the Junkers G.38 extended into the wings - the large front windows in the thick (more than two meters) wings gave a field of view similar to that of the great Zeppelin airships. This fine model from the Hugo Junkers Museum in dessau, Germany, gives an impression of the tremendous view through the large propellers (yes, that´s Hugo himself on the bust on the floor!):


    Hugo Junkers also had an ever bigger airliner project in mind - The Junkers J1000. This giant, with a span of 80 meters(!), would have sleeping cabins and restaurants in it´s enourmous wing:


    The elevation rudder is in the front (canard wing), making it look as it´s flying backwards:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The picture on the right shows a model of the Junkers J1000 from the Junkers archives of how it would have looked with it´s tail on the ground.

    The Junkers G.38 airliner is the top of a line of Hugo Junkers projects during the late 20s - The Junkers J1000 became too big and costly but the G.38 was put into production a couple of years before the outbreak of WW II. This gives you a rough size comparison, too:


    Yesterday, I put some hours into making a really heavy-duty landing gear support. I laminated three layers of thick card (the grey one is the middle one) to be able to insert a 2mm steel wire into the thin paper 'legs'. I want to make sure the landing gear don´t fold under the weight of the completed 70 cm span model. So, I carved grooves out of the outer layers, which I soaked in CA, to make them stronger. The middle (grey) layer is in two pieces. The little red thing is a 'stopper' or end plug, that I will glue to the top to prevent the wire from puncturing the upper surface of the wing, should the wire ever come loose from the glue inside. I made it red just to make sure it would show in this picture:


    I also laminated several other wing spars and started to carve out the shapes of the four propellers - there are two left- and two right-rotating ones. I will try to shape these a bit so I get a sharp propeller blade at one end and perhaps yank them a little bit to get a more propeller-like shape. I will also try to color them so they look like 5-layered, laminated wooden propellers, made out of two kinds of wood. For the metal reinforcement on the blades, I will use small strips of duct tape or gold tape (they might have been made out of brass - I will check again with the Dessau Junkers-museum).
    I also found a clear plastic dome for the top window of the fuselage - if I use it, I will only use the middle (top) part - that will give it just the correct slightly rounded look.

    That´s all for now. More later.

    Bengt :wave:
  13. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Bengt, thank you for the fascinating and very informative thread! I'm looking forward to watching your progress!
  14. 757rol

    757rol New Member


    I'm breathless that a great model you got there, great work

  15. Bengt F

    Bengt F Active Member

    Schreiber-Bogen 1:72 Junkers G.38 Build Thread

    Hi all,

    Thank you very much for those kind words - I am happy that you like the thread. One of my many interests are big, rare and unusual aircraft, particularly of the big flying wing/Nurflügel kind:


    Some more cutting work coming up later tonite. Meanwhile, check out this amazing site, with superb photos of the Junkers G.38, both in Lufthansa livery and in Luftwaffe colors from active troop transport service in the Mediterranian:

    Until then,
    All the best,
    Bengt :wave:
  16. MOS95B

    MOS95B Member

    While it doesn't fully explain what I'm thinking, all I can say is "Wow".

    I read a SciFi novel or story a long time ago that had to be based on this man's work. It was a story about flying airports basically. They never landed, but other aircraft landed in them (including re-fuelers). Passengers changed flights and such in them, just like a real airport. Wish I could remember the whole story to re-read it.

    I can't wait to see how your model turns out
  17. paperbeam

    paperbeam Member

  18. Bengt F

    Bengt F Active Member

    Propellers Carved and Painted

    Hi again all,

    Thanks, paperbeam, for those model photos of the licenced-built Mitsubishi version of the Junkers G.38 - a very nice model. Where did you see it?
    I read, by the way, that one of them was still in service in Japan in 1946.

    I did some research on the cockpit of the G.38 today - and guess what: I had a book in the shelf on old planes, with this picture from the cockpit of the very same plane. There were two big steering wheels for the rudders and ailerons. There were seven crew members on that plane - two of them were engine mechanics, with a monitoring/servicing place betwen the two engines on the starboard and port wing, respectively. This plane had all the latest state-of-the-art technology in 1929, such as an acoustic warning when the plane touched the ground and brakes on all wheels, even the tail ones:


    So, now I think I will use some of the cockpit parts from my big (and still unbuilt) GPM Junkers Ju-52/3m card model (the G.38´s very popular successor, by the way), to make a couple of seats, the two rudder wheels and some handles and intrument panels. It could be really worth the extra work because of all the top windows.

    Tonight, I have been carving propellers most of the time - first I cut them out just inside of the contour line:


    Then I carefully started the long and arduous process of carving all the four blades of the four of them with a new scalpel blade, without breaking them. It all went very well. I still have some fine sanding to do but I have painted them with the kind of dark, runny methanol-based paint that you use outside on wood panels and walls. They look just like laminated wooden props now. It´s quite remarkable how little carving it takes before they begins to look like a real props - they even turn as they should when I blow them a little:


    The landing gear supports are finished now, and they are rock steady - I am very pleased. They will handle just about any load. The black things are dust 'skirts' that cover the landing gear suspension - they attach to the undersurface of the wing.

    Tomorrow, I think I will work a bit on reinforcing the long box spars for the wing and measure up the modified/lengthened formers for the interior of the fuselage.

    Bye now!
    Bengt :wave:
  19. paperbeam

    paperbeam Member

  20. Stev0

    Stev0 Active Member

    The funny thing about that plane is it may seem awkward and built with antiquated technology and thinking but I watched a program about aircraft several weeks ago. In it they talked about today's technology and the new Airbus is THE upper limit of size with the only possibility of getting more people in by creating a full lifting body where people could be placed inside the wing as the oversized wing would be the most efficient means.

    So now I feel silly looking at this 30's craft and thinking it's antiquated. I'm wondering if there's any craft on the drawing board resembling the Shuttle from the 20's. =O

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