Saturday, 28 November 2020
...this time from Ed Mautner .(one of the Blue Ridge boys)
Ill present Eds own words as the back story.
Started as a project for the NASM in 2018, I delivered it to the Museum last Friday. This will be installed in a special exhibit entitled “Speed” at the downtown museum in 2021.The real Meteor will be in the same gallery so errors and omissions will be glaringly obvious to those looking closely enough.
This aircraft was designed and built in 1936 by its famous air racing pilot Roscoe Turner from Indianapolis. Turner titled it the Turner Soecisl/RT-14 for its 14 cyl. Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engine. Dealing with several technical problems, Turner called in famous air racing engineer, Matty Laird to re-engineer the Meteor. Laird had built several successful National Air Race (NAR)winners including “The Solution”, Thompson Trophy (pylon race) winner in 1930, and the “Super Solution”, Bendix Trophy (cross country) race in 1931. Now called the LTR-14, Turner then went on to win The Thompson Trophy at the NAR in 1938.
A consummate showman, Turner wore a custom tailored military style flying outfit and cap and began flying with a small lion cub named Gilmore. Gilmore even had his own custom made parachute. Gilmore has a story of his own but, like the Meteor, resides in storage at the NASM thanks to the art of taxidermy.
An Indy 500 connection: besides living in Indianapolis, Turner was sponsored by the then famous Gilmore Oil Company of California - what was that lion’s name? Another long story left for another time, but Gilmore sponsored air and auto racers throughout the ‘30s. Wilbur Shaw, a three time Indy 500 winner was one of those sponsored by Gilmore. If you look carefully at Shaw’s Victory Circle photos in 1939 and 1940 you will see Roscoe Turner standing behind Shaw’s Maserati. He’s the guy with the big toothy smile, upturned handle bar mustache and aviator’s cap.
The model handed to me by the Museum staff was The Lindbergh Models 1/32nd scale kit manufactured in 1959. More toylike than a replica, every shape and dimension was incorrect. In addition to photos, my primary reference was a set of set of fairly accurate drawings done by Paul Matt in 1971. I reshaped, resized, and detailed wings, rudder, and horizontals/elevators. I scratchbuilt the entire cockpit including instrument panel and sourced a resin seat from a CMK P-40 upgrade set and added Eduard brass set belts/buckles. The fuselage was rescibed and rivet and screw locations were represented, carved the upper carb intake from plastic, added the tail end of two FW-190D-9 canopies to represent the two oil cooler intakes on the starboard fuselage. The cowl was likewise re-scribed with screw and rivet locations represented with a fine drill. The kit engine was just flat plate with some raised finned cylinders. Found a pretty good P&W Twin Wasp from Engines and Things from up in Canadia. Still had to detail that with push rod tubes and ignition wires. The odd shape of the fuselage led me to show the canopy in the stowed position. To use the canopy would have necessitated raising the rear deck and the giving the Meteor a major “tummy tuck”. Time and talent forced me to throw up the white flag on that.
Many thanks to Mark Tutton/Starfighter Decals for the beautiful water slide decals. Used Gunzy Mr. Surfacer gray primer and various metallic shades of Alclad II for final finish. Most detail painting was in Tamiya’s acrylics.
There are errors, shortcomings, and things I wish I had more time to do. But it is replica I am quite happy with. Enjoyed building it and glad it’s completed and turned in. To anyone wanting a replica of the LTR-14 Meteor, start from scratch. Or wait until a current company - Dora Wing’s ? Brings one out.