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Old 08-04-2014, 12:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default An Air France flying boat.

I know that propliners are not everyone's cup of tea and I am not sure that this flying boat is a topic of interest.

The Latécoère 631 was designed before WWII and made its maiden flight during the war under German supervision, after a few flights, it was seized by the Luftwaffe and flown to Lake Constance (Germany) where it was destroyed by a bombing.
The second prototype was assembled when France was liberated and flew for the first time before the end of the war.
Ten were built, only three were used by AF.
The aircraft was withdrawn from service after the loss of the F-BDRC.
The F-BDRC was the only aircraft wearing the blue cheat line.

Thanks to its high aspect ratio wing, the aircraft had a modest drag and therefore a long range, it was able to cross the North Atlantic both ways without any stop, but it came too late and couldn't compete with the DC 4s and Constellations.
And at the end of the war, there were so many concrete runways available that the world did not need big flying boats …
The Saro Princess was another casualty.

The model is an HBM resin model.
Propellers are courtesy of Paul Howard, thank you Paul.
Antennae and pitot tubes were added.
The decals are from F-RSIN.

Disregard the primitive "stand" which was made in only 15 minutes …

Making your own models to expand your collection is a very interesting experience, very rewarding, I encourage those who could be tempted to go this way.

Jean Pierre.

Last edited by AIR FRANCE 340; 12-23-2014 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Thank you for the splended pictures and history of this unusual aircraft. The model is a beauty! This was worth looking at because I learned something new. I agree flying boats are not everyone's cup of tea. Some of my fellow postcard collectors have no interest in flying boats of Pan American for example but will collect other aircraft cards of the same. You are most certainly correct about the reason for the end of the flying boats. Had there been no world war, airport development would have been much slower. Perhaps the boats would have stuck around into the 1950's.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Jean Pierre: This is a beautiful bird! I wish I had the modeling skills--or that there was a finished model available. It is much more appealing than the Boeing 314. It's even more attractive than my (old) favorite the M-130 "China Clipper."


Thank you for sharing your fine model!
~Teil
p.s. The French have always cornered the market in beauty (too many more to post!):



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Old 08-04-2014, 03:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

A truly beautiful aircraft, but then coming from the country that gave us the Caravelle, and the Citroen DS, how could it have been otherwise. BTW, my parents drove the Citroen DS for many years, an amazing vehicle.

Neil.
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

An elegant statement Jean-Pierre. Very aerodynamic shapes. Congratulations on your build!

Best,
Herb
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Old 08-04-2014, 06:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Such a magnificent model of such a graceful aircraft Jean-Pierre. A remarkable feat of modelling and I dare say a centre piece of your collection.
I too much prefer propliners with their classic layouts and distinctive shapes to todays generic looking jets but I guess that's partly a sense of nostalgia and I'm sure that collectors back in the 40's and 50's if they existed would have given their right arms to have models of futuristic sleek shapes with only two cylindrical engines hanging from their swept wings.
Well done anyway and it was a joy to look at your photos.
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Jean-Pierre-

That project turned out really nice- exceptional in fact. Your craft is exemplary. Good to see that we old guys can give the youngsters like Ben (Istari) a run for the money. At least your effort inspires me to start on some of my many castings.

Do you use airbrush, or spray can?

- Danny

Last edited by samu990; 08-05-2014 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Excellent work on the model and a beautiful design. I remember reading about this aircraft in a library book while in grade school. Anything with >4 engines commands attention.
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Fascinating model and aircraft. History never really gave it a chance, did it.
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Ah, yes, im having one made too, it was suposed to be my last Christmas gift, things are probably delayed...fingers crossed it will be done for this years Christmas then! Beautiful model, mon cher, well done!!!!
Rc
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

this is a fantastic work
bravo
btw can it float on the water ?
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:02 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Beautiful job, Jean Pierre! I am very impressed with the antennae and the mast, it really set off the basic HBM model.
There is a lot if very detailed custom work on this and it adds so much to the finished model.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Planes are planes, man, how could anyone interested in flying machines not be interested in ALL of them? Wonderful work on your model, I doubt anything released from a manufacturer could be better made. Another aircraft I knew nothing of and am glad I now know of it, beautiful lines and truly, it makes Boeing's airboat look like a duck.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

that is one amazing aircraft.... thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Outstanding work, Jean-Pierre! I, too, was unaware of this beautiful flying boat, so thank you for sharing this fine model and fascinating history with us. You can count me among the flying boat enthusiasts. My first airplane ride was on a Grumman Goose and the experience helped make me the aircraft enthusiast (nut) I am today!

Cheers,
AB
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:14 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Really a beauty and very comfortable
Attached Thumbnails
An Air France flying boat.-latecoere.jpg  

Last edited by wingcommander; 08-05-2014 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 08-05-2014, 01:38 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Jean Pierre, beautiful model and you do have some excellent skills.

The golden age of flying had such beautiful aircraft. It is a real pity that collectors without the skills to build these from scratch (or even from kit form) will not be able to enjoy looking at these beauties.

Great job and I am sure your whole, very unique, collection will give you plenty of joy.

Eugene
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Old 08-05-2014, 04:05 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Jean Pierre, that looks stunning. Thanks for your emails about the build, it will help a lot for my own project. A perspex or acrylic stand similar in design to your wooden one would look good too. Thanks for sharing and the pics are great help as well. Hope Rui's Christmas present is ready in time for this year !
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Old 08-05-2014, 06:05 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Graham, no hurries, as I still dont have a cabinet to display my models...but from what I remember you showing me, this is quite a large model indeed. Fingers crossed, fingers crossed then! Tx again Jean Pierre for the great pics of a great model!!!
Rc
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Old 08-05-2014, 06:27 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

a real nice model imo...
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Old 08-06-2014, 03:44 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Thank you my friends for your kind words nice to hear from people like you.

A few answers to your questions.
Yes Danny, I use spray cans for my models, very easy to use but of course, I do that outside when there is no wind.
No it can't float, it's heavy resin and the flying boat had two additional floats in engine nacelles 1 and 6.
… and I too had a Citroën DS when I was young, a fantastic car, but I have never met Brigitte Bardot …

Thanks again.

Jean Pierre.
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Old 08-06-2014, 05:06 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Wow beautiful work!!!
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Old 08-06-2014, 06:19 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

JP thank you very much for posting. I also did not know of this aircraft's existence until your post. As the same of your last post with the history with the aircraft that looked like a DC3 (which I cant find right now). Wow this Latecoere has to be the centre piece of your collection now. Beautiful gracefull lines and the size must have been huge in it's day. I have a three sea planes in VH rego's that I have posted before and I not going to post here to steel the attention of this great aircraft and your model! Thank you so much for the history of this aircraft as well. I love the engineering & design of the whole aircraft, but drawn to the retractable floats on engines 1 & 6. Naturally, I went on youtube strait away to learn more about this aircraft & see if there was any footage of the aircraft and there is. Click on the link below if you want to see some real footage. Just beautiful

Historic Archival Stock Footage WWII - Giant French Seaplane Latecoere Is Flight Tested



* wingcommander - thank you for the cabin layout. Size and space of the cabins must have been great for the passengers - fantastic

* JP can you take some under shots of the wings please I would love to see more of this aircraft.

Last edited by Aussiejets; 08-06-2014 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:52 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

I can only say "WOW"!!!

I envy you so much for having the skills to built it and I congratulate you for that!

That is such a wonderful model
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:19 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroguy View Post
Ah, yes, im having one made too, it was suposed to be my last Christmas gift, things are probably delayed...fingers crossed it will be done for this years Christmas then! Beautiful model, mon cher, well done!!!!
Rc
I want one too. How can I get one made? PM me

Last edited by Aussiejets; 08-06-2014 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:50 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Again, thank you very much for your nice comments and your interest for this forgotten aircraft.

I know that Aussiejets has a strong leaning towards flying boats and I attach a few photos showing the underside of the model.
Sorry for the quality of the pictures, they were taken indoors, it's raining today.

The small twin engine that looks like a DC 3 is a Bloch 220.

It's true that the Latécoère was huge, as big as an A 300.

Only 48 hours of tests were made by the French before the aircraft was taken over by the Luftwaffe.
A maximum weight of 71,5 tons was demonstrated for the take off.
It was able to maintain its altitude with 3 engines stopped on the same side at 44 tons (altitude and temperature not published).

Jean Pierre.

Last edited by AIR FRANCE 340; 12-23-2014 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:39 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Wow ! Thank you for taking the time for more photos for us, exactly the shots I was looking for including the comparison shot with the A300 JP. There is some great details on those engines too. Thanks again JP

Last edited by Aussiejets; 08-07-2014 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:32 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

As beautiful as the Latecoere was, and I believe it was the best looking flying boat ever made, it must be pointed out that it proved to be a very dangerous aircraft. Some were lost taking passengers and crew with them.
I'm presently away from my reference materials so I defer to our Air France historian Jean Pierre for the details.

Last edited by Dooltd; 08-07-2014 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:25 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Jay is right, here is the story.

The least we can say is that the flight tests were badly disrupted by the war.
The aircraft was allowed to fly by the Germans provided it stayed 10 kilometers around Marseilles where the tests were carried out.
Only 48 hours were made before the ferry flight to Friedrichshaffen.

When France was liberated, it was essential for the French to make up the lost time but they were too much of a hurry to put this plane into service.

Other nations made a lot of progress during the war but French aerospace industry was kept silent for five years and its engineers were unable to fix aileron vibrations (today we would say, flutter) discovered very early on the prototype.
The danger of the problem was played down.
It was a big mistake.

The first prototype F-BAHG, appropriately registered 63+11 for the ferry flight to Germany was destroyed by RAF bombing.

The second prototype F-BANT lost the engine #3 propeller, killing one Brazilian journalist among the passengers and damaging the engine #2.
The aircraft landed on a lagoon in Uruguay.
After minimal repair and a weight as low as possible, the aircraft took off …on 4 engines.

F-BDRD was lost during a ferry flight, reasons unknown (flutter?).

F-BDRC lost between Fort de France and Port Etienne (today Nouhadibou), reasons unknown (flutter?).

F-BANU lost during a test flight, reasons unknown (flutter?), much later, an aileron actuator was found by a fisherman in his nets, it showed signs of a rupture under heavy stress.

F-BDRE lost in Africa during a tropical storm.

The remaining six aircraft were grounded and stored in an old Latécoère hangar, in winter 1956, because of the weight of the snow, the roof collapsed, destroying all the aircraft.

A sad end for an aircraft that was designed too early and put into service too late.

It took ten years for the French aerospace industry to fully recover from WWII.
The Caravelle flown in 1955 was successful.

Jean Pierre.
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:58 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

A sad end indeed to a beautiful aircraft. I have learned a lot in the past 48 hours about this aircraft through my own research. I knew about the the snow on the roof that destroyed the hanger and all of the remaining aircraft as that is also on youtube with a larger version, I think it maybe 1:100 of your model filmed in a model shop, but not all the detailed history as above. I have also found HMB models website. Thank you for the knowledge you have passed on to all of us about the Latecoere 631. My gratitude

Last edited by Aussiejets; 08-08-2014 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:34 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Re: An Air France flying boat.

I just saw this and -- WOW! Jean Pierre, what a gorgeous job! I'm curious . . . where were you able to source the small pitot tubes, etc.? Are they scrap from other kits (typical in my case), or was Paul able to supply these?
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:40 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

Hello Christopher.

Thank you Christopher, I'm very glad you like it.
The little things, antenna, masts, pitot tubes are homemade, I use little staples, very basic tools, big fingers and old eyes.
Each of us is able to do that.
Propellers were supplied by Paul.

On the picture I attach, the ADF loop antenna and pitot tubes could find their way to a DC 3.

Jean Pierre.

Last edited by AIR FRANCE 340; 12-23-2014 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:48 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Air France flying boat.

The tools of an artisan...little details like these enhance a model so well. Mon cher, vous etes un artist!
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