Macchi Frantercula

 "The discovery of new superconductor technology renewed the Age of the Flying Boat. The Schneider Cup was organized again in 2131 after two hundred years of absence. Italian Macchi company beat the French, British and American competitors with a splendid record of 640 kmph with its new Fratercula model, which combined powerful engines with aerodynamic shaping and solar panel wings."

This MOC was built for my LUG Palikkatakomo's spring contest of Kilpuri (a racer; I came up with that one). The contest had a piece limit of 300 (this model has only 170 pieces though, including the stand). I was 8th of 17 contestant, so a smidgen over the middle line; I'm more proud of being the only non-land-based racer, and one of the three not moving on wheels.

The piece limit urged me to use some weird, larger pieces to build the racer. I bought those solar panel parts of Mars Exploration Rover from 2003 few months ago (apparently I have the whole set of them) and definitely wanted to use them here. The first idea was a space sailing boat with one of those panels as the sail; the orange boat hull was built for it. I also made a big engine with the medium azure corner panels (from early Friends horse trailer) but couldn't really compose a decent space clipper with additional engine! The designs felt random and out of focus, so I turned to some other ideas. A frame of other curved medium azure panels formed a nice rigging for the engines, and I hung the boat part in the middle of it.

The design is unsurprisingly inspired by Miyazaki's aeroplanes, especially the flying boats on Porco Rosso (which is my favourite movie). As crazy at some of those planes look, they're closely based on real flying boats. They're weird, beautiful type of machinery! My take is a futuristic racing plane, but I wanted to keep lot of the classic elements, especially on the hull. The solar panels ended up in the wings, and while they're not very deeply integrated into the MOC, they have certain "thin" quality usually absent from brick-built aeroplanes. The finishing touches included a unusually connected tail and a number 2 on the top - to clearly mark it as a racing vessel. 

The stand is a simple affair, with a joint for adjusting the angle. I the cool thing of it is that the plane doesn't connect to it but just rests on it; the slopes on the midsection of the hull obviously match their inverted counterparts. It's pleasant.

- Eero. 


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