Tag Archives: Planes of Fame

Electra-10 Airplane – Part 1

May 2012 – Amazing Wonders Aviation VBS Prop

As I continue to work on my backlog of cardboard projects I  though to myself “Darren, I know you want these to be logged in chronological order, but why are you denying people the joy of following your latest cardboard escapades in near real time?” I then decided to write a series of posts on my current project as it progresses.

This summer our Vacation Bible School is using the Amazing Wonders Aviation curriculum from Lifeway. And as I have done in each of the past four years, I am lending my creative cardboard abilities to the team. We had a volunteer rallying meeting to get people interested and plugged into the decorating projects for this year. With a larger team we are dividing up the work into small groups.

  • Worship Center airplane hanger stage decoration
  • Craft kits
  • Hallway great barrier reef decoration
  • Classroom northern lights decoration
  • Classroom victoria falls decoration
  • 1/3 scale Electra-10 airplane of awesome

As you can imagine I am on the Electra-10 Team, joined by my creative friend Ben who excels in miniatures and detail work. We decided to create a 1/3 scale model of the Lockheed Electra-10 airplane from 1937. This is the same plane used by Amelia Earhart for her flight around the world.

The Electra-10 comes from the classic days of aviation and fits our needs perfectly. It instantly conveys that 30’s-40’s nostalgia for prop planes and simple times. Ben found a set of blueprints online for the Electra-10 and we began our strategy for construction. I set the blueprints at a scale of 1 inch to 1 foot and overlaid a yellow grid for reference. This allowed me to take measurements directly from the blueprints. Fortunately many of the

I was fortunate enough to see this magnificent plane in person at the annual Planes of Fame air show in Chino. We will be using the all silver design with some red accent stripes which were common at the time. The actual Electra-10 has a wingspan of 55ft and a length of 38ft, our 1/3 scale model will not be nearly that size but still feel substantial when hung from the worship center ceiling. Clocking in at 17ft across, 12ft long and 3ft high a modular design is required in order to fit the plane through the double doors of the building.

The plane will be constructed out of cardboard, foam, and wood. The center part of the plane will have a wooden skeleton for hard mounting the hanging wires.

The front cockpit will be entirely made of foam carved from a 2’x2’x2′ block. Also made of foam [indicated in yellow] are the propellors, engine blocks, tail fins, wheels, and about 70% of the main body carved from a 7ft block.

1:1 scale templates were made with scrap vinyl and transferred onto the foam with sharpie. These will be carved out with a hot foam knife.

The main wings and the tail wings will be constructed similarly to how a real plane is made. The vertical spars will be fashioned out of cardboard skeleton, covered with either mylar or large sheets of foil. I expect the plane to be assembled out of four large parts: 2 wings, the entire foam tail, and the main body with engines and cockpit.

The next stage will be to carve out the props, tail fins and cockpit, and shape the main fuselage. I’ve gotten very good at taking progress pictures and short video clips to document my cardboard creations, so part 2 will be coming out soon.