Scratch-built 1/72 McClary "A" 

motorglider 1929

by Gabriel Stern



   Flying pancakes, flying doughnuts, flying cannelloni, flying croissants…no, I am not telling you what my wife sees when I am in the kitchen, it is aviation history. Among other contributors to the aviation culinary frenzy are the Caproni Stipa, the Lee-Richards annular wing, the parabola wings of Mr. Cheranovsky and the Zimmerman flapjacks. In this particular case, between 1929 and 1931, Mr. McClary developed a series of prototypes of which not much photographic evidence remains. The Model A is what you see here, according to Aerofiles (
   It seems that it was considered a motorglider. Hummmn.
Unfortunately there is no record of it ever flying, but I am an optimist.
   Control was obtained mainly by fervent praying, but also through elevators and rudder, and some sort of ailerons protruding from the…-I guess I should say wing, although I am not totally certain.
   This sort of flattened zeppelin ,although simple in appearance, offers certain challenges, not being the lesser one the absence of 3 views. I concocted one in my periods of lucidity, but the aliens took it shortly afterwards.

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   Areas that will need attention are the engine (55 parts) the wheels (of the spoke type) and the various struts and protrusions. On the engine and its cowling aluminum sheet, styrene, solder and a home-made metalized vacuformed part were all used. Some generic interior was built into the pilot gondola too.
   It looked simple enough at the beginning, but after all the dust settled down the count of parts surpassed the 140 mark. Nothing a normal modeler can’t deal with. If we could only find a normal modeler.
   In 1/72 the model has a reasonable size, not too small, not too big, which makes handling easier. Nevertheless, a number of parts had to be made twice or three times in order to get a reasonable result.

   The unusual shape dictated equally unusual production of parts and assembly procedures, not to mention that you normally make the fuselage and then glue the wings to it, but in this case you make the (only) wing and glue the fuselage to it. Then you glue the tail surfaces to the wing too. Feels strange, but the same can be said of the plane, isn’t it?
   Ask a child to draw a plane and you’ll get the usual representation. Ask this kind of designers to draw a plane and…well, you get the point. See, this is when I start to see fine art in aviation.
   With its startling appearance the McClary surely earned a place in my heart and, eventually, on my shelves.


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Photos and text © by Gabriel Stern