Monday, May 3, 2021

How much is too much?

        I will happily admit that I have a fascination with aircraft that have spatted landing gear, I also like ungainly and unusual looking aircraft. So far I have constrained myself to single engine aircraft but the field of the ugly and ungainly gets ever larger when you add extra engines.The worst part is that there are kits in 1/72 scale of some of these flying abominations. Witness this; the Handley-Page Heyford, a multi-engined bomber that was the mainstay of the British bombing force in the mid-late 1930's. The last of these were only retired from front line service in 1939!

yes Timmy, that is a REAL airplane

              But, to find true madness, you have to travel to the insanity that was the Soviet Union. If you are nutty enough to think that Karl Marx understood anything about economics or human nature you have surely no faith at all in the laws of aerodynamics. Many people (OK, a few oddballs) have heard of Andrey N. Tupolev and his fetish for really, REALLY large aircraft, so you won't be surprised by the ANT-20.

I think those spats are larger than my first apartment!

     But to fully embrace the utter lunacy that was Soviet aircraft design you have to become familiar with the work of Konstantin Kalinin. He was a man that fully understood the brute-force Soviet mindset as well as being an out-of-the-box engineer. After two unattractive, but entirely conventional, airplanes the KA-4 and KA-5   Kalinin let his ambitions run loose and designed the KA-7. This apartment-block sized thing looked more like a avant-garde bit of sculpture than an aircraft that was expected to actually fly. As a civilian airliner it was expected to house 120 passenger seated inside the immensely thick wing. As a troop transport 112 fully-equipped soldiers were to ride in it and as a bomber it could hoist 21,000 pounds of bombs. In the military role it was to be armed with eight (count 'em, eight) 20mm cannon and eight machine guns. Now I understand where H.G. Wells got his some of his ideas for "The Shape Of Things To Come".  No Deviant-Art Deisel-Punk dream comes close to the reality of this object.  

       Behold the Kalinin KA-7 in all it's glory!

seven of the most powerful engines available at the time dragged this thing through the air at a whopping 110 MPH, notice the spats that were about as aerodynamic as a parachute
a different view provides a feeling for the massive bulk of the thing
but seeing full-sized humans near it gives you an
 understanding of the simply obscene size of the thing 
my first house wasn't as big as that "spat"

        But Kalinin was not done yet! Nyet!, not yet! Before this founder of the Kharkiv Aviation Institute and winner of the Order of the Red Banner of Labor was dragged off to be executed for not being a good enough Commie he came up with the K-12. The appearance of this aircraft is reason enough to warrant his execution, the paint job that he gave it would also provide good cause. It seems that Kalinin decided that it you had enough wing you didn't need a tail at all, I wonder if he escaped and secretly got a job with Blohm und Voss......

no, part of the drawing isn't missing, that is how it is supposed to look!

it looks like nobody was crazy  enough to fly this thing
 as there seem to be no pictures of it airborne

 and that is the paint scheme that they brought it out in
he deserved prison at the least for that stunt!


      There are models of all of these aircraft in 1/72 scale! I currently have two (don't ask why) of the Matchbox 1/72 scale Heyfords.

       And a company called Mirko Mir makes both the K-7 (for a paltry $299US)

and the K-12 (at a much more reasonable $39.88)

       I am a man sorely tempted!


  1. Dick Dastardly and Mutley flew more conventional looking aircraft.

    You know you need that K-7 kit.

    1. Need is a very subjective concept; but I think that I agree with you.

  2. Think of the skirmish game that could be held INSIDE the K-7. Bother and confusion to the 300$ kit. Make it out of blue board in 28mm!!

    1. Ahhh, Housemartin, you spend my time so freely!

    2. You are getting soft in your reclining years. The Anton of years past would have already had one built in blue foam and be working on the scenario to run in it!

    3. There doesn't seem to be any surviving plans of the interior. This makes the layout very difficult, I would hate to place the Men's Smoking Lounge on the wrong floor! Because then a self-appointed expert would correct me. I can't afford that there is so little space left in the garden for burying bodies.

    4. In response to garbage scows such as those you describe, a WISE man once said ... "When they bring their 'correct' model over I will happily use it instead". Besides, if there are no plans, it was obviously a modular interior!

    5. For further inspiration here is a seven minute youtube of some lunatic German who made a working Remote Control model of a K-7 and is flying it at some German R/C airshow.

      And here are your internal schematics. First is the left side, the second is the right side.

      You know I am only too happy to help with any research you may want.