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Old 08-04-2023, 11:00 PM
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theOshkoshModeler theOshkoshModeler is offline
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USAF Boeing 747 Recolor Megaproject (Canon)

Hello all!

Apologies for the long read, this initial post is very informational for the purpose of introducing the project.


Two days ago I began what will most likely become a several year project.
The inspiration came after stumbling upon military variants/concepts of the Boeing 747 operated by the USAF. Four of these aircraft caught my eye (one of which was a recolor I've wanted to do for a little while now, for obvious reasons) as good candidates.

Unwarranted rant ahead, feel free to skip this section.

While Kouichi Kiyonaga's Boeing 747 is quite possibly my favorite airliner paper model of all time, the current amount of recolors available by the community are few and far between (except for Papercraft Nony, he's done a great job with recoloring several different liveries. However, none of them interest me enough to consider building them).
The (strictly) repaints I currently know of include BA OneWorld, BA Landor, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, ANA (2 versions), Air France, Lufthansa, United, Wamos, Delta, Phillipines, and Korean Air.
Yes, the amount of repaints contradicts my previous statement (in fact most of these were done by Nony), however I don't really care for most of these liveries for the 747.
Almost every single Canon 747 model is a -400 (to be expected). Only two models of the other variants exist (NASA SCA and N601BN) and both happen to be -100s.

Unwarranted rant over; let's get to the details of the project.
To sum it up if you skipped, I believe that these recolors will add more variety to modelers who want to tackle Canon's 747.

I will be recoloring/modifying Canon's BA Boeing 747-400 into four different 747s that are, were, and would have been operated by the United States Air Force.

First up is the Boeing E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Post (AACP), a modified 747-200 which acts as the 'doomsday plane' for the POTUS, designed to survive a nuclear fallout:


Followed by 'Air Force One' Boeing VC-25A herself:


Third is the Boeing YAL-1, a 'failed' testbed based on the 747-400F for (by then) obsolete COIL-based airborne infrared laser ICBM defense systems.
Although it was able to successfully intercept and destroy two missiles, both were in the 'boost' phase of launch; as a result the YAL-1 would have to be in hostile territory in order to be effective.
Funding for the program was cut in late 2010 and the aircraft was soon retired to be completely scrapped in 2014. Methinks there was some highly classified laser technology sitting in that airframe to make them scrap it so quickly.
This one is going to require some custom-designed elements for the laser and whatever that thing on the top is:


The final subject of this project is an aircraft that never actually existed but made for a very interesting concept.
In the 1970s the USAF was looking for an aircraft suitable for an airborne aircraft carrier similar to the USS Akron and USS Macon airships of the 1930s. The obvious candidates were the new (at the time) Boeing 747 and Lockheed C-5 Galaxy due to their large size.
This proposed carrier variant would strip down and refit the entire aircraft to carry, deploy, retrieve, refuel, and rearm up to 10 Boeing Model 985-121 'microfighters' which would have been custom-built for the 747 AAC (no matter how large the Queen of the Skies claims to be, no fighter jet in history would have been able to fit inside the 20ft wide fuselage).
This would have allowed the USAF to deploy carrier-based fighters in a matter of hours rather than a couple days.
The concept, for obvious reasons, never saw the light of day, however the absurdity of it still leave people wondering if a 747 aircraft carrier would have worked under the right circumstances.

Since the 747 AAC never left the drawing board, it's nigh impossible to find good reference material. Fortunately, citizenship over at cgtrader designed an excellent 3D model inspired by the AAC, which I'll be using as a reference:


Boeing 747 Airborne Aircraft Carrier 3D model | CGTrader

This one will require the most work, as I want to not only eviscerate the original model to include the forward and aft hangar bays, fuel boom, and deployment arms(?), but I'll be designing at least two matching 'microfighters' to display alongside or underneath the AAC as well.

Due to the copyright of the original model, I'm not able to sell any of the recolors (believe me, I would if I could; I know there's a lot of modelers who would pay a pretty penny for that AAC) so they will be available here and elsewhere once finished and determined error-free.

Can't wait to see how this project develops!


P. S. Any information or advice that would help in design/recoloring of these aircraft would be highly appreciated. Always helps to have some outside sources and constructive criticism.
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