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Dornier DO X
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Dornier DO X, the legendary flying boat, a 1:39 scale model in LEGO
About this creation
The Plane:
In 1929 it was the world’s largest, heaviest and most powerful flying boat. Built on the shores of Lake Constance in Switzerland, the German-made Dornier DO X took almost a quarter million hours of labor to assemble. The aircraft was 131 feet long, 157 feet in wingspan, powered by twelve 524-horsepower radial engines, set up in a push-pull configuration (propellers front and back of each of six nacelles). By standards of that era, accommodations were luxurious: up to 66 passengers could enjoy the wet bar, dining room, sleeping berths, and spacious lounge, all located on the main deck, which they entered directly from a “stub wing” on either side of the ship, the stubs also providing for stability and buoyancy. Above the main deck was the cockpit, navigation area, machine room, and a radio room. Below the main deck were tanks for buoyancy and fuel.

With a crew of 14 aboard, the first flight of the DO X occurred July 12, 1929. At the time of its 70th test flight on October 21, 1929, the DO X set a world record by carrying 169 people for 40 minutes. That record flight held for 20 years. The DO X went on a “world tour” beginning November 3, 1930, flying a transatlantic test flight to New York City, which it reached in August 1931 after several intervening stops. It was berthed in NYC for several months near what is now LaGuardia airport, enabling thousands of Americans to visit in awe. Upon its arrival back home in Berlin in May 1932, it was greeted by 200,000 cheering people.

Two other models were produced – the X2 and X3 – and were in service with Lufthansa airlines for a few years. But the design never achieved a commercial footing. Within a decade, all three models were scrapped. But for decades thereafter, plastic modeling kits kept the legacy of the Dornier DO X alive. An Internet search provides you many photos having delightful details of the DO X.

On the Water:
The harbor taxi approaches with the final group of travelers. They will transfer onto the stub wing in the shadows under the huge main wing above.


The Scene:
On the main deck: In this first of several cutaway views, a crew member waits in the dimly lit gangway for the remaining passengers. Most of them turn aft to the lounge, but first we will go forward towards the bow.

In this next cutaway view, left to right: the anchor room, bar, smoking lounge, sleeping berths.

A few passengers await takeoff in the smoking room. Note the tropical island wall décor in the bar.

People have mostly gathered in the main lounge, talking and having drinks.

In the galley, Platzchen the chef warms up some delights for the passengers. In the pantry his stowaway kitty Pelzball waits for the cook to sneak him a treat.

Here is a cutaway of the entire main deck with its details:

On the upper deck: A cutaway view of the upper deck reveals the pilot room, navigation area, engineering, and radio rooms.

As everyone prepares to get underway, Captain Christensen is at the helm. Behind him a young officer speaks to the Captain about navigating the route.

The Chief Engineer works in the machine room. He carefully balances the power across the 12 engines, using the wall gauges to check their status.

The Radio Officer keeps contact with the rest of the world when the plane is airborne, because in that era radar was being developed but had not yet been deployed.

Taking flight:
The Captain says it is time to depart. The DO X takes off.


Popping the hatch atop the utility room in the rear of the upper deck, a crew member’s hair gets wind-blown in flight while viewing the huge yet intricate tail configuration of the plane.

The Model:
Every decision in model-building involves a key trade-off: What details (realism) will be sacrificed to achieve the desired scale and simplicity? My modeling goal is to achieve clearly recognizable profile lines of the aircraft, minimizing distortions caused by the unyielding shapes of the LEGO pieces. In this model, I wanted to do more than just reproduce the outer profile – the model that you see contains the interior details shown in the preceding cutaway views. Most can still be seen through the portholes and windows – but even the windowless engineering and radio rooms contain just what you see above.

My choice of building this model in 1:39 scale involved both necessity and convenience. To build interior details I need space, which the more common 1:48 scale would have cramped. I think the “bloated” look of LEGO mini-figures (1:48) appears reduced when put into a 1:39 environment. The convenience factor is this: at 1:39, one stud = one foot. Thus this LEGO model of the DO X is 131 studs in length, with a wingspan of 158 studs. If built that would make this model in real life about 3.3 feet long and 4 feet wide across the main wing. (Think twice before picking it up!)

During my design work, pink and yellow plates 1x10 helped me see where boundary lines where changes occur in the profile of the ship. Orange plates temporarily connected adjacent plates having no underlying support.

Just like in the real world, a solid wing stretching as far as this would break off the fuselage from its sheer weight. So in my model, the wings are as hollow as I could make them. I used dark-bluish-gray plates underneath (lower right in the photo), curved sloped on top (upper left). The red technic bricks 1x16 running most of the length of the wingspan provide torsional rigidity. Small red plates provide lateral bonds for the larger (6x24) dark-bluish-gray plates. The bottom of the hull (below the floor of the main deck) is nearly all LEGO brick, little or no hollow space, so as to withstand the weight of the pieces above. In total, the model has over 2,900 pieces. It took me the entire month of March 2018 to build.

What else? I hope you had fun looking at the pictures! If you enjoy this flying boat, you might also want to visit my MOC-Pages models on the Sikorsky S-38 Amphibion and another giant of the skies, the Martin PBM-5S Mariner. My other models include many classic helicopters, if you’re curious. Please provide your comments below! Thanks for looking!





Comments

 I made it 
  July 13, 2018
Quoting john lamarck Good job on this one.
Thanks - this MOC pushed me into trying to design the interior fuselage space, a task I skipped when I did another big flying boat, the Martin PBM-5S Mariner.
 I like it 
  July 13, 2018
Good job on this one.
 I made it 
  April 4, 2018
Quoting Doug Hughes Brilliant work!! Tis a beast, and very accurate too!
Doug, thank you!
 I like it 
  April 3, 2018
Brilliant work!! Tis a beast, and very accurate too!
 I made it 
  April 3, 2018
Quoting jim mcdonough really nice build,love the way you have done the wings,very realistic style,would cost a fortune to build in real bricks given the curved pieces,did you have a total pieces used.however i would have tiled the rear wing to give it that smooth appearance like the rest of it,have to agree when i seen Henriks motorcycles i thought they were real aswell minifig scale is quite hard it can be anything from 1/36 to 1/40 depending on what your building, i like how you used to the yellow/pink plates to work the build always nice to see the build process
Jim, thanks for the kind remarks & rating. Total pieces: 2920. Yes, I'm working on getting a large fortune to afford the small fortune it would take to buy so many curved slopes!
 I like it 
  April 3, 2018
really nice build,love the way you have done the wings,very realistic style,would cost a fortune to build in real bricks given the curved pieces,did you have a total pieces used.however i would have tiled the rear wing to give it that smooth appearance like the rest of it,have to agree when i seen Henriks motorcycles i thought they were real aswell minifig scale is quite hard it can be anything from 1/36 to 1/40 depending on what your building, i like how you used to the yellow/pink plates to work the build always nice to see the build process
 I made it 
  April 3, 2018
Quoting Kurt's MOCs Nicely done! A great model of a great airplane!
Thanks, Kurt! Your own model of a big flying bird, the B-29 (Redux), is inspiring, especially for adding extensive remarks on the design process. Appreciating what you did there, I put in a few such remarks on designing this DO X.
 I like it 
  April 2, 2018
Nicely done! A great model of a great airplane!
 I made it 
  April 2, 2018
Quoting Henrik Jensen That`s one huge flying boat! Quite an amazing model. You did some great compromises to make it suitable for both crew and passengers, and it certainly looks like a DO X, great work!
Thank you! I often go view the models by people who kindly post comments about mine -- I must say that when I saw your motorcycles, I thought - Wait, those are pictures of *real* motorcycles, not Lego models. But no! So: Wow! Make that *Super-Wow!!* That is *masterful* work in those creations.
 I like it 
  April 2, 2018
That`s one huge flying boat! Quite an amazing model. You did some great compromises to make it suitable for both crew and passengers, and it certainly looks like a DO X, great work!
 I made it 
  April 2, 2018
Quoting Mark B. Building this beast at minifig scale is a massive undertaking. It looks great, inside and out. I am guessing that in your model, just like on the real aircraft, those struts would do a lot to help support the weight of wings.
Exactly so. However I have no plans to test that by doing an actual build. Thanks for the comment & the *like*.
 I like it 
  April 2, 2018
Building this beast at minifig scale is a massive undertaking. It looks great, inside and out. I am guessing that in your model, just like on the real aircraft, those struts would do a lot to help support the weight of wings.
 I made it 
  April 1, 2018
Quoting Sam Sanister Ooh, the K-7~ How about Vakhmistrov's Circus?
Definitely on my list -- what a hoot!
 I like it 
  April 1, 2018
Ooh, the K-7~ How about Vakhmistrov's Circus?
 I made it 
  April 1, 2018
Quoting Seaman SPb Great!
Many thanks! Always appreciate your visits.
 I made it 
  April 1, 2018
Quoting BATOH rossi fantastic! the magical era of flying ships ... that nostalgia!
Thanks! After viewing your T-72 tanks and their cutaways showing internal spaces and mini-figs at work, I decided I would try to create both inner and outer detailing, and the result is my Dornier DO X.
 I made it 
  April 1, 2018
Quoting Sam Sanister So... many... levers... Ah, I've used the ol' plates-to-determine-length as well. Have you thought about building the Caproni 60?
HA! All 9 wings of it? Fat chance. I have this conceit about designing models that could actually hold together if I bought the bricks and built them in real life. The real life Caproni-60 couldn't do it, so I doubt a Lego model would fare much better. But I appreciate your POV - I've started a little list of "freaky aircraft" to consider designing, including such obvious candidates as the Kalinin K-7. Hey, thanks for visiting, your vote, and comments. I'm off to see if I find models that you have posted here.
 I like it 
  April 1, 2018
So... many... levers... Ah, I've used the ol' plates-to-determine-length as well. Have you thought about building the Caproni 60?
 I like it 
  April 1, 2018
fantastic! the magical era of flying ships ... that nostalgia!
 I like it 
  April 1, 2018
Great!
 
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