Sunday, April 8, 2001


This is the biggest project I ever built. It's over two meters between the wing tips and is made from over 3000 pieces. This project was in the construction state for over seven months.

It's a 1:20 scale replica of the Hercules C-130J by Lockheed Martin. The C-130J Hercules is a transportation aircraft for the military. The 'J' model is an improvement from the first Hercules and the most visible improvement is the six-blade propeller. For more information about this aircraft, please visit it's official homepage at Lockheed Martins.

During it's construction I got sidetracked several times but at the end I was so short on pieces that I couldn't be sidetracked any more. I was rather sick of building this model and I wanted nothing more then to get it finished and documented so that I could tear it down and build other projects that were evolving within my head. Hence the resulting model is far from my best, never the less it was completed. I feel I could improve the model a lot, but I didn't want to since I was tired of the project. If you feel like it, please finish it ,)


This project uses 3302 pieces in a very colorful scheme. This is because I didn't have enough pieces of the same color to build it monochromatic. Also, the project is but a skeleton since I don't own enough plates to cover it up. But the Technic line is supposed to be skeleton like and show the internal workings, right?

It has a 202cm (79.5 inches) wing span and approx.. 150cm (59 inches) from nose to tail. It weighs around 5kg (11 lb..). The pneumatic system uses almost 10m (11 yards) of tubing. The project also got six 9V motors.

The Hercules has the following functions:

Elevator rudder, controlled by a large pneumatic piston
Side rudder, controlled by a small pneumatic piston
Ailerons, controlled by two small pneumatic pistons that work in opposite directions
Retractable landing gears, controlled by five large pneumatic pistons
Opening/closing loading hatch at the back, using one small and one large pneumatic piston that work in opposite directions
Steerable nose wheel, using one geared down 9V motor
Main engines rotate the propellers, uses four old style 9V motors
Automatic pneumatic compressor

I built it in 1:20 scale because it's the scale of the Technic man if he would be 180cm (59 inches) in real life.

I used a 1:48 scale model by Italeri to measure the different parts, it proved quite valuable to be able to measure everything from wheel dimensions to length of propeller blades.

I took large sheets of paper and drew templates for the wing, fuselage under carriage, tail and fin. I then built the different parts directly onto said templates.


I'd like to thank everybody that helped me with the design of the propeller.

Geoffrey Hyde, Selçuk Göre, Andy Lynch, Klaas H. Meijaard, Bram Lambrecht and Jennifer Clark Thanx! And a extra special thanx to Travis Cobbs that came up with the final solution!

Se the request for help here.

A panorama view of the Hercules with a background by Joe Pries. Visit his excellent web pages here.

A 360-degree tour of the Hercules, starting with the back of some reason. As you can see, the engines are running and the tail is a skeleton design.

Moving along to the side, with a slight angle from the back we can see the colorfulness of this beast. I used the panels from the 8448's to cover the largest holes in the fuselage.

Arriving to the nose and front view we can see I used some yellow parts and the flexible cross axles from the 8448. I'm far from happy with this design, but it resembled the shape from the original. It's quite ugly on the real thing too...

Looking at the other side we se nothing new, except it's -well- the other side :)

Almost back where we started we see the 8448 panels on the other side. Also we see the controls on the middle of the wing.

Here we see the pneumatic piston that moves one of the ailerons. It's a quite simple construction really. The only problem I had with this design was to get both ailerons centered at the same time...

Here is the bay doors closed. Note that the door is made from two parts, one upper and one lower part. The lower part also doubles as a ramp.

...and now the doors are open, amazing amazing... :) *sings* "It's a kinda magic. Magic!" Note that the top part opens inwards.

This is how the doors look like from the inside of the fuselage when they're closed. The blurry part in the top left corner is a electrical wire for the main engines.

Now let's open the door and step out and turn around to look into the fuselage.

Okay, this whole door thingie is starting to get a little boring, but here's the large piston that lowers/raises the bottom part of the door.

And here is the top part piston. This one works in opposite direction from the bottom dito. They are both controlled by the very same pneumatic switch. This is the last picture of the door, promise ,)

This is the cockpit window. I used some Technic string to get the different windows correct. As you can see I decorated the cockpit with a couple of chairs, that's it.

This is a picture of the compressor and pressure switch. I used Ralph Hempel's Double-Acting Compressor. Note that since I stole this design it has changed to use medium pulley wheels outside of the z24 gears to allow the compressors a longer stroke.

See a comparison study of different compressors here.

This is another shot of the pressure switch. I had to design my own since Raplh Hempels used a small pneumatic piston and I was all out of them. When the pressure builds up enough the bent liftarm moves the polarity switch so that it cuts the power to the compressor motor. When the pressure drops down again the reverse happens. The amount of pressure needed are "tuned" by the white rubber bands. The pressure built up aint enough to lift the Hercules with the landing gears. But what aircraft uses it's landing gears in such a way?

Here are the controls in a more detailed view. You can see that I equipped the pneumatic switches with longer handels. This is to provide a more accurate control of the pneumatic system.

The polarity switch that has a yellow lever is the main power cutoff.

Pneumatics from left to right; Landing gears, Bay door, Ailerons, Elevator and finally side rudder.

Polarity switches from left to right: Main power, Nose wheel steering, Main engines* and finally compressor on/off.

*I allowed this one to switch to both forward and reverse to simulate the real Hercules ability to make the propellers push, used as brakes. The real version uses tilt of the propeller blades though.

This is a close up of the crew standing next to the plane. The real Hercules uses a five person crew, but my Hercules is simplified so it only takes four men to operate smoothly. Perhaps Lockheed Martin want to buy my design ,)

This is the pneumatic piston that controls the elevator rudder. It's smooth operating piston. One of my best.

Our cat Lisen inspects the Hercules. I did think about shooting a picture of her inside the fuselage but I reconsidered, don't think she would have liked it much...

This is a pic of me playing with the finished Hercules and no, it never crossed my mind to try to fit inside the fuselage..

This is a shot of the turntable I used to move the Hercules around it's own axis to film the 360-degrees. I used a normal technic turntable in the middle, some support beams and four wheels that rolled along a circle on the base plate. This is a quick and dirty construction to get the shot done. My g/f Anki wanted to watch the TV and the sheets I had hang over it was in her way, she claimed :)

As you can see the turntable was way geared down, still it had a lot of slip in the gears before it got started turning...

This is one of the four support wheels on the platform. I was afraid that the wheel would pop off it's pin but it all went smooth :)

Here is a view of the landing gear. It uses two large pneumatic cylinders per wheel pair and the wheels from the 8462 Tow truck. I wanted to use some other wheel but then the dimension of the wheel would have been totally wrong or the Hercules would have looked like it had flat tires. It weighs ~5kg (11lb.) I must remind you.

Here is another pic shot from the inside of the fuselage. It displays the piston better. I can think of a number of ways to improve this design but it was a basic part of the fuselage and would have taken a long time to reinplement and I wanted the Hercules finished ASAP :/

Here is a zoom in on the front and the nose wheel.

Zooming in some more on the nose wheel we can see that is uses a large pneumatic cylinder and a technic turntable. The center hole of the turntable is filled with a z24 gear for steering so the pneumatic tubing had to be drawn on the outside of the turntable. Hence I had to be careful not to spin the nose wheel around to much... I'm pretty satisfied with this design since it's very close to the original.

The biggest difficulty I ran into building this Hercules was the sag of the wing. Even without the motors and rudders it sagged more then 5cm (2") so something had to be done. I could not build it much thicker so it took some thinking.

The final solution was to build a long row of 2xY plates along the main beam of the wing. These plates were placed between the pegs of the beam to make the wing more difficult to bend. It worked quite well. The whole wing with all parts assembled only sags about 5cm (2").

The row of 2xY plates are connected using 1x4 plates to keep the ends of the plates together

Another view of the supporting plates. The total thickness of the wing is still below the limits of the real Hercules (calculating with the scale of course).

Here are a shot to show how the propeller is built. It uses two medium pulleys, some cross axles, three #3 liftarms, 12 #4 liftarms and 12 2x6 Technic plates per propeller. I also added some colorful 1x2 plates on the propeller blade tips for design. A neat design that keeps the blades aligned. The 2x6 plates are mounted with an offset to simulate the rounded shape of the originals tips.

Here is a shot of one propeller in action.

Zooming out to fit two running propellers, guess what the next picture will show ,)

Yes, you were right. It's zoomed out to fit all four of them. I actually had to use two battery boxes to provide the power to these four 9V motors running. If I used but one the battery box shut the power off due to heat buildup. I connected the dual battery boxes in parallel to offer 9V using 12 batteries instead of 6. This helped.

Here's how the propellers look like. It's kinda hard to make it out when they are all blurred... Like I mentioned earlier, the top 2x6 plates are connected with a one stud offset to give the illusion of a roundness to the blade since the original blade aint straight but "bent" like a 'j'.

On both sides of the Hercules fuselage I made hatches that open for easy access and service of the model. This aint realistic ,)

This is the last shot for this page, see more at page three..

This picture displays the shape of the nose.

Here is the small pneumatic piston that controls the side rudder. It was difficult to move the side rudder without moving it from it's extremes in a fraction of a second.

This picture is one of few shots where I managed to get the whole Hercules in one shot. Our living room is far too small :)

Don't try this at home kids! The brave (or stupid?) Technic man is standing directly beneath the propeller!

This is a classic! During air shows they always have someone standing in the hatch waving to the crowd, during flight of course ,) Personally I think the Hercules is kinda boring on an air shows, except when they show their extreme landing techniques. But the air shows around here always have to small landing strips for the Hercules to actually come down :(

Another "from above" shot of the Hercules. This is what it looks like flying over it...

Going back to the detail shots, here's the tubing in the wing. I used pneumatic tubing as well as the styling pipes that come with "modern" Technic sets. It feels good to find use for them :) I actually sort those in my "pneumatic" bin :)

I was reluctant to cut my longer pneumatic tubs so I arranged them to travel a further distance then necessary. The long tubing parts made the whole design kinda floppy, like if there would have been airtanks.

This is a shot of the tubing for the tail rudders and the bay hatch. The left part of the picture is towards the front of the aircraft.

This is the motor responsible for steering the nose wheel. It's geared down via a worm gear allowing for smooth operation. The gear box is also visible in the picture.

In this pic. you can see both of the battery boxes used. I located them both in the front of the fuselage to give the whole aircraft a good center of gravity. I've been around some when my father and brother trims the center of gravity on their model airplanes and I could say that the center on my Hercules is very realistic for flight in deed! It's about an third of the width (not wingspan) of the wing in from the tip of the wing

In the back of the picture the steering motor is visible and in the front is the compressor. I tried to get as much of the weight to the front as possible.

This photo displays the stomach of the Hercules. It was actually strong enough to be lifted to allow this shot. You had to know where to lift and where to not, though. Putting it back on the floor almost generated a total collapse when I near panicked after a better grip. I did not know where to lift ,)

Wave good bye, 'cause the Hercules is moving away to be sorted into it's atoms! Yes folks, this is the final picture. At this homepage at least ,)

If your viewing pleasure aint satisfied yet, browse to my Brickshelf account to see more pictures, uncommented but more pictures :)

1 comment:

Urban Squirrel Stunt Design said...

say besides NASAcr er whatnot: