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Yellow Flying Taxi

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[Scale Solutions]

by Dimitri Kaliviotis

Scale: 1/27

This is a 3-dimensional interpretation of the flying yellow taxi that appears in many panels of the graphic novel/comic book “La Femme Piege” (“The Woman Trap”), which is the second part of a sci-fi trilogy called “The Nicopol trilogy” and is all illustrated by none other than Enki Bilal.

Judged by many, this yellow taxi design is the most prominent and memorable designs of the illustrated series. It also appears (greatly modified) in the recent movie based on the illustrated trilogy, “Immortel”, which is not even nearly as good as the graphic novels are (as usual). The movie version however is not yellow and doesn’t have the same role in the plot either, but the similarities in the design are hard to miss, which makes me hate it even more.

After being greatly impressed by the illustrations/design of this plane and since there existed not a kit of it, I decided to make one. The “Masters” for the model are mostly made with styrene (strips, tubes and sheets )and auto body filler. Other ingredients include found object (parts from lighters, watches... etc) and a very limited amount of styrene kit pieces (1 or maybe 2 small ones) that were mostly unmodified.

I made a silicone matrix mold for the fuselage and silicone block molds for the rest of the pieces. I Then used “Easy-Flow”, a two part liquid plastic for the casting.

For the ribs of the canopy I vacuum formed a second canopy and used a stencil I cut out the ribs. The ribs were then welded in place on top of the canopy and styrene strips were welded on the inside of the canopy to give the ribs more thickness. The spot-light under the fuselage in the front also has a vacuum formed trasparent piece in it.

The interior was mostly sculpted out of “kneed-a-tight” (Green Stuff) with styrene and auto body filler as a base. The instrumentation panel section was a mixture of all materials already mentioned.

The wheels rotate freely, are made of rubber and can fit nicely into the fuselage 2/3 covered by the wheel well caps (flying mode).

The biggest challenge in interpreting and building this design was keeping with its scale and “look”. The illustrations of the plane are consistent only in “feel” from one panel to the next in the book. Scale, major shapes and details change constantly in the illustrations. I had to achieve a “feel” and scale that could reasonably fit the situations in the novel but I couldn’t do it in separate models as is done with separate panels in the book. The scale I settled with (cheated with maybe) was 1/27. I also tried to keep with the “messy” feel of the lines and colors in the illustrations by being a little “inconsistent with my building methods (a slight intentional sloppiness?).

The yellow is Tamiya Camel Yellow (spray). I didn’t need an under-coat ‘cause the plastic is a nice “off white” already. The weathering is washes of various colors and brands, too many and too mixed to be mentioned here. The interior seats were airbrushed with Humbrol enamels plus various washes.

For the pictures of the model I used sun light with a white background. The white background was “bleached” a little but the models color is as true to the original as it can get.

Image: Front/right view

Image: Instruments

Image: Seating

Image: Left/rear

Image: Starboard side

Image: Portside closeup

Image: Underneath

Image: Port side, with canopy off

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This page was last updated 14 December 2006. © 2006 Starship Modeler