Converting the Revell Tu-95 into a Tu-114
The Tupolev Tu-114 was a turboprop-powered long-range airliner designed by the Tupolev design bureau. The aircraft based on the Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber. At the time it was the largest and fastest passenger plane. Due to its swept wing and the four powerful Kuznetsov NK-12 powerplant, the Tu-114 was able to travel at speeds typical of modern jetliners. In 14 years of civilian service, the Tu-114 was reported to have a high level of safety and reliability. The prototype of the Tu-114, registration CCCP-&5611, was first shown to the West in 1958 at the Brussels Worldwide Exhibition. It later carried Nikita Khrushchev on his first trip to the US. When it arrived at Washington D.C., the ground crew found that the aircraft was so large and its landing gear so tall that they had no passenger steps high enough to reach the forward hatch. Khrushchev and his party were obliged to use the aircraft’s own emergency escape ladder.
In 2012 I was in the middle of a Tu-104 conversion project. During scratch-building the cockpit of my Tu-104 I realised that basically the entire nose-section of the Tu-104 was used up during the creation of the Tu-114 airliner. As a result of my discovery I duplicated the scratch-built nose section of the Tu-104 with the intention of using it for a future Tu-114 conversion project. A few days later the entire feasibility study of converting the Tu-95 bomber into the Tu-114 airliner in 1:144 scale was ready in my mind. At the time, the Revell company just re-issued the Tupolev Tu-95 ”Bear D” (Stock number: 04673) kit in 1:144 scale, so it was obvious that it will serve as the basis of my new conversion project.
Building the Model
Following Tupolev’s way of thinking I used the basic wing, empennage, landing gear, and powerplants of the Revell Tu-95 kit, mated to a totally new scratch-built fuselage that was made of 0.3 mm aluminium plates adopted from the printing industry. For the middle section of the fuselage my well-developed scratch-building technique is the following: first the frameworks of the mid-fuselage section has to be constructed. The right cylindrical shape is achieved by using aluminium disks with the calculated diameter of the fuselage and by applying wooden wands as bracing, which then covered with aluminium plates.
The cross-section of the Tu-114 fuselage is basically circular, with a maximum diameter of 4.2m, after a simple calculation it is 29mm in 1:144 scale. Before the construction of the necessary framework an empty effervescent tablets bottle had my attention, so I measured the required dimension and I found that it’s outer diameter has exactly the same size (28.5 mm) that I need, so instead of creating a complicated framework it was obvious that I take advantage of that sudden opportunity and I apply the plastic bottle as the basis of the fuselage.
In order to reach the required 29mm diameter the plastic effervescent tablet bottle was covered with the 0.3mm thick aluminium plates.
For the nose and the tail sections it was also necessary to create a frameworks first, by applying the same technique that I have previously described. Later I covered that frameworks with aluminium plates and used a large amount of filler in order to reach the proper curved and conical shapes.
After the final integration of the tail, the nose and the mid-section of the fuselage I had to decide which part of the Tu-95 could be used and what modifications need to be done with the wings, the landing gears and the stabilizers. To cope with the increased weight, increased landing flap surface area was applied on the Tu-114, and the flap chord was increased compared to the bomber’s flaps. I achieved that modification on my model by inserting an additional aluminium plate to the tip of the flaps.
The wing was mounted low on the fuselage, giving the Tu-114 a much higher stance on its landing gear than the bomber. As a result, the nose gear of the Tu-95 had to be modified and a new, extended nose landing gear strut was required. The main landing gear remained unchanged. The cabin of the tail-gunner of the Tu-95 had to go, so I removed it from the horizontal stabilizer. Then, the integration of the wings and stabilizers to the fuselage also had to be solved.
When the airplane was ready I decided to apply the colours of the prototype, registration CCCP-5611. Similar to my previous projects, the decals were designed and printed by a friend of mine who was working hard to bring the decal and the airplane together.