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Doc's Erector Airplane Beacon

Hi folks, Doc here. Here's a model I have always liked the look of. It's a tall one, with a graceful profile that still looks like it means business. And, it does.

This model is the first one I have encountered which uses Gilbert's "Angle Iron" construction. This technique involves screwing 2 B or C girders together at 90° with CH angles to produce an L-shaped product similar to the heavier BE and DP angle girders. These angle irons are used to make the lower 2/3 of the tower legs; the upper 1/3 of the tower is built with DP angle girders. The upper end of the DP girders bolt to an inverted BN turret plate using CH angles. The beacon assembly sits above the turret plate.

The tower legs are braced with a series of X-braces made from B and C girders. According to the instructions, a total of 20 B 5" girders are needed to build this model. Unfortunately, my 1953 10½ set only includes 12 B girders. So, for the upper set of X-braces I used 8 21-hole strips instead.

The tower sits on a flat base made from 3 MN 12" base plates; 3 BE angle girders bolted to the base provide anchor points for the tower legs. An A49 motor in the No. 11 drive configuration sits on an MD base plate between the tower legs.

A few inches from the top, a platform surrounds the tower; it is made from 8 MF base plates and is attached to the tower legs using CH angles. On one corner of the platform a four-cup air speed indicator rotates on an axle in a bracket made from an N long double angle. The cups are made from Z flanged wheels attached to 11-hole strips with CH angles. A DB motor pulley is secured to the bottom of the axle. A long drive shaft made from coupled axles runs down the center of the tower from the beacon assembly the motor; a second pulley made from 2 BN turret plates and a BT pierced disk is secured to this shaft at the same level as the DB pulley, and is connected to the DB with a "drive belt" made from string. When the motor turns the long shaft to rotate the beacon, the large pulley drives the DB, causing the air speed indicator to rotate rapidly. This simulates the effect of wind on the indicator.


The beacon assembly consists of a BN turret plate to which a BT disk is bolted. Two P79 car trucks and 2 7-hole strips attached to the top of the plate act as supports for the beacon itself, which is made from a boiler top bolted to an M small double angle. The one enhancement I made to this model was to put an NH lamp socket and bulb inside the boiler top to serve as the actual "beacon"; a battery holder and battery sit snugly between the beacon supports.