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As I’ve discussed previously, my tastes in cinema and media are pretty broad and hard to pin down. I like a lot of different stuff! What can I say. Anyway, I really like animation. It’s one of my favourite art forms.

And as I’ve also mentioned before, I love airplanes and flight.

Broadly, these two interests overlap in the work of Hayao Miyazaki, But in particular, his film Porco Rosso is one of my favourites.

For those of you unfamiliar with the film, it is set in the in the Adriatic Sea, sometime between the first and second world war. The film is chock full of seaplanes inspired by historical designs of that era. This film made me fall in love with those planes. There is something simultaneously elegant and ridiculous about seaplanes. They are sleek, yet bulbous. Practical and whimsical.

That era saw an explosion of innovative aircraft designs. Many had unique and oddball shapes like the twin hulled flying wing, Savoia-Marchetti S.55, which apparently was actually a very capable and airworthy aircraft.

After building a couple of simple stick and tissue model kits, I wanted to make something like the planes in Porco Rosso. So I started searching the internet for a kit. Eventually, this search lead me to http://www.outerzone.co.uk/ where I discovered the world of building from plans rather than kits. I ultimately decided to try this plan of a Curtiss Racer for my first attempt.

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I made a lot of mistakes and had a couple false starts (not unlike this blog!), but I also learned a lot.

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The final result is a little squiggly and uneven, and I’m not sure it will ever fly. Some of that is a result of the hand-drawn quality of the plans, and some of that is due to my lack of experience. Nevertheless, I am pleased with the result. It’s elegant and goofy, just like I wanted!

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Coming up next: I will be returning to my childhood roots when I built a plastic model. Fittingly, it is a model of a fictional plane from Porco Rosso! My friend Will gave it to me after he visited the Studio Ghibli museum in Japan. I can’t wait.

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