Cessna T-50 "Bobcat"/"Bamboo Bomber"

As a child in the 1950's, I was inspired to learn about aviation by watching, among other things, the "Sky King" TV show. In this series, a rancher with a Cessna T-50 (and later, a Cessna 310) would often get involved in solving local crimes, catching bad guys, etc., using his plane. So, many years later, here it is.

The best thing about this project was the documentation. I made friends with Jon Larson, owner of the original "Songbird" T-50 from the TV show, who ran the Sky King Fan Club for over 50 years, and Terry Sullivan, who is restoring an actual T-50 today. Both were generous with photos, video, and countless excerpts from the original Cessna factory drawings. This allowed me to build this one very accurately, and with more detail than most of my 3D models. See Terry Sullivan's web site at http://www.cessnat50.org for updates on all things related to the T-50, as well as some helpful links.

This model was built (article here) in the same order as the actual aircraft. First, I created some temporary parts for the exterior, for reference, then began building the internal tubing structure. Later, wood parts were added to this frame, as well as all the internal components, and finally, a fabric skin with Terry Sullivan's markings.

In MODO format, all textures, marking, and animated features work as described here. Note that if delivered in non-MODO format, (i.e. DXF) not all textures and "paint" will transfer properly. Rigging controllers (the pop-up "HUD" sliders in modo) will not transfer to other formats. The centers ("pivot points") of all the animated parts should still transfer properly though, allowing other software users to rig the model in their application. This model is a mixture of hard-poly and sub-d parts.

About the model:

Modeled scale features

  • Accurate structural components, based on original Cessna drawings and photos (Some of the wood parts on the fuselage frame were omitted, due to a lack of documentation, but are closely representative.)
  • Accurate landing gear, including brake lines and other details
  • A moderately-accurate set of Jacobs 7-cylinder, air-cooled, radial engines and props
  • Complete cable-and-pulley control system for ailerons, elevator, and rudder, along with separate (movable) control surfaces
  • Complete interior, including an accurate instrument panel and controls, seats, and even seat belts.
  • Accurate exterior colors and markings, representing aircraft N66671

Rigged animatable features:

  • Retractable landing gear
  • Tailwheel steering via rudder movement
  • Ailerons, flaps, elevators, and rudder all independently controllable.
  • Exterior lighting includes position lights, rotating beacons, IFF lights, and landing lights.
  • Basic interior lighting system
  • Wheels rotate when the model is moved, and propellers rotate in the proper direction.
  • Cabin door and baggage door open and close.
  • Visibility of the outer skin can be turned on/off, for renders of the internal structure.

Below - A recent takeoff animation of the model

Back to top of page

Unless otherwise noted, all content on this site is ©Copyright by Mike James - www.mikejamesmedia.com - All Rights Reserved
NOTE: I am not at liberty to redistribute any of the documentation used to build any of the 3D models on this site.