All posts tagged: L-1011
side view eastern airlines l-1011 tristar
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Right off the heels of my TWA L-1011 illustration series, here’s another nostalgic set of this classic Lockheed wearing the three different variants of the Eastern Airlines livery. I actually had no idea that there were three different versions of the Eastern color scheme, but the bit of research I did revealed that there were some slight differences over the years.

The illustration at the top of this post depicts the second version (my favorite of them all) with thick blue cheat lines spanning the entire length of the highly-polshed bare-aluminium fuselage. This is the version I had in my mind when I set off to start this illustration set, and it was only when collecting reference photos that I discovered the different versions of this livery. I guess I’m not as much of a hard-core aviation nerd as I thought I was!

Eastern launched their L-1011 service in 1972 with a very clean white and blue color scheme:

white eastern airlines l-1011

Side view of the original white and blue Eastern Airlines L-1011 livery

Personally, I think this design was a bit ahead of it’s time. Those cheat lines are oh-so-70’s, but they remind me of something that was commonly seen later in the decade, and not as early as they were introduced. Also, the colors seemed to have more of an 80’s look and feel with soft blues over a clean white fuselage. Most 1970’s airliner liveries were very bold and featured dark (saturated) colors integrated with large sections of exposed metal. On a side note, I love how they referred to these things as “Whisperliners”. If you’ve ever had the chance to be under the flight path of one of these things on takeoff, you’ll know what I mean when I say that the nickname was a bit of a stretch. These airplanes did anything but whisper.

The final livery was just a slight variation of their second, with the only difference being thinner cheat lines. The polished aluminum fuselage and both shades of blue remained, but making the stripes thinner had a rather significant impact on the overall look of this design IMHO.

the last eastern airlines l-1011 livery

Side view of the final Eastern Airlines livery, which featured a much thinner cheat line

All the research I’ve done seems to indicate that the purpose behind the stripe re-size was to reduce the amount of paint they used for each aircraft, which not only saved on paint costs, but weight as well (translating to better fuel burn). Eastern Airlines must have been in pretty bad shape financially if they found their original polished-aluminum livery to be too costly. There was hardly any paint on those airplanes to begin with! I would have guessed the reasoning to be just a modernization of the look, that’s all. Remember those ultra-thin neckties in the 1980’s? Thin was in!

side view TWA L-1011 illustration
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Now that I’ve got blank side view templates of the Lockheed L-1011 created, applying liveries (the fun part) can now begin. I knew right from the beginning that TWA was the first airline I was going to render, so here you go! Actually, I was only planning on illustrating the 70’s dual stripe version, but halfway through creating that one I figured I might as well render each of the three Trans World Airlines liveries that this aircraft wore. It’s weird how my brain works like that – simple projects always seem to turn into something much bigger than originally planned. My Northwest Airlines 747-400 set came to be much the same way.

As a child of the 80’s, my memory of the TWA L-1011 TriStar only goes back as far as the dual stripe livery (the version at the top of this post). Trans World was a pretty big airline back in those days, and I remember most TWA advertisements and movie/television appearances featuring this particular aircraft and livery combo over anything else. Perhaps my perception was just skewed, but I found it odd that they didn’t showcase their flagship 747’s more in the media back then.

The livery that preceded the Red Stripe was referred to as the Star Stream colors. It was the color scheme that TWA launched their L-1011’s with back in 1972, and to be honest, it wasn’t their finest. From a designer’s perspective, I find it to be quite sloppy – especially in the forward section where the red arrow, white fuselage color, exposed aluminum, and black anti-reflection paint come together right under the cockpit windows. Nothing blends together well, and it could have looked so much nicer if they would have spent the time to make sure those elements intersected cleanly instead of just…well…ending them abruptly without worrying much about their relationships to each other. It just looks sloppy, IMHO.

side view TWA L-1011 star stream livery

TWA StarStream livery

TWA introduced a brand new livery in September 1995 that never made it to all their aircraft before being absorbed into American Airlines in April 2001. As a matter of fact, only one L-1011 ever wore these new colors. That honor went to aircraft N31029, and it’s a shame that they didn’t have enough time to convert others in the fleet before the last of this type was retired for good in 1997. Interestingly enough, seeing any L-1011 wearing these colors almost didn’t happen – the only reason why this particular aircraft got that paint job was because it was the only L-1011 in the fleet that was due for major maintenance before retirement. Stripping and repainting the airplane was a necessary part of the process, and there was no point in repainting it in the old colors before returning it to service.

TWA L-1011 in the new livery side view

The newest TWA livery, of which only one L-1011 ever wore

As much as I like the final TWA livery, the dual stripe version is still how I remember Trans World today. Long live racing stripes!

all white lockheed l-1011 tristar side view
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As promised, here is the shorter and stubbier -500 variant of the L-1011-1 TriStar template that I uploaded yesterday. It’s basically the same airplane, minus a huge chunk of fuselage and a different wing connection (plus a handful of other minor little details), so building it right alongside my L-1011-1 template was a piece of cake. Plus, my short attention span necessitates the need to create an entire series of airplanes at once rather than coming back to finish the others later – otherwise, they’ll never get done! I batch-produced my entire 767 collection like that, and I’m glad I spent the time to do them all in one shot because there are far too many other illustration projects I’d rather be working on right now.

This L-1011-500 (also known as the L-1011-385-3) is a strange looking bird, especially when viewed from the side like this. I remember seeing these airplanes a lot in real life 10 to 15 years ago, and they looked great close up at extreme front and rear angles. Unfortunately, this orthographic side view exposes it’s odd proportions in a way that you’d rarely see in real life. She was a fattie, that’s for sure. 🙂

lockheed l-1011 side view line drawing

A side profile illustration of an all white Lockheed L-1011-500 TriStar over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

In addition to it’s shorter length, the modified wing connection is another component which makes this version seem so much different than the original. It looks as if the Lockheed engineers had to chop (round) off the front and rear sections to fit the shortened fuselage, so all of those beautiful sculpted forms from the longer version are not present here. Bummer – because that was my favorite part.

So now I’ve got templates of two of the most popular variants of this aircraft created. Well, the -1 series is visually the same as the -100, so make that three. I’m not going to create other variants of this airplane right now, as that short attention span of mine is pulling me towards a long list of others that I want to create instead. Next up: the Bombardier CRJ-200 and -700.

all white lockheed l-1011 template
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Those of you who visit my site frequently just to see if I have any new airliner templates available will be happy to know that I finally finished the L-1011 TriStar that I’ve been working on for nearly six weeks. No, it doesn’t take that long to create each template, but I’ve been really busy with a lot of other projects lately and I just didn’t have the time and energy to focus on this. Late last week I decided that I’ve been putting it off for far too long, so I rolled up my sleeves to get this classic old Lockheed wrapped up.

This particular L-1011 template is the -1 (and -100) variant (also referred to as the L-1011-385-1 and 15). It was the version Lockheed launched the line with in 1972, and in my opinion, is the best looking version of them all. The proportions are pretty much perfect, with enough length to balance out the very heavy looking tail section. That can’t be said for the longer-range -500 variant though, which is 14 feet shorter in length and looks completely unbalanced IMHO. And just so you know, I created a template of the -500 right along with this -1 version, and I’ll be uploading those files soon.

lockheed l-1011 detailed line drawing

A technical side profile line drawing of a Lockheed L-1011-1 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 has always been my favorite wide body tri-jet, mostly because the industrial designer in me doesn’t really know what to think about the complex forms that are the result of blending the rear engine with the vertical stabilizer on the L-1011. There’s a lot going on there, and the thing that bothers me the most is how the curvature of the intake doesn’t line up with the forms of the engine protruding from the rear. In that one small section of this airplane, there are four major components blending together: fuselage, engine intake, vertical stabilizer, and engine. It’s kind of messy. The DC-10 solution of integrating the entire engine into the vertical stabilizer looks much better to me.

Other than that, there are some nicely designed parts to this airplane. The wings and their connection to the fuselage are beautifully sculpted, and are much more organic and flowing compared to the DC-10. As I was drawing this template, I couldn’t help but to think how ahead of it’s time this aircraft was. Really – it’s amazing to think that that this airplane was designed in the 1960’s.

Stay tuned for templates of the -500 variant. They are coming soon!