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Model Zeppelin — LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin

16 July 2012

Model Zeppelin — LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin

Flying almost entirely for DELAG (Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellsschaft) from 1928 through 1937 the Graf Zeppelin was the last of the great passenger airships. Though not as famous as her bigger sister Hindenburg she flew transoceanically, transpolar as well as transworld — no aircraft or other airline of the day could match the performance. Totalling a bit over a million miles of travel with nearly 600 flights the Graf Zeppelin set a standard but was retired immediately after the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 and scrapped for her duralumin in 1940.

The Graf Zeppelin was limited in size by the dimension of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin works construction hangar in Friedrichshafen am Bodensee, Germany. The airship was 776 feet (235m) long and 100 feet (33.3m) in diameter as opposed to the Hindenburg’s 804 feet (244m) length and 135 feet (41m) diameter — the Hindenburg had three times the number of sleeping berths, as well.

The model photographed below was on display in the HistoryMiami museum in a temporary exhibit called, Aviation in Miami: the first 100 years.

This model of the Graf Zeppelin is nearly 3 feet (1m) in length — photo by Joseph May

Forward section and gondola — photo by Joseph May

Amidships showing three of the five Maybach diesel engines — photo by Joseph May

The cruciform tail section, a large area with elevators and rudders — photo by Joseph May

Notes: two excellent web sites on the Graf Zeppelin are:

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 16 July 2012 05:56

    Hi, Joe..
    beautiful model….wondered if you might know what it was constructed of…carved?..fabric over mold? Its a beauty…

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      16 July 2012 12:12

      Hi Dave,

      I’m not sure … there was no mention of the modeler or the materials in the display case. My impression is fabric over wood (especially when looking at the tail) but I am no expert.



  2. 16 July 2012 10:18

    Thank you, Joe! A great model shot – these things are NOT easy to photograph. By the way, I have always been fascinated by the Luftwaffe’s use of LZ-130 to try and probe the British ‘Chain Home’ radar system prior to WW2.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      16 July 2012 12:15

      Ross, I used the “a pair of the lens hood’s corners as a psuedo-bipod against the clear plastic front” technique 😉

      Once again you have reminded me of what I have forgotten — this time regarding LZ-130’s recon mission to gather intel on Chain Home. That would be a good article to post!

      Thanks again,


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