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Thread: Most evil-looking aeroplanes

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: May 2000
    Location: state of quantum entanglement

    Most evil-looking aeroplanes

    Here's something that has been rattling inside my skull for a while now, possibly due me having got back into modelling lately: what in your opinion are the most evil-looking aeroplanes? By which I mean planes which give you the most jibblies when you look at them even when they aren't coming at you at speed, which I bet could make even a Piper Cub seriously scary.

    For me the winner has always clearly been Ju-87 Stuka. Something about the combination of those inverted gull wings, the exhaust pipes and the cockpit... Ick. Terrifying enough even while not diving at you, complete with the wailing sound produced by sirens many Stukas had mounted on the undercarriage precisely to scare the crap out of people.

    Among the more modern planes, I think A-10 Thunderbolt deserves a mention. On the one hand, nowhere nearly as evil-looking as the Stuka. On the other, this. Enough said.

  2. #2
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Junkers look evil because Nazis.

    Messerschmitt Bf 109 too. In fact look at a Panzer Panther, or a Tiger. They all look evil. We've been programmed a bit, but grey as your uniform and vehicles does look less "good guys" than green.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: uk
    I think pretty much any straight winged fighter-bomber type aircraft looks pretty evil, especially with a bloody huge gun on it. the more stuff hanging off the bottom the scarier. the A-10 gets bonus points for "well we would have loved to put the nose wheel in the middle but the gun was more important"

    de Havilland Venom would be my suggestion.


    Every aircraft looks a bit scary when it's heading straight at you, or even just anywhere near you if you don't know what they're going to do next.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Do helicopters count? 'Cause a fully loaded Apache looks like a bunch of weapons with some airplane attached.

  5. #5
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Thanks to viewing Red Dawn at an early age, the Mi-24a Zvezda Crocodile, and by extension the Hokum Ka-50 Black Shark sleek version of it, attack helos were always the scariest aircrafts. They have their weapons laid out on a kind of faux wing.

    There's the scene in that movie where the kids are being hunted by them, they're running and can hear them, and at times a Zvezda will pop up for the kill. They still evoke a kind of elemental terror. The video game Hokum where you get to fly one is also one of my favorite sims ever.
    Last edited by demagogue; 14th Nov 2019 at 19:33.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    Do helicopters count? 'Cause a fully loaded Apache looks like a bunch of weapons with some airplane attached.
    Yup, Apache wins hands down.

  7. #7
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I was touring the Aerospace museum in DC with a friend (he was in the Navy FWIW), and he was commenting how German, US, Japanese, and Soviet war planes (and for that matter trucks, cars & motorcycles) had a characteristic look you could tell, and it'd maintain that look over eras. Like even if it was the first time seeing a plane, you could still tell just by the look of it whether it was German, US, Japanese, or Soviet, and it was funny because as we went through the museum, from early planes through WWII through the Cold War and into the post-Cold War, it rang true.

    German planes were high end, meticulously crafted and sleek. Japanese planes had tiny frames meant for performance and maneuver but also vulnerable. US planes were ridiculously bulky and over armored, like tanks in the air. And Soviet planes were cookie-cutter models that look thrown together but scrappy and mean. Oh, I guess I should include British & French planes being hybrids between the US & German ones, with UK closer to the US side and French closer to the German side.

    In those terms, US aircraft never really struck me as evil looking. They always strike me as looking like the slow, way over-muscled blonde kid on the block that irons his t-shirt and jeans and is ready to slug things to solve problems, but had a kind of boy-scoutish self conception that he was doing the slugging for honorable (if stupid) reasons.

    Soviet craft always struck me as more inherently evil-natured because their M.O. was subterfuge. The US navy is built around the over muscled aircraft carrier group, open and blaring for all to see, and the Soviet navy was built around submarines and constant denial that they're even there. And between the Apache and Hokum, I mean look at them side by side. The Apache is like a fat bee, well fed and ready to pulverize; but the Hokum is like a scrappy wasp that's hungry and mean. I can understand the Apache invoking more terror in the moment being on the receiving end maybe, but more with some kind of sad regret that the boy scout behind the controls doesn't know better, whereas being on the receiving end of a Hokum, I'd be thinking about some cold sob behind the controls that is cynical to his bones.

    If I'm going to say that, I should mention Nazi planes then. One thing is that the Cold War just connected with me more directly. I lived under the flight path of B52s that flew in from and off to the Arctic Circle twice a day for years and years. But I think it's just the craftsmanship of German planes & tanks, et al, doesn't evoke the evil part to me. It's what happens inside that's the evil. Whereas the Soviet military wore it more on their sleeves so to speak. They kind of owned it in the design. And Americans wouldn't want to believe it exists at all, and the design revolved around adamant self-deception about it.

    Edit: If one were going with the Apache narrative, the A-10 Warthog would also be in the running, although the Apache still probably has it beat just by packing more muscle into a smaller space, and the fact it hovers over you and turns and spits fire when you try to run around it.
    Last edited by demagogue; 15th Nov 2019 at 02:52.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I guess things look scarier if you're potentially on the receiving end of it. Doesn't really help that my father was in the air force either. For me, planes like the F-117 or even the B-2 Spirit or most of the US planes, really, never conveyed anything remotely approaching boyish naivete. Rather, they look like they mean business.

  9. #9
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Well it's dumb of me to stereotype too much. I was thinking of Saving Private Ryan types. Naivete isn't the word; more like sincerity maybe. They mean business, but the do-gooding brand?

    If I think about it, the more concrete reason US planes don't fall in the evil category is just because I grew up making models of them. So they're really connected to being a kid being awestruck by how cool they were. I mean something like an SR-71 strikes me as so frekking awesome from an '80s kid point of view that the idea of terror or evil wouldn't even make the list, and add to that the F-4, F-16 (which they make in my hometown), F-14 (Tom Cruise, I feel the need..., I mean come on), the F-15 coin/op game, the aforementioned F-117 (Stealth Fighter! Another favorite childhood sim). and even the Apache and Warthog get that kind of halo. Whereas the Soviet models were always alien and the bad guys. No need for me to read too much into it; it's just what struck me as super cool vs. alien & scary as a kid making models and watching Hollywood movies.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: May 2000
    Location: state of quantum entanglement
    Quote Originally Posted by SubJeff View Post
    Junkers look evil because Nazis.
    While it definitely plays a part, I am quite sure it's not just that. In my book (just a random sample by the way, by no means a complete list):
    * Ju-87 Stuka - evil
    * Me-262 Schwalbe - formidable but not really evil
    * Horten IX (Go-229) - elegant, barely evil or not evil at all
    * Me-163 Komet - kind of cute, actually!
    * Gotha Glider - mostly silly

    I so agree on the Panther and the Tiger.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    Do helicopters count? 'Cause a fully loaded Apache looks like a bunch of weapons with some airplane attached.
    No, helicopters don't count - they would easily dominate the contest :-) That said, to me Mi-24 Hind looks at least just as, if not more, menacing than an Apache. The latter indeed looks mean but the Hind gives of a serious "I could vaporise you without slowing down a bit, or indeed noticing".

    BTW. Oh, I was also going to mention Avro Vulcan here - shame on me! The Vulcan is an interesting beast - from far away it looks positively elegant but the closer to it you get, even when it's just standing there, the higher it scores on the "oh bugger" scale. Especially with one of those ginormous nuclear cruise missiles they used to carry fitted in the bomb bay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    I guess things look scarier if you're potentially on the receiving end of it. Doesn't really help that my father was in the air force either. For me, planes like the F-117 or even the B-2 Spirit or most of the US planes, really, never conveyed anything remotely approaching boyish naivete. Rather, they look like they mean business.
    Funny you have mentioned these two, to me these two do not look evil at all. All business? Yes. Elegant in case of B-2? Absolutely. Evil? Nah.
    Last edited by Marecki; 15th Nov 2019 at 13:41. Reason: Added responses to SubJeff and Starker to the same post

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    Do prototypes count?

    If so, my vote goes to the XB-70. It was a Mach 3+, 80kft, high capacity nuclear bomber conceived in the late 1950s and developed in the early 1960s. The design was for SR-71 performance with a big bomb bay that carries nuclear weapons. Two prototypes were built, flight testing went on for about 5 years, but it never entered production because the Soviet Union was developing the S-200 missile (NATO designation SA-5) that the US expected to be capable of shooting it down. One of the prototypes was involved in a mid-air collision with a chase aircraft. The other was given to NASA for a while, and is now in the USAF museum, which is where I saw it. It's big and intimidating in person, and makes the SR-71 look dinky:




    It looks most intimidating to me with the wings drooped:



  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    A lot of what people are saying looks "evil" comes across to me as looking goofy.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: uk
    The Vulcan to me has always just looked rather more beautiful and graceful than anything that large should. The noise however...

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2019
    Location: Poland
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    A lot of what people are saying looks "evil" comes across to me as looking goofy.
    Same thought - if anything, Mil Mi-24 is looking more evil to me than anything else mentioned, especially in this scene in MGS

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2008
    Saab Viggen - because if delta wings didn't look evil enough, then double delta will do the job.



    For helicopters, I'd go with the K-MAX. It looks like a sunfish swinging around a Darth Maul lightsaber.


  16. #16
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Well this is turning into more of a semantics debate than an aircraft debate because there are shades of meaning here along all kinds of spectrums: evil, mean, menacing, scary, terrifying, means business, alien, ungainly, powerful, ominous, gives one the heebee jeebees...

    It's interesing, in Japan the B-29 (the bomber that dropped the nuclear bombs, but also countless bombing raids all over the country) still plays very large in the national psyche and collective trauma. It's not a sense I can really share. (I might have to explore my feeling about B-52s though. There's something there emotionally, just not sure what.) But anyway, it made me think how context-dependant this kind of question is to a person's upbringing and culture. It might not be all that objective.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    What kind of aircraft debate were you expecting in a thread talking about most evil-looking airplanes?

    Of course it's not objective. Whether you see planes through the prism of cool toys or as tools of destruction, it's all going to be subjective.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Location: Canuckistan GWN
    Sorry to continue the NAZI theme here but surely the He219 Night Fighter, with it's stylized Swastika whiskers, must receive dishonorable mention.


  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: May 2000
    Location: state of quantum entanglement
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    Do prototypes count?

    If so, my vote goes to the XB-70.
    Holy crap, a real-life Klingon warbird! Yes, this one definitely counts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicker View Post
    Sorry to continue the NAZI theme here but surely the He219 Night Fighter, with it's stylized Swastika whiskers, must receive dishonorable mention.
    YES. It is now also the latest addition to my "models to waste money on" list.

  20. #20
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    What kind of aircraft debate were you expecting in a thread talking about most evil-looking airplanes?

    Of course it's not objective. Whether you see planes through the prism of cool toys or as tools of destruction, it's all going to be subjective.
    Hmm, I actually didn't mean to be disputing anything here. I think I took myself as just putting into words what's going on for my own sake of understanding.

    That said, even admitting there's a subjective element, I think my main point was that we should still be clearish about what we're being subjective about, like am I standing on a beach and this aircraft is turning towards me in a hostile way, or am I thinking about what this aircraft represents and omg are those seriously swastikas for whiskers or toothy jaws or it's got so many rockets strapped to itself it's just showing off now...?

    But anyway, most people posting have actually been pretty good at specifying what they mean in just that kind of way. So I'm not complaining about that either. Just, you know, just saying it's good to do that.

    My personal favorite warbird of all time is the P-38 Lightning, the one with the two booms for the engines and the pilot in a central nacell between them. It looks and handles great, but it was also one of the most leathal warplanes in its time. The US's greatest ace was a P-38 pilot. So it sort of has a claim here, but I love that plane so much I don't want to call it evil. It's still pretty bad ass though.
    Last edited by demagogue; 18th Nov 2019 at 09:09.

  21. #21


    You see a Tiger coming at you, you run.

    [Edit] and for dema The P-38 truly is one of the sleekest planes ever. Kelly Johnson was a godamn aeronautical Da Vinci.

    Last edited by raph; 18th Nov 2019 at 12:11.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I mostly tried not to think about these but the anti nuke folks were pretty pissed about them. Had one sneak through the fence and dump a bucket of pink paint in a cockpit. Hard not to assign evil intent though they were just deterrent and parity.



    It's an F111 Aardvark. Notice the Upper Heyford UH on the tail?

  23. #23
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.
    I am si--

    Wait...wrong thread.

  24. #24
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Quote Originally Posted by raph View Post
    [Edit] and for dema The P-38 truly is one of the sleekest planes ever. Kelly Johnson was a godamn aeronautical Da Vinci.
    Yeah, just looking at her gives me feelings. Beauty in flight.

  25. #25
    I've been raking my brain for "evil"-looking design but I keep falling back to menacing and threatening. I don't think I can call a plane evil looking just like that...

    The Sunderland was a gorgeously badass Jabba the Hutt of a flying boat, armed to the gills. It packed so much heat, it was nicknamed the "Flying Porcupine":


    It might be stretching the definition of plane, but the Ekranoplan was also a pretty intimidating mofo:



    And imagine you're at night in your base, standing watch in an island in the Pacific in the 40s. Japanese side. It's a moonless night, the worst.

    Because that's when they come.

    Suddenly you hear it. The roar of 1200 HP from two American-made Pratt and Whitney breaks the silence of the night, and all hell breaks loose. Could be bombs or torpedoes, doesn't matter because you can't see shit and you just fire your weapons at the air hoping to dear heavens you hit something.

    You've been hit by a Black Cat.


    A PBY Catalina packed to the brim with weaponry, painted a deep black with minimal markings to blend in, custom prepared for night missions.

    The most evil, the one you can't see until it hits you in the freakin face. I think that'll be my final answer
    Last edited by raph; 19th Nov 2019 at 10:49.

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