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KM Caspian Sea Monster
Here is my LDD model of the KM Caspian Sea Monster. It is built to minifig scale. As always, please leave a comment if you like. Enjoy! Check out my flickr page for larger pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/118702264@N05/sets/72157651495886329/. The LDD model is available on my Etsy site: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/KurtsMOCs.
About this creation

The KM is a ground effect vehicle (GEV) that makes use of the aerodynamic interaction between the wings and the surface or the earth. Although a GEV looks like part airplane, seaplane, hovercraft, or hydrofoil, they are a separate technology altogether.
Ground effect is the increased lift and decreased aerodynamic drag that an aircraft’s wings generate when they are close to a fixed surface, such as land or water. Flying close to a surface increases air pressure on the lower wing surface creating a cushion effect that improves the lift-to-drag ratio while simultaneously reducing the pressure across the upper wing surface.


All aircraft experience ground effects but a GEV is designed to take advantage of this principle. Rostislav Evgenievich Alexeyev, renown for his high-speed ships and hydrofoils, experimented with Wing in Ground (WiG) vehicles. His ekranoplan (meaning “screen plane” in Russian) wing profile design made use of a short low-mounted wing and a high-mounted wing to achieve stability.


Alexeyev’s early small ekranoplan experiments on the Gorky reservoir outside of Moscow were promising. He attracted the attention of the Soviet military and received funds to build and test a larger scaled version. This larger ekranoplan was designed between 1964 and 1965 at Alexeyev’s new Central Hydrofoil Design Bureau. Testing began in 1966 at the Caspian Sea.


Officially known as the KM, which meant “Korabl maket” or “prototype ship” in Russian, the CIA coined the term “Kaspian Monster” after American spy satellites photographed the strange aircraft with the letters “KM” on its fuselage.


The KM was intended as a special vehicle for the military and rescue teams. The vehicle would skim the sea at low altitude, undetected by radar. Because of its unique abilities, it was not really clear if the KM was to be used by the Soviet Navy or the Soviet Air Force.


In naval tradition, the KM was christened with a bottle of champagne broken across its nose and assigned to the Soviet Navy. However, the vehicle was flown by Soviet Air Force test pilots. It was clear that both had a vested interest in the vehicle.


At just over 300 feet in length, the KM was indeed a monster. The wingspan reached 123 feet and height of the tail stabilizer reached 121 feet. Its maximum takeoff weight was 600 tons. Until the construction of the An-225 Mriya, the KM was the largest aircraft in the world. For reference, the An-225 has a maximum takeoff weight of 700 tons.


The KM was designed to cruise at 267 mph but with a maximum operational speed of 311 mph. During testing, the KM achieved 405 mph but a claimed speed of 460 mph was thought possible. These speeds were achieved at an altitude of 15-45 feet in order to utilize the ground effect. The KM could operate in a sea state up to 4 feet. On the model, the wing "flaps", the vertical stabilizer, and elevators on the high-mounted wing are all movable.


Ten Dobrynin VD-7 turbojet engines propelled the KM, each generating 28,670 lbf of thrust. The eight engines mounted just aft of the cockpit were used to generate lift while the two tail mounted engines were designated as cruise engines. To increase the airflow under the wings, the jet exhaust can be directed downwards.


The KM was tested in the Caspian Sea for fifteen years until 1980 when it crashed due to pilot error. Apparently, the pilot attempted to takeoff without applying full throttle. The vehicle sank in deep water and was too heavy to be recovered from its wrecksite. Here in the cockpit, Alexeyev keeps a stern eye on the tests!


There is not a lot of information about the KM readily available. I made use of archival photos, models and drawings but most of the work is speculative. I was able to find a few good cockpit shots and background information from the “Wings of Russia” episode on The Ground Effect Systems (check it out on Youtube!).


The profile of the airfoil proved tricky. I originally made a stacked-plate wing but then decided to try something different. Using hinge pieces and smooth plates, I developed a system that allowed for an increase in wing depth and profile change as it neared the fuselage. It worked fairly well in this arrangement, mostly because the wing edges are perpendicular. Unfortunately, it was not as successful on tapered wing shapes. I’m still playing around with it on other projects to see if I can get it to work and look correct.


Thanks to Wikipedia and the Wings of Russia documentary for their specifications and information.



Comments

 I made it 
  December 5, 2015
Quoting Parrington Levens This is just fantastic!
Thanks! I'm glad you like it.
 I like it 
  August 16, 2015
This is just fantastic!
 I made it 
  April 18, 2015
Quoting David Roberts Great work on the layers of slopes around the noses area: smoothly done!
Thanks David! I'm glad you like the model.
 I like it 
  April 18, 2015
Great work on the layers of slopes around the noses area: smoothly done!
 I made it 
  April 14, 2015
Quoting arwenromel hanna wooooow this is amazing job man !!!!!..... I was just about to start building this Russian monster before u made it .. but I will make that later and Certainly I will used many details from this great job ..! well done my friend
Thanks for your comments. I saw your Lun-class ekranoplan while I was building the KM and was very impressed. You can build your version of the KM and I'll try building the Lun! Feel free to borrow whatever techniques work best for you. Good luck!
 I like it 
  April 14, 2015
wooooow this is amazing job man !!!!!..... I was just about to start building this Russian monster before u made it .. but I will make that later and Certainly I will used many details from this great job ..! well done my friend
Kurt's MOCs
 I like it 
Sphinx Rising
  April 12, 2015
Nice & huge also, as I se it contains mini figures. The KM I made would be about 1/4th the size of yours (rough guess).
 I made it 
  April 12, 2015
Quoting Yann (XY EZ) What a creation! The size is mind - blowing! Well done!
Thanks for your comments! I'm glad you like the model.
 I like it 
  April 12, 2015
What a creation! The size is mind - blowing! Well done!
 I made it 
  April 12, 2015
Quoting Henrik Jensen Great model! But not quite as good as I would expect from you. Gabor Pauler already mentioned the "skinny" fuselage, and I think the tail is a tad too long (clearly visible on the top view Photo). I think the nose/cockpit-section and the engines looks great. Have you checked this one ? http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/409197 The proportions on this one are excellent.
Thanks for the comments Henrik. I guess you can't win them all! I saw Arwen's Lun-class ekranoplan while I was making the KM. The Lun came after the KM and built to different specifications. When I built the KM, I did have to make some decisions regarding proportions and Lego building logic--sometime they work, sometimes not. I'm fairly happy with the results.
 I made it 
  April 12, 2015
Quoting Sam Sanister Never heard of this aircraft, but it looks incredible!
Thanks Sam! Check it out on YouTube: there are some amazing videos of the KM in action.
 I like it 
  April 12, 2015
Great model! But not quite as good as I would expect from you. Gabor Pauler already mentioned the "skinny" fuselage, and I think the tail is a tad too long (clearly visible on the top view Photo). I think the nose/cockpit-section and the engines looks great. Have you checked this one ? http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/409197 The proportions on this one are excellent.
 I like it 
  April 12, 2015
Never heard of this aircraft, but it looks incredible!
 I made it 
  April 12, 2015
Quoting Sphinx Rising Nice & huge also, as I se it contains mini figures. The KM I made would be about 1/4th the size of yours (rough guess).
Thanks for your comments! Its nice to see another Kaspian Monster out there in Lego world!
 I made it 
  April 12, 2015
Quoting Stephan Niehoff Wow, that's what I call a machine. Aircraft ala XXl :) Awesome work my friend.
Thanks for your comments Stephan!
 I like it 
  April 12, 2015
Wow, that's what I call a machine. Aircraft ala XXl :) Awesome work my friend.
 I made it 
  April 12, 2015
Quoting Seaman SPb Excellent work!
Thanks!
 I like it 
  April 12, 2015
Excellent work!
 I made it 
  April 12, 2015
Quoting matt rowntRee Okay, that thing qualifies as delightfully weird. Odd plane beautifully rendered in Lego, love how you built the fuselage and those sleek engines. That cockpit steals the show, glorious. I just can't get over how unconventional this beast looks, you've got to figure that someone along the way was shaking their head in disbelief. ;) Outstanding!
Thanks for the comments Matt! I completely agree with you: this thing is insane. Apparently, the Soviet military funded it because the West didn't have anything like it but how this thing would have actually performed is now just speculation. Kudos to the effort though. It's existence must have created an ekranoplan gap!
 I like it 
  April 12, 2015
Okay, that thing qualifies as delightfully weird. Odd plane beautifully rendered in Lego, love how you built the fuselage and those sleek engines. That cockpit steals the show, glorious. I just can't get over how unconventional this beast looks, you've got to figure that someone along the way was shaking their head in disbelief. ;) Outstanding!
 I made it 
  April 12, 2015
Quoting Mister Hashtag Wow that thing is HUGE, great work!!
Thanks! I'm glad you like the model.
 I like it 
  April 12, 2015
Wow that thing is HUGE, great work!!
 I made it 
  April 12, 2015
Quoting Gabor Pauler Superb nose, tail and engine solution! I especially like the attempt to make large depth wing profile. The only thing is that airframe/hull seems to me a little bit sleek compared to the real one. Wasn't the airframe somewhat more wide?
Thanks for your comments Gabor. It was hard finding accurate information on the KM. I went with a fuselage/hull profile that worked for the model. Something to consider for the inevitable refit!
 I like it 
  April 12, 2015
Superb nose, tail and engine solution! I especially like the attempt to make large depth wing profile. The only thing is that airframe/hull seems to me a little bit sleek compared to the real one. Wasn't the airframe somewhat more wide?
 I made it 
  April 12, 2015
Quoting Clayton Marchetti There's an amazing aircraft you don't see very often, especially in Lego. I've seen this aircraft on the history channel. It was a show really about the designer. You did an outstanding job building it. Those engines are fantastic, and I love the cockpit detailing.
Thanks Clayton! The KM is quite the beast. It was a bit tricky to model because of its fluid shape. I tried some new techniques as well. I'm fairly happy with the results. I'm glad you like it too.
 I like it 
  April 12, 2015
There's an amazing aircraft you don't see very often, especially in Lego. I've seen this aircraft on the history channel. It was a show really about the designer. You did an outstanding job building it. Those engines are fantastic, and I love the cockpit detailing.
 
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