Reno Radials

13 Apr , 2016   Video


Meet the Wasp Major
The numbers
Reno Radials
A good look, on us
Part of our process

Meet the Wasp Major

The Wasp Major, or R-4360, is a large and powerful radial engine designed during World War II in the United States by Pratt & Whitney. We made this computer model of it because it is seriously impressive to look at (and because we get to show off our modelling, lighting and rendering VFX skills).

Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major

Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major

The numbers

The Wasp Major was one of the last, and most powerful engines to be used on large aircraft before jet engines took over as the dominant powerplants. It has 4 rows of 7 cylinders, 28 in total, with a total displacement of about 71.5 litres. The numbers don’t disappoint in the horsepower department either, with some factory models developing up to 4,300 hp when twin turbo-supercharged. If you like engines, just trying saying “twin turbo-supercharged” to yourself. It will make you smile…

A few well-known aircraft were powered by these astonishing pieces of mechanical engineering, most notably Howard Hughes H-4 Hercules flying boat (also known as the “Spruce Goose”) and the B-50 Superfortress, an upgraded version of the B-29 used to drop the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

H-4 Hercules

H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose” – Public Domain Image

Each engine weighed nearly 2 tonnes, and the Hercules needed 8 of them to develop the 24,000 hp required to lift itself off the water. Between these planes and the other large planes that used this engine, 18,697 of them were built.

Reno Radials

The Wasp Major can be found powering modified World War II fighter planes used for unlimited gold class racing at the Reno Air Races. Our personal favourite is the Hawker Sea Fury: Furias. Unlimited racers at Reno skim around a pylon-marked course at a little under 500mph. The unlimited class speed record is 507.105mph!

"Precious Metal" P-51 Mustang

CC BY-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ 25 P 51XR Mustang N6WJ Precious Metal Reno Air Race 2014 photo D Ramey Logan

A good look, on us.

While there are some photos of museum preserved examples of this engine, working examples are almost always covered with fuselage panels. We wanted to go one step further and create something we can share with you, so here is a really good look, on us, at the amazing Pratt and Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major.

Part of our process.

We hope you enjoyed this short look at the Wasp Major. A part of our process is to carry out a detailed research project into everything we create so that we may offer a rich and accurate experience for our clients and their customers. Meanwhile, if you would like to see how more of this process unfolds, consider subscribing to our blog, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We also offer a free email now and then to keep you all up to date on things we find fascinating.

Learn more about how the Wasp Major VFX imagery was made at our Making Reno Radials article.


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