This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

woody37

Douglas C-47 Skytrain - Airfix 1/72

32 posts in this topic

Douglas C-47 Skytrain

Airfix 1/72

box.jpg


Famed for its part in the D-Day assault into Northern France and folklore status in civil aviation history, the C-47 first flew in civilian guise in 1935 as the DST on the request of a sleeper aircraft for American Airlines based on the successful DC-2. The primary purpose for the aircraft was to provide East-West flights across the US in less than 24 hours. The DST became more famously known as the DC-3 when the sleeper arrangement was replaced by seats. Only one year later, KLM were taking the DC-3 from Amsterdam to Sydney, Australia to replace its DC-2’s on that route. Production of the DC-3 surprisingly ended in 1942 with only 600 airframes; however the demand for the aircraft was overtaken by the military for the transport role due to its excellent capacity and cabin uninterrupted by the wing spar due to the low wing layout. Only minor modifications were made to the C-47 including a reinforced floor and cargo door allowing wider loads to be carried. It could carry 6000lb of load such as a Jeep, a 37mm cannon, 28 fully loaded soldiers or 14 stretchers and medical staff. With this incredible flexibility, over 10,000 C-47 & C-53’s were built with production ending in 1945. Attempts were made later on to introduce a Super C-47, but the huge number of ex-military aircraft after the war meant that there were affordable alternatives for the airlines to purchase. To summarise the incredible career of this aircraft that still flies today, over 50 versions were built and it’s been operated by around 100 hundred nations in every corner of globe.

The kit (Build review HERE)
With the recent 70th anniversary of D-Day, the release of a new kit in D-Day guise is no accident. Whilst the aircraft has been tooled before by ESCI and Italeri and boxing’s of these by ESCI, Airfix, Italeri and Revell, this is the first new tooling since the early 1980’s and most welcome it is. Packed in the new style sturdy red box with stunning digital artwork by Alan Tooby, first impressions are very pleasing. There are 5 light grey sprues, a clear one obviously and an impressive instruction sheet that really adds to the quality presentation. Panel lines are of the recessed design and whilst heavier than your typical Hasegawa or Tamiya kit, aren’t as excessive as recent concerns led me to believe and there is virtually no evidence of flash or sink marks

instruc.jpg

sprue3.jpg

sprue4.jpg

sprue.jpg

sprue1.jpg

sprue2.jpg


Assembly starts with the interior as you’d probably expect. The cockpit and rear cabin interior are very nicely detailed with pilot and co-pilot figures included too. There is room for improvement which will no doubt come from the aftermarket community in due course, such as the cockpit seats which look rather clunky when compared to what can be provided in etch format. The instrument panel only has a decal option for the instruments, although I’m guessing that not much will be seen once assembled anyway. The diagrams in the instructions are excellently drawn using colour to assist in clarifying assembly stages. The rear cabin is fitted out with bench type seats as an option, however you may choose to have a stripped out cargo area by omitting those. There are ejector marks on the interior surface, however I suspect that they won't be that visible once the kit has been put together. Assembly of the interior looks to be very straight forwards, with the whole assembled section being sandwiched between the fuselage halves.

int1.jpg

int2.jpg

int3.jpg


My first impressions of the fuselage made me question the profile by comparing it to drawings in the Squadron Signal publication. Whilst I accept that there is a risk of the drawings being incorrect or even my aligning the part against an image on the screen, they indicate that the fuselage profile is a little thin with the upper section being about 1.5mm under nourished which affects the profile above the windscreen. That sounds like I’m being critical of the kit, but I’m not, I’m just trying to be open with my observations. Obviously this is open to debate due to my unscientific approach and I’m happy to be corrected. Surface of the fuselage is catered for by a mixture of recessed panel lines and some raised surfaces which look like either reinforcing or armour plates. You may want to tone the panel lines down slightly, a few coats of primer or paint should address this. I will also add some evidence of rivet lines when I build this too as a personal preference.

fuse1.jpg

fuse2.jpg


With the fuselage joined up, the lower wing mid section is fixed in place with a spar to reinforce the wing structure. There are a few strange assembly steps in this kit which caught my attention. The first being separate upper wing roots that need fitting before the upper wings are attached. I’m not sure why they aren’t just moulded as part of the fuselage. A nice little touch is the addition of oil tanks inside the nacelles that will be on show when looking in to the main gear bays and detailed rear engine bulkhead for the same reason. Detailing across the wing surface is predominantly represented with recessed panel lines with various raise details such as the wing kink reinforcing plates. Whilst these are obviously not scale accurate, they give a good representation of the panelling. The fabric effect on the ailerons and tail feathers is well moulded giving a good contrast to the metallic surfaces.

wing1.jpg

wing_root.jpg

The engine detail is quite well dealt with; the only thing that lets them down is lack of texture to represent the ribbed air cooling surfaces of the cylinders, similar to those found on the Lancaster B.II. Both banks of cylinders and the gearbox come as separate components that are to be mounted between the two nacelle halves.

engines.jpg

cowlings.jpg

The undercarriage can be positioned in the raised or lowered position and of course has the option for skids if you choose the MATS scheme. The intricacies of the gear legs is well represented with no less than 6 parts making up each main gear leg excluding the skis which are made up of another 5 parts!

gear.jpg

All the doors are provided as separate parts. Whilst there is no internal detail on the front door near the cockpit, the cargo door has pleasing detail to enable you to have these in the open position. With this in mind, there is a great opportunity to detail the rear cabin and admire your handy work afterwards! The cabin windows are fitted from the outside which is good for assembly purposes, no pushing them in by mistake. The second feature that I find a bit unusual is the fact that the windscreen is made up of 3 parts; side windows and front section. Given that this is always a tricky part to avoid getting glue on, particularly for novice builders, a one piece windscreen or even a moulded section for the upper cockpit area could of made assembly and prevention of glue marks easier. Assembly finishes with the props and various aerials. Two types of prop blades are provided, both paddle and needle type.

clear.jpg

clear.jpg


Decals
The decal sheet is somewhat lacking in colour due to the liveries provided, however the register and crispness is superb. A large collection of stencils is included on the sheet and despite the very small size, eyesight permitting are actually readable! Markings provided are:

C-47A-65-DL
41-2100521 “Kilroy is HERE”, 92nd Troop Carrier Sqn/439th TCG, Operation Overlord operating from Upottery, Devon 6th June 1944

C47D
43-16062 Military Air Transport Service (MATS), Isachsen airstrip, North West Territory, Canada, 1949

decal.jpg

Conclusion
This is an eagerly anticipated kit for many including myself. There are some things I’ve criticised, including the profile above the cockpit and the panel lines may be regarded as deeper than necessary, but be in no doubt, it is a kit that won’t disappoint. Assembly on the whole looks fairly straight forwards and the level of detail is enough of a balance to satisfy both novice and experienced builders alike. With over 50 versions of the aircraft in the history books, I should imagine there will be plenty of options from the aftermarket industry in the pipeline to use this kit as a base model for modification too.



bin.jpg

Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

6 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Neil. A nice review. I'm looking forward to seeing you build it now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like a nice kit but I feel a little let down by a new tool.

The real thing is a rivet fest but no sign on the model, but for recessed panel lines of which there are none on the real one? I know we are talking about a model representation here, but just does not look right to me.

Also those wheels they look more deflated than weighted?

Julien

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The raised skin panels certainly wouldn't be armour, but provide additional strength for the airframe, much like those on the rear fuselages of Canberras. I'm wondering if the separate side window panels for the flight deck will make it easier to depict them open: am I right in thinking that they slide rearwards to open? One of my managers in the early 1980s had been an RAF Dakota pilot with 77 Squadron during the Berlin Airlift and this kit may finally enable me to replicate an aeroplane that he might have flown at that time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The raised skin panels certainly wouldn't be armour, but provide additional strength for the airframe, much like those on the rear fuselages of Canberras. I'm wondering if the separate side window panels for the flight deck will make it easier to depict them open: am I right in thinking that they slide rearwards to open? One of my managers in the early 1980s had been an RAF Dakota pilot with 77 Squadron during the Berlin Airlift and this kit may finally enable me to replicate an aeroplane that he might have flown at that time.

The windows do slide back as can be seen in this pic, also shows how the area above the cockpit is a little slim.

Dakota-0003.JPG

Not sure about the armour either, there does appear to be a plate in that area on Kilroy but looks to me like a modern replacement panel. Not sure as this is the only shot we have in the walkaround.

C-47%20cam%2002.JPG

Full walkaround here: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/73385-douglas-dc-3-dakota-c-47-skytrain/

Julien

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The raised portion aft of the cockpit is meant to represent the doubled skin installed to prevent ice chucks being flung by the propellors crashing thru the fuselage. It isn't armour - just another layer of aluminum. It would be more appropriate for the Canadian-based USAF C-47. I have not seen a period shot of a D-Day Gooney Bird with it fitted. It should be sanded down a little in any case. Here is a link to a picture of a Czech example showing how subtle it really is.

http://www.airliners.net/photo/CSA---Ceskoslovenske/Douglas-DC-3-229/2364920/L/&sid=8ac6975fafd6b958ed9fa5c697acb4c3

out

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This picture also shows the escape hatch on top of the cockpit which is not depicted in the kit at all.

The windows do slide back as can be seen in this pic, also shows how the area above the cockpit is a little slim.

Dakota-0003.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to add some notes to Neil's review:

At the moment we have in the market the old Italeri and Esci molds but also the recent (from about two years ago) Amodel kits. They represent the L2D2 Tabby, a japanese licenced version of the DC-3, and the mods to make a really DC-3 are as easier as modifying a C-47. Of all the kits around it's the one with the more restrained panel lines, although it is a short run kit with no locating pins. I'm sure they will make a Li-2 also.

The new Airfix kit is very accurate in general forms if you compare it with the Maycraft drawings (of Douglas origin). It's the only one that captures the correct "S" curve of the intersection of the fin with the fuselage (I know I'm being a nitpicker, but it's a good symtom of the care put in the design of the kit). It is let down by the over sized panel lines - even if it is impossible to reproduce in scale the overlapping panels and the rivets, thin panel lines like the ones Tamiya was already doing 50 years ago would be much better.

The side windows, glued from the exterior, are a nice touch! And the INCLUDE the surrounding frame, so you can glue the windows without touching with glue the windows, use putty to fill the joint, mask and paint! May be a more labourious task than usual but with better final results possible.

If you copy in plastic card the kit's spar piece to use in the Esci or Amodel kits you'll get a much sturdier wing, alloing allowing to correct the Esci's lack of wing dihedral.

In short, a nice kit but a bit overpriced - specially if you compare it with the Esci one being offered in the latest Italeri box.

Carlos

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still looking forward to the Airfix Dan-Air DC-3 due for release in October though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still looking forward to the Airfix Dan-Air DC-3 due for release in October though.

I hope it has a true DC-3 fuselage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Dan-Air aircraft were all C-47B, so it won't be a pre-war DC-3.

Manchester_Airport_1964.jpg

Edited by Work In Progress
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the further contributions guys to add further value to the review :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting story if you care to Google the serial number of the MATS machine...

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Manchester_Airport_1964.jpg

That is a proper line-up!

Back on topic, is there any indication on the cockpit floor moulding that airline seats are catered for?

Trevor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a proper line-up!

Back on topic, is there any indication on the cockpit floor moulding that airline seats are catered for?

Trevor

The only extras on the sprues are the thin props and the loading ramp for the jeep. Given that the civvie issues are BOAC G-AGKN which crashed with the loss of the 4 crew and 2 passengers in 1948 and is listed as a cargo aircraft, and the other scheme is Dan Air Services Ltd G-AMSU which was the first aircraft in 1953 taken over from a regional cargo company - is it possible that these 2 schemes are early cargo aircraft rather than a true passenger aircraft requiring seats?

Edited by Richard M
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not only ramp and extra props, but also extra side mounted intakes to the engines seen more commonly on RCAF or civvy Canadian Daks. EG The Buffalo Airways DC-3 C-GPNR has them. Looks at the sprues where the wheel bay oil tanks are roughtly! Then, those parts truly make the wheel bay more detailed than any other 72nd DC-3/C-47. Also the short carb intakes are there most likely for another issue sometime to make use of the DC-3 pointy props!

Also:5th photo down from top,(not counting box top pic), look to lower right quarter of sprue you will see the 'military' types steps above the 'control' wheel parts.

Next shot (6th photo down). bottom right hand most corner. Then go in 3 section s from left, you will see two 'fan like'parts and a 'stem', these are the intakes I am on about, next to these, to the right, are the oil tanks that go inside the wheel bays.

Go up now and still on the right hand half of the frame, to the left of the two lower engine parts are another pair of extra parts the short carb intakes for another issue sometime. Possibly for the civilian Dak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a proper line-up!

Back on topic, is there any indication on the cockpit floor moulding that airline seats are catered for?

Trevor

I can't see any evidence of markings or semi formed location holes, so will be interesting to see how they do this unless there is a different fuselage sprue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is let down by the over sized panel lines - even if it is impossible to reproduce in scale the overlapping panels and the rivets, thin panel lines like the ones Tamiya was already doing 50 years ago would be much better.

Heller did a quite convincing overlapping panel simulation on some of their Musée twins (Potez 631/63-11 and or Bl 174, possibly) almost 50 years back.

I like the Monogram late 50s style of instruction drawings. One question/observation: The belly behind the wing looks very flat to a point quite far back, the pics in the walkaround seem to suggest the fuselage picks up the round/oval shape before the rear tip of the wing to fuselage fillets.

Edited by tempestfan
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heller did a quite convincing overlapping panel simulation on some of their Musée twins (Potez 631/63-11 and or Bl 174, possibly) almost 50 years back.

That's right, but most modellers don't like the style. In my humble opinion, raised lines are better than trenches because they are easier to correct!

One question/observation: The belly behind the wing looks very flat to a point quite far back, the pics in the walkaround seem to suggest the fuselage picks up the round/oval shape before the rear tip of the wing to fuselage fillets.

Airfix is correct on this. Take a look at these photos:

9248015003_35c383343a_b.jpg

5853566791_acc04941a4_b.jpg

9006907247_fafab9698f_b.jpg

The same photos, bigger:

The invasion markings shows clearly the flat surface up to the 2nd white stripe!
Carlos
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for taking the trouble, Carlos: I just couldn't make it out clearly on the pics even in zoom, and one looked as though the flat ended further forward. The second pic is very clear as the NG just below the paradoor shows exactly where the flat starts on the circumference, and that it extends qute a bit towards the tail..

Edited by tempestfan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found the profile looks accurate at the bottom when compared to a drawing, but obviously this wouldn't necessarily pick the flatness up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also those wheels they look more deflated than weighted?

Julien

Freightdog will be releasing replacement unweighted wheels next week.

Colin

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...

The invasion markings shows clearly the flat surface up to the 2nd white stripe!

Carlos is right, the kit has it reproduced pretty-nicely. Here are some more links:

http://jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=6429117&nseq=3

http://www.airliners.net/photo/0527346/L

http://www.airliners.net/photo/0583304/L

http://www.airliners.net/photo/0885512/L

http://www.airliners.net/photo/0845818/L

Here's a large pic, enhanced down there:

28847702.jpg

This picture also shows the escape hatch on top of the cockpit which is not depicted in the kit at all.

True, but easily fixed, a cut piece of thicker decal film (or painted thinner film) will take of this, and it may be as well doing it this way as sanding may have obliterated it anyway when joinging the fuselage.

There are a few strange assembly steps in this kit which caught my attention. The first being separate upper wing roots that need fitting before the upper wings are attached. I’m not sure why they aren’t just moulded as part of the fuselage.

Sort of it being a tooling necessity, the other possible reason is that it may hint into a future release of the so-called "speed" improvements, i.e. the removal of the large wing fairing and replacement with a smaller and flatter one; or to make it easy for the modeller to do it themselves; for a kit of this caliber, I doubt we've seen all the available sprues, my bet is that there will be separate civilian parts, separate R-1820 parts, and who knows what else, all release in due time to maximize sales. There is probably additional fuselage male tooling to account for future non C-47 civilian releases, like what Roden did in their 1:144 releases.

The new Airfix kit is very accurate in general forms if you compare it with the Maycraft drawings (of Douglas origin)....

Indeed it does! Including the top fuselage line. I would be suspect of the Squadron plans, noticed how they show ribbed flying surfaces like the Trumpeter 1:48 kit is critisized for? :) I would also reserve judgement on the swallowness of the upper fuselage area until one gets built; when you compare the OOB fuselage as it is, you are not seeing the extra framing area in the cockpit window opening because it is in the clear part, and that makes the upper area seem too shallow around the cockpit IMO.
I agree on the clear cockpit part, a larger piece with more surrounding area would have been easier, but I really like the way they did the clear pax windows, with some careful painting on the inside, one could simulate even the black rubber sealant!
While I understand why they did the tail flying surfaces separate (see parked Dak pics) I wish they had done the flaps and ailerons separate as well; the scribing is not deep enough IMO, it needs to be deepened, the 1:1 was never a very streamlined plane.
One thing they did mis is the trim tab on the right aileron but it's easily scribed. Could be they used a museum piece as reference and it may had it covered.

The kit's fit is very good BTW, but be aware, you will need to thin down the wing spar some.

I personally love it, I think Airfix hit a homerun with it!

Cheers,

Christos

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now