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  1. C-54D Skymaster Revell 1:72 The Skymaster from Douglas was a four engine transport aircraft developed for the USAAF during WWII. Like its predecessor the C-47 its was also developed from an a civilian airliner; in this case the DC-4. The DC-4 started life back in 1935 from a requirement of United Air Lines for a larger and more sophisticated replacement for the DC-3. The DC-4 had a planned capacity of 42 passengers and would be the first large aircraft to feature a nosewheel. Other new features would be boosted flight controls, and air-conditioning. The prototype would fly in 1938 with airline certification following in 1939. The prototype aircraft was changed significantly to what would become the DC-4 with a lot of complex systems being removed to make the aircraft less complex. Before the DC-4 could really be put into production for the airlines all of the US production capacity would switch to war production. The DC-4 was taken on by the then USAAF and USN. The USAAF would designate the DC-4 the C-54, and the USN the R5D. The C-54 would go through a few design changes, the D model would feature an increased fuel capacity in the wings along with R-2000-11 Engines. A total of 380 would be built. The aircraft would carry out long range transport in WWII seating upto 50 troops. They would go onto feature heavily in the post war Berlin Airlift, and constitute a major contribution to the Korean Airlift. The aircraft began to be phased out of the new USAF in 1948 by the arrival of the C-124 Globemaster. The last C-54 in US service would be used until 1974 by the US Navy test pilots school. As well as the US many overseas military Air Forces would use the aircraft including the UK, France, Portugal, and Canada. The civilian DC-4 would also be built in large numbers following WWII and serve with a vast array of airlines around the world. Several are still flying today, most with the now famous Buffalo Airway in Canada. Though it should be noted that many more DC-3's still fly than the aircraft which was designed to replace it! The Kit The announcement of this kit by Revell was welcome news to both modellers of large military transports and airliner modellers. The kit is upto the standard we now expect from Revell. Like other large aircraft they have brought us such as the Transall the C-54D features a full interior which builds up and goes into the main fuselage. The kit arrives on 13 suitably large sprues of grey plastic and one clear sprue. The parts are well moulded with engraved panel lines. It is noted that provision has been made for the large rear bubble windows which featured on some aircraft for these to be installed. Construction starts in the conventional way with the cockpit section. The front wheel well is built up on the underside of the cockpit floor. This is followed above by the forward cockpit bulkhead which is backed up with the instrument panel. The coaming for this is fitted along with the centre console. Control yokes are added (rudder pedals are moulded into the floor) along with multi part seats for the pilots. The engineers/radio ops station behind the cockpit is then added to the main long floor along with equipment racks. Following behind this a crew rest area with two bunks if fitted. The bulkhead to the rear compartment is then added and a roof panel inserted. The seats for the load area are added along both sides. When this is done the interior sides are then added. The last stage to construct the interior is to add the cockpit section to the front of the main cabin section. The complex front landing gear can then be assembled. This contains seven parts to assemble and add to the front wheel well. All of the cabin glazing is now added to the outer fuselage halves. There are some different options for this so care is needed to select the right ones. The next major step is to add the completed interior into the main fuselage. Revel recommend adding 50 grams of weight to the front of the aircraft to avoid a tail sitter. The cargo door needs adding to the left half of the fuselage before closing them up. Underneath two spacers have to be added also at this time. Once these are done the main fuselage can be closed up around the interior. Construction now moves to the aircraft's wings. For the lower wing various parts are added into each engine nacelle along with an engine front and fire wall (for the two inboard engines). The rear of the firewall becomes the inside front of the main gear well. Rear bulkheads for the gears wells are also added. There is the option for raised or lower flaps in the kit and these need to be selected at this stage as some of the parts need to be fitted into the wing before it is closed up. It looks like some cutting of parts is required for the flaps up option. Once the flaps are out of the way the upper wings can be fitted. The tops of the nacelles and intakes are also added here. The wing is now joined to the fuselage. Outer parts of the engine cowlings are now added. It is also at this stage that more parts for the lowered flaps are added (skip this if going for flaps up). Following this the next major stage in construction is to make up and add the rudder, tailpanes and their control surfaces. These are all two half conventional parts. Attention is now drawn to the engines on the wings. The engines feature two banks of cylinders with exhausts and intakes on either side. All of these parts are separate and with careful assembly and painting should turn out to be good looking examples of the real thing. The completed engines are fitted into their cowlings and these then attached to the wings. The exhausts can then be added. The correct nose (a choice of two) is then added to the front of the fuselage. Again it is recommended 10 grams of weight be added in here. Construction then moves to the landing gear. The front wheel is constructed and added to the gear leg. The front gear doors are supplied as one part and will need to be cut if displaying the model with the gear down. The main gear legs and their retraction struts are added at this time. The inner hubs, scissors and brake lines are also added to the legs, along with main wheels. These are followed by the outer hubs. Retraction struts are added for the complex main gear doors. Again these will need to be split down if doing a gear down model. Following the earlier decision as to the flap state the relevant parts are now added at this stage. Separate ailerons are also added to the outer wings. The canopy is then fitted. The large clear part fits back to become part of the fuselage and the windows masked on it. The overhead instrument panel must be fitted before this part is installed.To finish of the rear cargo door is added. This is one part but can be cut if the modeller wishes it open (it would be a shame to waste that interior?). The propellers are added, along with landing lights, aerials, some antenna cable (not included) needs to be added to the top and undersides. Finally if you have miscalculated the weight a tail stand is provided, however like other aircraft of this period the Skymaster is often seen on the ground with this fitted. Decals The decal sheet provides two marking options for the USAF. The decal sheet is fairly small in the box and features the blue band around the windows for option 1, and the orange flash for option 2. All walkway markings for the wings are included. The decal sheet is fairly matt in finish, well printed and colour dense. There is minimal carrier film present around the decals, but it is present in the USAF markings and other titles. C-54 Skymaster 0-17218 - 1949. C-54 Skymaster 317227 - Berlin Airlift 1948-49. Conclusion This is an impressive kit from Revell and follows on from their other 1:72 scale transports by giving the modeller a full interior. Very Highly Recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit
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