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Douglas C-47 Skytrain (A08014) Airfix 1/72


Julien
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Douglas C-47 Skytrain (A08014)

Airfix 1/72

 

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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. This aircraft has had an incredible career with many still flying today, many in extreme climates. Over 50 versions were built and it’s been operated by around 100 hundred nations and many varied airlines, in every corner of globe.

The kit 
This was originally released for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, 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 it is most welcome. 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 you might read about. 

 

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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 (though these do seem a bit anemic). The instrument panel only has a decal option for the instruments, although 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.

 

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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.

 

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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. The undercarriage can be positioned in the raised or lowered position and of course has the option for skis 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!

 

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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.

 

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Decals
The decal sheet is somewhat lacking in colour due to the liveries provided (although the MATS example does have its Artic Red areas, and the WWII version its Invasion Stripes), the register and crispness is superb as you would expect from Cartograf. 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

 

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Conclusion
It is a good to see this kit re-released. 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.

 

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Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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On 28/11/2022 at 17:27, PhantomBigStu said:

Real shame they didn’t revise the decals, not like there wasn’t plenty to choose from 

There are plenty of colourful version available here:

https://foxbot.com.ua/products-u.html

https://www.super-hobby.com/catalog/Accessories-307661.html?search_producer=22482730&search_keywords=C+47&search_attr_1[1:72]=t

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