DC-3 Stuff

DC-3 Stuff

Post by Jeffery S. Harriso » Thu, 10 Apr 1997 04:00:00



In my last post I mentioned how the 1/48th scale Monogram kits of the C-47
and DC-3 got the landing gear wrong. I want to go on record as saying that
overall I like these kits.

   Many of you probably know that recently I have been doing a lot of
research on this airplane. I'm trying to build a 1/48th scale model of the
first DST received by American Airlines (Flagship Texas) and then I'm
considering a 1/48th scale C-117D (R4D-8 or Super DC-3 if you prefer). As a
result I have recently come across some very reliable information (like
copies of constructor drawing from Douglas) and will be posting the various
"problems" I find in the kits for those of you who care about this sort of
thing. Just remember to keep the big picture in mind. The Monogram kits
look like what they claim to be. While it will sound like they didn't get
anything right, I'm talking about minor details in most cases that very few
people out there will be aware of even when looking at the real thing. Case
in point--I was recently in Phoenix and visited the Champlin Fighter Museum
and then went to the Confederate Air Force Museum next door. They have a
beautiful example of a "C-47" on display complete with olive drab paint and
invasion stripes. The only problem is that it's a DC-3 without ANY of the
details that a C-47 had. This particular plane originally belonged to
Easter Airlines, doesn't have the cargo door, has the lighter (weaker)
landing gear of the DC-3 and has the rarer Wright Cyclone engines instead
of the Pratt & Whitneys that most C-47s got. It's too bad too because
finding a real DC-3 that hasn't been butchered is extremely difficult and
this airplane would be better if restored to its original markings. Another
thing to remember is that getting a clear picture of what was do when to
make which variation of the airframe is about as easy as trying to figure
out what camouflage colors were painted on a specific Bf-109G on January 4,
1944. The basic DC-3 airframe never really changed so you have to check out
the little stuff like what type of glass is in the cabin windows, or the
arrangement of panel lines, or the presence of a cargo door (and which
one), etc. to figure out what you're looking at. Its perfectly
understandable how a model company could get it wrong.

Jeff

 
 
 

DC-3 Stuff

Post by John Haire » Fri, 11 Apr 1997 04:00:00



[stuff snipped]

The basic DC-3 airframe never really changed so you have to check out

Quote:
>the little stuff like what type of glass is in the cabin windows, or the
>arrangement of panel lines, or the presence of a cargo door (and which
>one), etc. to figure out what you're looking at. Its perfectly
>understandable how a model company could get it wrong.

Sorry.  I don't buy it.  With the research resources some of these companies
have, they should know at minimum, for example, what distinguishes a DC-3 from
a C-47.  And relying on access to restored or museum aircraft (or any other
restored/preserved items) is not enough.

When an interested person off the street can come up with more accurate
information than a big model company, something's wrong somewhere.  If you are
going to blow big bucks on a set of molds, why not get it right?



 
 
 

DC-3 Stuff

Post by Jeffery S. Harriso » Tue, 15 Apr 1997 04:00:00


Sorry to disappoint you but model companies generally do not spend any more
on research than they think they have to(why do you think so many new kits
are nothing more than a decal change). If they can go and measure a real
airplane restored and sitting in a museum they will probably do that. It
costs less money to do that than to put a team on researching the hundreds
of written sources that are out there. Besides who can argue with measuring
the "real" thing when the written sources can't agree on basics like what
the wingspan was. The DC-3/C-47's wingspan NEVER changed until the advent
of the C-117D/Super DC-3 and the available literature can't agree on what
that wingspan is (by-the-way, the correct answer is 95 feet) so what is
Monogram (or who-ever) supposed to do?

If you think they care about the difference between the C-47 and the DC-3 I
would like to hear your explanation on how they got the DC-3 landing gear
completely wrong. The C-47 gear is understandable because they got the
upper truss shape correct, the reason the "X" is tubing instead of I-beam
like it is supposed to be is a molding consideration but there is no excuse
for getting the fork behind the wheel wrong. You don't even have to see the
fork on the real plan to know theirs is wrong because theirs won't even
retract into their representation of the wheel well. Other errors on their
DC-3 kit include no air intake in the nose, and for what it's
worth--Eastern Airlines ordered their DC-3's with only 3 fuel tanks instead
of the usual 4 that Douglas installed in the DC-3 yet Monogram still gives
you 4 (instead of the correct 3) fuel caps for the 4 tanks of their C-47
kit. All Monogram did was make the minimal necessary changes to the C-47
kit to make it "look" like a DC-3, that does not mean that they tried to
make a "accurate" DC-3.

I've told everybody in earlier posts that I DO LIKE both of the Monogram
kits. I have also said that many of the details I am pointing out can be
ignored and almost nobody would call them on it. Some of the details I'll
be pointing out (like the extra fuel tank) are very easy to fix. The
purpose of these posts is to point out errors to make it easier for someone
else trying to create an accurate replica of these aircraft.

One final note. You will probably disagree with this but one very
interested person will probably find more information pertinent to creating
an accurate model than a model company (even when they are really trying to
be accurate). The bottom line is that person (me in this case) can spend as
much time and effort on researching this one subject than that company can.
The model company will be trying to work within budgets and time
constraints that the individual doesn't have.

Jeff



Quote:


> [stuff snipped]

> The basic DC-3 airframe never really changed so you have to check out
> >the little stuff like what type of glass is in the cabin windows, or the
> >arrangement of panel lines, or the presence of a cargo door (and which
> >one), etc. to figure out what you're looking at. Its perfectly
> >understandable how a model company could get it wrong.

> Sorry.  I don't buy it.  With the research resources some of these
companies
> have, they should know at minimum, for example, what distinguishes a DC-3
from
> a C-47.  And relying on access to restored or museum aircraft (or any
other
> restored/preserved items) is not enough.

> When an interested person off the street can come up with more accurate
> information than a big model company, something's wrong somewhere.  If
you are
> going to blow big bucks on a set of molds, why not get it right?