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Completed - a Trio of C-47 Dakotas

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  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Completed - a Trio of C-47 Dakotas
Posted by Aggieman on Saturday, August 24, 2019 6:09 PM

I've completed three C-47 Dakotas (well, one is actually an AC-47 but same basic airframe).  All 1/48th scale.  

These are the box tops:

I got that original Monogram C-47 way back at Christmas, 1978, and promptly built it in a day or so.  It did not survive for long, as we went through some house moving in the ensuing years.  

A few years ago, I grabbed the AC-47 with the thought of back-dating it to a 6-June-1944 warbird; then Trumpeter released their C-47A, which I picked up despite its cost ratio to the Monogram kit.  Then I said, what the heck, and grabbed an original C-47 Skytrain off eBay.

With this being the 75th anniversary of 6-June-1944 (I typically will not refer to that day as D-Day, as the term refers to any invasion date and I feel like using the term D-Day for just that date does an injustice to the many other D-Days throughout WWII), I thought I'd build the original Monogram release and the Trumpeter kit.  When I got to going, I ran into some issues, one pretty big, and you know how this hobby can some times beat you down to the point that you'd - almost - rather give a troubling kit to the Hulk so he could smash it?  I didn't feel much enthusiasm for either of these builds, so decided that the AC-47 was not going to be one that I'd ever want to build if I didn't do it now, so I pulled that one out of the stash and added it to my suddenly very cluttered work bench.

So the issue I ran into early one had to do with the landing gear.  Both Monogram releases were destined for gears-up and a ceiling mount in my workroom (alongside other large Monogram bombers).  I had researched how the gear struts actually work, and was attempting to dry-fit parts into the gear bay.  The Y-shaped actuating strut fell out of my grasp.  I never heard it hit anything below, but figured it was a large enough part that I should have no problem locating it.  Yeah, I actually wonder if Thanos didn't swing through my neighborhood at that moment looking to erase 50% of model parts from existence ... because the part was just gone.

My bench is a custom-built job.  It is an L-shaped bench, mounted to adjoining walls in what otherwise might have been a third-bay in my garage had the original owners built it out that way.  I put down half-inch plywood as the lower surface, with three-quarter-inch (something else, not plywood) for the primary, upper work surface.  I use the lower surface as storage for various tools, plastic drawer boxes, my compressor, etc. I pulled all of that stuff away, thinking the part had somehow flown way up under something.  Nope.  I pulled everything off the surrounding floor, swept real well and sorted through the debris that I swept up.  No part.  The plywood surface was reclaimed plywood, and one of the edges didn't meet flush with an adjoining piece, resulting in a small gap that I'd always thought might gobble up a part someday but had never gotten around to closing that gap.  So I even took all that plywood off the lower frame structure.  No part, but I did have an encounter, brief though it was, with a particularly nasty-looking spider (I have a serious case of archnaphobia, never saw the movie by the same name and never will).  That spider dashed away, hopefully never to be seen again, and after I double-checked for that part and verified that it was not there, I replaced the plywood and put everything back in place.

At this point I was strongly considering two options - trashing the Monogram altogether, or attempting to replicate the Y-shaped part however I could.  Then in kind of a hail mary, I posted here asking if someone might have the part, say from a kit that they had trashed.  I never expected that someone would have the part, but as it turns out, user learmech was building the same kit but was going to use some metal landing gear and sent me his unneeded parts.  Thanks again, learmech!

These builds sapped a lot of my enthusiasm for building.  Number one, the Monogram kits were bad.  Poor fit and lack of good detail seems to describe them.  The Trumpeter is far more detailed and generally fit better, although one of the engine exhausts never did go together properly, and resulted in a gap that prevented me from being able to attach the exhaust pipe without doing a bunch of plastisurgery.  Number two, it has been hotter than Hades in recent weeks here in the Houston area.  I could only stand an hour or so at the bench, typically first thing in the morning, and too many damn mosquitos for evening work.

The Trumpeter kit came with the invasion stripes on the decal sheet.  The wings might have been okay to deal with, but I knew what level of hell I was going to have to descend into to be able to deal with decals for the fuselage stripes.  I opted to paint the stripes.  The wings look good, but the fuselage ... argh!  Ordinarily I would have stopped work and address the fuselage striping, but this time, with all this heat and my generally foul attitude, I just pressed on.  I did acquire a Montex mask set for the Trumpeter, which I used for the big squadron codes and the tail ID numbers, but I used the Trumpeter kit decals for the US insignia and raided my spares box for US insignia for the Monogram kit.  (I opted not to use the 30+ year old decal sheet from the Monogram kit).

Paints are primarily Vallejo, and the weathering is ground up artist pastel chalk.

Monogram C-47 (repesents a 6-June-1944 Skytrain)

Trumpeter C-47 (represents an Operation Market Garden, September 1944, Skytrain)

Monogram AC-47

I actually have a fourth that is currently on my bench.  It is Monogram's ancient AC-47, first put out in the sixties, in a scale of 1/96.  I am going old-school with that build and will paint it as I would have as a kid - with paint brush.  We'll see if I'm still capable of that, otherwise I'll strip whatever mess I make and just use the airbrush.

  • Member since
    August, 2016
Posted by Keyda81 on Sunday, August 25, 2019 3:20 PM

Those are all beauties!  Should of hopped in on my group build for the Skytrain.  I've built one of Monogram's kits as "Whiskey 7".  I have two more Monograms kits as I plan to build 2 more "Mini Whiskey 7's"( I donated the 1st one to the museum that owns the real plane)I'm going to do one with spinning props and LED's, and the other will be static.  I also have the Trumpeter kit that I haven't decided what I'm going to do with yet. 

Side note, if you happen to lose parts I have several spare parts from the first one I built (landing gear, seats, interior radio room parts)I won't be using them at all in either one of my other builds, since I have metal gear, and Whiskey 7 doesn't have the normal pan seats, or the radio room.  So if you need anything just let me know! 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2015
Posted by Mopar Madness on Sunday, August 25, 2019 4:23 PM

”Hot” in Houston also includes 100% humidity!  Here in Dallas, it’s like a dry oven effect.  Really nice variations on some classics. 

Chad

God, Family, Models...

At the plate: 1/48 Airfix Ju87 B2 Stuka

On deck: 

In the hole: 

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Sunday, August 25, 2019 6:19 PM
Nice trio of birds,must take up a lot of space.

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Posted by Aggieman on Monday, August 26, 2019 7:08 AM

Keyda81

Those are all beauties!  Should of hopped in on my group build for the Skytrain.  I've built one of Monogram's kits as "Whiskey 7".  I have two more Monograms kits as I plan to build 2 more "Mini Whiskey 7's"( I donated the 1st one to the museum that owns the real plane)I'm going to do one with spinning props and LED's, and the other will be static.  I also have the Trumpeter kit that I haven't decided what I'm going to do with yet. 

Side note, if you happen to lose parts I have several spare parts from the first one I built (landing gear, seats, interior radio room parts)I won't be using them at all in either one of my other builds, since I have metal gear, and Whiskey 7 doesn't have the normal pan seats, or the radio room.  So if you need anything just let me know! 

 

 

  Thanks for your kind words.  I suppose for my Goonie Birds, it is a case of knowing where the faults are and I cannot "un-see" them.  And thank you for the parts offer, but given that these were the only 48th scale C-47s I had in my stash, I don't anticipate needing them.  (I am currently doing a much smaller scale AC-47 that has a parts count of about 2 dozen, and then that will be it for me for this particular aircraft).

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Posted by Aggieman on Monday, August 26, 2019 7:09 AM

Mopar Madness

”Hot” in Houston also includes 100% humidity!  Here in Dallas, it’s like a dry oven effect.  Really nice variations on some classics. 

 

  Thanks for your kind words.  

Different kinds of heat between Houston and Dallas, but hot nonetheless in both places toward the end of this summer.

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Posted by Aggieman on Monday, August 26, 2019 7:12 AM

Tojo72
Nice trio of birds,must take up a lot of space.
 

They took up every availale square inch of my work space, or so it seemed.  The two WWII-era birds are hanging now alongside my 48th scale B-24, B-17, and PBY Catalina, and the AC-47 is trailing the 48th scale B-1.  Even in my garage workshop, hanging space is beginning to become a premium (with several large-scale multi-engine aircraft yet to build)

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Cleveland, OH
Posted by RadMax8 on Monday, August 26, 2019 11:10 PM

Aggie,

What a story of perseverence. It sucks when something we do for fun suddenly feels like a chore. But, you made it, and to be honest the builds look pretty good. I see what you mean about the invasion stripes, but to be honest, they were put on in such a hurry leading up to the Normandy invasion that it could have happened like that!

Now that you’ve finished this project, do you have a certain kit you could build 100 of and never get tired? Might be time for one of those!

Thanks for sharing!

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Posted by Aggieman on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 7:48 AM

do you have a certain kit you could build 100 of and never get tired?

Interesting question.  Right off the top of my head, I might say Tamiya's P-47 or F4U series, or believe it or not, the old Monogram P-40B.

Thanks for your kind words on these builds.  Generally speaking, I do think they look good.  Maybe not up to my usual standards, but decent enough.  As for the invasion stripes, I know they were hastily painted and were 99.9999999999999% not completely straight and aligned.  I was really wanting to avoid those decals, but what I should have done was to have painted the white with the airbrush, then just grabbed a wider brush than I normally use and slop the black stripes on.

  • Member since
    September, 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 11:46 AM

I'm with the others, Aggieman, that's a beautiful trio of Gooney Birds you have there!  And I think the Monograms look the best.

Aggieman

do you have a certain kit you could build 100 of and never get tired?

Interesting question...believe it or not, the old Monogram P-40B...

I'm with you on that one!  It is a favorite of mine, going back to when I first built it as a kid.  And I think it still holds up well today.  I don't decline to build newer kits of it, such as the Airfix kit, which is also a nice kit.  But I like to build Monogram's P-40!  I look for older boxings, though, pre-merger, for the crispest detail.

 

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

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