Built Review
Douglas C-47 build
Douglas C-47 build review
  • move

by: Richard Tonge [ TINBANGER ]


In the mid-1930's American Airlines ordered from the Douglas company an advanced version of the DC-2 passenger plane which was operated extensively by them on domestic air routes. In developing the new aircraft, the successful innovative ideas in the layout of the DC-2 were considered, but its construction embraced a variety of further changes, and as a result appeared the DC-3, a plane which defined an epoch in the history of aviation. Its design was so successful and well regarded, that it continued to be operated for passenger transport for many decades.

After the U.S. entry into World War II, it was clear that the army did not have enough transport aircraft. Considerable numbers of the civil DC-3 were requisitioned for army needs, and the Douglas company soon produced the modified C-47, dedicated to the requirements of the military, which differed in having a large cargo door on the side of the fuselage, and a reinforced floor to enable the carrying of heavy military cargo.

The C-47 soon became the most widely used transport aircraft of the nations allied against Hitler. Under Lend-Lease agreements the USA transferred to Great Britain and the USSR a large number of machines of this type, besides which, the USSR established their own production under license.

In the U.S. Air Force the C-47 was used in every theater, but the most famous pages of its military service told of the opening day of the Second Front in France, when a huge air armada crossed the Channel and dropped a great force of paratroopers from the air. In this role, the passenger plane in its new guise as the military C-47, proved to be the best all around aircraft for transportation tasks. It was rather capacious and comfortable for a military vehicle, along with impressive speed and range. No wonder that, after the end of World War II, these machines remained in the ranks of the air arms of the USA, Great Britain, the USSR and France for some time.

Many machines were sold before the war to customers in various countries around the world; and at the end of the war a large number of C-47's found new owners in countries on almost every continent - overall this aircraft was employed in 98 countries which is an absolute record for transport vehicles of the time. The C-47 along with the classic DC-3 is used even today in some countries of Africa and Asia.

History courtesy of Roden's website.


Step 1
Roden has produced a model with fine engraved panel lines and no flash to clean up.

The first step after a wash and dry is to drill out 0.8mm holes (X4) for mounting the antennas and dome; three on top of the fuselage and one under the nose.

Step 2/3
The window glass is moulded in two strips with seven panes on each, one pane will be cut off for the fuselage on the port side.

Window strips are glued into the fuselage; openings and fit are excellent.

Following along with the instructions, the stabilizers with elevators molded on are glued onto the fuselage.

At this step we also glue on the main doors, no interior is supplied so the door was glued closed.

Step 4
I primed and painted the engines dark grey and the cylinder rods silver. Due to the small size not much can be seen.

The rest of the engine assembly consists of the cowl/prop pins/engine cover and exhaust pipes.

Step 5
The undercarriage frames are nicely moulded (there are white metal aftermarket parts available but I am happy with those supplied). The tires and rims look good enough for 1:144.

Step 6
The lower wing is one piece wing tip to wing tip.
Two top half wings are glued on to the lower wing. The engines are attached at this step.

Roden's instructions show wheel assembly and landing lights being installed at this time. I left these off until painting was completed.

Step 7
The fuselage halves a now joined together. Both halves went together very nicely and no filler was required.

The cockpit windows and roof are a one piece clear part (which could have been moulded clearer). The fit to the fuselage is good and only needed a small amount of filler.

The fuselage is now joined to the wing assembly, this was a very good fit and only a very little amount of filler was used.

The instructions show props/antennas and astro dome being installed. I left these off until after painting.

Step 7a
This step is scotch taped to step 8! (afterthought ?). Step 7a shows the location of part 6C(X2) air intakes.

Step 8
The tail wheel is glued on but I left off the nose antenna until the very end.

painting and decals

The paint colour call out uses Vallejo paint numbers.
I used automotive primer and Tamiya paints for this build.

After giving the model a wipe down with Windex and leaving to dry I masked off the clear parts with Frisket film.

I spray painted the aircraft with light grey automotive primer; in this scale it looked close enough to the box colour. The model was left to dry for 24hrs.

D-Day stripe are not included with the decal sheet so out with the masking tape. First, I boxed in a area on the underside of each wing equal to the width of five stripes. The box art only show stripes on the underside but most of the photos that I looked at the aircraft had them on top of the wing as well so I added the tape here also. The area for the fuselage stripes was also boxed off halfway up the sides.

Next, the underside was masked off and the boxes were sprayed with Testors white primer. After the usual 24hr drying time I masked off the white boxes and underside. It was time to paint the upper surfaces and leading edges and D-Day stripes flat black. The props were painted black at this time and when dry yellow tips were painted on.

For the next step I used XF-73 (JGSDF Dark Green) which dries lighter than Olive Drab but looks closer to Olive Drab in 1:144 scale!.

All masking (except clear parts) was removed.
After curing for a couple of days, the model was given a coat of clear gloss.

Very few decal come with the model;they were not too thick and did not break up as some of the other decals from Roden have tended to do. The national insignia was printed slightly off register; the decals went on with a little silvering even on a high gloss surface. They should be put onto a puddle of Future/Kleer to prevent silvering.

After the decals had dried, the antennas and landing gear were glued on.

A coat of Dullcote sealed everything up.

The astro dome was going to be added but it was so out of scale that I used Micro-Glaze to build up a dome in many coats.

The landing light glazings were too big for the wing openings! They were also too small to file, so out with the Micro-glaze again.

In my In-box review I gave this model a 90% rating. Due to decal and astro dome/landing lights I am going to give this a 85% rating.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Fine panel Lines, good parts fit.
Lows: The decals only provide one option and their print quality could be better. Fit of the astro dome and landing lights was awful.
Verdict: I would build another Roden C-47 but I would go with aftermarket decals. This kit is suitable to almost all skill levels.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:144
  Mfg. ID: 308
  Suggested Retail: $16.00
  Related Link: In-box review
  PUBLISHED: Oct 05, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Roden!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Richard Tonge (tinbanger)

I started building model aircraft with my brother and dad at about 7 years old(Yellow single engine float plane). Born in England so mostly built Airfix and Frog Kits! Moved over the pond in 1979. Main interest any type/era aircraft. Tinbanger call sign comes from my sheetmetal days. I am also ...

Copyright 2021 text by Richard Tonge [ TINBANGER ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Neat lil' gooneybird. Seems to capture the lines well.
OCT 06, 2013 - 12:47 AM
Sure looks like Richard did a super job. Heading on over to the build now. Joel
OCT 06, 2013 - 02:50 AM

Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move