In 1949, Douglas attempted to update the DC-3 to reflect the changes that had been happening in the aviation world since 1936. The fuselage was lengthened to increase passenger capacity, new slightly swept outer wings and updated tailgroup added, and more powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2000 engines were installed. The landing gear was fully enclosed by streamlined doors. The design received praise, but given the availability of thousands of cheap war surplus C-47s, only 5 were sold. Capital Airlines was the only customer to operate new Super DC-3s, having bought 3 of them. The US Navy had approximately 100 of their R4Ds converted to the Super DC-3 specification, which were subsequently designated C-117D. The US Navy and Marine Corps operated their C-117s until the early 1980s, with the last ones retiring in 1982. Capital flew its Super DC-3s between 1950 and 1952. Small numbers of former C-117s are still flying freight in the 21st Century.
This kit is a jewel of the cottage industry. Details are very crisp and the execution is clean. The kit makes good use of the strengths of resin to hold small details.
The fuselage is one piece of solid resin from nose to tail, including the vertical fin. The remains of the pour stub must be carefully filed and sanded from the lower nose. This will be a critical operation, since the nose is always a focal point of any model. The ARN-7 radio compass loop is provided in white metal, but the ILS antenna for above the cockpit is not, despite it being on the drawings. It may be scratchbuilt from scrap sheet plastic.
Each wing is a one piece resin moulding which also comprises a portion of the lower fuselage. The wings are joined together and the fuselage fits over-top. Care must be taken to ensure that the wings join together exactly to maintain the centre section's lack of dihedral. Being resin, all parts will need to be glued with epoxy or cyanoacrylate glue.
The tailplanes are one piece resin mouldings. They will need to be drilled and pinned for strength. Given the construction, then cannot be left off until after painting and decalling. Luckily, the cheatline ends before reaching them.
The engines and cowlings are moulded in white metal. Very nice white metal 3 blade propellers are provided. There is nice detail in the engine fronts, which will benefit from careful painting.
The landing gear struts and wheels are white metal mouldings with surprisingly good detail. They will need careful unbending and a good painting before they can be glued in place. The gear doors are nice little metal mouldings. They are quite thick, but are very sturdy, so filing them down to a more scale thickness will not be too difficult. They will have to be cut apart before being glued to the wheel wells. The tail wheel is another nice little one piece moulding.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like a Super DC-3.
Decals and markings
The decal sheet has markings for N16012 of Capital Airlines. The sheet is laser printed, so certain of the colours may not be as intense as they should be unless laid over white paint. For the most part this is not a problem, since the fuselage markings all go on the white portion. The only markings that may have problems are the red CAPITAL titles and registrations that go on the wings. The deicing boots must be masked and painted, or sourced from black decal stripes. A complete double set of window decals is provided, with a variety of curtain configurations to give your model some individuality.
This kit is the one to get if you want a Super DC-3 in your collection.
The real thing
during its career with Capital
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