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C-47 Skytrain

Monogram 1/48 C-47 Skytrain Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2008
Updated 27 Oct 17
Manufacturer Monogram
Subject C-47 Skytrain Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5607 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Second-best C-47 in any scale Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) OOP

First Look

C-47 Skytrain
C-47 Skytrain
C-47 Skytrain
C-47 Skytrain

The Douglas C-47 Skytrain was a military adaptation of an available commercial airliner in production during the outbreak of World War II. This commercial aircraft, the DC-3, was first developed in the mid-1930s as a result of the success of their DC-2 airliner, but adding additional features sought by the airlines. The DC-3 was a tremendous success and transformed civil aviation in those days leading up to the war.

The DC-3 was transformed into the most important allied airlift asset in World War II by simply removing the commercial interior, fitting a reconfigurable cargo/passenger compartment, adding large cargo and paratroop doors to the port side, among other changes. The initial C-47 was the first adaption of the DC-3 with these changes and nearly 1000 were produced. The C-47A added a 24 volt electrical system and over 5200 of these versions were produced. The C-47B changed the engines to supercharged R-1830 engines and more fuel for flights over the China/Burma/India 'Hump'. The Navy designated their C-47s as R4D. The Army Air Corps did not exclude the available DC-3s from military service, but these retained most of their passenger service fittings and were pressed into service as the C-48. In RAF service, the C-47 became the 'Dakota'. In operational service however, the aircraft drew the nickname of the large seabirds of the Pacific - the Gooney Bird.

Monogram released their 1/48 C-47 Skytrain kit in 1978, almost 40 years ago. This tooling was part of the family of kits that Monogram developed to dominate the 1/48 scale market that also includes their timeless 1/48 B-17G, B-24D, B-24J, B-25J, B-26, B-29A, and many more. These kits were all highly detailed by the standards of the day and are still very respectable even by today's standards.

The kit is molded on four parts trees in olive green styrene plus a single tree of clear parts. As with all of the Monogram kits in this series, the panel lines are all raised as are the rivets. Here is one subject where raised rivets are absolutely accurate. The kit provides the parts for a paratroop transport with the sidewall 'bucket' seats, or as a cargo hauler without these seats. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nice cockpit, navigator and radio operator stations
  • Rear cabin toilet complete with 'honey bucket'
  • Choice of paratroop or cargo configuration in main cabin
  • Choice of carburetor air scoops for C-47A, C-47B, or C47C
  • Rear entry door and cargo door are positionable
  • Optional flight and ground crew figures
  • Optional standing paratrooper figures

If you want a comparison of the Trumpeter and Monogram kits, look here and here.

The Monogram kit provides the side windows in slab form with one insert on each side the fuselage halves. The fuselage halves have a corresponding recess for each slab which means that you'll have a bit of an eyesore inside the airframe. You can:

  • Install the slabs, mask over the individual windows inside and out, fill in any recess gaps, and add the missing rib details, or
  • Remove the individual windows from the slabs, fill in the recesses, and add rib detail, or
  • Leave well-enough alone.

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • C-47A, 42-93087, 86 ABG, Neubiberg, Germany, Berlin Airlift 1947, 'Camel Caravan to Berlin'
  • C-47A, 42-100533, 80 TCS/436 TCG/9 AF, Melun, France, 1945, 'Honey Bun III'

This kit is currently out of production but is one that is periodically reissued either by Revell USA or Revell/Germany. The 'buy it now' prices for this kit on eBay is higher than the MSRP for the Trumpeter kit, but I found this kit, still in the shrinkwrap in an auction that came out at a better price than the last few kit swaps I've attended.

If you want to build a super-detailed C-47, perhaps as a cut-away model, then you really want to acquire the Trumpeter kit. For a relatively quick build of the aircraft while still having some good details to start from, then this Monogram (Revell) kit is what you are looking for. Both of the decal schemes are nice in this kit and I may have to build two of these aircraft. We shall see.

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