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ATL.98 Carvair

Roden 1/144 ATL.98 Carvair Kit First Look

By Fotios Rouch

Date of Review February 2013 Manufacturer Roden
Subject ATL.98 Carvair Scale 1/144
Kit Number 0305 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Unique subject now in plastic Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $32.98

First Look

ATL.98 Carvair
ATL.98 Carvair
ATL.98 Carvair
ATL.98 Carvair

Freddie Laker was a British entrepreneur from  Canterbury Kent with a great idea for converting obsolete DC-4s into car/passenger transporters.  Low altitude flights across the British Channel required no pressurization and they made the conversion relatively easy to make.

The converted DC-4 could carry 5 cars and 25 passengers or 2 to 3 cars and 55 passengers.  The design was successful enough and twenty-one Carvairs were produced from 1961 to 1968.  There are records of a remaining Carvair flying in 2007. has images of a Phoebus Apollo Aviation Carvair flying in South Africa in June of 2005.

Roden has a great idea here for getting some more mileage out of the DC-4 sprues with adding a new fuselage and creating a rather unique airframe. It is only natural to want to compare the sprues of the Roden and Minicraft kits.  Minicraft is more refined and easier to assemble. Roden does not have locating tabs or pins.  Both companies have some small shape issues with nacelles and engine cowlings but both build into nice replicas.

I have not built a Roden DC-4 sibling yet so I reserve my judgement until then. The Carvair kit has all the needed goodies included but careful assembly and parts clean-up will be required.  The main wings have no locating tabs and are butt joints to the fuselage.  The landing gear doors will need lots of care to smooth and reshape.

The engine faces are relatively flat detail-wise and will need some creative painting to help with their look.

The clear part is OK but it will really benefit from multiple dips in Future.

The decals look really nice and the chosen scheme is very colorful.

Looking around on I did see some creative schemes and the Phoebus Apollo Aviation Carvair takes the pie for me with the human face painted on its huge fat nose!

As a side note and if money is no object do not discount the French resin F-RSIN conversion kit for the Minicraft DC-4.  It is significantly more expensive and a subject of a future review but it includes an open nose and a loading bay and a lot of decal choices.

The Roden kit is recommended for its lower price to 144th scale airliner aficionados.

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!