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C-47 Skytrain

Roden 1/144 C-47 Skytrain Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2013 Manufacturer Roden
Subject C-47 Skytrain Scale 1/144
Kit Number 0308 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicest kit of this subject in this scale Cons None noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $24.98

First Look

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.

Roden has released the C-47 in 1/144 scale. While not the first Gooney Bird made in this scale, it looks like the best I've seen so far. Molded in light green styrene, the kit is presented on four parts trees plus one small tree of clear parts.

Since you wouldn't see inside this fuselage through clear styrene windows, Roden didn't waste time producing an interior for the cockpit or main cabin. The rear cargo door is correctly configured with a big door for moving large items in/out of the fuselage and a passenger door inset in the cargo door for moving personnel. While the big door is positionable, the small door is molded closed.

The kit provides some nice details all around which will make this model look great with the right amount of detail painting. Assembly will take little time, so you'll spend more time with the airbrush instead.

Markings are provided for one example, C-47B, serial unknown, 53rd Wing, 101 Airborne Division, UK, July 1944, wearing post-invasion ID stripes on the underside.

If you're looking for an easy build of this venerable craft, this Roden kit looks like your best option!

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