Roden 1/144 DC-6
KIT #: 304
PRICE: $32.9916.98
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


After the entry of the United States into WWII a significant number of civilian aircraft was mobilized for the army. The Douglas Aircraft Corporation, which not long since had created one of the most famous machines of the Twentieth Century, the DC-3 Dakota, soon developed a new one, the more powerful C-54, which was named the Skymaster and successfully used as a medium transport until the end of the war. In 1944 the Douglas firm made major changes to the design of the C-54 and as a result the new YC-112A appeared. It was bigger and heavier than its predecessor, although it inherited the basic concept of its design. But the war was coming to its end and the military declined to accept the new machine into its inventory.

The optimal solution in these new conditions was to remodel the military transport aircraft as a passenger airliner, in view of a likely boom in air transportation immediately after the war. The civilian version of the YC-112A was named the DC-6 and in 1946 successfully gained its certification. The following year the first series production aircraft were delivered to customers, among which were leading American carriers such as United Airlines and Pan American. Series production continued until 1958, during which time the factories produced more than 500 aircraft of different variants of this type, the most numerous of which was the DC-6B. In 1952 they flew their transcontinental flights as a tourist class aircraft for the first time, which greatly contributed to the growth of air transport because of its accessibility for the middle classes of society. With the appearance of the more modern DC-7 in the late 50's, the "Six" was relegated to secondary routes, and resold to third world countries. Their fates were various, but some machines were in use even thirty years after their manufacture - longevity in the air has always been a "calling card" of civil aircraft from Douglas. In the opinion of many aviation experts and historians the DC-6 is one of the classic planes of the twentieth century and of civil aviation in general. Its elegance, combined with its superb flight performance, set a new standard in aircraft forever.

Molded in grey plastic on four sprues with separate fuselage halves and a separate clear piece for the cockpit transparencies, this one is quite similar to the earlier DC-7 in terms of its molding. It looks a lot like the Minicraft kit that I built a while back, but perhaps there are only so many ways to mold an airplane like this.

One thing I did notice was an inconsistency in the engraved detailing. For instance, the under wing inspection panels were not the same from one side to the other. I also noticed that a few of the engraved lines got lighter then heavier during a long run. Detailing in the separate engine faces is good for this scale. For the cockpit there is only a floor and bulkhead with no seats. Since the fuselage is a blank (as in no window openings), many modelers will probably just paint the cockpit windows from the inside.

I noticed that, unlike Minicraft and F-RSIN, the main landing gear doors appear to be properly molded so that those who wish to close them, can do so without all the fuss I had with the two aforementioned kits. Prop blades are also done fairly well. The instructions recommend 10 grams of nose weight to keep it from tail sitting. They also suggest trimming the nose gear retraction strut. An interesting addition is two different nose cones. One is blunt as on the DC-6A while the other is sharper as you would find on the DC-6B/C-118.

Instructions are well drawn with color information as needed and with Model Master paint references. The overall markings scheme is in full color for Delta Airlines "in the early 1950th" (sic). As nicely printed as the kit decals are, my experience with Roden decals has not been good so I would recommend an aftermarket replacement.  


A nice addition to the Roden line of Airliners. One would hope that they continue doing these sorts of kits. I am a big fan of propliners and would love to see a nicely done Bristol Britannia, for example.


November 2011 

Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page

Back to the Previews Index Page