Revell AG 1/72 Douglas DC-3
KIT: Revell AG 1/72 Douglas DC-3
KIT #: 04248-0389
PRICE: £13.99
DECALS: Two options: KLM or SwissAir
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Italeri reboxing


For a good number of years the DC3was on the inventory of nearly three hundred airlines, large and small in every part of the globe, performing every kind of task imaginable. For many good number of years since the end of the war, the DC3’s commercial service outnumbered the total of all other types of transport aircraft put together. At one time it was revealed in a survey that more than twelve hundred DC-3s were in airline service.

 The evolution of the DC3, as a sleeper development of the DC-2 began in 1935 with the first flight taking place later that year on 22nd December. In the event it was the day transport version which attracted most customers’ attention and became the principal production model prior to the outbreak of WWII. The war brought about a tremendous output of this aircraft   -   nearly 11,000 in the United States, together with some two thousand built under license in the Soviet union (Li-2) and another four hundred and fifty in Japan as L2D2. When the war ended, thousands of surplus C-47s and other military variants flooded the civil market and were eagerly snapped up by operators the world over for passengers, freight and general duties. A year or two later the DC-3 went through a rather bad patch, acquiring a reputation for being accident-prone and this was through the very number of them in service, by the law of averages, must have precluded an entirely trouble free career. Some of these accidents were undoubtedly due to overloading: normally the DC-3 capacity was 28-32 passengers, but there were hair raising tales of more than twice this number being herded into aircraft in Middle Eastern and African countries. In spite of all most of these trips were accomplished without incidents.

 In time the DC-3 gave a sterling contribution to the Berlin Airlift, which erased the ‘death trap’ image from the minds of the public, and it has enjoyed virtually unblemished career for many years after. During service the DC-3 had innumerable modifications, official and unofficial, that have been carried out over a good number of years. These concerned employing variety marks of engines, different shapes of passenger cabin windows and the arrangement of internal seating and furnishing. Most of these continued to serve as DC3Cs, a structurally strengthened version of the wartime DC-3 Skytrain and Dakota. In addition several thousand military models continued in service with the air arms of over 60 countries, including those of the United States. 


Without any doubt, the DC3 embodies a piece of aviation history and once more Revell has come forward to release yet another kit to represent in particular a DC3 that barely two years after the first flight it also went into service with Swiss Air. The Revell kit is the same one released by Italeri some time ago. It comes in white plastic, which is always preferable, when it comes to paint bright colours on. Basically the kit comes in two sprues that contain all the parts needed. The kit has all the parts common with previous Revell release C-47 Skytrain 04399-0389, the main difference is that it is now in civil markings for which there is a choice of two: Swiss Air or KLM. In both schemes the air intakes above the cowlings are similar but there is a choice of bullet type radar that is carried under the fuselage in case of the KLM version only. Other minor variations are that the Swiss DC3 carries a complete tail cone for which a separate part is provided whereas on the KLM this part is not needed. The Swiss machine also carries a fin tip light that is absent on the KLM one. Incidentally this clear piece needs to be thinned down to a more pointed shape. There is a choice of rear doors assembly and in the case of the Swiss DC3 a blank part item"20A" is to be fitted which contains only a small passenger entrance door. This needs to be faired over at the periphery of the larger cargo door in order to blend with the rest of the fuselage. There is an extra rectangular window added to the Swiss one and this is positioned to the rear of the port row of fuselage windows. This is premarked and the blank plastic is easily removed with a sharp modeling knife.

 The crew compartment is well detailed with crew seats, control column and instrument panel for which decals also come with the kit. Crew figures are also provided and the instruction sheet states that the uniform that they wear is blue and their pair of lace shoes should be red but in reality the crew figures wear long boots moulded on, which the same ones that are found on the military release. In any case when the crew is inside their seats only the upper half is visible. The clear parts are also well done with an extra part No 17A for the rear extra window being supplied. Overall this brings a convincing interior detail to the forward area and no passenger seats are given for the rear compartment. The engine cowling are well detailed with two row of radial cylinders carefully produced. The same goes for the undercarriage which is adequately detailed at this scale.

 Revell is to be praised for the box art/ photo cover which contains sufficient detail to update the kit if it is decided to do the Swiss Air version. A Swiss Air DC-3, HB-ISO is pictures flying over one of the beautiful Swiss lakes. Details arising from this photo along with others that appear on the side of the box reveal some extra information that helps to make the model more authentic.  


A careful study of the instructions would reveal an additional 2.5mm diameter porthole, at forward of fuselage, the centre of which is at a distance of 12mm ahead of the rectangular windows on the starboard side and is at a level 2mm higher than the upper edges of the windows. There are also two rectangular windows, 2x3.5mm at the rear starboard fuselage side.

 Turning back to the engine cowlings, there is indication, ref: section 13 of the instruction sheet, that the long exhaust pipe, part "46" should be fitted. Photos on the side of the box show that there should be a short exhaust pipe on the Swiss machine. This was made by cutting a 2mm section of the long pipe piece given. This is hollowed prior to fixing in place of the long one. In view of this, the recess area engraved on the engine cowling area should be faired over with body filler and subsequently smoothened with wet and dry. 


There is variation to the propeller paintwork depending which of the two liveries is representing but common propeller decal markings also come with the sheet. Both aircraft are overall metal finish and this simplified the paintwork as there was minimum of areas that needed masking. I preferred to leave the upper tail unit in white finish so that the bright red decal comes out more in contrast whereas if one makes the KLM version then only the rudder is left in white i.e. where the brightly coloured decal is fixed. Weathering areas in line with exhaust outlets and other areas prone to erosion during service was applied with a fine discoloured shade of paint using a mix of semi matt varnish and a darker colour as desired depending on the area applied.

This was yet another Dakota built and first of its type in civil markings. I am surprised at the variation of Swiss Air marking liveries that exist. Previous to this release the Italeri Company released a DC3 Kit No 132, which came with some six airline markings, two of which were one for the Swiss Airline colours and the other Classic Air that also carried red tail unit with a white cross.  


 This was an easy kit to build and apart from the hints indicated earlier there should be no difficulty for a beginner in this hobby to try his or her hand on it.

Carmel J. Attard

June 2008

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