Williams Brothers 1/72 Boeing 247






Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken




The Boeing 247 can take pride in being the first truly modern airliner. All metal construction, multiple engines, retractable landing gear, fast cruising speed. The 247 would have been a world beater had it not been for those guys down the coast at Douglas and their DC-1. In terms of passenger carrying capabilities, it was better than the single engined 'airliners' but still could only accommodate about 10 people. To make matters worse, the wing spar jutted into the cabin area and one had to step over it to get to the front seats. 

However, it was MUCH better than the Ford Trimotor and other shaky, cold, noisy, and slow airliners that the paying public was used to. One of the first to jump on the 247 bandwagon was United Airlines. They had it good for about a year until the Douglas plane entered service. The aircraft was also used for long range racing by noted pilot of the time, Roscoe Turner. Sadly, the 247 was quickly and quietly removed from service once everybody got their DC-2s and DC-3s. A few were used as executive transports during the war. Any that are still left after 65 years must be in museums by now. I would be surprised if the Seattle museum doesn't have one.


When one opens the box to this baby, one is confronted by several sprues of light grey plastic, a large decal sheet and a rather unusual looking instruction sheet. The main exploded view is in the center of the sheet with any detail stuff on the outer edges in small boxes. Most unusual. The clear bits are rather distorted so you can't see any interior stuff too well. You also have the option of rubber or plastic tires. Use the plastic ones. The rubber ones will spilt in a few years. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

Other options are for the sloped forward windscreen of the original 247Ds or the later sloped backward one as shown on the box art. If doing the racer, then the cabin is gutted of seats and fuel tanks are installed in its place. Most of the parts have large mold seams and there was some flash. You must realize that Williams Bros models are basically short run kits. The newer the kits, the better. The 247 is not one of their newer kits. Decals are very well printed and are for the Roscoe Turner racer and a United Airlines plane.


 As I said, it is a short run sort of kit. After cleaning up the parts, one needs to decide if one is to do an airliner or the racer. I chose the airliner variant and not the kit version. I used a Microscale aftermarket sheet on this one. The airliner I did had the original sloped forward windscreen. I dutifully painted the cabin and cockpit interior and assembled the seats for the cabin. Basically, I used shades of grey for the cabin and seats and black for the cockpit. Again, you won't be able to see much through the transparencies so don't knock yourself out in this area.

The next thing was to install all the cabin windows. They are separate and need to be glued into the appropriate holes. Fit is fair, but some of the windows were a bit too small for the openings while others were a bit too large! Once that is done, the fuselage halves can be glued together. Then you get to choose the type of cockpit canopy that you want. Fit on this is not bad and there is lots of space to fill in the seam without having to sweat messing up the cockpit windows. 

In case you haven't realize it by now, just about all of the bits will need filler of some sort so you need to get used to it. The wings are not that bad as compared to the fuselage with filler only being needed on the leading edge and engine nacelles. The nacelles are part of the upper and lower wing, which is nice. Fit of the wings to the fuselage isn't too bad though you do need filler at the join, particularly on the underside (well, I needed it there). Tailplanes fit very well with minimal filling needed. At this point, I decided to paint the kit. Makes things much easier to do.


I had decided to use the Penn Central Airways livery on my 247D. This meant a red paint job. Now this was in the years before I got smart and undercoated all red stuff with a gloss white undercoat so the paint isn't the most even that it could be. I used Testors red from the little bottles as it was gloss and cheap.  First, of course, I masked all the clear bits. Then a major spray job was done. I also painted the cowlings red at this time as well.

During this evolution, the landing gear, wheels and tail wheel were painted aluminum. The tires were later painted a very dark grey. Once the paint had dried (an I did it in several applications, even in the early days), The landing gear was attached to the aircraft. Then the engines were installed in the nacelles. 

It was at this time that I grabbed my sheet of Bare Metal Foil. This particular plane had natural metal nacelles and part of the cowlings were natural metal as well. Applying this stuff was a fun exercise and occupied several hours of mixed enjoyment and frustration. Finally, I got things pretty well near the way I wanted them so quit while I was ahead! I cannot stress enough how important a brand new blade is when cutting this stuff. A dull one will just tear it.

Then it was time for the decals. These were from Microscale and went on very well. I used the Microscale system with them and had no problems at all. For those wanting this sheet, good luck as it has been out of production for many, many years.

The final steps were to put on the props, put some BMF behind the landing lights, install the light covers, and then the glare shields. That was it. 


Really a very nice kit when you get finished with it. It was probably one of my first short run injected kits (I had built the B-10 earlier) and wasn't that bad at all. It has the benefit of being a decent size when done and is still the only Boeing 247 ever done in injected plastic and probably resin and vac plastic as well.

March 2001

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