Amodel 1/72 DH-104 Sea Devon

KIT #: 72294
PRICE: @$40.00 by the time it gets to your door.
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with photo etch fret. 2018 tooling


The de Havilland DH.104 Dove was a British short-haul airliner developed and manufactured by de Havilland. It was a monoplane successor to the prewar de Havilland Dragon Rapide biplane. The design came about from the Brabazon Committee report which, amongst other aircraft types, called for a British-designed short-haul feeder for airlines.

The Dove was a popular aircraft and is considered to be one of Britain's most successful postwar civil designs, in excess of 500 aircraft being manufactured between 1946 and 1967. The type saw considerable success in the role for which it was envisioned, operating with small feeder airlines from small or unprepared landing strips.

A longer four-engined development of the Dove, intended for use in the less developed areas of the world, was the de Havilland Heron. A considerably re-designed three-engined variant of the Dove was built in Australia as the de Havilland Australia DHA-3 Drover.

In excess of 50 Doves were sold to various operators in the United States by Jack Riley, an overseas distributor for the type. De Havilland later assumed direct control of U.S. sales, however did not manage to match this early commercial success for the type.


This is one of those kit buys that was inspired by a decal sheet. Though Airfix does a nice Heron in 1/72 scale, no one did a Dove/Devon. Amodel has now come to the rescue and this is their Devon boxing.

The instructions start in the cockpit and the amount of detail is adequate for this scale. Somewhat generic seats and no belts, but one does wonder how much will be seen through the transparency. The nose gear well has to be built up from four parts and the engine nacelles are also four pieces. There is no allowance made for the props to spin so you'll have to devise something from tubing or the such for that.

Before installing anything into the fuselage halves, the cabin windows are installed. The instructions show these being attached from the outside. I'd do a test fit to see if these could be left off until after painting. Conversely, you can prepaint the areas around the windows. With that done, the nose gear is attached to the nose well and that along with the cockpit is installed. There is no indication of any weight, but I'd put in as much as you can fit as bet it needs some.

With that done, the tailplanes are attached followed by the wing. There is a single lower piece and two upper halves. The wing will need filler. You see, in order to cast such a large piece, the sprue attachment stub had to be large and is in the middle of the wing. Removing this stub leaves a large hole in the lower wing so break out the card/filler and prepare yourself for some dedicated filling. I'd use a two part filler or super glue as that much one-part filler will shrink with time. With that on, the cockpit transparency is glued on. You are provided with two. For these markings options you use the one with the side windows.

The next couple of steps have you install the engine nacelles along with the various landing gear legs, wheels and doors. You'll notice rather quickly that the wheel wells are too shallow to actually hold the wheels, but, if you want to model this gear up, simply use one half of the wheels and perhaps sand down the gear leg. Then you attach the props and determine if your option has the radio feed in the upper cockpit transparency.

But wait, this kit comes with photo etch. What about that. Well, there is another sheet included that replaces the final construction step. This includes external stuff like windscreen wipers, static dischargers, a variety of antennas and a mounting plate for the roof antenna. The construction step tells you which bits to use for which marking option.

Speaking of which, you get four in this kit. Well, there are only two liveries with Martin's Air Charter (which became Martinair) having options for three planes. Two of those three are the same registration but with different names above the windows. The fourth option is with Transportes Aereos de Timor. All four options are in bare metal with white upper fuselage/tail. The TAM plane has the large red cheat line. Decals are quite matte and in perfect register. There are aftermarket sheets available for this kit if you don't like the kit options.


As you might expect, I started this build by removing the major pieces (upper wing halves and fuselage halves) from their sprue and cleaned those up. The fuselage in particular had the sprue gates attach on the mating surfaces. This generally causes me to oversand when removing them. One plus is that, without alignment pins/sockets, I could sand both sides pretty much the same. The lower part of the fuselage halves had a fairly large and thick lip that had to be sanded down as well. The lower wing piece got several applications of super glue to fill the hole.

Then standard construction could begin and this was the cockpit. One thing I noticed is that quite a few of the thicker parts had sink areas on them. This is not unusual in these sorts of kits and one can choose to fill them all or leave them be, depending on where they are located. While slowly building up the cockpit, I decided to test fit one of the transparencies. The instructions show them fitting from the outside. So I removed one and cleaned up the sprue attachment point. It did not fit. It does fit backwards, but each piece is curved slightly to conform to the fuselage exterior. I sanded the edges at a bit of an angle and that was enough to get the piece to fit properly. Now I know how to deal with this when the time comes.

I also decided to build up the engine nacelles. The cowlings are three pieces plus a front. These bits are all butt joins like most everything else in the kit. Look carefully at the pieces when cementing as the upper portion of the cowling has engraved areas for the attachment of a couple of cooling scoops. Quite a bid of adjusting around while the cement is still wet is required. Note that the front is narrower than the rear and the bottom more square than the top at the back of the cowling. Once the seams were dealt with, they were put in the box until after the wings were assembled.

Back at the cockpit, the control wheels and columns were installed. These were a bit tricky as they are close to the seats so perhaps installing these before the seats would be a good idea. The wheels themselves were very flashy and difficult to clean up. These were attached as was the rear bulkhead and the assembly was left to dry. I then decided to paint the interior bits. The little icon for a paint color did not have a matching color anywhere in the instructions. A look on the 'net showed a grey of some sort so I used Ocean Grey to paint the cockpit and the cabin interior. With no seats in the cabin, a fairly dark shade like that seemed appropriate. I also painted the outside of the fuselage around the windows with Light Aircraft Grey (actually FS 16473 ADC Grey). That way I wouldn't have to deal with masking the individual windows when the time came.

Sanding and installing the windows was a bit on the tedious side, but eventually I got them all in place and covered the with tape. When I went to glue in the nose gear well, I realized that the instructions had led me astray. I had glued the side walls on the outside of the guides as shown, but they needed to go on the inside. I pulled the assembly apart and reglued the parts, thus allowing the well to fit into the fuselage as it should. At the same time, I installed the nose gear retraction strut, but left off the nose gear when I glued it in place. It meant cutting off the mounting tabs on the gear leg, but it also prevented me from breaking it during handling. It worked out just fine in the end.

During this time, I finished building up the interior by adding tape belts and attaching the sidewalls and the instrument panel. To get the sidewalls properly aligned, the bottom was cemented to the floor, the interior placed into a fuselage half and the sidewall clamped to the interior of the fuselage.

Then the fuselage halves were joined together after putting what I thought was enough weight into the nose. It turned out that it was not so I'd recommend filling all the empty space you see under the cockpit and in the nose as well. With all that in place, I joined the fuselage halves. This was a job that required some clamping and I used superglue followed by some accelerator just to keep some of the areas closed. It turned out that the cockpit is a bit too wide so there was little to do other than fill in the seams and hope for the best. It turns out that even with the additional width, the canopy part was not too narrow for the opening.  With that done, I attached the upper wings first as the area to the rear of them is rather complex and I'd not have gotten a good fit otherwise. Then the lower wing was glued on and this was followed by the tailplanes. I initially put them on upside down, giving the tailplanes a V like on the Heron, but these are flat and were quickly switched before the glue set.

Next was the engine installation. These are not the best fit, but some sanding and file work got things fairly close and the usual filler got a smooth join. I left off the engine fronts to check on the balance. Sure enough, I needed more nose weight, especially as the main gear lean forward a bit. Lead sheet was rolled up as in the nose and installed in the front of the nacelles. These need to be set back a bit so that the engine intake bit can properly mate with the cutout inside the nacelle. Once the fronts were attached and smoothed out, the small intakes were added atop each nacelle and the carb intake on the wing leading edge were cleaned up and glued on. Time for paint.


First thing I did was spray the wheel wells, gear legs, and wheel hubs with aluminum. Then the wells and the cockpit opening were filled with Silly Putty. I started by spraying the airframe with Testors FS 16473 as it is a fairly good match for Light Aircraft Grey. Trouble is the paint takes an age to where it is not sticky and even after several days, it was still tacky to the touch. I masked the canopy with liquid mask, an evolution that did not go as well as I'd have liked. If anyone does a masking set for this plane, buy it. The canopy section was attached using clear glue from Japan that holds very well. Then the upper section and fin were painted white.

Back from the paint shop, the landing gear was installed along with the wheels. I then removed the side masking over the windows and much to my disgust, two of the windows pulled out as well. Even worse, one of them fell into the inside when trying to put it back in place. It is still there, jammed up against something as it doesn't even rattle. The nose antiglare panel was painted blue using Tamiya blue as I didn't have any Oxford Blue, but it looks like a fairly good match. The prop spinners got the same shade.I used Caracal Models sheet 72079 for a Royal Navy plane based at Culdrose. The decals went on without a lot of fuss, though they do take something stronger than Microsol to snuggle down.  Then all the funal stuff.  When installing the props, I used a #53 drill bit to open the holes. The clear radio mast was attached as was the exhaust and the gear doors. I didn't install any of the photo etch antennas. The usual touch up painting was done and that was it.

As short run kits go, this one is quite good. There are the usual issues of fit and flash with a sink area or two, but overall, it turned out rather well. I've always liked the Dove and it flew with a lot of different nations and small airlines. Amodel's offering is one that, barring the sort of screw ups I made, turns into quite a nice model.


31 May 2019

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