Douglas C-54/R5D Skymaster and DC-4

Published on
December 13, 2016
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Charles Stafrace; Illustrator: Richard J. Caruana
Other Publication Information
Softbound, A4, 92 pages
Product / Stock #
Douglas C-54/R5D Skymaster and DC-4
Provided by: Guideline Publications - Website: Visit Site
Book cover

Warpaint’s latest is their standard A4 format softbound publication that is 92 pages (excluding covers) on the Douglas C-54/R5D Skymaster and DC-4. I counted 213 photographs (141 in color) along with 34 of Richard J. Caruana’s color profiles. Richard J. Caruana also contributes the centerfold (eight A4 pages) that features nine line drawings, all in 1/72 scale.

Charles Stafrace has authored several Warpaint series books, including: Warpaint 43, Lockheed F-104 Starfighter; Warpaint 60, English Electric Canberra; Warpaint 65, Westland Wessex; Warpaint 70, Vought F4U Corsair; Warpaint 71, Armstrong Whitworth A.W. 650/660 Argosy; Warpaint 76, Grumman S2F Tracker, TF-1 Trader and WF-2 Tracer; Warpaint 79, Consolidated PBY Catalina; Warpaint 84, Grumman F6F Hellcat; Warpaint 87, Grumman TBF Avenger; Warpaint 92, Grumman HU-16 Albatross; Warpaint 95, Westland Sea King; Warpaint 97, North American RA-5C Vigilante; Warpaint 100 Republic F-84F Thunderstreak and RF-84F Thunderflash; and Warpaint 104, General Dynamics F-111 Aarvark and EF-111A Raven. Charles Stafrace has also authored a book in the Camouflage and Markings series for Guideline Publications including: Camouflage and Markings 6, The Air Campaign for the Freedom of Libya February to October 2011. He is also the author of Arab Air Forces Post WWII for Squadron/Signal (6066).

Charles Stafrace starts out with the development of the Skymaster, truly a pioneer as a long range transport. Douglas started design work on the DC-4 in 1935. The prototype, NX18100, rolled out on June 7, 1938. Type certification was achieved on May 5, 1939. A lack of airline company interest prompted due to complexity and maintenance, Douglas re-desiginated the NX18100 as the DC-4E and decided to design a smaller, lighter, and simpler design also called the DC-4. The NX18100 ending up being sold to Imperial Japanese Airways where it was reverse-engineered by Nakajima to produce the G5N Shinzan (Liz) bomber. The revised DC-4 design attracted orders from Amerian, Eastern and United. Before any could be delivered to the airlines, December 7, 1941 happened. The nine aircraft on the production line were requisitioned by the USAAF. The first C-54 was completed in February 1942 and was delivered to the USAAF. Eventually, over 1,300 Skymasters were built. The Skymaster also gained fame as the first Air Force One. President Franklin D. Roosevelt selected the C-54 as his transport of choice and promptly named it the ‘Sacred Cow’. The Douglas Skymaster also gained fame during the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949 and later served dependably in the Korean War. The Skymaster was a mainstay for Post-War airlines as surplus C-54s came to the market and was a common sight until replaced by the DC-6 and DC-7.

Charles Stafrace also covers the Carvair conversion by Aviation Traders in the 1960s. A total of 21 Skymasters were converted to replace the older Bristol 170 Freighter to transport Cars via Air over the Channel. Although designed to carry cars, the Carvair carrying all sorts of specialized freight in cludeing armoured vehicles, rock bands, racehorses, and even whales. Indeed, a Carvair is still flying with Gator Global Flying Services out of Denison Texas under the registration N89FA. Check her out on facebook under the public group ATL-98 Carvair N89FA ‘Fat Annie’.

The last three pages are focused on close-up photographs to show off the details of the Skymaster, mixing period black and white photos with color photos of museum examples. A quite thorough table of available kits, decals and detailing sets adds a great touch, especially as a round-up of all the decal options available.

The Chapters include:

  • Introduction
  • The First DC-4
  • The DC-4 Described
  • C-54 Versions
  • The Development of Military Air Transportation in the United States [Page 8]
  • Air Transport Command
  • The C-54 and Air Transport Command
  • The Busy Atlantic Routes
    • The United States-North Africa Routes Gain Importance
    • The North Africa Wing
  • China-Burma-India Theatre of War (CBI)
  • The Pacific Routes
  • ATC Moves with the Front
  • The Sacred Cow
  • Birth of the Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) [Page 26]
    • Expansion of NATS
    • NATS Atlantic Routes
    • NATS in the Pacific
    • Atlantic Wing
    • West Coast Wing
    • Pacific Wing
  • Medical Air Evacuation by C-54/R5Ds During the Second World War
  • US Maine Corps R5Ds [Page 34]
  • End of the War with Japan
  • Demobilization
  • C-54s for the Royal Air Force
  • MATS and Postwar US Naval Air Transportation
  • VR-24 – ‘The World’s Biggest Little Airline’
  • The Berlin Airlift
    • The C-54M
    • VR-6 and VR-8 R5Ds in the Berlin Airlift
    • End of the Airlift
  • The Korean War
  • The Marines Were There, Too
  • Skymasters in Covert Operations
  • End of the Road for the Military C-54/R5D
  • US Coast Guard [Page 49]
  • XC-114 and XC-116
  • Use by NASA
  • The Civilian DC-4 [Page 54]
  • Postwar Civil Use
  • North Star, Argonaut and Canadair Four-The Canadian Skymaster
  • Aviation Traders Ltd ATL-98 Carvair
  • C-54/DC-4 Service with Other Air Forces
    • Argentine Air Force
    • Argentine Naval Aviation Service
    • Belgian Air Force
    • Bolivian Air Force
    • Brazilian Air Force [Page 66]
    • Khmer Air Force (Cambodia)
    • Royal Canadian Air Force
    • Chad Air Force
    • Columbian Air Force
    • Cuba
    • Royal Danish Air Force
    • Salvadoran Air Force
    • Ethiopia Air Force
    • French Air Force
    • French Naval Aviation
    • Guatemalan Air Force
    • Icelandic Coast Guard
    • Israeli Air Force [Page 81]
    • Republic of Korea Air Force
    • Mexican Air Force
    • Netherlands East Indies Air Force
    • Netherlands Government Air Transport
    • National Niger Squadron
    • Federal Nigerian Air Force
    • Peruvian Air Force
    • Portuguese Air Force
    • Royal Rhodesian Air Force
    • Royal Saudi Air Force
    • South African Air Force
    • Spanish Air Force
    • Chinese Nationalist Air Force
    • Royal Thai Air Force
    • Turkish Air Force
    • Venezuelan Air Force
    • Zaire Air Force
  • Douglas C-54/R5D Skymaster and DC-4 In Detail [Page 90]

The Tables include:

  • C-54/DC-4 Production List with c/n and Version
  • Douglas Serial Blocks of C-54s
  • USAF C-54 Versions
  • Skymaster Powerplants
  • The US Navy R5D Versions
  • US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics Serials, with Original USAAF Versions
  • C-54D Conversions by Convair in 1955 to SC-54D
  • United States Coast Guard Skymasters


Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.