Unusual C-47's

Published on
May 1, 2021
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Base Kit
Italeri, Esci, Airfix
Company: Iliad Design - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Iliad Design - Website: Visit Site


Since the Douglas DC-3 and C-47 was produced in larger numbers than any other transport aircraft, it stands to reason that the plane is well represented in the modeling world. Although the plane has been produced in a number of scales, the majority of the kits are in 1/72 scale. Starting with the old Airfix kit in the sixties, the more recent issues by Italeri and ESCI have featured recessed panel lines and some variations in form, and recently, Airfix is reported to have reissued their kit with more up-to-date features. I have not seen the new Airfix kit, but have built both ESCI and Italeri kits, and they are both exceptionally good kits.

The Douglas DC-1 prototype first appeared in 1933 to compete with Boeing’s Model 247, and after the improved DC-2 was built, the design was expanded, resulting, after a bomber development, the B-18, in the military C-39. Further development resulted in the DST Sleeper Transport and DC-3 in 1936, and variants of this design were produced for airlines throughout the world, and towards the beginning of World War II, there were more Douglas transports in airline service throughout the world than any other type. In addition, production licenses were sold to the Soviet Union and Japan, and both of these countries produced substantial numbers during the war.

As one could expect, the basic DC-3 design was produced in ion number of variations, varying in engine type (Wright R1820 and Pratt and Whitney R1830) , door locations, and interior arrangements. The majority of DC-3/C-47’s had cargo doors on the left side, while some individual airlines opted for doors on the right side due to their loading situations at their bases of operation. When modeling this aircraft, be sure to check the door location, engine installation, and radio antennas, as there were differences.

Decal Sheet

The decal sheet provides markings for four unusually marked C-47’s. The first is an all-white RCAF Dakota Mk. III, #659, used by the United Nations in the Sinai about 1960. The planes were all white to avoid the shoot-downs that could occur in that unstable location. The markings “United Nations” were in red, and the anti-glare boots were black.

The second aircraft is a USAF C-47B, 45-0884, operated by Carco Air Service to carry equipment used in the nuclear testing in the Los Alamos, New Mexico, area. The aircraft is natural metal overall and has some black markings. The third aircraft is actually a C-53, which was an impressed DC-3 flown by Northeast Airlines crews early in the war. The plane was used for survey and ferry flights in Canada, Iceland, and the UK. It was standard AAF olive drab with neutral grey undersides, with a large “Northeast Airlines” on the fuselage sides. This plane has a slightly different tailcone, and also different engine carburetor air intakes. It has the early star and ball insignia abandoned in 1942. From the drawings, it appears to have only the passenger door and an extra window on the rear fuselage on the left side.

The last aircraft is a postwar C-47, 43-48777, used by the American Military Air Attache in Wellington, NZ, in 1947. It is overall olive drab with white lettering on the fuselage sides and yellow tail numbers. The plane carries different radio antennas, and has the postwar “star and bar” insignia adopted by the AAF in 1947.

Side profile and top views are provided for each aircraft, along with identification of detail differences for each aircraft.


I was unable to assemble a DC-3 to build one of these, but I am familiar with Iliad Decals, and these decals appear to not need any close trimming. All they require is a good clean surface and a coat of decal softener to allow them to adhere to the surface. The instructions, one small sheet with excellent color drawings, show what modifications are required for each aircraft.

There are quite a few excellent references available on the DC-3. The C-47 Skytrain in Action, No. 149, by Larry Davis, is an excellent source. Also, an older book, The DC-3, 50 Years of legendary Flight, by Peter M. Bowers, has much information. A more recent publication, Douglas DC-3, by Robert Jackson, serves as a modeler’s guide to the DC-3, and I reviewed this book recently on this site. There is lots more information on the DC-3, and every modeler’s collection should include at least several of the type.

If you are into DC-3/C-47 types, this is a sheet that you should not miss out on. It is reasonably priced, and highest quality.

Highly recommended. Thanks to Bill O’Malley and Iliad Decals for the review sheet.


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