Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Airfix 1/72 Scale C-47 Skytrain Quick Review

 Airfix 1/72 C-47 Skytrain
Stock number: 3030-8014
Price:  $39.99
Status:  Available now!

We've received the new Airfix 1/72 scale C-47 Skytrain.  The kit looks very good.  Parts are crisply molded and our example appears to be warp free.   I'm assuming that the dimensions are correct but haven't actually measured.  The fuselage and wing plan forms appear to be accurate.  In short the model looks convincingly like what it's supposed to.  It has been many years since we've seen an all new kit of this very significant aircraft in this scale, and I'm glad to see it.

The kit particulars are published on the box as follows:
Length - 273mm
Wingspan - 400mm
Part count -  142 pieces

Exterior skin paneling is represented primarily with recessed lines which are thin and not too deep.  Certain details such as control cable covers are raised.
Combination recessed and raised surface detail.  Panel lines are delicate
Actual C-47s have lapped and riveted skin panels.  When seen up close, the aircraft is festooned with rivet heads.  The kit does not include any rivet details.  These would not normally be obviously visible from the scale viewing distance, and while the scribed panel lines are not technically accurate,  they will adequately represent the lines produced and visible by the lapped skin panels.  I would probably spray the model with Tamiya primer before painting, then use a subtle oil wash in the lines after painting.  The end result of this should be quite convincing.  Airfix provides a separate port side forward crew access door.  It does not include interior detail and therefore does not appear to be capable of being shown optionally open.  At the back end of the kit, the tail surfaces include separate rudder and elevators for the vertical tail plane and separately attached horizontal tail planes respectively.  These surfaces are doped fabric on the real aircraft and Airfix has done a fine job representing this on the kit.
Stretched fabric over elevator structure is convincing!
This new release also includes various separately molded antenna masts and pitot tubes.  They are all reproduced very delicately and are commendably scale.

Kit clear parts are nicely produced.  They are cast uniformly flat and have minimal distortion.  The fuselage side windows attach to the outside of the fuselage.
Instructions show windows mount from exteri
This is a great design feature of this model.  Most models with similar window configurations have you attach clear parts to the inside of the fuselage.  This presents the hazard of accidentally pushing the windows into the model after it's glued shut.  Airfix's solution will make the model easier to handle while building and then painting.

The model's interior is nice considering that most will not be visible after construction.  The cockpit has a decal instrument panel with separate throttle/trim wheel center console.
Cockpit and radio/navigation compartment instructions.
It also includes nicely cast pilot seats with two optional separate seated pilot figures.  In addition, very delicate control wheels and control columns round out the cockpit module.
Delicate antenna and control wheel parts.
  Airfix provides a basic radio operator's and navigator's compartment which does not include any radio or navigation equipment, or crew figures.  Not much of this assembly will be visible after installation so the abbreviated detail is adequate.  The aft cargo bay includes nicely detailed corrugated floor, and forward and aft compartment bulkheads.  Sidewall interior structural detail for ribs and stringers are cast inside kit fuselage halves.
Right fuselage interior.  Note molded structure and mold push marks above first, third and fifth windows.
Optional parts are provided for troop jump seats extended up or retracted (stowed).  As final notes to the cargo bay assembly, the rear fuselage cargo doors can be shown open or closed, and the jump door on the forward cargo door is a separate piece.

The main wings have interior spars which should provide a sturdy structure.  The main wheel wells have interior detail which I believe is unique for 1/72 scale C-47 kits.  It includes nacelle rib detail, rear engine firewall detail, and oil tanks.  Also, the landing gear can be built retracted if the modeler desires to show the aircraft in flight, or with snow skies for arctic operations.  The skies are very nice consisting of five parts which include the rear mounted lift supplementing winglets.  A separate one piece tail wheel ski is also included.   Main landing gear struts are multi piece and appear cleanly molded and appropriately thin.  Separate "H" main struts, actuator jacks, and "Y" support struts combine to create mechanically busy assemblies.  They are far from the clunky softly detailed gear struts in past kits.
Delicate landing gear strut components.
Main wheels are molded to appear as if they have weight on them.  Like many companies who attempt this, Airfix has also gotten its tires too flat in my opinion.  Hopefully we'll get a set of resin aftermarket wheels that aren't equally flat, but the kit parts will be useable if need be.  I consider this to be a minor issue.
Main wheel tires appear to need some air!
The kit provides two multi part twin row radial engines representing Pratt & Whitney R-1830s.  Each engine assembly consists of four parts:  two separate seven bank cylinder rows;  one gear reduction housing;  and one prop shaft.  The cylinders on all rows are notable for their lack of any cooling vain detail.  This will not detract greatly as the engines are tightly cowled and and will only be visible after looking past wide chord Hamilton Standard three bladed props.  Good painting technique and shadow will greatly alleviate this issue.  Two part (front and rear section) carburetor air intakes are added to the top of the engine nacelles.  Intake mouths are recessed but not very deep.  Some modelers may wish to open them further.

Kit decals provide markings for two aircraft.  The first option is for a World War 2 USAAF aircraft from the 92nd Troop Carrier Squadron, 439th Troop Carrier Group, 9th Air Force.  The plane was based at Upottery, Devon, England on June 6, 1944.  It is painted in wartime standard olive drab and neutral gray camouflage colors with white and black invasion stripes.  It features nose art "Kilroy is Here".  The second decal option is for a post World War 2 ski equipped Skytrain from the Military Air Transport Service based at Isachsen Airstrip, Northwest Territory, Canada in October, 1949.  The aircraft is unpainted natural metal with arctic red wing tips and tail.  Common decals for either option are provided for all technical stencils found on C-47s.  The Airfix decal, in fact, includes the most complete set of technical stenciling I've seen for any C-47 kit.  The decals are printed in register and appear to have thin carrier film.  I'd be inclined to use them unhesitatingly.
Nice kit decal sheet with complete technical stencils.

The C-47 Skytrain kit from Airfix is the latest in the new generation of kits from the iconic kit maker.  It does not disappoint.  Airfix has really stepped up its game in the last several years.  It has produced a string of new 1/72 kits which are great quality and value.  This kit has many strong points as noted above and, as with all kits, several minor and easily correctable issues.  In addition to those knocks noted above, the kit does not include an emergency escape hatch above the cockpit.  This can be fixed with a rectangular piece of evergreen .005" styrene laminated in the correct location.  Also, there are several ejector pin marks inside the cargo bay which disrupt the stringer detail above the mid fuselage windows.  These will be slightly visible if the model is displayed with the cargo doors open.  Evergreen .010" x .020" strip grafted into the gaps in the stringer detail, and then a drop or two of Mr. Surfacer primer should solve this small problem.  One other issue is that the kit does not include a balance tab on the right aileron.  Mark, scribe, and cut in the proper location on the right inboard portion of the aileron to resolve the oversight.  In short, I have very little to call out on this kit.  I think it's great!  I look forward to seeing which other versions of this aircraft Airfix has in store for us.  Several unused parts in the box such as thin chord propellers suggest a DC-3.  I'll also be surprised if we don't get an AC-47 Puff since they had a boxing of this aircraft using their old kit.  Can't wait!

Brad Perry
Photos:  Jack Johnston
Check this link for details on the D Day C-47 on the kit decal.

Additional sprue view.  Add a balance tab to the inboard portion of the starboard aileron.

Port outer lower wing detail.  I'd cut the aileron end lines with a micro saw to show daylight in the gap.
Lots of detail in the box!

Optional up or down troop seats.
Clear parts show little distortion.





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