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Kevs' 1:72 'Buffalo Airways' C-47/DC-3 Build .... "Hold on to your hats boys!! Options
ModelMania
#1 Posted : 18 January 2015 00:02:43

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Hello all,

I’ve had this kit since it was first released last year and originally the idea was just to build it as the box art into a ‘D-Day’ Troop Transport C-47. However, when I discovered that a decal sheet was available to build a ‘Buffalo Airways’ DC-3/C-47, I just had to build it!! I ordered the decal sheet from a company called ‘Leading Edge Models’ who are based in Calgary, Canada, but who luckily had them for sale through Ebay and they only took 8 days to arrive - that’s great service by any standards!!

For those who've never heard of it, ‘Buffalo Airways’ is a private family owned passenger/cargo service operating in the North West Territories of Alaska by a great guy called Joe McBryan, and is featured in a very enjoyable series called "Ice Pilots" which is aired on Sky TV from time to time. Joe’s favourite and often heard catch phrase is “Hold on to your hat’s boys!!” since most of the flying on the show can confidently be described as ‘seat of the pants’ stuff!! The great thing about the show and Joe’s business is that he is very passionate about continuing to use the older type of aircraft, with their beautiful sounding radial piston engines, over the more modern jet powered aircraft and which makes the series a real treat for aviation buffs like me!! His most favourite aircraft in his fleet on which he has logged thousands of hours flying time is a C-47/DC-3 called "Summer Wages" and that is the aircraft which is depicted on the decal sheet.

You can find Joe’s ‘Buffalo Airways’ website here …. :


http://www.buffaloairways.com/


…. and more about the show here:


http://www.icepilots.com/


As I love the show so much, I wanted a display model to put in my cabinet and whilst the guy who makes the aftermarket decal sheet does them in both 1:72 and 1:48, I decided that I would go with the 1:72 scale for two reasons. First, it’s small enough to fit in my cabinet and two I already have my Airfix 1:72 kit which is the only accurate C-47/DC-3 kit available at the moment. Italeri market a 1:72 kit as do several others including an older Airfix release with raised panel lines, but none of them are as good as the new Airfix kit. Revell do a 1:48 kit but I believe it also has raised panel lines and a few inaccuracies which is a pain besides being a bit too big to display easily?

So, onto the kit. Basically for those that don’t know, a DC-3 and a C-47 are the same aircraft, the DC-3 being the civil version of the military C-47. The aircraft that Joe uses is actually a C-47 though it is also often referred to as a DC-3 in the show. The Airfix kit is based on the military version and there are a few subtle differences between it and Joe’s plane but they are mostly cosmetic and are easily corrected during the build. I could build this either as the passenger carrying version of the aircraft used by ‘Buffalo Airways’ or I could leave out the seats and build it as the cargo version - they only take the seats out on the real thing in the show when they need to ship cargo anyway!! As I will not be leaving any doors open on this model I decided that there was no point in spending time making and painting a load of scratch built seats and I want this model to be kept fairly simple, so cargo version it is. The good thing about the new Airfix kit is that it also includes a set of skis since one of the versions in the kit is a military transport aircraft used in guess where - Alaska!! In several episodes of the show you can see the skis fitted and that is how I want to build my model. The skis in the kit are exactly the same type as used on Joe's aircraft, which is useful.

You can see one of his aircraft with skis fitted in this short video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFoM5z05MgI


I will not be adding a huge amount of detail to this kit as I want to keep it quick and simple, though I may use one of the Eduard etch sets for some missing exterior plates on the wings and I may, if I can find some, use some resin replacements for the two Pratt & Whitney R-1830 ‘Twin Wasp’ radial engines as the kit items aren’t much more than basic lumps with no cooling fin detail at all?

The biggest problem I have will be in matching the particular shade of green (verges on a kind of Turquoise!) used on all Buffalo Airways planes and ground equipment, which isn’t available as an ‘off the shelf’ model paint colour. Luckily, the decal sheet includes a separate colour swatch which can be taken to a paint matching store such as B&Q or Homebase, and as household paints are readily available in acrylic form, I have the idea of obtaining a small colour matched tinlet from them which when suitably thinned will be able to go through an airbrush and is essentially no different to any other acrylic paint which is marketed for modelling purposes? Hopefully that will be paint problem solved?!

Photos below show the kit as it comes in military guise, with the last photo showing the instruction sheet with the skis as provided in the kit and which I will be using to portray the 'Ice Pilots' aircraft. The 3rd, 4th and 5th photos show the aftermarket decal sheet for 'Buffalo Airways which include separate colour swatch to aid colour matching when I come to get some paint mixed for the rest of the aircraft and a very comprehensive painting guide.

I hope you will enjoy following this build of Joe McBryans’ famous ‘Buffalo Airways’ C-47/DC-3 - it should be fun!!

"HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS BOYS!"

All comments and criticisms welcomed.


Kev BigGrin
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arpurchase
#2 Posted : 18 January 2015 00:22:32

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BigGrin Looks a nice kit and good luck with her, just one word of advice dry fit everything before adding any glue as the correct fit can be an issue even with the new tooled kits.Cool
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ModelMania
#3 Posted : 18 January 2015 00:41:12

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Thanks for the comments Andy and yes I know what you mean, they are nice kits these (new tooling) Airfix releases, but they still need careful assembly!! I also have their new 1:72 Bristol Blenheim Mk.1 kit and there are some well known issues with the fit of the cockpit glazing on that one as well if you aren't too careful!!

Cheers Andy Cool ThumpUp

Kev BigGrin
stevie_o
#4 Posted : 18 January 2015 01:03:53

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ModelMania
#5 Posted : 18 January 2015 10:08:47

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Thanks for the links Steve and for taking the time to do the colour check, very much appreciated!! Cool ThumpUp

I may well go down that route, but I'll try the B&Q/Homebase option first as it's cheaper, a couple of quid for a little 'tester pot' which should be more than enough after thinning and a bit of test spraying on some scrap plastic card should do it I think?

Thanks again Steve, very useful.

Kev BigGrin
Nemesis
#6 Posted : 18 January 2015 11:47:49

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Great introduction to your build Kev, always good to know the inspiration behind a build. Looking forward to seeing this one come together.BigGrin BigGrin
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#7 Posted : 18 January 2015 12:16:38

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Kevin

Lovely looking kit and something very different with the markings you have selected.

Look forward to seeing this one come together

Happy Modelling

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#8 Posted : 18 January 2015 20:19:35

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Hi Daran and Tony and thanks for the nice comments, much appreciated and nice to know that you are watching my build!! Cool ThumpUp

Kev BigGrin
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#9 Posted : 01 May 2015 19:26:59

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Hello all,

With the recent announcement that DeAgostini will shortly be releasing a 1:32 model of the DC-3, it suddenly reminded me that although I had opened this diary some time ago I hadn’t actually commenced the building, so I thought that I ought to make a start!!

As with most plastic aircraft kits, work begins with the cockpit and fuselage internals. Although the kit includes a good number of internal details and bulkheads, most of it won’t be seen if the aircraft is modelled with the cargo and crew doors closed, which is how I shall me modelling mine. The only parts of the cockpit that will be seen (barely) are the pilot and co-pilot seats and the instrument panel and throttle quadrants, so they are the only bits I have added any details to as the kit parts in this area are quite basic.

The first three photos show the basic kit seats - no belts included and they have an armrest missing!! So I added some scratch-built armrests from stretched sprue and strip and made some seatbelts from the fairly stiff tin foil that you get on those large chocolate pennies that the kids love to eat at Christmas (never throw anything away!!)? I haven't bothered too much with buckles for the belts as I'll just paint them in, they won't be very visible through the cockpit windows anyway!! I also added a seatbelt retaining bar on the top of the seats which is present in some of my reference photos.

The instrument panel as it comes in the kit is moulded as a flat panel with any detail being depicted by a decal in the kit, which is quite well printed and accurate enough, so I’ll be using that but there was virtually no detail around the throttle quadrant area and even the rudder trim wheel was just a solidly cast circle of plastic when it actually should be a four-spoke wheel? I made a replacement wheel from thick plastic card and added some small throttle levers and others from stretched sprue with a drop of superglue gel to create a small knob on each lever. The standard kit panel is shown in the 4th photo, with the 5th and 6th photos showing my modified panel with revamped rudder trim wheel and various levers.

With that done, I set about adding the rudder pedals and control columns and all of the supplied bulkheads and shelving that sits behind the cockpit and which is glued to the cabin floor. The fit of parts here leaves a bit to be desired and there are some noticeable gaps between them but I’m not going to bother filling them as they won’t be seen anyway once the fuselage halves are joined and the doors are glued shut. I’ve only included them to add strength to the fuselage and also to aid alignment of the fuselage halves.

The rearmost bulkhead of the cockpit area has an aft face which has good detail on it to replicate the strengthening panels which are produced when the skins are ‘press-moulded’ during mass production and would be great if I was building the standard ‘D-Day’ version of this model but I’m converting this kit from a military aircraft into a civilian version and my reference photos show this to be a flat panel with various electrical boxes, cables and fittings attached to it. As I’ve said, I’m having all of the doors shut on this model but this area is still visible through the side windows so I decided that I would spend some time detailing the bulkhead. I covered the bulkhead in plastic card and then made the various other items from card and sprue with some floristry wire to replicate the cables and some etched brass scrap from the spares box for other items. My photos also show that there was a coiled rope hanging on this bulkhead which I have suggested with some coiled fusewire hanging on a hookplate made from scrap etch. I think when painted it will look quite good even if not entirely visible?

As this is a cargo version of one of the DC-3s that Joe McBryan uses in his ‘Buffalo Airways’ fleet, there will be no seats in the main cabin/cargo bay but my photographic reference shows it to have smooth panelling on the inner sides of the fuselage whereas the kit (being military) has all of the exposed ribs and stringers moulded into them, which if I was keeping them would be quite frustrating as there are several ejector pin marks smack bang in the middle of all that lovely detail!! Luckily I don’t need to bother with that as I will be covering it all with thin plastic card to replicate the smooth panelling. I've removed the lower half of the long bank of seats and glued the flat back piece to the inner fuselage as it appears in my reference photos. There will be some 'tie down' rings for the cargo added to the top edge of these plates. I've included a quick shot of the main fuselage components including the rudder and the main cargo doors and forward crew door. All parts in this kit are nicely moulded, though the panel lines are a bit deep in places and the fit of parts isn’t great in a few places either!!

One other fault with this kit is that strangely, Airfix have included clear parts for the windscreen and all of the fuselage windows, EXCEPT one!! They have moulded a small and narrow window that is present on the forward Port fuselage as a solid part of the fuselage - WHY?! Since this window is present on both the Military and civilian versions of this aircraft, I will be opening this up when the time comes and inserting a piece of clear plastic into the void. The offending window can be seen in the last two photos below and is above and to the left of the first side window.

That is as much as I have done to my DC-3 so far, next job will be to tackle the panelling in the cargo bay and paint all of the internal area and the details so that I can join the two fuselage halves together.

Thanks for looking, all comments and criticisms are welcomed.


Kev BigGrin
ModelMania attached the following image(s):
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mogwai
#10 Posted : 01 May 2015 20:03:39

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Hi kev very nice model and luv what you are doing to her.very imformative diary to.look forward to seeing this progress.cheers mick BigGrin
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#11 Posted : 01 May 2015 22:18:37

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I seemed to have missed this kev when you posted it originaly.

Im also a fan of Ice Pilots, It looks like you've got off to a fantastic start, looking forward to following this Cool
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#12 Posted : 02 May 2015 10:14:21

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Thanks for looking in on my build Mick and Dave, very much appreciated!! Cool ThumpUp

It's a nice kit and despite a few faults it should build into a very nice model. I'm really looking forward to having my own little piece of the "Ice Pilots" in my display cabinet!! Drool Cool

More updates coming soon.


Kev BigGrin
Martyn Ingram
#13 Posted : 02 May 2015 16:47:45

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BigGrin Wow stunning work so far Kev loving the detail Cool

Rgd Martyn
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arpurchase
#14 Posted : 02 May 2015 21:24:31

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BigGrin Nicely doneCool
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#15 Posted : 02 May 2015 21:24:36

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Martyn Ingram wrote:
BigGrin Wow stunning work so far Kev loving the detail Cool

Rgd Martyn



Thanks Martyn, you're very kind and glad you like what I'm doing. Thanks for taking the time to look in and comment my friend, it's very much appreciated!! Cool ThumpUp

By the way, love your SOTS build, some beautiful ship modelling going on there - well done!! Drool Love ThumpUp



Kev BigGrin
ModelMania
#16 Posted : 02 May 2015 21:27:37

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arpurchase wrote:
BigGrin Nicely doneCool


Thankyou Andy, your comments are always appreciated, and I'm glad you like it. Cool ThumpUp


Kev BigGrin



Gandale
#17 Posted : 02 May 2015 23:39:36

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Looking fab Kev, love the added detail....Cool Cool .. Enjoy following your builds and picking up on some of your techniques... Cool Cool .. Look forward to your next update...

Regards

Alan
ModelMania
#18 Posted : 03 May 2015 11:27:23

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Hello Alan and thanks for taking the time to look in on my builds and post comment, it's always greatly appreciated. Cool ThumpUp

I'm pleased that I'm able to share any tips or techniques with you and that you enjoy watching my builds, it makes it all worthwhile for me, so thanks for letting me know - there's plenty more to come yet!! Cool ThumpUp


Kev BigGrin
Kcddawson
#19 Posted : 31 March 2017 04:39:13

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Hey Kev,
While I was looking around for decals for a friend I came across your post here and sadly I need to correct you about Buffalo Airways. They are not located in Alaska as you mentioned. They are in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. I used to live in Yellowknife and also worked at Buffalo as Chief Pilot's Assistant. Arne Schreder, who donned the term"Hold on to your hats boys!", was my direct boss and it was an honor to work with him. Most people say that it's an act with a lot of the reality shows, but not the amazing people at Buffalo Airways!

I also put on a few of the decals on the planes shown on the show. Trust me hanging half ass upside down to put a "B" or a pinstripe in the right spot was not easy. Hope you enjoyed building your model. Cheers!
Kate
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