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Minicraft/USA 1/144 scale Douglas DC-3

Kit: No. 4434
Scale: 1/144
Manufacturer: Minicraft/USA, P.O. Box 3577, Torrance, CA 90510, phone, 310-325-8383
Price: $10
Comments: Injection molded, 33 parts, decals.

IF YOU MODEL in the most popular "airliner scale" -- 1/144 -- you've probably lamented the lack of an injection-molded DC-3 for your collection.

Dry your eyes.

Minicraft has started a line of injection-molded 1/144 scale airliners with the classic DC-3. Already announced to follow are a DC-6 and Super Constellation.

The parts count may be low, but the quality of the molding is high. Recessed panel lines are crisp and the landing gear and engines are well-detailed for the scale. The top of the vertical stabilizer appears too rounded, and the tail cone is too long and blunt. I fixed the tail cone with files and sandpaper, but I left the fin alone.

The parts fit well, with only a touch of filler needed where the wing mates with the fuselage. I left off all the antennas until after painting to protect them from damage.

Use care inserting the cockpit windshield. It's easy to break or drop into the fuselage. I inserted the clear part into and through one side, then gently spread the top of the fuselage up to allow the part to swing to the other side. Three minutes of pleading, prying, and praying did the trick.

After masking the windows and engines, I sprayed Floquil silver for the natural-metal Pan American Airways scheme. Minicraft also includes decals for a natural-metal Swiss Air Lines DC-3, and an overall-orange KLM example from just before World War II. My sample's Swiss Air Lines titles and aircraft name were missing letters or parts of letters, but the decals were sturdy and went on without problems. The fuselage stripes incorporate black windows which line up perfectly with the engraving on the fuselage.

This is a cute addition to my 1/144 scale airliner collection. Sure, it's small -- less than 8 inches in span -- but that makes you appreciate the size of the giant airliners we fly in today. Its dimensions measure close to scale; the model is a few scale feet short in span.

I can recommend this kit to anyone. Beginners will enjoy the quick, easy assembly (I spent only 10 hours on mine), and enthusiasts won't have to work hard to overcome the shape and decal problems. Aftermarket decals soon will allow fleets of Goonies in your airliner collections.

Chuck Davis


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