Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monogram U.S. Navy DC-3

In 1975 Monogram re-released three airplane model kits they passed over in '73 when they reissued almost their entire catalog of aircraft: the Lockheed Constellation, Ford Trimotor, and Douglas DC-3. For all three the markings and box art were updated. For instance, the original TWA Connie became a USAF C-121, the TWA Trimotor was dressed in current Island Airlines livery, and the TWA DC-3 became a U.S. Navy R4-D.
I remember seeing all three at Gemco, but the only one I bought was the Navy DC-3. My original was mostly unpainted and the Navy markings didn't stay on very long.
This rebuild presented the opportunity to dress it up in all the proper colors including white upper fuselage, red tail stripe, and shiny chrome silver to enhance the bare-metal surfaces. I think it turned out pretty good. Monogram's odd-scale DC-3 is I think the oldest plastic assembly kit of the DC-3, having originally come out in the mid 1950s. The basic shape of the airplane looks accurate, but it suffers from poor-fitting parts, and exaggerated rivet lines. It's hard to cover these old imperfections with an updated paint scheme and Navy decals. The kit lends itself better to the original TWA version, which can easily be slapped together in short order without any paint at all. Still, I like this 1975 reissue because it brings back good memories of the summer of '75 on Avenue J-5 in Lancaster. I flew my original DC-3 around the house and neighborhood quite a bit, racking up many hours of flight time, just like a real DC-3.


  1. Very nice job on the USN DC-3 Don. I built this same kit around 1980. It does indeed have some fit problems, but once it is finished it looks very attractive. I have an original TWA kit from the 1950s in my collection as well as the C-47 Skytrain kit that is molded in olive drab plastic. I built that one as a kid around 1959. Of the three 1975 reissues you mentioned, I think the MATS Connie is the best followed by the DC-3. Thanks for a great blog.

  2. I never built the MATS Connie but I remember drooling over it at Gemco department store. I guess I never had enough spare change to buy it.