Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Williams Bros. 1/72 Boeing 247D (USAAC C-73)

A kit I would drool over at every visit to Peterson Hobbies was the Williams Bros. Boeing 247. For some reason though, I never bought it, nor asked for it as a gift. Just last month I finally lived the dream: I built the sucker! I found an old opened but complete one on EBay for a reasonable price. The decals were moisture damaged, and instead of buying an aftermarket set, I chose to make it a U.S. Army Air Corps C-73 transport.
According to the history books and a few photographs, the USAAC lifted 27 Boeing 247s from the airlines to serve as personnel transports. This happened some time in 1942, hence the rather high designation number for such an old airplane. One can find about a half dozen decent photographs of C-73s on the Internet. One interesting one is shown on a Boeing advertisement in a magazine from 1942. It shows an olive drab painted C-73 with 1942 style stars, and no other visible markings. Another shows what may be an all metal finish or gray-painted 247 with 1943 style stars and bars. It's hard to know if the C-73s had the forward-pointed windshield or the slicked-back "Turner" windshield, or a mixture of both. I figured the Army most likely had both, depending on whatever they grabbed from United, Western, or whomever was flying them at the time. I wasn't worried either about the accuracy of the color scheme or the stars for my model, since all 27 C-73s could have looked different. I put the number "04" on the tail, to suggest it was an early conscript, and perhaps the fourth 247 to be put into military service. The interior is the standard United Airlines scheme. The few pictures I found of C-73s were taken at U.S. military airfields, suggesting that perhaps these ships were flown mainly within the CONUS as short-hoppers for brass going from base to base for meetings, formations, and such.
Regardless of whether or not my "C-73" is accurate, it was fun to build and I like the way it looks. This was Williams Bros. first full airplane model kit. Before the 247 they had made scale models of vintage rotary airplane motors and machine guns. I can't say it's the most well-engineered kit I've ever put together; there are numerous problems with poor fitting parts. This model, and the ones that followed such as the Martin B-10B, Northrop Gamma, and Curtiss C-46 were intended for experienced modelers skilled at manipulating styrene and modifying small plastic parts. Still, this is one I'm going to keep on my shelf for a while.


  1. Nice job. I have this kit but I'll probably make it according to the instructions.

  2. I know what you mean. I had a change of heart and converted this one into a proper United airliner.

  3. Congrats, really fine! The gray shade/shine looks pretty much the real thing, what paint reference did you use?