Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Revell 1/144 DC-8-61 The Plane That Started It All!

So far in this blog I've re-built all the plastic model airplane kits (and a couple spacecraft and airships) I had as a kid growing up in our first house in Lancaster, California. In late 1976, we moved to another home on the outskirts of Lancaster, and I continued my model building there even on the day we moved in, with a Monogram 1/72 scale P-51B Mustang bought from Gemco department store. Many other kits followed including a Revell "Calypso" PBY Catalina given to me as a gift from the realtor who sold us our new home. I'm not going to rebuild all the kits from that era of my modeling days, but I will cover some which are very important to me such as the Hasegawa Mig-25 Foxbat, and the Revell Space Shuttle Enterprise with 747 (posts forthcoming.)
What I'd like to do starting with this post, is go back to that first day in Lancaster when my family and I surveyed our new home then under construction. This would have been sometime in the Fall of 1974. The Flying Tiger Line DC-8 "stretch" flying overhead, doing touch and gos at Palmdale Air Force Facility was the ship I'll never forget from that day, along with a Lockheed C-141A Starlifter. When I started building models, no store in our town had the Revell United DC-8-61 kit on their shelves, so I never bought it. I certainly would have though had I known about it.
Pictured here is a Revell DC-8-61 I've just completed as a straight passenger version with no livery,
in honor of those Flying Tigers ships I saw so many years ago. This kit was actually a Revell/Lodella Flying Tigers DC-8-61F, but the decals were totally unusable, even with the application of Microscale clear decal film. I was kind of bummed by this, but in actuality, it wouldn't have been a correct representation of what I saw way back when. Flying Tigers flew the DC-8-63F in 1974, and the Revell kit does not have the correct engines. Flying Tigers did have one or two Dash 61s, but it's not likely I saw those flying around Palmdale. What would be ideal is Minicraft's new DC-8-63 kit with FDCAL's Flying Tiger DC-8-63 decal set. Unfortunately, they are out of print, and very hard to find. If I ever do find a set, I'll do it up right but for now, this old Revell kit will suffice.
The ship was painted overall Testors aluminum plate buffing type from a rattle can,  buffed to a high shine using a Dremel tool with buffing wheel. I left a forward and aft fuselage plug unbuffed for a little differential effect. I did this with the wing control surfaces and the aft end of the engine fairings as well. The wing panels and radome are light aircraft gray. The windows are from an old ATP generic DC-8 window decal sheet. Thank goodness for that at least!


  1. Fine job, Rich. I have a slight history with those planes. I flew on Flying Tigers when I left Nam, twice. I worked for the Air Force for 32 years and we had C-141's at the base. Later, C-17's. I don't know if they were using C141-A models when I started there in 1979, but I do know we had B models before the C-17's arrived.

  2. One final note. The stews on the Flying Tigers were the best I've ever seen. Just lovely.

  3. No sweat Cap'n Bob; I was called "Rich" in my Air Force career. Check out my latest post on the C-141A. I enlisted too late to fly on A models, but I flew several times on B models. I always liked take-off, sitting sideways on those nylon web troop seats. Everyone would be bent to one side in the same direction from the G-forces! I did fly on one B model which had airliner style seats bolted to cargo pallets. We were all facing backwards but it sure beat those default troop seats!