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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Italeri Douglas DC-3 (Worldwide Airways Arctic Rose)

Sometimes when you get a model project completed, you look back in wonder about how all the elements just came together for a perfect modelling experience. This is not one of those stories, but we’ll have one along in a few days concerning the F-102. But this is a tale of woe and disasters, and concerns what is normally a fairly well-tamed kit, the Italeri DC-3.

Many moons ago, I ran across a Whiskey Jack decal sheet for the DC-3 “Arctic Rose”. I thought it was a very attractive looking set of markings: a 1:72 airliner with a giant rose on the rudder. The owner of Whiskey Jack was, I believe, based in Vancouver BC and came down for an IPMS-Seattle meeting one Saturday. Why I didn’t buy the sheet on the spot I don’t know, but I was looking for it ever afterwards. Eventually it was reissued by Thunderbird Models, and I bought one via Hannants.

I’ve built the Italeri DC-3 multiple times, in both its military and civil incarnations. This particular kit had its landing gear disconnected from the sprue and broken into bits. Not much point in trying to glue them back together, so I decided to get a replacement set from SAC. Now, I rarely buy one of these white metal sets; I just don’t see the point, since they are direct-cast replacements of the kit parts. No model I’ve ever built has had a landing gear failure (except at a glue point) and it requires the use of superglue, which I am never fond of. But this was a clear case of necessary replacement, so it seemed like a good idea.

The model spent a long time in development hell. No less than 5 paint colors (Arctic Red, White, Black, and NMF for the wings, and of course the overall final semi-gloss coat) with occasionally complex masking in between. But I eventually got to the day when the paintwork was finished and I could start on the decals.

The decals are admirably thin, but that makes them very fragile. Any large marking (like the cheatlines and even the airline name on the fuselage) had to be cut into smaller bits. Keeping everything in line and in place was a major challenge.

I delayed putting on the landing gear until after the decal work. It can be said that if you leave a major operation til the last, THAT will be where you have your major screwup, after almost of the work is completed. That was certainly the case here.

The three part gear (I also used Quickboost wheels) just did not want to stick via superglue. I glued the main gear, left it to cure overnight, and when I picked it up, the gear actually fell out of its supposed anchoring holes. This happened multiple times with the different bits. I stuck myself together (still the only place I can get superglue to work: my fingers). Since I was covered with superglue I managed to get a big stain on the lower wing, which is why there are no underside photos of this model. By some mercy, I eventually got them to stay in place, but I think they would have done as well if I had secured them with spittle as with superglue.

Some models you are happy were done well, and some you are happy are just done. This is one of the latter. But it does look interesting in line with the other DC-3s in the case.

This is completed aircraft #488 (5 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 1 vehicle for the year 2018), finished in April of 2018.

A few days of neuropathy issues in my feet have meant a stall in progress, since when the pain is dramatic I can't make it downstairs to the paint room easily. But things seem to be improving now so hopefully I can get photos taken of the completions and a paint session scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. 

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