C-47 Dakota

Italeri's C-47 has been around for many years now, but still stands up as an excellent representation of Douglas' famous transport. Unusually for an Italeri kit of this vintage, all panel lines are recessed. The detail is a bit heavy, not quite matchbox trenches, but overdone for my tastes. The control surfaces feature heavy fabric detail which can stand sanding down.

A basic interior includes a one-piece instrument panel/throttle console, sticks and yokes, pilots seats, and bulkheads. The cabin features crude representations of the folding paratroop seats. That being said, very little can be seen through the windows.

I've previously built this kit as an AC-47D and a EC-47N, so I've learned a few things to watch out for. I've never managed to get the windscreen installed properly- the part is fragile, and I've broken it on both kits. That being said, the simple shape is easily replaced with some clear plastic sheet. The wing joins can be troublesome- I've had success with gluing the upper wing halves to the fuselage, minimising the wing root seam, then adding the 3 lower wing sections.

The base kit includes awful markings for WWII era USAAF and RAF schemes, along with a post-war US Navy scheme, complete with cigar-chomping sharks mouth! Model Art sheet 72/020 includes markings for an olive drab over neutral grey aircraft of GT2/62 Franche-Comte, an aluminum over black bird from GT2/63 Senegal, and an overall natural metal example from GT1/64 Bearn. Carpena's Indochina sheet includes two aircraft...

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C-119 Flying Boxcar

Italeri's '80s vintage C-119G included decals for a French C-119C, but unfortunately the kit parts did not reflect the aircraft depicted by the decals. Compared to the G model, the C featured a single wheel nose landing gear, 28-cylinder R4360 engines in place of 18-cylinder R3350s, and no ventral tail fins. Fortunately, Italeri issued a limited issue kit in 2006 with newly moulded engine nacelles and nose landing gear, as well as modified tail boom parts. As a bonus, the kit included an ex-EXCI Dodge WC54 truck, a booklet of colour detail photos (mostly depicting an Italian C-119G), and excellent full colour decals, featuring a Indochina veteran.

Both kits are typical mid '80s Italeri - great subject matter, good interior details, poor fit and raised panel detail. Fit is complex on any twin-boomed aircraft, and this is no exception, with the boom to wing fit being particularly messy. In cleaning this up, you'll inevitably lose most of the panel detail in this area, and hence partial if not complete rescribing will probably be in order. Offsetting these areas are well-detailed engines, props, gear and cockpit, though the cargo section is a little sparse. All fuselage doors are molded separate, and the split tail can be displayed open.

Aftermarket decals are available from both Microscale and Carpena for this one, both for a nose art bedecked C-119, temporarily detached from the USAF 63rd TCS/403rd TCG.

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H-19 Chickasaw/S-55 Whirlwind

One of Italeri's recent series of excellent small-scale helicopters, the H-19 is a welcome replacement for the ancient Airfix kit, which can now be safely designated a museum piece. Available as both a straight-boomed H-19A (with floats, also available for a higher price from Revell sans floats) and kinked boom H-19B. Low points of the kits include the lack of cockpit detail (instrument is a decal only, no collective controls of tail rotor pedals), and the simplified representation of the bottom of the radial engine. Fit is generally good, but watch the alignment of the cabin floor- this mounts the front landing gear, and if glued to one fuselage half will likely end up off-centre. Also I found the cockpit transparency left a step where it met the top of fuselage. Despite the box art, all the kits feature the same basic winch.

Both Italeri boxings feature USAF Rescue birds. Model Art sheet 72/038 includes two Indochina-based aircraft, one from EHL I/65 in plain natural metal/aluminum, the other 'Zano' from EHM II/65 in a wild green over natural metal tiger striped scheme.

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