Stearmans and Berlin Airlift Daks
By Jim Bates
A few weeks ago, a thick envelope arrived in my mailbox containing the latest decal sheets from Iliad Design of Canada. These two sheets were specially released for some hot new plastic, specifically the 1/48 Revell PT-17 Stearman and the 1/72 Airfix C-47 Skytrain.
48030 Stearman PT-17
The Stearman trainer really is an unsung type in the modeling world, but the new Revel kit does it justice. Sadly, the decal options in the kit were restored warbirds, so it has been up to the aftermarket to provide in-service schemes.
Iliad came up with some stunning options on this sheet. First off, we have a PT-17 from Number 4 British Flying Training School (BFTS) in Mesa, Arizona. Yep, you read that right, many British pilots were trained in the U.S. under the Arnold Scheme. (For an interesting read about a British pilot training in the United States, check out “Wings Over Georgia” by Jack Currie.) This PT-17 is in the standard U.S. Army scheme of a Light Blue fuselage with Yellow wings. The large fuselage codes start with B, which indicates it hails from a BFTS, and the rudder is painted in the USAAF early war red, white, and blue stripes. The second option is PT-17 42-16546 based at Kunming, China repainted in Dark Green with Dark Earth blotches on the rudder and the upper surfaces of the wing and horizontal stabilizers. The third option is a pretty Navy N2S-3 in aluminum dope and yellow, while the final US aircraft is a very neat Navy N2S-4 from Grosse Ile, Michigan, that retains its U.S. Army blue and yellow colour scheme but with Navy markings, including the Buzz number repeated under the fuselage. The final option on the sheet is FJ888, one of the last PT-27s on RCAF strength. This aircraft is overall yellow with Type B roundels above the wings. It appears from period photos that the Boeing painted the RCAF PT-27s in U.S. Navy Orange Yellow rather than the correct RCAF shade of yellow. The U.S. shade has more of an orange component than the RCAF shade.
72016 1/72 Berlin Airlift C-47s
The Berlin Blockade and associated Airlift are one of the most important events of the early Cold War, but the aircraft involved are rarely featured in scale model form. Maybe it’s because the associated aircraft are transports, but I see many WWII and post war C-47s, whereas rarely is a Berlin Airlift Dak featured online, in magazines, or on the model table. This may change with Iliad’s latest 1/72 decal sheet which includes four C-47s that participated in the Airlift.
Three USAF and one BOAC C-47 are included. The British Overseas Airways Corporation Dakota is overall natural metal with a Union Jack on the tail, a blue BOAC speedbird on the nose and black civil registration numbers on the fuselage and above and below the wings. G-AGIZ made 21 flights into Berlin between October and November 1948. One USAF C-47 is also in natural metal with red cowls and tail flash. This aircraft served with the USAF’s European Air Transport Service and features some nice logos. But it is the two Olive Drab over Neutral Grey C-47s that will make the most interesting models. Both aircraft have pretty generic markings, but because they were war-weary types, they feature multiple shades of Olive Drab, substantial chipping, and replacement flying surfaces. C-47 43-15672/52 is the more restrained aircraft with some Olive Drab overpainting of older markings and a nice black and yellow tail flash. The ailerons and elevators are doped silver replacements. The C-47 nicknamed the “Fassberg Flyer” will be the most difficult model to pull off, but very eye-catching when completed. The Flyer is a mix of faded Olive Drab and multiple touchups, natural metal replacement cowlings, a replacement aluminum dope rudder, a mostly removed S code from its prior Squadron, and red and white “Fassberg Flyer” codes in red and white. Fans of weathering will love these two options.
Both decal sheets are screen printed by Canuck Model Products. All decals are glossy, well printed, in register, and have very minimal carrier film. Each sheet has an full colour instruction sheet with side and top views of each scheme.
These really are some neat off-the-beaten-path options and both decal sheets are quite inspirational. I can’t wait to dig into the Revell PT-17 and the Airfix Dak in order to put the sheets to use.
Thanks to Bob at Iliad Design for the samples.