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Juno Dakota: 1/48th Monogram C-47 Skytrain

Updated: 5 days ago

This old 1/48th Monogram C-47 Skytrain kit was originally released in 1978. The moulds are now in Revell's possession and still available on occasion. By the standards of the day, Monogram's 1/48th C-47 kit was well detailed and included a bonus of several nicely appointed paratroopers as well as other aircraft crew figures.


1/48th Monogram C-47 Skytrain / Dakota

Notable Kit Features:


  • Good cockpit with raised detail instruments (little of which will be seen)

  • Radio / Navigators section with good detail (none of which will be seen)

  • Wing spar provided for added wing strength

  • Option to open side man-door, cargo or both doors

  • Flooring, troop seats and raised rib sidewall interior details

  • Three different styles of air intakes provided

  • Good landing gear details (but no brake lines, which you can easily add)

  • Respectable overall dimensions

  • Toilet facilities provided :)

  • Raised panel lines (typical for the age of the kit)

  • Excellent set of paratroopers included with kit

  • Affordable price


1/48th Monogram C-47 Skytrain / Dakota

Build Inspiration:


This aircraft build wasn't my initial inspiration but that of Alex Fitzgerald-Black, the Executive Director of the Burlington-based Juno Beach Centre Association. After seeing my website Alex had scheduled a visit to The Hangar to check out my Canadian aircraft collection in person. That initial meeting was delayed due to COVID, however Alex & Louisa (Interpretation and Outreach Manager) eventually made the sight-seeing trip. During that meeting we got to discussing an upcoming project of the Juno Beach Centre in France to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2024. The Juno Beach Centre were in possession of wreckage from a couple of aircraft flown by RCAF veterans and wondered if I would be interested in building the model aircraft to represent how the aircraft looked back in the day. I was honoured to be tasked with this display project to enhance a piece of Canadian history and set about how to accomplish this goal. We were able to decide on the scale and most details, however a couple of historical bits eluded my research efforts as I wasn't able to determine which aircraft letter that KG356 was assigned nor any artwork it may or may not have carried. Regardless I carried on with the project building this C-47 as well as a Mustang Mk.IA from 430 Squadron (Also sent from my collection was my RCAF 404 Squadron Beaufighter to represent Coastal Command's contribution). The C-47 was one of two troop carriers lost around Juno Beach on D-day (June 6th 1944).



(L) Map of 8 Para Stick Drop Zone of Dakota KG356 / (C) Harvey Engelberg at The Juno Beach Centre in France for the 80th Anniversary / (R) Wreckage of C-47 KG356 of 233 Squadron recovered from the French farm some 78 years after that fateful night


A Bit of History:


On the night of 5th June 1944, Dakota MkIII KG356 left the main runway at Blakehill, at 23:17 bound for Normandy. The aircraft was crewed by Flight Officer H. E. Jones - Captain (RCAF), Flight Sergeant J. A. Daldorph - 2nd Pilot, Flight Officer I. N. Williams - Navigator and Warrant Officer C. Engelberg - Wireless Operator (RCAF). Its task was to deliver troops of the 8th Battalion Parachute Regiment to "Drop Zone K" during Operation Tonga on D-Day. The approach was made into the Caen area at a height off 600 feet in the face of heavy opposition. Approximately four miles from the drop zone the aircraft was badly hit by anti-aircraft guns and set on fire. Flying Officer Jones continued heading towards the drop zone and gave the signal for the troops to jump which they managed to do successfully. He then ordered his crew to abandon the aircraft.



(Left) Flight Officer Harvey Jones - RCAF (Right) Warrant Officer Cobby Engelberg - RCAF


Flying Officer Jones could himself have abandoned the aircraft through the pilots escape hatch at the same time as the crew were ordered to jump. However he refused his parachute when it was brought to him and stayed at the controls to keep the aircraft on an even keel and height for his crew to jump safely.​ Jones then elected to stay with the aircraft and attempt a landing, because his injured Wireless Operator, Engelberg was unable to bail out. Pilot Jones was unfortunately killed in the resulting crash however, his heroic actions allowed the rest to survive. Although injured, Cobby Engelberg was saved from the wreckage of the Dakota by a local French farming family. The Du Hamel's buried Harvey Edgar Jones on their farm, adorning the grave with flowers and a cross bearing the words “Died for France, Long live England.” In yet another tragic event associated with this crash, the Nazi SS took revenge on the Du Hamel family that rescued Cobby, sentencing their son to execution, however he later managed to escape. Harvey E. Jones was from Welland, Ontario, died at the age of 26. He is now buried in the Ranville War Cemetery, France.


1/48th Monogram C-47 Skytrain / Dakota

If you can plan a trip to The Juno Beach Centre either this year (2024) or next (2025), the 80th Anniversary exhibit is sure to be inspiring. Harvey Engelberg (the son of Cobby Engelberg) is planning to attend as well as many other interested tourists, historians and some of the few remaining veterans. (See link below)



(L) Pilot Officer Harvey Edgar Jones Logbook / (C) 233 Sqn. Post Operation Brief / (R) Letter to Jones Family from W/C Blakehill Farm


Heads-Up Report:


  • Despite some reviews indicating all joins require filler I find this kit builds up well (given attention) with very few issues, the underside fuselage to wing join does require filler and sanding

  • Ensure the overhead pilot control panel does not interfere with the later cabin glass fit (and secure it well)

  • Side windows provided in a single linked strip

  • Take extra care to glue the floor down level with the open door (if you elect to open the door - which, with all that nice detail, it would be a shame not to)

  • Radial engines detail provided by a single bank only (no ignition wiring - which you can add if desired)

  • All control surfaces molded attached to mains in neutral position

  • Main gear tires not "weighted"

  • IMO the raised panel lines are not a detractor on this kit and I left them in place. The weathered look blends them in and the finish is quite acceptable for my purposes.

  • Pointed WWII era props are provided (Check your reference photos as some C-47s had the paddle blades)

  • Check your aircraft's antenna configuration as there were some variations


1/48th Monogram C-47 Skytrain / Dakota

Kit Additions / Modifications:


  • Added seatbelt detail to cockpit (Interesting the paratrooper seats in the rear have nicely molded seatbelts in place)

  • I painted the clear glass between the windows interior green to hide the linked windows better

  • Added landing light detail using paint and liquid clear (Thickened Pledge)

  • Weighted the tires by sanding them slightly flat at bottom

  • Substituted paddle blade propellers (Ultracast 48241 Hamilton Standard 11' 7" dia. 3-Blade Props & Spinners)

  • Drilled out exhaust ends for more depth in these parts


1/48th Monogram C-47 Skytrain / Dakota

Finishing:


The paint scheme for this aircraft is the standard Dark Olive Drab No.41 over Neutral Gray No.43. Given the fact that I was replicating a D-Day aircraft, full above and below black and white invasion stripes were painted on. De-Icer boots were painted on the leading edges of the wing and tail surfaces. Paint camouflage was heavily weathered by spraying variations of paint tone (typically darker along the panel lines and 'patched areas' - Lighter on control surfaces which were fabric). A gloss coat was then sprayed using Pledge floor finish and the decals were applied. Dark washes were used to highlight the controls. A final matte coat was sprayed, using Model Master dullcoat, to seal the decals in and complete the finish. A bit of aluminum chipping was added to the wing leading edges, propeller blades and other worn surfaces to depict a used transport.

Note: Reports of C-47 parts being subcontracted and later assembled can lead to some interpretation of just how weathered you want your Dakota to look. I have seen reference photos with a wide variety of paint shades on a single aircraft. As always, if you are building a specific aircraft (and trying to replicate this detail) check your available reference photos.


1/48th Monogram C-47 Skytrain / Dakota

The After-Build Report:


The 1/48th Monogram C-47 Skytrain can still be used to produce a respectable model for the display shelf and is still recommended in my books (especially considering the relatively reasonable price of this kit). For my build purposes (the aircraft would have to travel to France and arrive unscathed) the Monogram kit was the more durable option.

Model makers now have the 1/48th Trumpeter kit for modelling the C-47 as well. Neither the Trumpeter nor Monogram kits are correct for surface details. C-47s had raised rivets and the sheet metal was lapped, with one sheet overlapping the next. With the price differential you will have to decide which option works best for you, based on what is important for your build. The later Trumpeter release does have very nice detail in the interior and engine areas.


1/48th Monogram C-47 Skytrain / Dakota

Completed build #264 - November 2023 using the 1/48th scale Monogram #5603 kit.


Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers


1/48th Monogram C-47 Skytrain / Dakota

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