Hobbycraft 1/48 DHC U-1A, 18th Aviation Company, Vung Tau, Vietnam, July 1963

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  • Last reply 1 month, 3 weeks ago
  • 1/48, de Havilland Aircraft Company 100 years, de Havilland Canada, DHC-3, Otter, U-1A, Vietnam
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  • Spiros Pendedekas said 3 months ago:

    Hi everyone!
    This is my new entry for the addicting and amazing DH100GB: it is the Hobbycraft 1/48 DHC-3 Otter, which will be finished as a U.S. Army U-1A of the 18th Aviation Company, Vung Tau, Vietnam, July 1963.
    The de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter is a single-engined, high-wing, propeller-driven, short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada. It was conceived to be capable of performing the same roles as the earlier and highly successful Beaver, including as a bush plane, but is overall a larger aircraft.
    Like the Beaver, the Otter can be fitted with skis or floats. The Otter served as the basis for the very successful Twin Otter, which features two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprops. A total of 466 Otters were manufactured.

    Although the Otter found ready acceptance in bush airlines, as in a similar scenario to the DHC-2 Beaver, the United States Army soon became the largest operator of the aircraft (184 delivered as the U-1A Otter). Other military users included Australia, Canada, and India, but the primary role of the aircraft as a rugged bush plane continues to this day.

    This is the 1998 Hobbycraft kit that I had in my stash, waiting an opportunity to build it.
    It comes in a HUGE box that is more than half empty. Inside you can find four sprues of well molded parts, plus a clear one, packed together with one of them.
    External detail is good, with the exception of the PW R-1340 engine, which is poorly represented.
    Internal details are on the ultra basic side with a very simplistic cockpit and no cargo interior. Ihope that not a lot will be seen through the small windows.
    There’s a set of skis provided, but looks a bit toyish to my eye…
    Instructions are adequate and clear.

    Decals are provided for a Canadian and a U.S. Army bird and look ok.

    The latter is my choice. It is U-1A, s/n 58-1695, belonging to the 18th Aviation Company, Vung Tau, Vietnam, July 1963. It is olive drab overall with a black antiglare panel.
    At http://www.dhc-3archive.com, I found the specific airframe’s story, from its delivery to the U.S. Army in 1958, till its destruction in 1980, when the roof of the hangar in which it was parked collapsed due to an accumulation of snow.
    More to come soon!

  • Erik Gjørup said 3 months ago:

    What a great choice Spiros (@fiveten). I shall be strapped in and ready to follow this build.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 3 months ago:

    Thanks, my friend @airbum!

  • Allan J Withers said 3 months ago:

    Good one Spiros, I’m watching !!

  • George Williams said 3 months ago:

    Yet another good addition to this group build.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 3 months ago:

    Thanks my friends Allan @kalamazoo and George @chinesegeorge!
    I had this kit stashed for so long, waiting for the right inspiration!
    I have prioritized my Empire of Japan GB Ki-45, as it was in stalled-ish mode lately, but will proceed on this very soon….
    In fact, I am so tempted to start it now!

  • Eric Berg said 3 months ago:

    Spiros – That Otter looks like a great choice. How’s those decals look to you? Are they usable?
    I’m looking forward to watching your build on this one.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 3 months ago:

    Thanks Eric @eb801!
    I am trying to locate pics of the U-1A interior, so I might busy it up a tad.
    The decals look to be in good condition, their color registration is OK (not Cartograf, of course, but passable). I have to see how they will behave when applied, color opacity included!

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months, 4 weeks ago:

    With my Toryu’s internal “bamboo” color drying, it was a good oppertunity to start the Otter.
    I first gued all doors at the “closed” position ane then attached all window from the inside, sans the windscreen, which will be fitted last:

    I then attached the cockpit floor, the bulkhead beside the pilots and the central console, sans the instrument panel, which I want to busy up a tad. The cargo area will be left without seats, just the floor, which seems to have been one of the common configurations (the fact that no cargo detailing is provided by the kit, suits me fine!). All interior was given a coat of Humbrol 140 Gull Gray, which common for the era, and left asife to dry:

    I then turned my attention to the engine. Here’s how (ungainly) it looks:

    I then carefully cut the rear plate and, after some minor repairs (as I cracked a couple of cylinders), I scribed the front of the cylinder blocks, in order to create an illusion of cooling fins….
    Her’s how the engine looked with the front cabane attached:

    Not that bad, but I may beef it up with ignition cables, so it will become an eyecatcher-ish, in order to distract the eye and breathe some spark to the simple plane looks!
    More to come!

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Cockpit continues…

    I Futured the windows inner sides.
    Hobbycraft instructs you to glue the instrument panel on the central console: this is totally wrong; it must be glued directly under the dashboard and, for this, a slight reshaping was necessary. I also glued a small central plate and installed three small pieces of stretched sprue, to represent the levers found at real Otters.
    Then I turned my attention to the plain looking seats: I cut four “cushions” from sheet styrene, glued them onto the seats……

    …… and painted them a dark green.
    The control column is a really interesting affair: the Hobbycraft offering provides only left and dramatically oversized yoke, but many Otters (and I believe the U-1A) sported dual controls.
    Here is a one yoke Otter…

    …and here’s a dual control one….

    Unbelievably, Hobbycraft instructs you to pass the yoke through the hole of the arm, to present it like a dual control(!!!!!), that, of course would look totally unnatural:

    To preserve my sanity, I modified the control cloumn, by adding a symmetrical arm, as per reality. I will also fabricate a fire extinguisher from stretched sprue.
    So, her’s the progress so far:

  • Erik Gjørup said 2 months, 4 weeks ago:

    And once again the scratchbuilding monster surfaces 🙂

    Great progress my friend, and a lot of detectiving going on with the plans. I can add that the singlebar yoke is very common as it releases the seat for a passenger. If flown with a relief-pilot the yoke can be “thrown” to the other side. Thus a single-bar piedestal is not at all uncommon in otters – whereas they were seldom in Twin Otters (same part-numbers I think). Sadly I still havent found any interior shots for your cabin, but some basic seating will do fine I believe. Perhaps a combo of a few seats and some boxes? (I once flew as a passenger on the only seat available in the back and the rest packed with frozen fish – boy that was a cold trip – 2½ hours. I had to be carried out as I was unable to move after that. Never again!)
    Keep it comin’ @fiveten!

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Thanks, my friend @airbum!
    I think plain cargo interior will be my choice: nice and simple, with some scratch built busying maybe?
    Not a lot will be visible from those clear but distorting windows anyway….

  • Eric Berg said 2 months, 4 weeks ago:

    The scratchbuilding monster is off to a fabulous start with those seatpads and correcting that crazy yoke! The extinguisher is also a nice touch.

  • Erik Gjørup said 2 months, 4 weeks ago:

    A build up of boxes and some gaze on top to simulate cargo net sounds good to me Spiros.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Thanks my friends @eb801 and @airbum!
    Yep, busying up that interior with a couple of boxes, rope, a leather handbag maybe?
    Sounds cool!

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