Airlinercafe Home Page

Building the Revell DC-7 kit.
Author: Uwe Damaschek
Submitted by: Berlin_Uwe   Date: 03-05-2006
Comments: (2)  
Douglas DC-7C

Revell Corp. USA – 1955, Revell Deutschland - 2005
Price: 7.99 Euro/Germany

Model History

As far as I know the model dates back to 1955 and was released by Revell / USA in the US as a DC-7B in the colors of United Airlines. The date is still written inside the fuselage.
Once Douglas decided to do the DC-7C with increased range, as a competitor of the Lockheed Constellation, changes in the construction were necessary. Revell tried to do the same with the model and made significant changes at the wings and the rear of the aircraft as well as a higher fin. See "Revell 1957"on the lower side of the wings, and the step in the plastic of the fuselage some millimeters ahead the elevators. Unfortunately, the only thing they decided not to change was the nose.
The last time we saw Revell’s DC-7C in the shops was in the early 90s in the colors of Swissair and in the 70s as a DC-7B with United Airlines decals.

Building the DC-7C

The Plastic

There are two different options to build this model. One way is to say: Ok, I take this model as a kind of model history with some bugs and I’ll build it out of the box. The other way is to say: Ok, there are some bugs, but nevertheless I’ll try to do a proper DC-7C. (Aren’t these always the options we have even with modern models ?)

The second way means a little more work, of course. I am not an absolute perfectionist and I never saw a DC-7C in my life. But clearly, by looking at photos at the work over of the nose and the reshape of the cockpit is mandatory. To stretch the fuselage to the right length it would have been necessary to put a plug of 8 mm ahead the wings. But I resisted.

I love open windows, not decals for windows. And if I have the choice, I’ll do so. I begun my work by rasping down the plastic at the inside of the fuselage in the windows area as long as the windows opened up themselves. That works great at these pressed-in windows Revell used on this model. After painting the inside of the fuselage in a dark color I glued the fuselage, chopped the nose and cut out the cockpit area. By using photos and some drawings I found a little piece of plastic that matched the shape of the nose in almost a perfect way. A piece of thin plastic card gave the shape of the cockpit, some new struts for the windows and a lot of filling and sanding started…
As a result of sanding a new problem was found: Because Revell used as we in Germany say “positive” rivets and panel lines, they got lost in the sanding areas. Some might sand down all surfaces because of that – I decided to accept these imperfect areas. When I see my photos now – these details make the model more an old prop– I think.

The colors

I airbrushed the model on the upper fuselage in Revell 04 „White“. The gray areas on the wings are Testor’s “Dove Grey“. Silver is a mixture of Testor’s “Metalizer “Aluminum” at the engines and Bare Metal Foil ”Chrome” and “Matt Aluminum” at the wings and the lower fuselage.

The Decals

Revell provides two Airlines: PanAm and Suedflug from Germany, a German Charter Airline that used former KLM DC-7C’s, the first time I heard of this Airline. The decals are really nice, but I think the blue of the PanAm decals is a little bit too bright. But – as said before – I never saw an original. You have to be careful using the PanAm decals. The decal for the window area looks like being one piece – but it isn’t really. The non-color areas are also non-decal areas. So after taking the decals out of the water and trying to slide them on the model you will have a kind of decal-net, almost impossible to handle with. My advice is to use “Liquid Decal Film” by Microscale to avoid this problem.


I just love this model. And to give it the last “kick” I bought some TT-scale (1/125) figures in a model train shop here in Berlin to put them on the air stairs provided with the model. The tractor is from the Monogram Constellation kit.

by Uwe Damaschek

Member Comments :

 comment by: selier posted on 03-06-2006, comment #1794


Thanks for your article, if you like to do a DC-6 or DC-7 than all your information is very usable. Thanks for the pictures that show us exactly what you made. Looks very good.

regards Bert

 comment by: rwallach1 posted on 03-11-2006, comment #1822


Far be it from me to want to criticize a beautiful job done on a very badly flawed kit, but I guess it's hard to reconcile doing all that work on the nose and cockpit without going the final yard on the fuselage plug. I grant you that without a well-done resin piece at hand (Ivo! Hear that???), you need to butcher a second kit. However, without it, you wind up with a DC-7B on steroids rather than a DC-7C, because those extended super-turbo-compound nacelles look so much longer than on a standard 7B.

I must have built twenty of these when I was a kid, and in one of my soggy-with-nostalgia moments I even considered ordering two of them and doing the whole hog on it. But finally, the inadequacy of the fuselage length and nose/cockpit profile are why I never got particularly excited about the reissue of this kit - that, and the fact that just about all of the 7Cs flown by Pan Am had the "meatball" livery, not the older style, from the git-go. Add to that how much challenging fun the Welsh Models DC-7C kit is, and how it fits neatly in among all my other 1/144 models, and why bother with this box-scale monstrosity?

I might change my mind if Ivo or Dana or Mike Bolden issue a forward fuselage plug (a single piece cockpit/nose and extension section would be best), but frankly, I don't think that Revell was celebrating any anniversary very hard if all they did was reissue a kit that was a bastard compromise in the first place.

Rick Wallach