avatar_Brian da Basher

1/144 Douglas DC-XLR airliner

Started by Brian da Basher, December 15, 2008, 02:24:24 PM

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Brian da Basher

While celebrating the success of their historic DC-3 in the spring of 1936, Douglas Aircraft began work on top-secret project XLR, a four-engined, pressurized long-range transport. It was soon learned that their arch competitor, Boeing of Seattle, had a similar project in the works and was way ahead in development of their model 307 Stratoliner. Donald Douglas' half-brother, Doug Douglas, was recruited for a little industrial espionage. Taking a night watchman's job at Boeing under the false name of Dan Daniels, he was able to steal copies of the most recent model 307 plans.

In December, 1937 the top-secret project was rolled out of the hangar at Douglas' Santa Monica test center. The new transport was unlike anything seen before. Christened DC-XLR, it was incredibly well streamlined and powered by four Ratt & Pwittney R-1827 twin-row radial engines and could reach speeds of 259 m.p.h. and altitudes of 30,000 ft. It could carry 47 passengers, a crew of five and 3,000 lbs. of cargo over an 1,800 mile range. Passengers enjoyed flying turbulance-free in the pressurized cabin and the rear cargo hold could be converted into a bridal suite, which led to many newlyweds getting hitched at altitude and joining the "Mile High Club".

After Northwest-Orient and Western Airlines placed large orders for the DC-XLR, Boeing realized they'd been beaten to the punch and ceased production of their model 307 Stratoliner after only 11 examples had been built.

United Airlines' N962U, shown here, flew the San Bernadino to Cicero and Las Cruces to Bozeman routes as well as classified overseas missions while it was impressed into the Air Transport Command during W.W. II. It can be seen on display at the United Airlines Museum in Oak Park, Illinois, across the street from Olds' Old Folks' Home where Doug Douglas, age 92, lives in ignominious retirement.

Brian da Basher

Ed S

Nice!  But how did you ever manage to build an aircraft without spats?

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Brian da Basher

The basis for this project is the 1/144 Minicraft DC-6, which should look like this:


Some of you may remember I had a complete DC-6 minus the nose left over from my Peaceliner project. I'd originally intended to graft the B-36 nose on to the DC-6, but that looked like a lot of work as the B-36 nose is wider than the DC-6 fuselage. The leftover B-36 nose also looks like it would make a perfect secondary hull for a future Star Trek project, so I had to find another solution. I was able to smash-form a new nose and I liked how it made the DC-6 remind me of the Boeing 307. The only other modification was cutting the engines at the back of the cowl for my "Ratt & Pwittney R-1827" radials and leaving off the pointy prop spinners. Speaking of the cowlings, Minicraft molded them in two parts, and I had to do some PSR to remove the seams. The front antenna and "football" came from the kit and the DF loop and tailwheel were from the spares box. After that, it was off to the paint shop!

Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

The entire model was brush-painted by hand with acrylics. Model Masters Primer Gray and PollyScale Reefer White and Blue were used overall, the engines being dry-brushed with Gunmetal. Model Masters Gunship Gray and Yellow were used on the props. The decals were a mix of spares and I used an aftermarket Star Trek sheet for the lettering and wing registrations. This sheet was on continuous carrier and the ink flaked off if you looked at it funny. Left over RAF rudder stripes were used for the fuselage logo and the tail logo was from the Williams' Bros. 247. Speaking of logos, the first of these pics is that wonderful 1930s United logo I modified ever so slightly (shown 2x actual size).

Brian da Basher


It looks like it really could have been a real plane. Would the airline have been able to scrounge up  passengers in San Bernardino in the late 40s?


Heh, heh, heh!!!

Another fun one. And sure, a very beautiful airplane. I can see the pretty flight attendants offering those small pillows and blankets, after a couple martinis :wub: :wub: :wub:

Love the way you smashformed the fwd fuse. The scheme is very nostalgic and eye-catching. I believe you caught the looks of an era long gone in this one :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Jeffry Fontaine

Excellent method of recycling those parts into something that looks pretty darned good!
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Really cool! Are the cockpit windows just painted on? The livery is gorgeous.
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SSgt Baloo

Cool plane. I shall have to try something similar, possibly based upon a scaled-up DC-3?
Not older than dirt but remembers when it was still under warranty.

Eddie M.

Great work BdaB! Your imagination is a wonder to behold!! ;D
Look behind you!


Brian, I love this one! That front end looks so natural on that airframe  :wub: Perfect paintscheme for it too!
Jeff G.
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Brian da Basher

Thanks for the cool photoshop, apophenia! You made my DC-XLR into something that could fool people into believing it was real!

The windows are all decals, The cockpit windows are decals for a DC-9 cut to fit.

Thanks for all the comments. They inspire me to no end!
Brian da Basher


Quote from: Brian da Basher on December 16, 2008, 01:40:29 AM
They inspire me to no end!
Brian da Basher
;D inspire or spoil :wacko:

Anyway, an absolute perfection :wub: :wub: :wub: :bow: :bow:
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