avatar_Brian da Basher

1/144 DC-J; a jet-powered DC-3 weekend build

Started by Brian da Basher, June 01, 2009, 02:06:57 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Brian da Basher

When W.W. II ended, aircraft manufacturers world-wide saw the potential of the new jet engine and began planning new designs accordingly. Douglas Aircraft was more cautious than most as they already had more orders for DC-3s and DC-4s than they could fill. Donald Douglas was unconvinced that jets would be The Next Big Thing and fobbed development of a jet airliner off on his half-brother, Dilbert Douglas.

Dilbert Douglas was a quiet man who many wrongly thought a socially inept half-wit who was kept on out of charity. However, beneath his quiet, quirky, shy personality, Dilbert Douglas was a skilled engineer who had flashes of genius. This showed when Dilbert Douglas realized that instead of building a new airliner from scratch, the best approach would be to take an existing design and tweak it so it could be powered by jets and thus build working prototypes to test the new technology.


Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

Dilbert Douglas decided the ubiquitous DC-3 would be a natural for the jet project, and with some minor changes (deleting the original engines and replacing them with two General Electric J35 turbojets on small pylons, reworking the landing gear by adding sponsons and adding a dihedral to the horiz. stabs), the DC-JX (Douglas Commercial, Jet Experimental) was born.

Donald Douglas initially laughed poor Dilbert out of his office when shown the proposed design along with recriminations that Dilbert "go and get some help", but after taking a weekend to give the design more than a cursory once-over, Donald Douglas changed his tune and ordered production of ten DC-Js and two prototypes.


Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

The new DC-Js began rolling off the Santa Monica production line in November, 1948. All the major airlines were skeptical of the new jet and didn't see the need to replace a proven, reliable technology, save for the ambitiously named World airline, based out of Seacaucus, New Jersey. World started with three of the new DC-Js for use on their Seacaucus to New York and Newark to Philadelphia routes. The incredible speed of the DC-J cut travel time in half, and World eventually bought all ten of the production run. Unfortunately, in 1951, World over-extended itself with new routes to Cleveland, Ohio and Yellow Tavern, Virginia which were outside of its original tri-state (NJ, NY and PA) operating area and folded like an old roadmap.

The DC-J convinced Donald Douglas of the viability of commercial jets, and he ordered work on a much larger airliner which would be capable of overseas service. Dilbert Douglas was the point-man on this project until he collapsed due to nervous exhaustion in 1952. Some say the real cause of this breakdown was when Dilbert Douglas was forced to give up his office and relocate to a cubicle in a cost-cutting move, but the truth will never be known and Dilbert went into retirement after a stint at the Happy Valley Asylum and Clinic.

DC-Js were not very successful commercially and the last one was scrapped in 1955, but its role in launching the commercial jet age will never be forgotten.

Brian da Basher

Martin H

ohhh me likey this one a lot LOL

Just wait till I show these photos to "Dakota" Dave , leader of the DC-3/C-47 sig...he will love it
I always hope for the best.
experience has taught me to expect the worst.

Size (of the stash) matters.

IPMS (UK) What if? SIG Leader.
IPMS (UK) Project Cancelled SIG Member.

Brian da Basher

The basis for this project is the 1/144 Minicraft DC-3, which can be had for less than $4. The fun started when I realized that leftover wingtip jets from a 1/144 B-47 were a natural fit and all I'd have to do is cut out the section of the DC-3 wing where the obsolete piston engines are. I also decided to add a dihedral to the horiz. stabs to ensure clearance from the jet exhaust. At this point, I realized I'd need to do something about the landing gear and added sponsons with half-wheels glued underneath. The entire project took me all of Saturday and an hour Sunday to complete (the hour Sunday was used to add the anti-glare panel and paint over the shiny carrier between the passenger windows). If I hadn't taken a nice long nap Saturday afternoon, I may have had it done in one day.

The entire model is brush-painted by hand with acylics, Model Masters Gray Primer mostly although Gunship Gray was used inside the windshield and a little Steel was used on the engines. Decals were a mix from the decal stash.

I had a lot of fun with this weekend build and if you ever wondered what a jet-powered DC-3 might look like, now you have an idea.

Brian da Basher

Ed S

A jet powered DC-3. Of course, why didn't anyone really do this?

I'm still amazed how quickly you turn these things out. Nice job.

We don't just embrace insanity here.  We feel it up, french kiss it and then buy it a drink.

The Rat

"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives." Hedley Lamarr, Blazing Saddles
Youtube: https://tinyurl.com/46dpfdpr


Oh well now I know who Dilbert Douglas was.
Yet another `Nice One  :thumbsup:`

Cheerz :drink:
H-O-G = Head Out of Gestalt-hands on autopilot
WORK! The curse of the drinking class.
"Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson )



Beautiful!!!!  The DC-3 / C-47 has long been a favorite of mine. 

I suspect that a early jet powered version would be the definition of a short-haul airliner.

One question, where are the spats?


Brian da Basher

Quote from: wagnersm on June 01, 2009, 05:07:16 PM

I suspect that a early jet powered version would be the definition of a short-haul airliner.

One question, where are the spats?


You hit the nail on the head, Steve! World airline folded because its DC-Js lacked the range necessary for the lucrative Seacaucus to Yellow Tavern run, not to mention making it all the way to Cleveland.

As for spats, stay tuned. I have plans for a rather large, spatted biplane airliner in 1/144.
Brian da Basher

John Howling Mouse

Why is it that I seem to hear/read the word "ubiquitous" everywhere these days?

Ahhh, the spurned Yellow Tavern run....will they never learn?

This is one friendly little airplane, Brian.  The kind of subject that makes one want to take to the local coffee shop, it's so amicable.

Nice!   :thumbsup:
Styrene in my blood and an impressive void in my cranium.


That is just fantastic, Brian! It reminds me of this little Fokker which I plan to built in some scale, some day.


I like this one lots!! With the jets placed where they are, it looks very nice, and NO SPATS either!!!
If you love, love without reservation; If you fight, fight without fear - THAT is the way of the warrior

If you go into battle knowing you will die, then you will live. If you go into battle hoping to live, then you will die


Brilliant idea. A good looking model which is a real should-have-been. :thumbsup: :cheers:


Now this looks very interesting Brian   :thumbsup:
If I'm not building models, I'm out riding my dirtbike