avatar_Brian da Basher

1/144 Minicraft Pennsylvania Rail Road DC-3

Started by Brian da Basher, August 19, 2009, 01:25:36 PM

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Brian da Basher

After World War II, American rail roads began to feel the pinch of burgeoning airlines, right where it hurt, on the bottom line.

Even though Transcontinental Air Transport's attempt at combining passenger air and rail service was a flop in the 1920s, there were plenty of surplus C-47s to be had cheap and the Pennsylvania Rail Road decided to compete with the airlines that were syphoning off passengers and rolled out their own air carrier.

The Pennsylvania Rail Road's "Air Coaches" were placed in service to offer speedy transit over some of their more far-flung routes such as Pittsburgh to New York and Altoona to Chicago and points west. Inaugurated in 1946, within two years, passengers could board a Pennsylvania Rail Road train at any small town along the line and transfer to an "Air Coach" at any of the larger Pennsylvania Rail Road stations such as Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Altoona, Harrisburg, Reading, Philadelphia, Phoenixville and New York City.

While the Pennsylvania Rail Road's "Air Coaches" remained in service for the next 15 years, primarily for business travellers, they never offered the airlines any serious competition. Still, many remember the Pennsy's "Air Coaches" in their stunning livery for a fast, comfortable means of travel whose service was unparalleled. The Pennsylvania Rail Road discontinued their air service in 1960, and all that's left of those magnificent "Air Coaches" is this travel agent's desk model.

Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

The basis for this project was the 1/144 Minicraft DC-3 which I got for $3 and change from a fire sale over at Squadron. This model was built totally out of the box, no modifications.  :o

I know this must be the first time I built anything OOB since I was six. I made this as a birthday gift for my girlfriend's step-dad who is a model rail-roader and a huge Pennsy buff.

I got the Pennsylvania Rail Road decals and specific paint over at Internet Trains. It took them a while to get the order to me, but it arrived complete. I've got to hand it to these model rail-roaders, they've got some of the best decals and paint going, which made this project seem easy in the home stretch.

Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

The entire model was brush-painted by hand with acrylics, Polly Scale Pennsylvania Rail Road Maroon Tuscan Red (thanks for correcting me, SR!) mostly. The inside of the windshield and nav blister were painted gunship gray as were the prop blades. The landing gear struts and engines were painted gun metal and the prop tips were a custom mix to match the Pennsy gold.

The decals went on without a hitch although they were a little more delicate than I'm used to. I managed to tear one of the 4811 keystones on the nose, but I fixed that with a dab of red paint.

Now I have to build a suitable box with a frame to hold the model and remember to warn my girlfriend's step-dad not to shake it before he opens it next weekend.

I hope he likes it and I hope you do too.
Brian da Basher


...has always been one of my favorite colors (Floquil choice for the Pennsy RR). My brother and I stared to do a whole HO railroad layout featuring the Pennsy line, but never got around to completing it. I have had similar fantasies of RR/Airline combos, most notably using the Great Northern mountain goat on the tail of a plane.

Good on You.
My mind is like a compost heap: both "fertile" and "rotten"!

John Howling Mouse

Nicely done!  Great scheme for that bird....really suits it.
You sure have an air of authenticity to your work, Brian.   :thumbsup:
Styrene in my blood and an impressive void in my cranium.


Veddy, veddy niiiiice BdB.    :wub:

And of course being in PaRR colors helps too! :thumbsup:

Eddie M.

Brilliant! I really like the looks of this one. Definitely thinking out of the box....car... ;D
Look behind you!


Lovely machine ...

now one wonders what would have happened if Loewy had designed an aircraft for Pennsy
to go along with the locomotives? Hmmm ...



"Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality." -Jules de Gaultier

"My model is right! It's the real world that's wrong!" -global warming scientist

An armor guy, who builds airplanes almost exclusively, that he converts to space fighters-- all while admiring ship models.

Ed S

Well done.  And definitely not a boring color scheme.  Looks good.  But I don't see the spats.

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


See Brian,
You can build OOB.

Came out great.  Now do another is a British Rail sceme and you can enter it at MM :wacko:
Phil Peterson

Vote for the Whiffies


Congratulations! Nice colours... Even a non aviation-enthusiast may love it.
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]


Love the work, BdB - you seem to be on a Tuscan Red roll here - Martini and Rossi, the Penn Rail Road, not that I'm going to complain, it goes real nice with a golden yellow like that.
Putty-fu, Scratch-jutsu and Bash-chi, the sacred martial arts of the What-If. Mastering them, is Ancient Chinese Secret.

Just your friendly neighbourhood Mad Scientist and Ship-whiffer.

Overkill? Nah, it's Insurance.  So are the 20" guns.

Green Dragon

Not a choo choo buff so never seen the colours before but that looks so right Brian! :thumbsup:

Paul Harrison
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