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Building a Heller DC-6 and Connie in 1/72 Scale.
Author: Peter Voitoff
Submitted by: Petrov   Date: 01-17-2004
Comments: (6)  

This project involved simultaneous builds of the 1:72 Heller kits for the Douglas DC-6B and the Lockheed L1049 Super G Constellation. As a kid, I once flew to Paris on a TWA Connie and I've always loved the shape and livery of that aircraft. Both kits were built essentially OOB, except for opening exhaust ports on engines, wings, and fuselages and adding hydraulic lines and landing lights to the Connie nose gear.

Construction I began by painting the interiors flat black and gluing 2.5-oz of lead weights into each nose to keep the planes from being tail draggers. Cockpits were assembled, painted and detailed with masking tape seat belts. Of course, once the fuselages are assembled, there's little to see of the front offices (especially in the Connie with that all black interior), but I know they're there - and I have pictures to prove it! The clear parts were used for the Connie windows. I left the DC-6 windows open to experiment with using Micro Kristal Klear, and covering those big windows without slopping over the edges and keeping the panes thin and transparent proved to be a challenge. Using a wet brush to remove excess Kristal Klear and dilute what remained in the windows gave satisfactory results.

Painting Flouquil paints were used, starting with Chrome Silver for the bare metal aluminum bodies. Various combinations of Chrome Silver with white or with flat black were used on selected engine and wing panels. After painting the engine crankcases grey and cylinders flat black, push rods and cooling fins were highlighted by dry-brushing silver.
Masking the fuselages prior to painting with Reefer White consumed large amounts of 2-mm vinyl tape, Tamiya tape, paper, plastic bags, and patience. Parafilm trimmed with a hobby knife was used to mask cockpit windows. After removing the masking and performing touch-ups, several light layers of Future diluted with denatured alcohol brought out the shine!

I had planned to use the SAS decals that came with the DC-6 kit, but then my friend Ahmed gave me a great set of decals for the United livery that he designed and that are available from [url=] Flying Colors Decals[/url]. This required re-masking and repainting the nose, but the results were well worth it. The decal printing is crisp with excellent registration. Colors are vibrant, opaque, and accurately match my reference photos. The decals are thin, but sturdy, and after repeated application of Micro Set, they settled down quite nicely, thank you. Nice work, Ahmed!

The TWA decals from the Heller kit were applied to the Connie, and these proved to be somewhat fragile. Floquil Bulwark Red turned out to be a good color match for the numerous touch ups required. After sealing the decals on both fuselages with additional coats of Future, I painted the Connie deicer boots and nose radome with semi-gloss black. Deicer boots were added to all props using black pinstripes printed on clear decal film with a laser printer.

Final Touches Finally, engine assemblies, landing gear, and antennas were added using CA glue. Nylon thread blackened with a felt tip pen was used for the Connie antenna wire. After taking the enclosed photos, I have decided to add exhaust stains with ground up pastels and to enhance details with a wash of black and burnt sienna oils in lighter fluid. I haven't tried this before, but results are OK so far.

Conclusion These two classic airliners from the fifties are a great addition to my collection (love those props!) and the only problem is that, with that 1:72 scale, my eyes were bigger than my display shelf width. I have to park these guys nosed into the wall. Time to plan some expansion, especially since Ahmed also gave me some great Northwest decals for the Academy kit of the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser - in 1:72!

by Peter Voitoff

Member Comments :

 comment by: selier posted on 01-19-2004, comment #56


I love this airplane's as well. Alltogether it looks very good to me. I like to know how you hide the seem between cockpit and fuselage. I have both models on the shelve halve way finished. I hope you are able to contact me if possible. Bert

 comment by: Petrov posted on 01-19-2004, comment #57

Hi Bert,

Ah, yes, that nasty cockpit seam!

I started by gluing the cockpit on with Testors Clear Parts Cement and removing the excess with a damp cloth. When the glue was dry, I proceeded to carefully and patiently sand the seams with my trusty Squadron sanding sticks. The idea is to get the cockpit and fuselage to have the same shape. In the process, I lost some of the window outlines on the clear part, but enough remained to create accurate masking later. Once I had the right shapes, I used CA glue and accelerator to fill the seam lines and immediately sanded them down with progressively finer sanding sticks, finishing off with a polishing stick. Temporarily covering the windows with tape, I sprayed silver paint on the seams to reveal blemishes that needed touch-up. Oh, and don't grip the fuselage too tighly while you're working - you'll pop the seams open like I did and have to start all over!

Those noses take a lot of work, but that's what everyone looks at. Enjoy your prop jobs!


 comment by: Andrew posted on 01-23-2004, comment #59


Excellent models!!

It's not often we get to see such well done Propliners. The finishes are just beautiful.


 comment by: Selina posted on 04-27-2004, comment #84

Very impressed, it gives me inspiration as im building the BOAC connie at the moment too.


 comment by: wpmike posted on 05-06-2004, comment #88

Most excellent for inspiration. I have aquired the United decal set and appreciate what is possible.

 comment by: skippiebg posted on 03-31-2005, comment #553

Whatr astounding finish (even allowing for the scale) and what really amazing photography!!! It's like looking at the real thing!