R4D/Arctic C-47 Conversion Set

Published: July 22nd, 2014     
Product Image
Reviewed by: Rod Lees - IPMS# 10821
Scale: 1/48
Price: $32.00
Product / Stock #: 40534
Product provided by: Lone Star Models

To start, I'd like to thank Mike West at Lone Star Models. I told him I was reviewing a C-47 kit for the IPMS/USA and wanted to use one of his Arctic ski sets on the model. He had it to me in two weeks, which is a really great delivery time for someone who makes his products "to order." I also must say thanks to the IPMS/USA leadership for allowing me to present a review of this item.

This R4D/Arctic C-47 Conversion from Lone Star Models was used on my review of the Revell reissue of the Monogram 1/48 scale C-47. I have long wanted to build an Arctic C-47, and when I received the box I was pleasantly surprised to note a USAF version in the kit.

This conversion set includes a decal sheet, full-color instructions, and 21 resin parts. This set is NOT for amateurs, requiring skills with resin, superglue, and resin preparation/painting to be successful.

The conversion's decals feature the C-47 Tropical Tilly from the movie The Thing from Another World, a typical 1950s "scare the girlfriend" movie about a creature from somewhere else. An internet search on the movie will provide more details, including some information I found interesting about how the US Air Force used the movie for a bit of PR. I was mentally prepared to build the alternate decal option, the Navy R4D Que Sera Sera Antarctic support bird, but could not resist the USAF natural metal and red Arctic markings with yellow band scheme.

The instructions are printed in color and show the actual parts during construction along with how-to directions.

The resin parts were nicely cast and required only a bit of cleanup. Once the pour stubs were cut off, it took only 10 minutes of light sanding to remove the blemishes. The resin parts include two main gear skis, two control wings, four ski attachment arms, a tail wheel ski, two extended exhaust pipes with integral heater muffs, and a rack of JATO bottles (jet assisted take off rockets; later redesignated RATO, a more accurate acronym for rocket assisted take off). I did not attach these to my build, as I could not see them on the stills from The Thing from Another World. Also included with the conversion is the Navy R4D nose and two cowl firewalls featuring separate oil coolers to be add to the upper inboard sections. These firewalls also have cutouts for a separate pipe, the function of which I am unaware. If you are building Tropical Tilly, note that the USAF birds maintained the oil coolers at the lower six-o'clock position, as depicted in the Monogram kit.

The markings are adequately addressed in the instructions. If you don't have any sources, feel free to use my pictures for reference on how the colors are supposed to be. I used Tamiya Bright Red for the Arctic markings, which is a bit brighter than Insignia Red, but I didn't feel like breaking out the airbrush to do it. I masked off the wing deicing boots and all the painted markings, then sprayed the model with Tamiya Bare Metal Silver. The next day I used an old (clean) diaper to polish Mona Lisa Precious Metal Silver Powder, from Hobby Lobby, onto the model for a better aluminum finish. A bit of typing paper was used to mask off panels, and I applied some more pressure to shine up the unmasked areas more than others. A final rubdown with as clean paper towel got rid of the stray powder, after which I removed the masking.

Next up were the decals. With the exception of the modified wing walks and fuel stencils sourced from the kit, the decals used were included in the LSM's conversion set. The yellow tail band is a three-part decal, and all three pieces fit perfectly. The "USAF" wing decal has an excellent light surround to help it stand out from the red markings, as on the real aircraft. The national insignia were in registration and flawless. In fact, the only place I needed to use any Solvaset was around the cargo door hinges. This is a great decal sheet!

I cleaned up the resin castings and primed them with Tamiya Light Gray Primer spray, then used Tamiya Bare Metal Silver to finish. I did not try to rig any of the skis in this review in keeping with the what's-in-the-box custom. The wheel lift arms and flight control tail brackets and wing were handled in the same manner.

The tail ski was easily attached without the rigging, although four tabs are provided for this purpose.

Overall, installation was easy. However, I recommend you don't add the skid retraction arms until after you install the skid on the model. I added the arms first and then had to spend a bit of time adjusting and drilling out the attachment holes to get the skis on with the appropriate neutral footing, front to rear. Take your time, as these are VERY noticeable if they are out of track.

In the end, this was a great conversion set; it saved me a lot of scratchbuilding and was very well done!

Thanks again to Mike West at Lone Star Models for the expedited service and to IPMS/USA for the chance to provide this review to my fellow modelers.

  • Instruction Sheet - Front Page
    Instruction Sheet - Front Page
  • Instruction Sheet - Sample Step Closeup
    Instruction Sheet - Sample Step Closeup
  • Instruction Sheet - Reference Photos
    Instruction Sheet - Reference Photos
  • Decal Sheet
    Decal Sheet
  • Sample of the Resin Parts
    Sample of the Resin Parts
  • Resin Skis
    Resin Skis
  • Kit Firewall (Left) Compared to Resin Firewall (Right)
    Kit Firewall (Left) Compared to Resin Firewall (Right)
  • Finished Model with Arctic Conversion
    Finished Model with Arctic Conversion
  • "Tropical Tilly" Nose Art
    "Tropical Tilly" Nose Art
  • "USAF" Decal With White Outline
    "USAF" Decal With White Outline
  • Main Gear Skis - Side View
    Main Gear Skis - Side View
  • Main Gear Skis - Underside View
    Main Gear Skis - Underside View
  • Main Gear Ski Closeup
    Main Gear Ski Closeup
  • Main Gear Ski Closeup - Underside
    Main Gear Ski Closeup - Underside
  • Tail Ski Closeup
    Tail Ski Closeup
  • Tail Ski Closeup - Underside
    Tail Ski Closeup - Underside

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Message to Rod Lees about C-47 model from The Thing

Hello Mr. Lees,

I am a huge fan of the movie the thing, and also a huge fan of airplanes. I am however not a good model builder. I would really love to have a model like the one you built from the movie in that scale. Do you know of anybody that would make it and sell it already built? Would you be interested in making another one to sell. Like I say it would really be one of the coolest things ever combining the two interests in something that can be displayed like that! Please let me know and if so how to make the arrangements.

Thank you,

Mike Z.

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