The cockpit
 
I thought it wise to start with the cockpit and the interior before covering the fuselage with litho. I chopped off the front of the fuselage so I can reach both the cockpit itself as well as the passenger cabin later on. The nose was screwed onto a piece of MDF to make it easier to work on and I started to draw out the lines where the different floors have to come. There are 3 levels in the cockpit and radio operators area.
 
 
      
 
Then I put in beams to hold the floors and cut out the floors using lite ply. These were not glued in so it's easier to build all the items onto them.
 
  
 
The paper instrument panel is just to give my self an idea of the dimensions. Even though the outside of the plane will be an exact replica of the SAS plane, I will not exactly replicate the cockpit. No DC-3/C-47 cockpit and instrument-panel is the same. Parts were added and removed at will, sometimes leaving a cockpit that is very difficult to recognize as a DC-3 one.
 
The SAS plane has a cockpit that is reasonably original, but there are a couple of additions that I don't want in my cockpit. There's a clock from a Russian MIG fighter, a GPS, a modern glide-slope and horizontal gyro etc. I want my cockpit to look like it came of the production line in the 40's. I have a Pilot Training Manual from 1943 with a picture of what a factory supplied panel looks like.
 
 
© Danielsson
 
First I started with the front part that holds the rudder pedals. Because of the weathered look I want everything is made out litho plate. First the floor with the rivet lines.
 
 
 
Than I made the pedals using plastic board for the sides and the center out of litho. I have a set of original pedals so it was easy to measure them and scale them down to 1:8.
 
 
  
unpainted    
 
  
painted
 
  
weathered and in position.
 
 
The floor I sprayed in 2 colors of green. First a coat of matt grass green and a second coat of dark matt, both from Humbrol. Once dry I went at it with 000 wire wool. That gives the impression that the paint has been rubbed away by continuous use. It shows the grass green as if it were the primer and it lets the aluminum shine through in a natural way. Later on when everything is finished I will dirty the whole cockpit to take away the crispiness.
 
For the floor where the seats are I chose the floor from a C-47, Fify Kate, that's stationed in Holland at the Aviodrome museum. Basically they all look alike with some minor differences but I liked the colors and details of this one. It looks like this.
 
 
       
Fify Kate's floor                                        layout on the lite ply
 
Again I made everything out of the litho plates. It amazes me how easy and quick it is to work with this material and the end result is frankly stunning. I glue it together using medium and thick CA glue. I use UHU, Bison, ZAP and anything else that is available. It works great but I have already glued my fingers together and that works great to. So be careful with this stuff.
 
Without sounding to smug, I am pleased with what I'm doing. Especially for a first timer.
So here is the bare floor and the painted and weathered version.
 
  
 
On to the center console and throttle quadrant. In between the pilots is the throttle quadrant with all the handles for powers settings, mixture control, prop rpm, air intake etc, and on the console below are controls for trim and tank selector valves. I built the console from one piece of litho. First I made a template from paper and drew that onto the litho. Using scissors I cut out the straight lines and with a pointed object I scratched the lines where the material was supposed to bend. I did not heat up this part! Because of its location it stays in good shape apart from normal wear and some scratches and dents. I then folded it and glued it with CA.
 
 
console bare litho with rivets.
 
The quadrant was more of a challenge. It can be very difficult to get the scale right. That goes for everything obviously, but there were no side pics of the quadrant and so the size within the cockpit was very difficult to judge. I made several drawings and cut those out and tried them in the cockpit. I finally settled on a size. From a piece of balsa wood I cut out the basic shape of the quadrant. This was clad with litho on either side and sanded with the litho as a guide. That way I got a good fit for the covering plate. The slots were cut using a Dremel cutting wheel.
 
 
    
 
 
 
The quadrant has a trim-wheel on the left side.      
I used a slice of an electrical wire conduit and found in the depths of a drawer an old very thin bolt with a self locking nut. I glued 3 pieces of plastic rod onto the nut and then glued the conduit slice over them. The bolt I cut in half and drilled a hole in the quadrant, filled it with CA and stuck the bolt half in. When everything was dried out I screwed the trim wheel onto the bolt and presto...
 
    
 
The console and quadrant were glued onto the forward floor and  a DC-3 cockpit was beginning to emerge.
 
 
 
 
 
Please Email me at:
dc3@propellor.tv