1/48 Hobbycraft DHC-3 Otter- Turbo Otter

Gallery Article by Chris Parsons on May 26 2011

 

Well, if you clicked to look at the picture you may as well read the article too. This is the long version, the short one is below, if you don't like reading about the building details just jump to the "the model was primed with"... for the article readers, continue on.... I won't discuss the kit here, it's been bashed and praised, either way it's the only injected 1:48 Otter out there and I like it. So now From here down I will discuss just the effort to get the final result. I started this build some years ago (shortly after ARC publicized my first turbo Otter article...say that fast 3 times...) but, I stalled shortly after starting due to a realization that I wasn't happy with the master I had made for my first Otter, yes it looked like a turbo Otter but, that's about all it did. With the realization I had to do a lot of work on that nose, the project sat. Fast foreword about two years ago, I got a email query as to how it was progressing. That interest helped me to get on it again (Thanks John) So now, supplied with insider information, a photo guided tour of this aircraft, new found enthusiasm and (most importantly) a band saw. Work commenced again, stalled again, and then got rolling, much like a new driver learning to drive a stick shift car. A couple of major issues (to me) were the large panoramic windows and, of course the nose, everything else was just basic modeling. I built up a fairly complete interior, which included two rows of seats (double seats on the right, single seats on the left) a new headliner to hide the joint lines and wing stubs. I then set up the cockpit, and, instrument panel. The pilots office got new seats  (with seatbelts) and a little more realistic instrument panel. Then I scratched my bald spot trying to figure out how to make some bulged out panoramic style windows. The eventual course I chose was to try heat forming some acetate sheet and plunge molding it over small wood forms, after some failed attempts I got a passable result and installed them into the fuselage with Crystal Clear (and there was much rejoicing). Some basic modeling followed, some easy, some not so much. I closed up the fuselage, sanded the seams and primed it. Then came the job of that nose...I tried to modify my original master to create an acceptable profile of the Vazar nose (3 different tries) then, as Albert Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" I threw out the old master and, made a new start. A new block of wood, plan and profile views of the Vazar nose in hand, access to my shiny new band saw, saw, grind, chop, file, sand, and test fit 'till I was happy. cast a test nose, refine the mold, try again and again with adjustments as I went, finally with a decent nose in hand (the models, not mine) a couple of air intakes (side scoops) were also then mastered, and cast fit all the above to the model sand and glue, glue and sand, until everything looked as a turbo Otter should. I could now prime and paint the fuselage and, put it aside to continue other work. The floats were next, as included are too short for a turbine Otter I ended up adding a inch of length to the floats just in front of the step. I then stole some photo etch from another kit to make cable guides for the water rudders, and rudder belcranks and to attach the cross bracing wires etc. that basically completed the floats, they were then painted with Testors metalizer and Alclad Aluminum, with walkways done in Tamiya acrylic and beat up a bit. The floats were also then put aside to wait while I went to work on the wings, I started the wings by thinning the trailing edges and super gluing and epoxying thick brass strips into the wings to get rid of warpage. (Just like the last time, the first Otter project) I fabricated a set of droop (STOL) wingtips, added landing lights to both wings and, I sanded off the molded on wing tip nav. lights to be replaced with clear ones stolen from another model, added some brass rod to the flap actuators and made new wing fences. I then painted the wings and set them aside. Next I went to work on making a new spinner and propeller blades, I carved one blade from plastic (my master) then cast the rest in resin, then did the spinner the same way. Around this time I started putting the airplane together, tail planes, wings then floats, trying to keep everything square and true. Once all the big pieces were attached I started with some smaller details, such as door hinges, door handles, rigging, boarding ladders and, foot pegs, (these last made from brass rod and, the stair on the port walkway with plastic sheet steps), wing strut connections (made from gear door actuators broken from a 1:32 Tamiya F-4) I wanted to build strut connections as the aerodynamic fairings over the strut connections (as included in the kit) are removed from the real plane and quite obvious (to me) and, these F-4 connectors looked good. That concludes most of the building process.

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The model was primed with Mr Surfacer 1000, sanded, wet sanded and painted with Tamiya acrylics, the exception being the very dark blue trim which is Gunze acrylic and, the floats (discussed above) then finished off with Pledge

Future...shiny stuff. The markings are all painted on except the registration (C-FJHA) and 318 which are dry transfers applied to clear decal sheet, sealed and applied as normal decals. The second last picture shows the real airplane tied to the dock and the last picture shows some of the projects left over parts, Hobby craft's and mine, that didn't make the final cut.

The model was primed with Mr Surfacer 1000, sanded, wet sanded and painted with Tamiya acrylics, the exception being the very dark blue trim which is Gunze acrylic and, the floats (discussed above) then finished off with Pledge

Future...shiny stuff. The markings are all painted on except the registration (C-FJHA) and 318 which are dry transfers applied to clear decal sheet, sealed and applied as normal decals. The second last picture shows the real airplane tied to the dock and the last picture shows some of the projects left over parts, Hobby craft's and mine, that didn't make the final cut.

A long time in the building and some cause for head scratching along the way but, I like the finished model much more than my previous attempt.

 I hope you will agree. 

Chris Parsons

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Photos and text by Chris Parsons