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 Review: William's Brothers 72nd scale Douglas World Cruiser

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pmmaker

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PostSubject: Review: William's Brothers 72nd scale Douglas World Cruiser   Tue Feb 21 2017, 13:07

Manufacturer:  William’s Brothers Douglas World Cruiser

Model: Douglas World Cruiser plane #2,  “Chicago”

Scale: 1/72

Decals / Markings: Kit provides markings for all 5 Douglas World Cruiser aircraft: Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, and Boston II



Background History:
The Douglas World Cruiser (DWC) was developed to meet a requirement from the United States Army Air Service for an aircraft suitable for an attempt at the first flight around the world. The Douglas Aircraft Company responded with a modified variant of their DT torpedo bomber, the DWC.

Five aircraft were ordered for the round-the-world flight, one for testing and training, and four for the actual expedition. The success of the World Cruiser bolstered the international reputation of the Douglas Aircraft Company. The design of the DWC was later modified to create the O-5 observation aircraft, which was operated by the Army Air Service.

During the 1924 mission, four Douglas World Cruiser (DWC) aircraft: “Seattle”, “Chicago”, “Boston”, and “New Orleans” departed from the United States.  The flagship “Seattle” crashed into a mountainside soon after the mission’s start with no harm to the crew. The remaining three aircraft continued the journey in a series of long hops, with frequent stops for refueling and engine changes.  At times the landing gear were altered as appropriate to either wheels or pontoons.  The stops included Canada, Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, Japan, China, French Indo-China, Siam, Burma, India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Turkey, Rumania, Hungary, Austria, France, England, and the Orkney Islands.  En route to Iceland, the “Boston” was forced down due to engine trouble and subsequently lost at sea after the crew had been rescued.  

The remaining Cruisers continued from Iceland to Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, and then to Nova Scotia.  There they were joined by a factory prototype DWC, which had been hastily christened “Boston II”.  A triumphant tour of the United States terminating in Seattle Washington completed the 27,553 mile journey with a total elapsed time of 175 days with a flying time of 371 hours 11 minutes.

Since the World Cruisers were literally constructed by hand, no two were exactly alike.  Differences existed in many details.  Additionally, changes were made to the aircraft during the course of the world flight.  For example, the fuselage side numbers, thought originally to have been orange, were subsequently repainted white.  Another alteration involved the exhaust manifolds.  Because the factory-installed long exhaust manifolds were causing gasket failures, short individual stacks were fabricated by a Chinese shipyard crew and fitted to all the aircraft in Shanghai.

The “Boston II” differed from the other aircraft in many ways, the most noticeable of which were: no dihedral on the upper wing, the top wing and horizontal tail were khaki colored, and the fuselage side numbers were a different style than on “Boston”.  Other differences were no number on top of the wing, and the horizontal tail featured wire rigging instead of struts on the underside.


Douglas World Cruiser Chicago (23-1230) equipped with floats


The Douglas World Cruisers above Seward, Alaska.

There are three surviving planes from this mission.  “Chicago”  is on display in Washington, D.C., in the National Air and Space Museum building in the Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight exhibition gallery of the Smithsonian.

Beginning in 1957, the New Orleans was displayed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. The aircraft was on loan from the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and was returned in 2005. Since February 2012, the New Orleans is to be a part of the exhibits at the Museum of Flying, Santa Monica, California.

The wreckage of the Seattle was recovered and is now on display in the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum.  The original Boston sank in the North Atlantic, and it is thought that the only surviving piece of the original prototype, the Boston II, is the aircraft data plate, now in a private collection, and a scrap of fuselage skin, in the collection of the Vintage Wings & Wheels Museum in Poplar Grove, Illinois




The Chicago undergoing restoration while at the National Air and Space Museum


The New Orleans being installed at the Museum of Flying, 2012

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pmmaker

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PostSubject: Re: Review: William's Brothers 72nd scale Douglas World Cruiser   Tue Feb 21 2017, 13:08

Modeler’s Notes / Comments:

This was a really fun model to make. My first ever William’s Brothers kit, I did not know what to expect from this little known and obscure manufacturer. Luckily I was in for a treat. The parts are crisply molded with a minimum of flash to be trimmed and sanded. The fit of the parts is well engineered and the kit goes together quite easily.

For those who are a bit leery about making a 72nd scale kit due to the small size, don’t worry as it really isn’t that small. Think along the lines of a 72nd scale Corgi Swordfish or a 48th scale Spad XIII and you get a close approximation of the size of this plane. There are a few small parts (running lights, cockpit details, fuel pump and compass generators) but generally the parts are very manageable even for my old eyes and clumsy hands.

The build is very straight forward even though the “blueprint” layout of the instructions was a bit confusing and the tiny font hard to read. The pictures were clear and they even showed all the rigging lines and how to mark each plane that flew the mission.

I used the plans and photos of the actual surviving planes to paint my model. I decided to make plane #2, “Chicago”. The most difficult part of detailing was the sight line decals that covered the horizontal tale surfaces. Just a bit of patience and care and these markings came out well. The rest of the decals were of a very good quality and they go on easily.

The kit features two nicely detailed cockpits which include instrument panels with decals, rudder controls, control columns with wheels, seats, and two small plastic windshields that are taped to the instruction sheet. These were a problem as over the years, the tape got tacky and a sticky residue was on the clear windshields. I cleaned mine with a soft cloth dipped in some clean paint thinner. Then I gave them a coat of glossy clear acrylic varnish. The kit has no crew, but a quick forage through the spares box supplied them. 72nd scale HM pilots would also work here. I added the fuel and water lines in front of the cockpit as shown on the instruction sheet using some bent plastic sprue.


All the rigging is done with 0.16 mm music wire. The entire model was over sprayed with a flat acrylic spray coat.

Overall, this was a fun build and the results give me a beautiful rendition of a rare, yet important plane in aviation history. I have a second kit and I plan to build plane #3 “Boston” with the pontoons in the future. So for now, enjoy Douglas World Cruiser plane #2, “Chicago”.

Pictures:


















______________________________________________________
The Mad Hatter: "Have I gone mad"
Alice: “I’m afraid so. . . you’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. . . All the BEST people are.”
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Migrant

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PostSubject: Re: Review: William's Brothers 72nd scale Douglas World Cruiser   Sun Mar 12 2017, 10:14

That looks superb PMM. The extra details like the fuel lines and the rigging make a huge difference. Are you still planning on building the floatplane version?

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 Mike Grant | Calgary AB
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Kyushu J7W

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PostSubject: Re: Review: William's Brothers 72nd scale Douglas World Cruiser   Sun Mar 12 2017, 10:56

Good looking build. If I remember Mike built this one as well .

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pmmaker

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PostSubject: Re: Review: William's Brothers 72nd scale Douglas World Cruiser   Sun Mar 12 2017, 14:39

Migrant wrote:
That looks superb PMM. The extra details like the fuel lines and the rigging make a huge difference. Are you still planning on building the floatplane version?

Yes Mike, I do have another kit of this plane packed away in my stash pile. That one will be the floatplane version of the "Boston" World Cruiser.  I'll build it someday; it's near the lower end of my "to do" list.


Kyushu J7W wrote:
Good looking build.   If I remember Mike built this one as well .

Yes Ken, Mike did build this same plane (#2 Chicago) as the float version for our 2nd group build.  His build was very well done and worthy of a second look.

pmmaker


Mike's (SpectreNav from the old TMWCF forum) Douglas World Cruiser by William's Brothers.




______________________________________________________
The Mad Hatter: "Have I gone mad"
Alice: “I’m afraid so. . . you’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. . . All the BEST people are.”
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TomMarkert

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PostSubject: Re: Review: William's Brothers 72nd scale Douglas World Cruiser   Sun Mar 12 2017, 15:02

Nice build, PM. I too have this model in my stash. Someday I will build it! Lol. Nice work with the base and ground foam too. It make a really nice display.

Tom

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