Douglas DC-3 (oz14921)


Douglas DC-3 (oz14921) by Ernest LeClair 1998 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Top Flite Gold Edition Douglas DC-3. Radio control scale model twin. Wingspan 82-1/2 in. wing area 750 sq in.

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Discontinued kit from Top Flite. See an archived version of the original listing page from the [now defunct] Top Flite site at: which also in turn links to a kit review from May 1999 R/C Scale International, at:

Quote: "INTRODUCTION: Congratulations and thank you for purchasing the Top Flite Gold Edition DC-3. We are sure you are eager to build and fly your DC-3 just as we were eager to build and fly our prototypes.

Although this is a model of a famous civilian transport, the Douglas DC-3, you can easily build your model as the C-47 military version. If this is your choice, all you really need to do is cover your model in a military trim scheme, add cargo door outlines and a few more antennas here and there! Study your own documentation for more details.

The nice thing about the Gold Edition DC-3 is that although it is a highly detailed scale model with all the goodies such as a realistic looking scale outline, built up tail surfaces, retracts and flaps, it is a model of a transport plane so you’ll have a stable model that you’ll look forward to flying often! And with twin engines you’re sure to get all the attention when you show up at your flying field!

One last note before you continue, we highly recommend you get some pictures or a book about DC-3's (or C-47's) or send for your documentation package as soon as possible. This way, you can study the drawings and photos to get a feel for how your DC-3 should look when you’re done. This will also help you figure out what scale details to add and decide on a trim scheme (you can also dream about how cool your DC-3 is going to look when it’s done!). One of the books we recommend is the Squadron Signal Publications DC-3 in Action book No. 39 (SSPZ1149). It features lots of historical and technical information as well as detailed drawings, photos, and trim schemes.

Well, this should be enough to get your juices flowing, so get your other projects off your workbench, say goodbye to your significant other for a while and - keep reading!

Decisions You Must Make:


Recommended engine size:
Two .25 to .40 cu. in. [4.0 to 6.5cc] 2-stroke
Two .40 to .52 cu. in. [6.5 to 6.5cc] 4-stroke
Two OS .30 cu. in [5cc] rotary

Your Top Flite Gold Edition DC-3 will perform well with any of the engines within the recommended range, but will handle best in an engine out situation with engines closer to the higher end of the recommended size range. The trade-off with larger engines is that you’ll have to throttle back somewhat for your DC-3 to fly in a scale like manner. If you choose to use .25 2-strokes, we recommend stronger 2-strokes such as the O.S. .25 FX. If you choose to use .40 2-strokes, 'sport' .40's such as the O.S. LA.40 perform well, but a .40 such as the O.S. FX series will handle an engine out situation better. It’s the same for 4-stroke engines; the .40 4-strokes have plenty of power and will fly your DC well, but the .52's will handle an engine out situation better.

The included Great Planes Adjustable Engine Mounts will hold a range of engines from .25 cu. in. 2-stroke through .40 cu. in. 4-stroke. The rotary engines use their own integral backplate engine mounts.

RETRACTABLE LANDING GEAR: You may build your DC-3 either with fixed or retractable landing gear. All the hardware you need for realistic appearing fixed gear is supplied with this kit. We do, however, provide detailed instructions on how to install retractable landing gear available from Top Flite. The Top Flite retractable landing gear recommended and shown in this manual is custom made for this DC-3. They are pneumatic to simplify installation and hookup. You may choose to use another type of retract but it is up to you to make modifications required to fit them.

FLAPS: Your DC-3 is designed to incorporate scale split flaps; however, flaps are optional and not necessary for an excellent flying experience. Without flaps, the takeoff roll is longer and the landing speed is faster. If you do not wish to build the flaps, just disregard parts of the manual involving flap construction.

The flaps are not difficult to build, but they do require good craftsmanship to fit and operate well. Flaps add nicely to the model's flight characteristics and scale appearance. Slight trim changes are needed when flaps are extended. The trim corrections are discussed later in the manual during radio setup and you will find more information on the use of the flaps in the Flying section.

SCALE RUDDER: You may build your DC-3 with either a standard in-line hinged rudder or a scale appearing offset pinned hinge rudder. The in-line hinged rudder is easier to build and is hinged to the fin the same as any other model with supplied CA hinges. But, the offset pinned hinge features the offset hinge line characteristic of the DC-3. The scale appearing offset hinged rudder does require more craftsmanship to build than the standard rudder, so study the plans carefully and think about it before you begin that part of the model. All hardware required to build either version is included with this kit..."

Update 22/12/2023: Added kit review from Flying Models, December 2002, thanks to RFJ.

Quote: "Review: Top Flite Douglas DC-3/C-47, by Vic Malacuso. Build it for AMA fun scale competition or IMAA fly-ins. Flies very nicely on two inexpensive 40 2-strokes.

So ya like to build? Well climb on board for this review, because you'll see that this is definitely a builder's kit.

Don't let what I just said scare you away by any means. This kit is not difficult to build for an experienced builder; it's just a very involved project with several systems that have to be carefully integrated during the construction should you decide to go 'full scale'. As you will see from the photos, I installed all possible options and scale detail in my C-47 interpretation of the stock DC-3. All of the nacelle scoops and the observation dome were vacuum formed by me to achieve the "late model" C-47 look, but more about that later.

The kit comes packaged in a very colorful (and large) box showing the late '40s early '50s Eastern Airlines colors and in-cludes a gorgeous decal set for that version. But you can build this kit as a C-47, if you want, and there is a decal set included for that as well.

I have to really emphasize that although this kit is not difficult to build, certain system installations, (building the wing should you opt for retracts) can really tax the abilities of the novice builder. This model has a lot of parts to keep track of during building so organizing your building sequence is definitely recommended. Having more than one work table is a big help. I hope by now my subtle hints have suggested to you that novice builders need not apply.

Now to the goodies! As with every TopFlite kit I've ever seen, the plans are printed blackline on excellent paper, Because of the size and potential complexity of this kit four sheets of very detailed plans are supplied. On these sheets you'll find every subassembly plan printed in such a way that you can cut it away from the sheet to build in separate locations. This way you can be working on more than one sub-assembly at a time. Also detailed are the installation views for both the fixed and retract gear assemblies.

For the seasoned builder it presents a platform on which you can put all of the scale detail you want in a package that won't break you financially and you won't need a warehouse to store it in. At 82-1/2 inch wing span it's not a small model but certainly not as massive as an aerobatic model of the same size. As a sport model it's large, but as a scale C-47 it's a nice size. At 11-1/2 pounds dry this model won't strain your back or you wallet.

A nice touch about these plans is that all of the skins for the tail surfaces and the fuselage are shown full sized. My experience with this kit showed that cutting these skins as shown on the plans will give you just the right amount of material to cover the surface with enough to nicely finish to the structure edge. This feature really came in handy when sheeting the engine nacelles.

Another very nice touch is that TopFlite supplies another reduced size plan that is 8-1/2 x 23-inch and shows the entire set of plans on both sides. Many times during the construction of this model I found myself needing to make a quick reference to some part of the plan sheets that were not readily available. A quick look at this smaller plan was much easier than searching for the piece I needed. This rates a 10 for convenience.

In addition to these excellent plan sheets is an equally informative and necessary construction manual. I use the word construction and not instruction because you don't assemble this model, you build it! You'll notice I also use the word 'necessary'. Trust me gang, I've built just about every type of model plane around from the simplest ARF to very complicated original designs but I would not want to build this model without the aid of this manual. In several areas of both wing and fuse construction, if you don't follow the very specific building sequence, you will build yourself into a corner.

The construction manual is 68 pages of all and any information you need to build, set up, finish, and trim this model. In addition to the very detailed building procedure, this manual also has drawings of all the die-cut sheets to help you identify the many die-cut parts in both balsa and ply. You will find yourself referencing these drawings often. Also in this manual are many photos showing virtually all of the construction sequence. Between the plans, manual, and photos you won't find any part of this plane difficult to build, but because of the nature of building an all wood model of this size and complexity you might find it a bit tedious at times. Another nice touch is the 2-view drawings on the last page. They show all of the "significant" skin and hatch/door outlines to aid in reproducing these details should you wish to do so. Again, another 10!

Going ever deeper into the box I next came across an item that we all have seen in most kits and have said, oh yeah, and then threw it aside, the parts list! Do not toss this one aside. Although TopFlite does a nice job of separating most of the wood strips into sub-pacs to be used in associated subassemblies, these sometimes get separated. Should that happen, and because many of the wood sizes are similar, you will find yourself looking through the trash for this detailed sheet. Save yourself some grief and just keep it handy..."

Supplementary file notes



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Douglas DC-3 (oz14921) by Ernest LeClair 1998 - model pic

  • (oz14921)
    Douglas DC-3
    by Ernest LeClair
    from Top Flite
    82in span
    Scale IC R/C LowWing Multi Kit
    clean :)
    formers unchecked
  • Submitted: 30/10/2023
    Filesize: 1400KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: RonHenchen
    Downloads: 1486

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User comments

kit electrified review at:
Pit - 12/11/2023
The specs say "no aerobatics or abrupt manoeuvres", I imagine the original must have a plaque in the cockpit saying much the same thing in a prominent location. Nice find, Pit.
Miguel - 13/11/2023
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