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63" DC-3/C53-D

Hello everyone! I recently got into scratchbuilding airplanes out of foamboard (or kapaboard as we Europeans know it). First I built a FT Simple Storch and having flown it for some time now I decided to build myself another one. I wanted to try making a two engine plane and DC3 was a perfect example of what I was looking for! I just love the looks of that plane and especially the C53D version of it. I wanted two things when it came to this plane: plenty of power and functioning flaps. I'm also a cheap builder so I wanted to make it swapabble so that I could reuse the Motors for my future projects. After a short period of thinking I ended up ordering the following electronics:

2x Sunnysky x2212 980kv
2x 30 amp BlHeli platinum esc
6x Towerpro MG90S servo
3s 4200mah ZOP Power Lipo

I will propably be using 8 inch 3 leaf propellers with this thing but I'm not quite sure about that yet. I guess I'll have to wait for the electronics to arrive and test the thurst of the Motors with those props to see if they are suitable for my usage. And while talking about usage I'll have to say that I'm not aiming at perfect scale flying or anything. Just trying to build a plane that would be fun to fly.

So the entire plane is build out of 5mm thick foamboard and it is based on the sketches of the real plane except for the wings which are based on the plans that a guy named Tommy posted to his DC-3 build log that can be found here:
I just ended up resizing the wings and designing my own spars and the result was very good in my opinion. So huge thanks and credit to Tommy!

Like the headline reveals the wingspan is about 63" or 1600mm as I originally measured it. Wings have about 10 degrees of dihedral on both halves. I used small wooden spars to make the dihedral and strengthen the wing and it turned out really rigid! The little misalignment of the spars can also be seen in photos and that was due to my bad measuring.

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The fuselage of the plane was made out of two seperate pieces and glued together. My first intension was to make a round body but since I am propably going to crash this plane few times or have some bumby landings etc. (definately not the best pilot out there) I ended up making a squared one. This type of fuselage has really proven itself on my Simple Storch which has taken quite a good beating while I learned to fly with it. The fuselage of course looks exactly like it should when viewed from above, bottom or from either side.

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One thing I also wanted this plane to have was detachable wings for easy Access and durability. In order to make this happen I cut holes to the side of the fuselage and reinforced it. I also added a small notch to the back of the wings to make connecting them easy.

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Tail wings and rudder were also simply cut out with blueprints scaled to the right size and glued on.

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This was the first time I got to really see what the plane is going to look like. I'm a novice when it comes to building planes and I know it has it's imperfections but overall I was very pleased with the result. The weight of the plane is around 700grams at this point.

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Next thing I did was designing the nacelles and the powerpods that would go inside.

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Next step I could do while waiting for the electronics to arrive to complete the wings was painting the fuselage. First thing to do was to basecoat the fuselage with a primer. This prevented the paper from warping and the foam itself from melting. After the basecoat I applied 3 coats of spraypaint, then masked the stripes and painted them with black spray. The USAAF decals were printed stickers and they ended up looking good.

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Here I am now sitting and waiting for the Motors and servos to arrive. Servos should arrive soon but the Motors are most likely going to take couple of weeks before they get here.

Please leave your thoughts and suggestions if you have anything in mind. I'd be glad to hear your opinions!


Posted a thousand or more times
I am a member of SMM, sadly it is only about 3 people who post any more, (my username is Biggles if you ever want to see my models,)
But, yes, a beautiful collection of plans. how did you print them out at such a large scale with such good quality? I am trying to build a blenheim but the plans are very low quality.
I am a member of SMM, sadly it is only about 3 people who post any more, (my username is Biggles if you ever want to see my models,)
But, yes, a beautiful collection of plans. how did you print them out at such a large scale with such good quality? I am trying to build a blenheim but the plans are very low quality.
Wow nice to meet you and yes it is sad those plans and pictures were very helpful. I used a lot of different sketches and blueprints and then scaled and printed them using Windows Publisher. Plans were printed to multiple a4 papers taped together to form one big blueprint!
Servos and landing gear arrived and the building process continues. Four servos are mounted to the wings for ailerons and flaps and landing gear was glued on and secured with bolts and nuts.

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At the moment the plane weights 1300 grams with the battery (3cell 4200mah) and the reciever. After painting the wings and installing Motors and esc's the plane will propably end up at around 1700 grams which is reasonable for a plane this size. Not the lightest in the world but the power to weight ratio should be fine.

Any further progress?
Yes indeed! I received all the missing parts as well as all the electronics for this plane today! This order contained Motors, esc's, bigger rubber tires for front and one for the tail wheel, propellers, control horns, connectors and so on.

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First thing I did was soldering some extension for the esc's as they'll be positioned inside the fuselage. Also soldered connectors for the motors and attached the xt60 plug to the esc.

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Plugged both esc's in tested everything and they work beautifully. I even tried to program differential thrust with my 40 buck Flysky fsi6 and it actually worked great. The three availiable mixes were just enough for making differential thrust and rudder all work together. A lot of potential on this cheap little radio.

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Here are what the mixes look like on the radio.

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Next thing to do now is attaching props and testing which are the best ones. Currently I have 8045 and 9045 three blades so I'll be trying those out. Now that I have everything I need the build process will continue quickly and I'm hoping I get to paint the wings on weekend.
Nice work! I have the turnigy radio, re branded frysky one. I have all my mixes used up on flap to elevator mix, rudder to aileron and one other.
The mixes you said would be lovely to have on this plane. I have similar mixings on my FT Storch and it flies beautifully and it's so easy to handle. Sadly this radio is only capable of doing three mixes at the time. Also being able to turn mixes on and off with switches would be a nice option since I'm not sure if I want to fly with differential thurst on all the time. I assume it'll make the plane pretty yaw sensitive. But you get what you pay for so I guess I'll have to decide whether I want rudder aileron mixes or differentials.


Posted a thousand or more times
Yes, my Bixler flies nicely with 100% aileron to rudder mix. just cos I was to lazy to turn it of when I forgot to bring my Y harness, so I plugged one servo into the ch 1 and the other into ch4. I just tried the flaps I knocked together, they work great! %15 elevator when the flaps are down.
A short update: Hooked everything up tested the servo movements and did a couple of taxi tests and a few short jumpd. The plane behaves very well while on ground but as soon as you get up in the air she starts rolling to the left. I'm assuming it is due to the left nacelle pointing a little bit down when compared to the right one. I'll fix the motor angle and try again when the weather is suitable. Currently at about 10°F and rather windy outside.