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"Albany Night Boat"

by Don Fenton

C-47B-25-DK, 3rd Combat Cargo Group
11th Combat Cargo Squadron


Don Fenton is the proprietor of "White Dog" decals. His article details the history and modelling of a C-47 featured on the White Dog dry transfer sheet, PMT72001. 

B a c k g r o u n d



The 3rd Combat Cargo Group were based in India and Burma from June, 1944 to the end of the war. They flew Allied troops and material to front line units in Burma. Gasoline and other supplies were flown into western China.

The 3rd CCG was composed of four squadrons, the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Squadrons. The lettering COM-CAR was commonly applied to aircraft in the 3rd CCG. This was to identify the aircraft as belonging to Combat Cargo squadrons. The pilots and crews of these aircraft are quick to point out that COM-CAR was not the same as the Air Transport Command or ATC. COM-CAR took the materials to the troops after loading at various ATC Hump Hubs.

Unfortunately, little is publicly known of the exploits of the 3rd CCG pilots, crews and maintenance personnel assigned to the CBI. The brutal conditions and savage warfare in the CBI have been overshadowed by the war in the ETO and Southwest Pacific.



T h e   A i r c r a f t



The pilot of the Albany Night Boat was Captain Walt Honan. The crew chief was T/Sgt. Bob Padgett.

The Albany Night Boat markings were applied by Sgt. Padgett. The Waupun Wabbit noseart and the script Marno and Jackie under the cockpit were on the aircraft before Capt. Honan arrived to fly her. It was considered bad luck to remove previous markings so the noseart and the script were left as is.



Although not clearly visible in the photographs of the model, the small lettering on the tail was applied by Sgt. Padgett. The white lettering on the horizontal stabilizer reads "Officers / E.M.". On the fuselage, near the tail wheel, the lettering reads, "Small Dogs". Padgett, being a bit of a jokester, applied these markings to refer to the needs of passengers after the long flight over the Hump. After landing, the passengers rushed to relieve themselves on terra firma. Since RHIP (rank hath its privilege), the officers were directed by the painted markings to the closest, hence the quickest, area near the root of the horizontal stabilizer. Enlisted men were directed further outboard. A white stripe clearly delineated the area of the stabilizer were officers and E.M. were allowed to place their hands, lest the officer's area be soiled by the touch of the E.M. Small dogs were directed to the tail wheel. There was a monetary fee to use the aircraft lavatory, but that is another story among many other anecdotes about this aircraft and crew.

If there is an interest, another article can detail the saga of the Albany Night Boat and its crew. It is a fascinating tale from an air war nearly forgotten. Curiously, Capt. Honan may have dropped supplies to my father, who served with the MARS Task Force.



T h e   M o d e l



The 1/72 scale ESCI kit of the C-47 was used to represent the Albany Night Boat. The model was built almost out of the box.

The only additions were the skylights over the rear lavatory and navigator/radio operator positions. Small rectangular openings were made in the kit fuselage for these skylights and pieces of 0.30-inch thick clear acrylic glued in. The acrylic was sanded and polished to blend in with the fuselage contours.



The kit windscreen was replaced with 0.30 acrylic and the cockpit side windows were left open. After painting, pieces of 0.005 clear styrene were installed to represent the open windows. Small antennae were fabricated to replace those supplied in the kit. The antennae located under the cockpit windows were made from pieces of plastic sprue. They represent the dipole antennae for the SCR-729 radio set.



P a i n t i n g



This C-47 was finished in the usual 41 Dark Olive Drab over 43 Neutral Grey. The base paint was Floquil M183 Olive Drab over Floquil M178 Sea Grey. These base coats were lightened with 30% Floquil White prior to application.

To simulate the weathering of the OD paint, the Olive Drab was mixed with Floquil M189 Field Drab in various proportions and thinly sprayed over the base coat. The OD fabric covered control surfaces apparently faded too a much greater extent than the rest of the painted surfaces. This can be observed on many other types of aircraft as well.

The contrast between these OD painted fabric areas and the surrounding metal areas is often quite strong. This was simulated on the model by using Field Drab on the fabric areas.

The cockpit interior was finished in Interior Green with OD seat cushions, khaki/tan seat belts and black instrument panels and control pedestal. Don't spend much time detailing the cockpit interior. Not much is visible after assembly.

Floquil Crystal Cote was applied as a gloss coat prior to the application of markings.



M a r k i n g s



With the exception of the national insignia, the markings are dry transfers from the White Dog PMT72001 set.



The national insignia are water slide decals taken from other White Dog decal sheets. The dry transfers were applied directly to the model after the application of the gloss coat. This method is not for the faint of heart as there is no repositioning of the transfer. The transfers require little pressure to rub down and place on the model surface. For those not so inclined, the transfers can be rubbed down on a piece of clear water slide decal film and subsequently applied as a traditional decal.



W e a t h e r i n g



Prior to application of the final flat coat, the entire aircraft was very lightly oversprayed with a very thin mixture of Dio-Sol and Floquil White to lighten and weather the national insignia and the other markings.

A very thin wash of black and burnt umber oil paint in thinner was applied to simulate oil and grime and to darken the scribing around the control surfaces. After application of the final matte coat of Testors Dullcoat, exhaust stains were airbrushed using dark grey and black.



R e f e r e n c e s



The books and articles on the C-47 are too numerous to list here. However, these books will provide some insight into the war in the CBI.

  • Downie, Don and Ethell, Jeffrey, Flying the Hump, In Original World War II Color, Motor Books International, 1995.
  • Ethell, Jeffrey, Wings of War, Fighting WWII in the Air, Naval Institute Press, 1994.
  • Sargent, Mary Thomas, Runway Towards Orion, The True Adventures of a Red Cross Girl on a B-29 Air Base in WWII India, Triumph Press, 1984.
  • Spencer, Otha C., Flying the Hump, Memories of an Air War, Texas A&M University Press, 1992.


For a first person recounting of the obscure guerrilla war in the CBI, read

  • Hillsman, Roger, American Guerilla, My War Behind Japanese Lines, Brassey's, Inc., 1990.

Model, Images and Article Copyright 1999 by Don Fenton
Page Created 17 August 1999
Last updated 26 July 2007

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