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OF DIGBIES AND DRAGONS

Or...The Pride (and Prejudice) of One Collector

               Douglas B-18 Digby (Bolo)                                                Douglas B-23 Dragon

 

    The B-18 ("Bolo" for Americans, "Digby" for Canadians) was a bomber built on the basic airframe of the Douglas DC-2 in 1935 in competition with the Boeing B-17.  Cheaper and without some of the teething problems associated with the B-17, the Bolo received substantial production contracts and was the US Army Air Corps' standard bomber in the late Thirties.  It was replaced by the improved B-17 by 1942.  Meanwhile, Douglas sought to update the B-18 and introduced the B-23 in 1939. The Dragon (the US Army Air Force did not officially use either name for these--or other--aircraft during this era, unlike the British) was based on the DC-3 with substantial changes and was an essentially entirely different aircraft from the B-18.  However, by the time it was ready it was already obsolete by European...and even American standards with the later B-17s about to come on line.  Only some 38 Dragons were built and served mostly in the patrol and especially the transport role.  Indeed, many of these aircraft continued in the civilian transport role for a number of decades after the war.

    Both models are in 1/48 scale and built of basswood with some brass fittings.  They are painted with lacquer and most of the markings are hand painted.  The B-18 model was built in 1999 and the B-23 in 2005.  The stands were based on those typically found in the late Thirties and early Forties on many manufacturers' presentation models.  Indeed, well after the completion of the B-18 model with stand, a photo was found in a 1938 magazine of a B-18 model in about the same scale with an almost identical stand!

    These models represent a pair of aircraft about which little attention is paid today, even though both are closely associated with what might be the most famous aircraft of all time, the Douglas DC-3.

A GALLERY OF DIGBIES AND DRAGONS

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