Maybe it’s because this retro shape was so commonly illustrated in children’s books but, when I was a child learning to draw, I’d put pencil (or crayon) to paper and all my airplanes turned out pretty much like this. Without even knowing its name, I seemed aware that this is what the quintessential airplane should look like. Luis Peña not only provides me its name — Douglas DC-3C — but a stunning 1:40 scale LEGO model, which is much harder to build than to draw. A trip to the National Aeronautical and Space Museum in Santiago, Chile inspired this model. He tells us that LAN Chile bought several of these craft in 1946 after they were originally used as cargo planes during World War II, then refurbished them for a second life as passenger planes.
This particular model measures 73 cm (28.74 in.) wide and 49 cm (19.29 in.) long. To Luis this represents an important part of Chilean aviation history and, in my childhood mind anyway, the most perfectly quintessential airplane shape. This is clearly not the first time we’ve been delighted by his work.