Airmodel 1/72 C-124 Globemaster
KIT #: 211
PRICE: 18 Euro MSRP
DECALS: None
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: U/c legs: 16.5 Euro; Anigrand decal sheet: 8.5Euro

HISTORY

The C-124 evolved from the earlier Douglas C-74. To facilitate cargo handling, the C-124, or "Old Shakey" as it was affectionately known, featured "clamshell" loading doors and hydraulic ramps in the nose and an elevator under the aft fuselage and two overhead cranes (each with a capacity of 16,000 pounds) which could traverse the entire length of the 77 foot long cargo compartment. It was capable of handling such bulky cargo as tanks, field guns, bulldozers, and trucks. It could also be converted into a transport capable of carrying 200 fully equipped soldiers in its double-decked cabin or 127 litter patients and their attendants. The C-124 carried a crew of seven consisting of: Two Pilots, two Flight Engineers, one Loadmaster, one Navigator and one Radio Operator.

The first flight by a C-124 took place on Nov. 27, 1949 and deliveries of C-124As began in May 1950. The C-124A was followed into service by the C-124C, which featured more-powerful engines, as well as wingtip-mounted combustion heaters that provided cabin heating and wing and tail surface de-icing, and an APS-42 weather radar in a distinctive nose "thimble." These latter improvements were eventually retrofitted to the C-124As. The unit cost of each aircraft was $1.64 million. It carried over 66,000 lbs of payload.

In mid September 1951, the 62d Troop Carrier Wing received it's first C-124 at McChord AFB but moved to Larson AFB, WA in April 1952. With the 62d absence from McChord the 1705th Air Transportation Group took over C-124 operations until the return of the 62d from Larson on June 13, 1960.  It was at Larson AFB that the 62d was involved in the largest single aircraft accident at that time. On 20 December 1952, one of the 62nd's C-124s took off from Larson on a routine airlift mission. Immediately after takeoff, about one half mile from the runway, the Globemaster II crashed and burned, killing 87, including servicemen on leave, going home for the holidays. 

McChord and other C-124 units went on to provide a much-needed airlift capability in the Korean War, as it was the only aircraft that could carry many of the Army's vehicles. It also performed many other missions such as resupply missions to Antarctica, refugee evacuation in the Congo and mercy flights to Morocco, Chile and elsewhere throughout the world following floods and other natural disasters.

The USAF bought 448 C-124A/Cs before production ended in 1955. Shortly after MATS became the Military Airlift Command (January 1, 1966) and the 62d Air Transport Wing, (Heavy), became the 62nd Military Airlift Wing (January 8, 1966) a new era began for the 62nd when the unit received its first Lockheed C-141 Starlifter on August 9 1966. As the unit took on C-141's it lost C-124's with the last of the Globemaster IIs being transferred to the Alaskan Air Command (AAC) by early December 1969, when AAC took over the responsibility for resupplying the stations along the DEW Line. The 62nd became an all-Starlifter Wing. By December  5, 1969 all aircraft of the 62d last C-124 squadron, 7th MAS had been reassigned to other users, and the squadron was inactivated at McChord in that month.

With the introduction of the C-141 into active service most C-124s were transferred to the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard by 1970. The first ANG unit to receive the C-124C was the last Air Force unit to retire their aircraft (52-1066 & 53-0044) in Sept of 1974.  C-124s that have landed at Hal-Luqa airfield, Malta, prior to 1967 include those with serial Numbers and corresponding dates when visited: 9.7.65 15207 and 20956; 26.8.64 015205; 28.2.65 021080; and in 1966 020955.

THE KIT

 

The kit is a vac-form type and comes in two large sheets in white acetate and a smaller one in clear thick acetate containing the cockpit canopy. The 22 “ X 16.5 “ instruction sheet printed on both sides contain detail scale plans and an exploded view that is good for reference during assembly. There are line drawings of the propeller, nose and main landing gear, upper deck floor with detail cockpit crew office all of which enable you to assemble components made from scratch built parts. Drawings also indicate painting detail of the upper surfaces of the nacelles and wing areas. Upon opening the kit polythene bags the kit looks impressive in view of its enormous size with a bulky fuselage at the scale of 1/72. There are four half parts for each engine cowling and nacelle combination. These appear crude in appearance and addition there is the front part of the radial engine. There is a certain amount of surface details on most parts, which were used as a guide for further detailing. The impressed marks of the many portholes allover the fuselage sides appeared to be in their correct place and of correct size. The kit was also measured and found to be correct in both length and span.

 

General comments

 

Perhaps one of the observations that one makes on the kit parts like the rudder, tail fin, elevators, ailerons and wing trailing edges is the presence of lumpiness that is common in early vac-form kits. However this proved to be of no difficulty as these areas could be scraped with a knife blade after sanding down the kit parts.

 

The kit contains 10 major items that includes the main wings, fuselage parts and tail planes. Besides there are central sections and bulkheads that are shown in the explodes views. These essential items are not among the kit parts so that one has to make the scale drawing of the bulkheads and then cut them from the spare backing sheet. I used plasticine (silly putty) to obtain the section contour and make my own partial bulkheads at different stations along the fuselage. I had no intention to detail the cargo hold since any detail added would be barely visible through the portholes. The 6-wheel bogie being split horizontally into two sections and there was loss of hub detail that needed refining by carving using a pointed E-xacto blade. A tool that proved to be handy for checking a vac-form kit of this size was an outside caliper. this was used to check the width of fuselage while sanding down the large fuselage halves. One major fault with this kit is the lack of issuing an undercarriage suitable to hold the heavy and sizeable model. Scratch building one made of plastic pieces would prove to be weak as the model has to be handled tens of times during building. It is therefore recommendable to obtain a set of oleo legs made of pewter from Ross of Dallas…e-mail address is: Sacmactexas@aol.com The fuselage halves which matched correspondingly still took a lot of filler to produce a smooth upper fuselage and hide the seam with subsequent sanding and rescribing the panel lines.

CONSTRUCTION

The kit build follows the normal sequence of cutting and preparing parts as mentioned in previous examples and rather than repeating same here are listed the important points useful in making a robust kit of the Globemaster which is made from relatively soft vac-form material that come with the Airmodel kit.

 

1) Ideally use a sheet of medium grade wet and dry paper taped to a board. Trailing edges of wings and rudder were sanded to thickness required and also scraped on the outside as mentioned earlier. Panel lines were redrawn.

 

2) Cockpit area is cut out using scissors and the edges trimmed to shape using a file. Having prepared the fuselage halves the portholes are drilled and brought to shape with a round file. This will ensure that when bulkheads and stiffeners are fixed they will not come in the way of open portholes.

 

3) Interior detail should be decided at this stage. I decided to add a detailed crew office. This was made up by first building a cockpit sub assembly and when completed it is transferred to the kit for fixing in place. I drew a cockpit floor on a plastic card; on it I fixed four crew seats as per instructions. Front and side consoled, instrument panel, rear bulkhead, control wheels, rudder pedals and some other items shown on instructions were all added. To the fuselage parts I also added alternate tabs to both sides in order to self locate and secure the parts when brought together. The kit needed lead weight. Cockpit interior were painted black, gray and zinc chromate green.

 

4) Three plastic boxes were constructed and made in such a way to fit at the lower deck of front fuselage right under the cockpit floor. These boxes measuring 2” x ¾” square section were to hold lead pieces to balance the kit on the nose. Loose lead was encased with tissue paper and white glue and the boxes closed with glue, were then cemented to forward area close to the nose wheel well.

 

5) Other essential work to be done before closing the fuselage was to cut slots to the wing root so that an aluminum bracket that will hold the wings at the right dihedral will be inserted. The bracket, made of Aluminum measured 9.75” x 26mm wide x 3 mm thick. This can also be made of plywood. A jig was drawn from thick cardboard to hold the wing at the correct angle of 8 degrees to the horizontal and retaining the dihedral on each side while it is setting. A template made from thick cardboard will check the correct distance of the inner engine nacelles from the fuselage.

 

6) The engine nacelles integral with cowlings and front radial engine piece were attended to in same way as building a vac-form kit followed by rescribing the panel lines and reshaping the exhaust pipes at the sides. These are the items that needed much care when bringing them to attach to the wings.

 

7) When assembling the wings, these had support section brackets fitted chord wise starting from a point 5” from the root i.e. away from the aluminum bracket mentioned in (5). The position of the cowlings on the wing, which were incorrectly printed on the wing, were altered and this was done AFTER the wings are attached to the fuselage. The wings were allowed to set for a day held with pegs and checked to see that the shape is retained and remains level. The wings to fuselage were another step that required checking twice or more over and the bracket that is now protruding from each side of the fuselage, is inserted in the wings at each side. With the wings in place and faired with a small amount of Filler they are strong enough to withstand handling however it was noted that the outer wings may not be strong to hold the bulky fuselage and during handling it is was safer to grip the wings from the root area from then on. A fillet at the trailing edge root area was not provided and had to be made from a piece of plastic card cut in triangular shape and fitted and faired with Plasto.  The new place for the cowlings was marked using a template prepared to check the distances from the fuselage for each side of the inner and outer engines.

 

8)Building a model of this size and the continuous handling it entailed it is imperative to have a sturdy undercarriage and even better than plastic ones made of stretch sprue and runner parts. Best way out is to get a metal undercarriage. This can be obtained from Ross or www.scaleaircraftconversions.com

 

9) Before fixing the undercarriage legs it was essential to build a robust well roof and side walls. Each well is boxed and fitted securely and detail added inside allowing place where the oleo is to be fitted in the correct spot as displayed on scale plans. Interior detail was made after studies of photos of wheel well interior structures. The wheel doors were also detailed as best one could. The metal legs that fits under wing well were fixed at an angle so that they are perpendicular to the ground level.

 

10) I had a set of four propellers which were modified by extending each at the tip simply by adding ¼” piece of plastic card to each tip to form the 3-bladed right hand propellers. Then shaped accordingly at their tip end.

 

11) There are 8 servo pods, which operate the flaps and ailerons. Some aircraft had only 5, which are closer to the fuselage. I fitted all the eight pods of different size the larger ones are nearer to the fuselage trailing edge. Their place was also relocated from the position they were printed in the surface after checking with scale plans. Air intake at the rear and other surface detail items were added to the kit.

 

COLORS & MARKINGS

 

The wheel hubs were first painted silver, then masked with a round cut masking tape and painted in Acrylic black. The astrodome carried by early C-124 was replaced with a clear round skylight and treated in same manner as all the portholes. i.e. covered with Kristal Klear at the end. I also noted that the wireless did not end at the top of fin but at the lower part of the fin. The black areas were airbrushed in Revell aqua color Schwarz gloss 36107, top fuselage airbrushed in Model Master semi gloss white. The rest of the model was first masked the white and black areas and airbrushed with a mix consisting of commercial silver made by Hample (Malta) ltd, few drops of Model Master semi gloss clear lacquer and few drops of gloss white. Allowing time for paint to dry and the kit was given an overall coat of Johnson’s Klear (improved formula).

 

 Decals were obtained from Anigrand for a price but these had serial registration of a type less colorful than the one I had in mind to do and these still needed modification. Micro scale came to the rescue and I used all the cheat lines and walk way lines in black that were cut from a solid black decal sheet. The nose yellow label was cut and slid on a silver decal sheet to produce the silver outline that is placed on the nose front area. The serial number written on it was replaced with a new one to suite my livery for the type. The silver outline was also added to the upper surface decals legend USAF that go over the black walkways. The White MAC was replaced with one from Micro Decal sheet, as the Anagrand one was too small. This was placed on the dark blue band (Humbrol Sea Blue HB9) outlined in yellow. The completed model was given a coat of semi gloss Model Master Lacquer and areas that needed weathering, were airbrushed in fine engine gray spray to simulate exhaust deposit areas. The model represents a C-124 of 9th TCS/20th TCS/31stATS, 1607thATW, Dover AFB, Delaware. USA

CONCLUSIONS

 

The kit took around a month and a half to build and it was the largest vac-form model I have made so far (bigger than the Nimrod and the RC-135), a long continuous process leaving no time to make other models in between and in the end it left a lot of satisfaction as well as a sigh of relief.

 

REFERENCES

McChord Air Museum Foundation.

Carmel J. Attard

December 2010

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