Hasegawa 1/200 Kawasaki C-1 "SKE Version"
|PRICE:||HK$49.00 MSRP (USD $7.00) at UML in Hong Kong|
|DECALS:||One scheme, several aircraft|
Here's a cool little plane you rarely see, whether in real life or as a model. Japan's quirky C-1 cargo plane was brought in to replace a fleet of cranky old Curtiss C-46s that started their life in World War II and finished up as hand-me-downs in Japan. The C-46 must have given some sterling service because the vastly more advanced C-1 only entered squadron service in 1974!
The C-1 was designed to carry paratroops or cargo. It's a standard modern cargo configuration: high wing, big cargo door at the back and a large capacity, flat-floored cabin to allow vehicles or cargo to be easily loaded and unloaded. Two jet engines truck it along at 800 km/h (500mph).
Because Japan has a strict policy of having no offensive capability, the plane was designed to be short range, so none of Japan's neighbours could worry that it might fly Japanese troops anywhere near their territory. Even to get to Okinawa, the plane needed additional fuel tanks.
Apart from its short range it has a pretty decent performance. It can carry about 12 metric tonnes or 45 paratroops and take off in 1300 metres.
About the size of a classic 737, but quite a bit fatter, the C-1 remains in service with the Japan Self Defence Force. Thirty-one were built and most, if not all, are still flying.
This kit depicts the "SKE" version which had a special radar to allow all weather operation.
I found this on one of my monthly pilgrimages to UML in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. This time around I finally learned the sure-fire way to find it, too. Exit A1 at Yau Ma Tei, walk past McDonalds on Nathan Road and there it is! Better than roaming the streets of Mong Kok looking for the UML sign, getting distracted by all the delicious street snacks. UML had knocked 30 Hong Kong dollars off the price making it a steal at 49 dollars (under 5 euros or US$7).
Inside it's classic Hasegawa. Finely moulded, no flash, engraved panel lines that are "just right". It's a small model of a small plane and there are not many parts. The undercarriage is really the only detailed section, and that is quite basic too. I think the only criticism I have is that it would be cool if the rear cargo doors could be separate, so you could model them open (you can do this on the Hasegawa 1/200 C-130). Apparently this plane has some pretty amazing flaps to give it its short field performance. It'd be great to have them positioned in the extended position too. Cutting the doors or flaps open, of course, is an option, but I got this one as a weekend-wonder-wind-down from a crappy week of long meetings in three different cities. So no scratch-building on this one!
It looks like it'll be a straightforward build.
There's only one paint scheme - a complex two-green and tan camouflage shown on the box art. You can build planes in this scheme from the 402nd Squadron of the 2nd TAG (Tactical Airlift Group?) or from the 403rd Squadron of the 3rd TAG. The only real difference is in the cute badges that appear on the tail, but there are lots of serial numbers so guess you can build any of the 31 planes that were made.
A cool kit that shouldn't take more than a weekend to throw together. With Hasegawa quality it should be an easy task to get an attractive and unusual result. Anyone could handle this kit, except maybe really young kids because some of the parts are very small.
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