Red Bear Resins1/48  B200 King Air

KIT #: ?
PRICE: $110.00 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Pat Earing
NOTES: All resin kit with vacuformed clear parts and decals

HISTORY

 The United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps have all flown versions of the Super King Air 200. The majority of these aircraft have been purpose built for the military being built by Beech Craft as the A-200 series.   The military designation varies from service to service, but most are called C-12 Huron or UC-12. These aircraft are used primarily for personnel transport; although, the Army also operates the RC-12 Guardrail series of aircraft for military intelligence missions.

The King Air B200 entered service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 2004 as a multi-engine trainer, replacing the Jetstream T.1.

THE KIT

Hot on the heels of Red Starsí RC-12K release in 1/48 scale comes Red Bear Resin with a 1/48 scale King Air B-200.  As far as I know this resin kit is the first release for the Russian company Red Bear.   Red Bearís boxing of the B-200 represents the second 1/48 scale King Air released, but in a more traditional airframe layout, or shall I say, with civilian/military version buildable. Red Bearís kit comes in two boxingís; the first with decals for Royal Air Force King Air, and the second with decals for the recent Centennial of Naval Aviation (CONA) Navy C-12ís.  My kit was purchased through DMC Models.

My kit arrived in a rather crushed outer box in about two weeks.   In comparison with my previous RC-12K purchase from Red Star, the parts for the B-200 were simply shipped  and packaged inside the kit box without any additional packaging materials.  As a result, most of the small parts have been damaged in some manner or form.

My first impression is that this kit is, if not the same as Red Starsí casting(s), very similar; especially with the parts layout and construction.  Overall, the kit represents a fine first offering for an overlooked aircraft, and although I hadnít planned a comparison of the two manufacturerís kits, the heritage is too similar for me to ignore and therefore I feel some comparisons are in order

Overall, the panel lines are very petit, and look great.  The biggest single disappointment for me is that the very large and prominent passenger cabin windows of the King Air series are not cast as openings and the kit does not include any of the aft passenger cabin interior.  Rather, Red Bear has simply scribed the windows and left it to the modeler to paint them on the sides of the aircraft.  This is unfortunate, as drilling the windows will be a difficult undertaking due to the shape of the fuselage and the fact that some of the windows are oval rather than round.  Even if Red Bear had chosen not to include the cabin interior, I would have much preferred to have the windows open-especially in this scale. 

In regard to the fuselage castings, Red Bearís offering has a much nicer mating surface in terms of clean up; however, they do not have any alignment pins like the Red Star kit and also suffer from a some warpage.  An even larger issue is that the fuselage halves did not match for length with the left half being almost ľ of an inch short at the tail.  Clearly this kit will not fall together, and in fact will require some modeling skills to achieve a good result.  Finally, Red Bear has not included the large ventral strake that the King Air wears, leaving it up to the modeler to create this from card stock; with no measurements for a placement guide.

The wings look okay, but will need a bit of clean up especially at the trailing edges.  I was curious to see if the engines matched the rest of the wing bulkhead in size for both diameter axis, as well as the Red Star offering; and they did, lining  up perfectly.  Additionally, the wing to center section joint looks as good as any resin kit I have seen.  Finally, the ailerons have been cast separate like the Red Star kit; a nice touch that is seldom provided by resin kit manufacturers.

A major difference between the two kits is that Red Bear offers their cockpit windows as a clear vacuformed  insert that will require the modeler to carefully remove the entire top of the forward section of the aircraft cabin.  Although images of the cutout are provided, no measurements or alignment references are given. Two canopies are provided and although not crystal clear, they appear adequate and should clear up nicely with a coat of Future.  This looks to be the crux of the build, as it will be a seriously challenging achievement to cut and install the canopy parts. 

The kit contains a flight deck with two nicely detailed seats (no belts cast in or provisions for any belts provided), side panels, floor and instrument panel.  Unlike the Red Star offering, I could not find any control columns; however, most of the small detail parts have been destroyed in my kit-maybe they are there, but just too far gone to be identifiable. 

All of the small parts come bagged in three re-sealable baggies.  One aspect of the King Air is its prominent nose gear and Red Bear has nailed this casting.  I have spent far too many years tugging King Airs around tarmacs, and from experience I can say that these gems look the part.  How they hold up over time to the inevitable weight of the kit is another issue.  The Main gears are amazingly well cast and incorporate a unique system for creating the largest mounting surface possible given the rather small wheel size.  Red Bear have cast the inner hub/brake details onto the main legs allowing for not only alignment, but a large, strong attachment surface for the main wheels.  Many of the smaller gear parts were damaged in my example and will require some serious repair efforts to use due to their petit size.

Red Bear includes an adequate instruction sheet with parts list and images of parts placement.  This is brief at best, but a significant improvement over what was included with the Red Star kit I purchased.  No paint FS numbers are provided; however, an adequate decal placement guide is included.  The decals themselves look to be in register and provide markings for two different Royal Air Force King Airs.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, an interesting first effort from Red Bear Resin.  There are some problems; especially with the casting short comings, packaging  and the cabin windows; however, the kit appears buildable.  Because of the issues pointed out above, I feel the kit is clearly for the experienced modeler. 

Pat Earing

January 2012

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