Rareplanes 1/72 RC-12D Cuckiya

KIT: Rareplanes 1/72 RC-12D Cuckiya
KIT #: RP 4005
PRICE: $12.00 when new
DECALS: None provided
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Vacuformed kit with white metal parts

HISTORY

Beech Aircraft Company flew the prototype on 27th Oct 1972 to become known as Model 200 Super King Air. This differed from the model 100 King Air by having a wing of increased span; the conventional tail unit replaced by a T-tail and there was increase in fuel capacity for more powerful Pratt & Whitney PTA-41 turboprop engines. The King Air went on to become the most successful aircraft in its class.

 There were several sub variants of the King Air which included the B200C which had a cargo door of 44 square. The B 200T had removable tip tanks. The King Air continued to be built for a variety of missions including Navaid calibration, Maritime patrol, resource exploration, VIP, and Electronic surveillance.

 The US military had a variety of King Air in its inventory commonly known as the C-12 Huron. King Air in military service was assigned different tasks carrying a variety of electronic equipment. Among these there were 18 C-12Ds that were converted before delivery (13 were delivered to the US Army and 5 to the Israeli AF for use in special mission roles). Israel received several types of King Air to be used in battlefield intelligence roles and these include B200/200T Tzoft 29 of which are in service,RC-12D Cuckiya equipped for battlefield Surveillance missions and 10 RC-12K Cuckiya for ELINT/EW duties.

THE KIT

The kit comes in a sturdy box of the type supplied by Rare Plane. The box cover depicts a side view of a US-12B Huron in US Navy markings circa 1984. The kit basically contains detailed vacuum formed styrene mouldings which consist of fuselage halves, main wing parts and tail planes, engine nacelles which come in two half each, front and rear bulkheads, cockpit office parts and normally a clear styrene canopy. In my case the canopy was missing as I have acquired the kit after passing several hands rather then   from a shop. There are metal parts which include three oleo legs, pair of three blade props complete with spinner. Incidentally these and the undercarriage wheels are also repeated among the vac form items. The model is beautifully molded with surface detail of the extent that Rare Plane kits always contain and which I find equal to injection molded kits. There were no decals inside the box.

CONSTRUCTION

 Parts are scored vertically around each of the soft white styrene parts using the tip of a sharp exacto blade. These are then bent and broken away from the carrier sheet. In common with all vac form kits there are several molding pips. These are removed with a razor blade. Detail surface areas close to the joining line are covered with masking tape in order to preserve during sanding of the filler at joining areas. . Holes had to be drilled at clear areas and shaped with sharp, pointed blade.

A particular item concerning the kit is that one nacelle after assembly was found to be 1/16 longer than the other. This was easily amended. Making the US Navy version shown on the box side view could have been a straight forward job but with no decal sheet available to complement the kit I had to look for an alternative version of the King Air with in view of solving the decal problem. My choice fell on an IDFAF RC-12D of which I had one or two pictures and scale plans to refer to which to me proved sufficient.

The RC-12D had the more powerful engines with 4-blade props. The first stage of assembly was the construction of the engine nacelles, open the front engine intakes, alter the exhaust stack with alternative vac form parts that come with the kit and bring the overall length of the nacelles equal. The 3-blade prop was then modified into a 4-blade one. This was done by sawing off two blades from each prop and first fit the opposing blade to the single blade left attached, and then fit the other two blades at 90 degrees to the each of the other two blades. The extra two blades needed came from the kit itself which contained spare blades among the vac form parts. The blades were joined to the spinner end using super glue. The rest of assembly went step by step. First shape and sand and assembling the wings, fuselage, detailing the cockpit just like any previous vac form kit experience. Bearing in mind that the kit has a front u/c and therefore needed balance weight to be added.

Other construction alterations included modifying the round cabin windows to conform to the drawing of the RC-12D and adding another window to port side of fuselage. Wing tip tanks were built from sprue of equal diameter which were then shaped at the forward and rear end using a flat file. Three large blade antennae were added to the fuselage, one to lower and two on roof. These were made from backing sheet of styrene. An aerial made out of metal pin was added to the edge of each of the blade antennae. The tip tanks were then fitted at a raised configuration to the wing tips. An under fuselage fairing was cut and built up from plastic card I laminated construction. To this was attached surveillance equipment carried under the fuselage. This was also made from sprue with flat areas with ports added to one side. The white metal oleo and wheels were cleaned from the little flash present and fixed in place. Wireless and other detail items were added as last items to the kit.

COLORS & MARKINGS

 All the interior of wheel wells was painted semi matt white, while the oleo legs were also white with sliding parts silver. The model was given a first overall coat of light grey Humbrol 64 which I found it to be equivalent to FS 36375. This has exposed some surface imperfections that were then attended to. The kit was then given another coat of same grey and allowed 6 hours to dry. The next step was to paint the de icing boots, nose cone, wheels, exhaust stacks, prop blades and anti glare panels on side of nacelle, front of canopy and tip tanks in semi matt black. A coat of floor wax was applied prior to fixing the decals. These consisted of numbers picked from Aeromaster Decals sheet which contained 45 degrees numbers and letters in black. The Camel squadron crest to which the aircraft belonged to was carried on the tail fin. This was hand painted on a decal film. The model was in the end given an overall coat of Model Master Semi gloss clear, and anti glare panels coated in matt varnish. Last thing I did to the completed kit was adding thin film of white glue to form the wind windows. This did not become transparent as I would have liked by the time I took the pictures.

CONCLUSIONS

 This was another enjoyable build that was worth the extra effort to convert the kit. The type certainly appeals equally to both civil and military enthusiasts and do grab a vac kit of the King Air before the stock lasts as it works much cheaper and easier to build than the resin derivative.

REFERENCES

SAM Vol 18 No 9 Nov 1996 issue.

Carmel J. Attard

August 2008

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