|KIT:||Minicraft 1/144 Conair DC-6 Firebomber|
|PRICE:||I paid $17.99|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The DC-6 was basically an evolutionary development of the DC-4/C-54. Thought it used the same wing, it had larger engines and a longer fuselage. Thanks to its cabin pressurization, it offered more comfortable passenger amenities than the earlier model. Those who have seen the movie 'The High and the Mighty' have seen a DC-6. The military also purchased the DC-6 as the C-118A. This was basically due to its intercontinental range and large passenger capacity. One thing about old airliners is that they refuse to die and while there may be some still hauling cargo and perhaps passengers as well, the most widespread use is as a fire bomber. The addition of tanks to carry water or slurry to fight fires has made these large aircraft a most welcome part of the fire fighting fleet.
As is so typical of most kits in today's market, this is about the 4th or 5th boxing of the C-118/DC-6 that Minicraft has produced. You get a standard DC-6 kit with the addition of a small sprue that has the underfuselage water tank. The windscreen portion of the kit was missing in mine and it will be interesting to see how quickly I can get one from Minicraft.
The DC-6 kit in and of itself is fairly nicely done. The fuselage is slick to allow you to use decals for all the windows. Some airliner builders prefer this and others like to have clear bits included. On this kit the only clear bits are for the cockpit, though mine was missing. The various doors and hatches are engraved into the fuselage. The rest of the kit has engraved detail as well; some say it is a bit overstated for this scale, but it looks fine once the kit is built.
Probably the most difficult part of the build will be to get the engine cowlings to look right. These are split vertically and so there will be a seam alone the upper and lower lip of the cowling. These are usually quite difficult to remove and while a separate forward cowling would have been nice, the use of super glue or epoxy filler can be used to eliminate the external seam. A nicely detailed landing gear and wheels are provided, though the wells themselves have no detail at all. The prop hubs look a tad skinny to me, but I'll wait until the kit is built to pass final judgement.
You also get a cockpit floor and rear bulkhead, but no seats, so you may as well use the decals for the cockpit windows. The kit also includes a wide variety of antennas to be used as the builder sees fit. I found some small sink areas on the tail planes and that was about it for glitches. No ejector pin marks in visible locations and no flash at all.
Instructions are well done, and provide a parts layout, nine construction steps and a painting/decal guide. Color information is provided during the construction process where needed. The decal sheet for this one is nicely done and is printed by Cartograf in Italy.
This makes a nice addition to the Minicraft family of airliners and airliner derivatives. Many modelers like fire bombers and just don't have the shelf space for the 1/72 Heller kit. This one should make into a very nice replica.
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