KIT: Modelcraft 1/48 Cessna 172
KIT #: 48-004
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: I think this is an old ESCI kit


Cessna is one of two names associated with modern light planes. The other, of course, being Piper. In the 1980s and 1990s, America's light plane industry basically came to a stand-still thanks to the incredible litigation blaming the aircraft manufacturers for just about every aviation accident that ever occurred with their aircraft. The cost of paying out lawsuits was such that they basically stopped building light planes. Fortunately, laws were passed making it much more difficult to sue and these companies returned to making light aircraft, albeit at prices that few could afford.

Earlier, Cessna had made a very tidy profit with their 170 series of light planes. Based on their marginally powered 150 series the 172 Skyhawk was powered by a 160 hp engine with larger power ratings available. It could carry four passengers and 120 lbs of baggage. Not only that, but it was easy to fly and handled quite well. The 172 Hawk XP, the basis of this kit, was introduced in 1977 with a 195 hp engine. It also had several other amenities and was available with floats should the owner wish. Built in France as the Reims Rocket, a total of over 30,000 172s have so far been built.


Modelcraft of Canada has made most of its reputation on reboxing other kits. This particular one is an old ESCI mold and really, it still quite nice. Surface detailing is engraved and perhaps a bit overdone. There are also rivets all over near the engraved lines. Both sides of the flight control surfaces are molded onto one piece, making for nice sharp trailing edges.

A full engine, though not really that well detailed, is provided as is an engine mount. No opening panels are given, but you can see the engine through the opening in the lower cowling. A nicely done interior with four seats and control wheels is provided and the detailing is nicely done. Instruments are provided via decals. The transparencies are clear enough to see what's inside so it behooves the builder to do a good job in this regard.  My kit was supposed to have floats, however, it was missing these when the box was opened. In all honesty, this was a raffle prize and is somewhat typical of my experiences with some of these donated models. Why a donor would think that someone would like a kit that is missing parts or partially built is beyond me. Fortunately, the wheeled landing gear with wheel spats is in with the kit, though no information on how these parts assemble is provided.

Instructions are straightforward with color information provided in generic terms. There are two sets of markings provided, one Dutch version with minimal Martinair markings and a Canadian version with more of the type of fuselage flash that we generally associate with light aviation. The decals appear to be well printed and that is great as there is little in the way of aftermarket for this or any other light plane.


It is too bad that one does not see more in the way of light aircraft like this but the fact is that the market just isn't there. Why buy a Cessna model when you could spend your bucks on an F-18? Death and destruction sell; tooling along at 150 mph doesn't and that is just the way it is. Fortunately, we do have this very nice kit, so should be thankful for that much!

Won at a raffle for you (which explains the missing parts)

January 2006

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