|KIT:||Proteus Models 1/72 Convair CV-440/C-131|
|PRICE:||$150.00 from DMC Models|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Vacuform/Resin/white metal kit|
Often times an airplane comes at the right time in the scheme of things, and so it was with Convair's short/medium haul airliner. Developed in the late 40's in time for the airlines to be looking for a replacement for their old DC-3s, the Convair 240 was developed into a bewildering number of variants for civil use as the 340, 440, 580 and others. The USAF also got involved in the deal when it went seeking a nav trainer and bought the aircraft as the T-29. There followed several variants of this aircraft and a purchase of a transport version called the C-131, which also went through its own mass of designations and upgrades. Even the Navy and Marines had their Convair twin in the R4Y variations. These planes served faithfully in a plethora of jobs, many becoming hacks for ANG units. The last ones were not retired from the USAF until the late 1980s.
Proteus Models seems to be a division of Welsh models in the UK. I say this as the addy in the instruction sheet is Welsh Models. A multimedia kit with a vacuformed fuselage, resin flight surfaces, and white metal detail bits, the kit comes in a very sturdy box.
The vacuformed parts are well molded and quite thick. They consist of the fuselage halves, bulkheads and a pair of vacuformed cockpit sections. Now if you want, you can build the kit without installing the cockpit section. Your options in this regard are to cut out the windows and replace them with acetate, or simply use the windscreen decals that are on the decal sheet. The cabin windows have decals and those doing the airliner version may want to consider this as a viable option. I say this as often times, airliner builders will use decals vice clear bits in other scales. My kit came with a spare clear cockpit section, which is greatly appreciated as I tend to really mess things up when only one is supplied! An optional longer nose section is provided as several CV440s had this option.
The resin parts consist of the flight control surfaces, engines and the main pieces that make up the interior. The casting is superb and you'll find none better anywhere. No air bubbles, no crud on the surface, no misformed parts, no flash. Only thing I noticed was that one of the wings was slightly warped, but a session with some hot water will take care of that.
All of the detail bits are in cast metal. These are also superbly formed. It includes all the landing gear bits and doors as well as the nose gear well. You have two options when it comes to nose wheels. There are seats and control sticks for the interior with the rest of the pieces being props and the usual myriad of radio antennas. I should point out that there is no instrument panel, per se. That part is molded on the forward resin cockpit bulkhead and is devoid of detail so you are on your own when it comes to detailing this.
The instructions, as they are, is a written sequence of parts. None all that helpful as the commentary is pretty generic (cut out the vacuformed pieces, sand off the stubs on the resin bits, assemble with super glue, use filler where needed....). However, you are given two excellent scale side views of both the airliner and the USAF version that are kitted. Detail shots of the wheel wells show how all the bits are to be assembled. There are two marking options with this kit. One is for an SAS airliner. The huge decal sheet has much of its space given to this version. You can do one from Sweden, Denmark or Norway as it has registrations from all three countries. The USAF one is a medevac aircraft, similar to the ones based near my home in the 1950s/60s. A separate sheet (not shown) provided insignia and the three flags of the SAS home countries. The decals are superbly printed and should work beautifully.
I have to tell you that I requested this kit from Dave as I really wanted to build one. My original intention was to do one of the later ANG hacks, but seeing the kit's markings options, I may well opt for the medevac version. Either way, the kit is much nicer than I'd originally anticipated and I very much look forward to starting on it. For sure it won't be a quick build, but it should make into an excellent model.
I should note that this particular boxing is nearly sold out, but there are others available with new ones added all the time.
You can find this kit and other superb multimedia kits at http://coopersmodels.com.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that has around 300,000 visitors a month, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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