Minicraft 1/144 C-32A






One aircraft


Scott Van Aken




A few years ago, it was decided to look for a replacement forthe then long-serving VC-137 executive transports. These aircraft had been inservice for 30 or more years, and despite their relatively low airframe hours(compared to equivalent commercial airliners), they were in need of replacement.What was needed was an equivalent type that was more modern, fuel efficient andcould be bought basically off the shelf. The choice was made to buy the Boeing757-200. 

These aircraft are almost identical to those flying with theairlines with the exception of secure voice and data transmission and receptionequipment. The interiors are a bit more upscale than the standard airliner, butare again, items that are offered by Boeing to any customer. Like other USAFExecutive transports, they are operated by the 89th AW based at Andrews AFB nearWashington DC.

There are four C-32s in service, the first being the subject ofthis kit, serial number 98-0001. All four of them are powered by P&W 2040turbofans, providing 40,000 lbs of thrust and able to travel at speeds of up to590 mph.


Minicraft has gotten into the airliner business in a rather big way. In fact,most of their recent releases have been airliners. While the subjects of thosekits have been long awaited by airliner kit builders, the actual kits themselveshave been a mixed blessing.  To put it bluntly, they have not been what onehas expected in terms of detail and ease of construction. In fact, some of theearly propliners are a real bear to build and have  poor detailing. As ofthis writing, the author is currently struggling with their Boeing 377 and theair around the workbench is quite blue at times!

However, that kit was one of Minicraft's first and this on isone of their more recent. Let's take a look at what you get. As you can see bythe image to the right, you get quite a bit of plastic. The fuselage itself isquite large and fills the length of the sturdy box it is shipped in. You get allyou need to build a very nice airliner kit. 

What has becomea Minicraft hallmark is the way the cockpit transparency is done. It is includedas part of the fuselage, giving room to smooth it in with the surroundingfuselage. There are no cabin windows or depressions built into the fuselage,those windows being part of the decal sheet. This makes one wonder why there isa cockpit transparency as there is nothing to see through the windows. Most ofus would rather have that part solid and have the cockpit windows as a decal aswell. It just makes things look better overall and would cut down on the need toadd in a separate part. Something that Minicraft may wish to consider for itsnext release.

Detailingon this kit is much better than on the B.377, but is still a bit 'soft'. Bythat, I mean that the corners of the engraved panel lines are not as razor sharpas with Tamiya and Hasegawa kits,the industry standards. Take a look at theimage to the left, which is from the tail section, and you'll see what I mean.While it really isn't bad, it can use some improvement. Now I know this soundslike I am dumping on Minicraft, but really, they have improved quite a bit andare getting better with each release. Take the decal sheet for example.

Thesheet offered in this kit is by Scalemaster. Unlike those in ProModeler kits,this one is in perfect register and very well done. What you get are all thewindows and door as well as the striping. You will have to paint the dark blueareas yourself, but this should not be that much of a problem. I would recommendmaking a 1/1 copy of the decal sheet and then use the copy to make a paintingmask. That way you will be sure to get the blue area in the right place to matchup with the stripes.

The instruction sheet is more than adequatefor building the kit, offering color callouts throughout the constructionprocess where needed. The decalplacement diagram also has a good color diagram. All colors except the blue aregiven as generic names. I suspect that the light grey is really Boeing AircraftGrey, which you can get in the Xtracolor range or you can use Testor's CanadianVoodoo grey which is a close match.

Overall, this looks like avery nice kit. If you have been reading Modeling Madness for long, you know thatthere are a number of very nice alternative decal sheets for this aircraft.

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by asite that has over 1,300 visits a day, please contactme or see other details in the Note toContributors.