KIT: Italeri 1/48 C-130J Hercules
KIT #: 02643
PRICE: $100.00 MSRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Upgrade of C-130H kit


I'd have to say that the C-130 Hercules has to be the most long-lived aircraft in the history of aviation. I can think of no other type that has been in production as long as the C-130. The first aircraft flew in 1954/55 and now, over 50 years later, it is still popping out of the Lockheed production facilities. The aircraft was ground-breaking in its early years. Here was a medium lift, turboprop powered aircraft that had a cavernous hold which could carry troops or equipment, even as large as a tank, in its fuselage. It needed no specialized equipment to off load cargo as a ramp was included that allowed easy loading of materiel and vehicles just drove in.

It has found use among dozens of military air forces, an equal number of civilian cargo operators and has been converted into aerial fire bombers and aerial artillery. You see them everywhere and I doubt that there are many who have seen airplanes that have not seen a C-130, it is probably even more recognizable than the DC-3.

The latest incarnation is the C-130J. This variant has a full 'glass' cockpit with CRTs in place of dial or tape instruments, the most up to date avionics and what really sets it apart, four new 4700 hp Rolls Royce/Allison engines with six bladed composite props replacing the long standing T-56 turboprops. The type has been reequipping US Air National Guard units for the last 5 or 6 years and is also in the service of Italy and the UK among others who are opting for the latest Hercules.


What we have here is one of the largest 1/48 kits ever done. Italeri has produced at least three other versions of the C-130, including the C-130H, AC-130, and DC-130. This one adds the external upgrades to the existing kit to produce the C-130J version. Due to the huge size of things, I've only shown the new sprue and some representative airframe bits in the image.

Italeri has basically replaced the engine/prop sprue of the earlier kits with the updated versions for the C-130J. The rest is identical to the other boxings. This includes the raised panel lines that were in vogue when it first came out. The fuselage is provided in four sections and the test fitting of the fore and aft sections showed a good fit. What you do with this kit is to build up the cockpit and cargo bay, then assemble the fuselage sections, install the bulkheads and finally install the interior bits into the fuselage halves. Sounds simple, but those I know who have actually built this big Herc will tell you that one has to build it carefully to be sure all will go together as advertised. Options are few and include basically open or closed entry doors and ramp. The RAF variant includes the long refueling probe that is normal on their Hercules aircraft. There are the usual plethora of antennas that normally festoon military transports.

Italeri provides an excellent set of instructions. Well done drawings and excellent color info. It does, however, forget to mention that the refueling probe is for the RAF Hercules. Colors are in Tesors Model Master, FS 595 and generic references. Markings are for three aircraft, all of them in Air Mobility Grey (FS 36173). First is the USAF version from the 135 AS, Maryland ANG. This is not the most colorful rendition from this unit as the image below shows one with a much more colorful tail band. There are also markings for even less colorful versions for the Italian Air Force and the RAF. The decal sheet is as huge as the kit, for it offers not only insignia, but also the IR slime lights (something rather new for the C-130) and all the walk-way decals for the upper surface. Applying these markings will undoubtedly take a few days. They are well printed and seem to be pretty accurate. They should go on well with no real problems. Those seeking other options are out of luck as there are not yet any aftermarket decals for this variant.


There are modelers out there who love big kits. This definitely qualifies and with a bit of careful construction, you will have a real masterpiece. Only thing you'll have to do afterwards is to put an addition on the house to hold it!

September 2005

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