|KIT:||Revell 1/144 Challenger CL 604|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||2004 kit date|
The aircraft was an independent design by Lear in 1976, who had resigned as Chairman of Lear Jet seven years previously. Originally dubbed the LearStar 600, Lear sold exclusive rights to produce and develop the design to Canadair, who renamed it the CL-600 Challenger.
While similar in general configuration to Lear's previous designs, notable changes were made that distinguished the new aircraft from the Learjets, including the use of a widened fuselage that allowed a ‘walk-about cabin’, a feature not shared by any other business aircraft of the time.
On November 8 1978, the first prototype of the aircraft took off for the first time in Montreal, Canada. An April 3 1980 test flight in the Mojave Desert resulted in a disaster, the aircraft crashing due to a deep stall, killing one of the test pilots (the other parachuted safely). The second and third prototypes flew in 1979.
Despite the crash, both Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States certified the aircraft in 1980, albeit with both handing over some restrictions to pilots including a limited maximum take-off weight. A large program to reduce the aircraft's weight was then implemented to improve the aircraft's range.
The CL-604 is a major upgrade of the 601 design (itself an upgrade of the original CL-600 that included winglets), incorporating more powerful engines, larger fuel supply, completely new undercarriage, structural improvements to wings and tail, and a new electronic flight instrumentation system.
The CL-604 has been superseded by the CL-605 and is in use with a number of civil and military operators.
If you have seen any of Revell AG's more recent airliner kits, then this one will come as no surprise. The molding is superb with nicely engraved detail. The parts are quite scale so that means that some care will be needed when removing them from the sprues to prevent any damage or breakage. I did notice that some of the thicker parts has sink areas and this includes the flap actuating hinges and the rear speed brake. I say brake as one of them was missing from my sealed kit. I've asked for another and we'll see what sort of response I get. Sure, I could probably make a new one out of sandwiched plastic card, but I'd rather use the proper part.
There is no cabin detail as you might expect and neither is there anything for the cockpit aside from the clear part. No clear bits for cabin windows either. There are decals to fit over them so that will take care of the window situation. These windows are separate decals so fitting them will be a bit of a challenge. You also get clear bits for the landing lights and they are quite small. No indication is give for nose weight, but I'd add in something just to be sure.
Instructions are typical Revell, consisting of horizontally folded sheets. The paper quality has improved as it is no longer newsprint, but the printing on the sheets is so small that I had a lot of difficulty reading it. Typically, all the color information is with Revell paints though thankfully, no mixing is needed this time. Markings are for three aircraft. One is the box art aircraft from a US company, there is a Swiss air ambulance with several registration code options and the third is an Austrian plane from Cirrus Aviation. These last two are in an all white livery so should be easy to paint. The decal sheet looks to be superbly done and in perfect registration. Good thing as there are no aftermarket sheets that I know of for this plane.
If your interest lies towards airliners or biz-jets, then this is a kit you'll like. It is well detailed and offers a most interesting subject.
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