Amodel 1/144 C-130A Hercules
|PRICE:||$25.45 from www.scale-model-kits.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Low pressure mold. New tool kit|
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol and aerial firefighting. It is the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. Over 40 models and variants of the Hercules serve with more than 60 nations.
During its years of service, the Hercules family has participated in countless military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations. The family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. In 2007, the C-130 became the fifth aircraft—after the English Electric Canberra, B-52 Stratofortress, Tupolev Tu-95, and KC-135 Stratotanker—to mark 50 years of continuous use with its original primary customer, in this case, the United States Air Force. The C-130 is also the only military aircraft to remain in continuous production for 50 years with its original customer, as the updated C-130J Super Hercules.
The first production C-130s were designated as A-models, with deliveries in 1956 to the 463d Troop Carrier Wing at Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma and the 314th Troop Carrier Wing at Sewart AFB, Tennessee. Six additional squadrons were assigned to the 322d Air Division in Europe and the 315th Air Division in the Far East. Additional airplanes were modified for electronics intelligence work and assigned to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany while modified RC-130As were assigned to the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) photo-mapping division. Airplanes equipped with giant skis were designated as C-130Ds, but were essentially A-models except for the conversion. Australia became the first non American force to operate the C130A Hercules with 12 examples being delivered during late 1958-early 1959. These aircraft were fitted with three-blade AeroProducts propeller of 15' diameter. As the C-130A became operational with Tactical Air Command (TAC), the C-130's lack of range became apparent and additional fuel capacity was added in the form of external pylon-mounted tanks at the end of the wings. The A-model continued in service through the Vietnam War, where the airplanes assigned to the four squadrons at Naha AB, Okinawa and one at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan performed yeoman's service, including operating highly classified special operations missions such as the BLIND BAT FAC/Flare mission and FACT SHEET leaflet mission over Laos and North Vietnam. The A-model was also provided to the South Vietnamese Air Force as part of the Vietnamization program at the end of the war, and equipped three squadrons based at Tan Son Nhut AFB. The last operator in the world is the Honduran Air Force, which is still flying one of five A model Hercs (FAH 558, c/n 3042) as of October 2009.
This is an excellent addition to Amodel's growing line of 1/144 kits. The C-130A is one of my favorites thanks to the 'Roman Nose' that houses the older radar set, something that was eventually replaced in just about all extant airframes once the C-130B came on line.
The kit is the usual low pressure mold with superb engraved detailing that rivals the best. There is a tad bit of flash on a few parts so this isn't in the 'shake and bake' category. The kit provides no cockpit though there is a forward bulkhead, cabin floor and rear doors that can be positioned open. As the cabin area itself is devoid of detail and there are no proper ramp stands, it is curious why these items are included, though it may be for structural strength. Despite no cockpit, there is a clear section that covers the entire upper nose section. Personally, I'd have been just as happy with all the cockpit windows either molded in the fuselage halves or left blank and replaced by a black decal as is done in many airliner kits. However, this does offer the opportunity for aftermarket bits or for the truly obsessed to scratch build these areas.
The upper wing is a single piece, which is helpful in keeping things aligned. Horizontal stabs are two pied with a separate two piece rudder that fits atop it. Each engine is three parts with a right, left and forward piece into which a three bladed prop is fitted. The instructions show these as being fitted to a nearly complete airframe, but I'm thinking that perhaps it might not be wiser to attach these prior to installing the wing in case the fit isn't good. The kit comes with four small wing tanks and two large ones. From what I've read, the C-130 A was only plumbed on the outer wings for tanks, though I'm not sure what size would be appropriate. There are holes in the lower wings that will need to be opened to acceptthese. Landing gear is basic and adequate as little will be seen once the doors are in place.
Markings are for two planes. One is the box art plane with the USAF Reserves in the Vietnam era SEA camouflage. This aircraft was the 20th C-130 built and is currently on the Civil Register as N117TG. It is apparently now an oil dispersant sprayer such as what was used in the BP oil spill of last summer. The other is an overall unpainted metal one with no unit markings from the initial production batch that spent its life at Edwards AFB before becoming an instructional airframe. In the latter guise, it was painted adc grey and white. This plane was the fifth C-130 built and the third C-130A. The decal sheet is matte and well printed.
If you like C-130s and simply don't have the space for the ones in 1/48or 1/72, then this scale is an excellent option. Though Minicraft also do a 1/144 C-130, that kit has some shape issues with the engine cowlings and is a bit pricey when compared to this version. It won't be a simple build, but the results will be well worth the effort.
Thanks to www.scale-model-kits.com for the preview kit. Get yours at the link and at a discount.
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