Minicraft 1/144 C-130J Hercules
Two options (different serials)
Scott Van Aken
The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a
four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The C-130J is a
comprehensive update of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new
engines, flight deck, and other systems. The Hercules family has the longest
continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. During more
than 60 years of service, the family has participated in military, civilian,
and humanitarian aid operations. The Hercules has outlived several planned
successor designs, most notably the Advanced Medium STOL
Transport contestants. As of February 2018, 400 C-130J aircraft have been
delivered to 17 nations.
The Super Hercules has been used extensively by the
USAF and USMC in Iraq and Afghanistan. Canada has also deployed its CC-130J
aircraft to Afghanistan.
C-130Js from several countries have been deployed in
support of the US Operation Odyssey Dawn and NATO's Operation Unified
Protector during the 2011 Libyan civil war. From the first flight on 5 April
1996 to 30 April 2013, 290 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft operated by 13
nations surpassed 1 million flight hours. Apparently the aircraft is still
in production with the USAF hoping to replace all of it earlier variants
(now pretty much limited to the C-130H).
In January 2013, it was reported that some of Canada's CC-130J transports
had counterfeit Chinese microchips in their cockpit displays. These parts
are more likely to fail and result in failures such as blank instrument
screens during flight. A 14-month investigation by the U.S. Senate Armed
Services Committee concluded that counterfeit parts in the Hercules and
other American-made military equipment are prone to failure with potentially
"catastrophic consequences." The U.S. congressional investigation reported
the fake Hercules microchips were originally made by the Korean electronics
giant Samsung in the 1990s, and more than a decade later, had been recycled,
refurbished and remarked to appear genuine by a company in China. Samsung
later stated that "it is not possible to project the reliability" of the
altered parts. The U.S. investigation reported that the problems on the
Hercules first came to light in 2010 when the instrument panel failed on
a USAF aircraft during active duty.
On 20 August 2013, the Indian Air Force performed the highest landing of a
C-130J at the Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip in Ladakh at the height of 16,614 ft
has produced kits of most of the Hercules variants so far so it was
not surprising that it would do a J model as well. Also not
surprising is that it uses extant tooling for the earlier versions
along with additional sprues to take care of the differences.
The kit molding is quite good with the now normal recessed panel
lines we have come to expect from kits. The first thing one does
with this one is to cut the front of the sponsons from the fuselage
to replace them with the longer ones for the H/J. Then one installs
the main and nose gear wells along with the forward bulkhead and
cabin floor. Then the new sponsons are installed.
Of course you get new engine nacelles for the J variant, each of
which consists of four parts. Then the wings are assembled with the
modeler having to open the holes for the fuel tanks that fit in
between the engines and fill the outboard ones that are used on the
A/B versions. Nacelles are installed on the wing and the wing,
tailplanes and cockpit transparency are installed. There are very
large wing fuselage joins to provide a good fit. Instructions
recommend filling the empty cockpit with 8 grams of weight.
Next group of construction steps involve building and attaching the
fuel tanks, tail cap, landing gear components and the gear doors.
The rear cargo ramp components are shown being built in the lowered
position, but I'm betting one can cement them closed as well since
there is nothing in the cargo compartment other than a floor. Last
things glued on are the props. What is really nice is that Minicraft
supplies a display stand which is a ball and socket arrangement that
snaps together. It should be fairly easy to model the gear doors
closed for an in-flight display. In that case, I'd also leave out
the nose weight.
are well drawn and provide minimal color info during the build. I'm
not sure if the gear wells and struts are actually aluminum as I'm
used to seeing these sorts of things painted white. Check the net.
There are two options that differ only by serial number. Both are in
overall AMC grey and are with the Maryland ANG. The black areas for
the exhaust and the fin base will also need to be painted in place.
The decal sheet is nicely done and provides the black stripes for
the upper fuselage/wing walk areas. As usual, all the doors and
windows save the cockpit ones are decals.
For most of us, 1/144 is a perfect scale for large aircraft like
this. It has the benefit of not taking up a lot of space and
encourages building of more than one. Minicraft kits are not
inexpensive, but in today's market, they are a reasonable price.
I know that in the past their kits have been a bear at times,
but I've not built anything of theirs much newer than their
DC-4s, which was a very nice kit. I expect this one to be the
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My thanks to me for picking this one up on sale.
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