Roden 1/144 C-5B Galaxy

KIT #: 330
PRICE: 1600 yen when new (2000)
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2017 tooling



The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is a large military transport aircraft originally designed and built by Lockheed, and now maintained and upgraded by its successor, Lockheed Martin. It provides the United States Air Force (USAF) with a heavy intercontinental-range strategic airlift capability, one that can carry outsize and oversize loads, including all air-certifiable cargo. The Galaxy has many similarities to its smaller Lockheed C-141 Starlifter predecessor, and the later Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. The C-5 is among the largest military aircraft in the world.

The C-5 Galaxy's development was complicated, including significant cost overruns, and Lockheed suffered significant financial difficulties. Shortly after entering service, cracks in the wings of many aircraft were discovered and the C-5 fleet was restricted in capability until corrective work was completed. The C-5M Super Galaxy is an upgraded version with new engines and modernized avionics designed to extend its service life beyond 2040.

The USAF has operated the C-5 since 1969. In that time, the airlifter supported US military operations in all major conflicts including Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, as well as allied support, such as Israel during the Yom Kippur War and operations in the Gulf War. The Galaxy has also been used to distribute humanitarian aid and disaster relief, and supported the US Space Shuttle program.


Before this kit was released, there was the Revell version. That kit was a child of the 70's and is one of those 'lost and gone forever' molds that saw release in the US and again in Japan before disappearing into the aether. As such, the kit commanded some pretty high prices when they were available.

Well, now we have a modern tooling of the C-5 so those not wanting to pay collector's prices will have access to one. To be sure, this kit is not cheap as models of this size are expensive to tool, but it should prove to be very popular with those who like very big models. Fortunately, its 1/144 size doesn't automatically relegate it to the 'kits I've bought but will never build' stack. I bought mine from a Ukraine company, and they took great care in the shipping, even to the point of bubble wrapping all the parts bags. They also included a small pack of honey and a crisp, new, 1 hryvnia note. I usually do not plug places from whence I purchase kits, but these folks went the extra mile and are worth at least mentioning.  

No bones about it, with a completed fuselage length of over 20 inches, this is not a small kit. Interestingly, the instructions have you start by building up the engines and pylons. The inboard and outboard ones are a bit different so you'll have to keep them separated until it is time to attach them (which is the next step). in that stp one also glues the wing halves together and installs the ailerons and slat attachment bits.  Only then do we get to the cockpit, which is well appointed for the scale but not sure how much will actually be visible when done. The landing gear are built up at this time as is the nose gear well.

Then we get to a confusion area. This involves the flaps. These can be posed lowered or raised. However, the flap fairings are all drilled for lowered flaps. Not only that, but the attachment diagrams are not well though out with some assembly numbers indicated flap pieces when it should be the fairing. l'm sure that most of us can figure it out, but it is a shame that we will need to do work to build a flaps up model. This is followed by attaching the slats.

The fuselage is next with the insertion from the inside of all the tiny windows on the plane, which will make masking those a challenge to say the least. The roof of the main gear well is nearly 20 pieces as you have to install all the gear attachment points. This is followed by assembling the tail section with separate rudder and elevators. Note that all the flight control surfaces were locked in the neutral position when on the ground. The final assembly steps are dedicated to closing the fuselage halves, trapping the gear well pieces, installing the landing gear and doors as well as attaching the wing.

Instructions, as I have mentioned have some major lapses in them, but an experienced modeler should be able to work around these issues. There are markings for a single plane based at Travis AFB circa 1990. The decals are nicely printed, but I've often had issues with Roden's decals so would be prepared for issues. There is a separate painting guide for the overall AMC Grey plane. Interestingly, the guide shows the front gear well as being light grey with the main gear well being silver. It also calls for the struts to be steel. Vallejo paint numbers are provided. Frankly, I'd take those color callouts with a bit of skepticism. Photos definitely show a white gear well and wheels. However, I have seen USAF planes with light aircraft grey struts and it seems the C-5 is one of them, though this is not always the case. Definitely not silver or steel.


So here is a kit for which many have been waiting. It is big and based on reviews of other large Roden kits will probably need some of those modeling skills. The instructions are not this kit's strong suit and if you are not one to trust Roden decals, Caracal Models does produce a nice sheet for this kit.


March 2018

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