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In-Box Review
1144
Lockheed Constellation
Lockheed 1049 Constellation
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by: Is a secret [ JESSIE_C ]

First impressions

Some of the parts are so delicate they may break in the box, propellers and gear legs especially. The plastic is a very nice opaque white. There is a very slight pebbly texture, which could do with polishing, especially on those areas to be finished in bare metal. There is far more surface detail than Minicraft's kit, and many more detail parts. All in all the execution of this kit is far finer than Minicraft's. My copies have neither flash nor sink marks. Panel lines are engraved and while they're massively overscale for a 1/144 model, they'll look good under a coat of paint. The panel lines are evenly engraved and match up nicely.

Fuselage
The fuselage is made from 2 halves, with a separate nose. The radar nose is not pinched in front of the cockpit the way the Minicraft and Heller kits are. The short nose is clear to allow for the landing lights to be portrayed. The kit has a complete cockpit with yokes, 3 seats, and instrument panel (with decal). There is no aft cockpit bulkhead. One should be made to prevent seeing all the way through the fuselage although I'm not sure how much will be seen through 1mm X 1mm cockpit windows. The cabin windows are the correct size, and have the correct rounded corners. The windows are open for the clear window crowd, and you actually get clear plastic go go in the holes, something I haven't seen in a 1/144 kit since the 1970s. Lufthansa gave their cabin windows a transparent green coating which will need to be duplicated if you're doing that scheme. If you leave the windows clear, the fuselage interior should be painted black to prevent it from looking like a toy inside. All antennae, drain masts and other fiddly bits are separate parts, very delicate and easy to knock off. They should be left for final assembly after painting and decalling are complete. When Lockheed produced the 1049, they enlarged the cockpit windows, which caused a very subtle “break” to the upper fuselage line at the cockpit roof. I have not seen any kit get this shape right before. Revel have managed to capture this elusive shape better than all other preceding kits. The instructions indicate that 15g will be needed for nose weight. Given that there's no cockpit bulkhead, placing the weight will be a bit of a challenge.

Wings
The lower wing is one piece which allows for properly capturing the dihedral angle. The upper wing halves are one piece for each side including the complete trailing edge and tips which are solid to the control surface/flap hinges. There are no ejector pin marks to interfere with fit, but the lower wing “tips” and “trailing edges” could use a little bit of tweaking to improve the fit. The tip tanks look right, and may be left off if your aircraft did not have them fitted.

Empennage
The horizontal and vertical stabilisers are one piece mouldings. The outboard fins slip into slots in the stabs, with a very positive interlock. Dry fitting indicates that the fit will be pretty good.

Engines
Revell is the first since Monogram's 1/131 kit to get the engine cowl shape correct rather than Heller and Minicraft's too pointy configuration. The engines consist of the engine itself, and a propeller shaft which is very delicate and will snap if you look at it too harshly. The cylinders are a bit anemic, but they're not merged into a solid disk. Each nacelle is made up of two halves. The kit provides spinner afterbodies (a first for any Constellation kit). The oil cooler scoops are hollowed out. They're perhaps a bit shallow, but far better than a solid chunk of plastic. The propeller blades are the correct width. The modeller will have to paint the entire inside of the cowling plus the rear propeller shaft retaining disk and the firewall on the wing to prevent any white plastic from showing through the cylinders. With the spinner afterbody in place, you won't see much engine, but enough is there to look good. The Carburettor scoops are separate pieces, open along their entire length.


Landing gear
The nosewheels look like the proper size, (Minicraft's are too big) and they have the proper spoke configuration. Main wheels are one piece each, with nice hub detail. There are no ejector pin marks on the wheels. Wheel well detail could be better but at least they're boxed in. The nose gear doors will need to be cut apart while the main doors are already apart. There is no option for raised gear, and I don't know how the main gear doors will fit if they're built closed. In any event Revell did not provide a stand. There are ejector pin marks in the main wheel wells which could be a bit tricky to clean up.

Test fitting indicates that the wings need a little shimming to fit the fuselage without gaps. The upper portions of the wing roots on the fuselage are slightly too shallow, which would cause the lower centre section to form a step into fuselage. The rest of the fit is generally good without any “gotchas” to watch out for.

Accuracy
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like a proper Connie.

Decals and markings
The decal sheet is very complete, with lots of stencils and multiple choices for 4 Lufthansa aircraft or 3 from TWA (only 2 of which are shown on instructions though). All Lufthansa aircraft have the short nose while the TWA schemes offer one each short nose/radar nose aircraft. The various Lufthansa options have small differences in the background colour of the fin/rudder markings. Window decals are not provided on the sheet. Modellers wishing to use decal windows will need to source them separately.

Although it's not shown in the paint schemes, many piston aircraft had their nacelles behind the firewall, a portion of the wing around them, and also the tailplane tips painted glossy light grey to reduce exhaust gas corrosion. I was unable to determine whether the aircraft portrayed in Revell's kit were painted this way. Check your reference photos to make sure. Decals are not given for the deicing boots; these will have to be masked and painted or made up from black decal stripes.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on Aeroscale.
SUMMARY
Highs: Delicate parts with a lot of detail for 1/144 scale, shapes are the best I've seen of any Constellation model. Excellent decal sheet. What other kit gives you propeller blade logos in 1/144?
Lows: Delicate parts mean that they can break easily. Care must be taken while removing them from the sprues and handling them while building.
Verdict: Overall this kit will build into the best Constellation model yet. Run and get one. Then get more to keep it company. If you don't care for Lufthansa or TWA, there are many different aftermarket sheets.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:144
  Mfg. ID: 04252
  Suggested Retail: C$22.99
  PUBLISHED: Jul 03, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.12%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 83.40%

About Is a secret (Jessie_C)
FROM: BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA

Copyright ©2019 text by Is a secret [ JESSIE_C ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.



Comments

Many thanks for the great review Jessie_C José César
JUL 05, 2011 - 07:16 AM
Great marks, looks like a fun kit to build.
AUG 16, 2015 - 10:48 AM
It was
AUG 16, 2015 - 11:23 AM
NICE!!! A question for everybody: Since I saw the 1971 film "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" depicting Joe Cocker´s band 1970 US tour, I have wanted to build a model of "Cocker Power", the Connie they chartered to move the troupe. Does anybody know of a decal set for that plane? The "Cocker Power" was on the rear fuselage, and the main space was occupied with "Central-American Airlines", or Airways. TIA
AUG 16, 2015 - 12:30 PM
   

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