by: Darren Baker [ ]
The C-130 Hercules has been the backbone of many countries in the west for going on 60 years. This wonderful aircraft has fed the world in famine and got the army where itís needed and has been made available in model form by a few companies with the Airfix releases being my earliest memories of this aeroplane. Move forward to the present and one of the companies that has come on leaps and bounds Zvezda has released an all new tooling of the C-130H in 1/72nd scale. I am going to take a quick look and note the points that catch my eye before this goes out for a build review.
The model is packed in a robust flip top cardboard box, but I have to say that despite being packed in a further cardboard box for transport to me the box still took damage; however the packing did its primary job of protecting the contents. The contents are all packed in individual plastic bags for the most part which protects the contents from damage to a good degree. The two large decal sheets are also very well protected within the box.
An examination of the contents results in finding very nicely moulded parts that are well located on the sprue allowing access for removal. There are some flow lines in the larger mouldings but these do not look or feel to have caused issue with the finish of the parts. One thing I really do not like is the smell given off when you open the bags it is a smell akin to burning plastic and is nasty.
Looking at the internals of the model and I was surprised and pleased to see multi part figures covering the pilot, co-pilot and engineer and having covered those I would have liked to see the crew chief present. Layout and detail inside the cockpit looks good and covers more than I expected in this scale. The loading area has been well replicated and that includes the roof and the sides of the aircraft. This would look really good with some homemade pallet loads being put aboard.
The external areas of the model have very nicely recessed panel lines. Zvezda has considered well what parts to make as optional depending on the version being built and I appreciate that major surgery is not part of the procedure. The injection moulded glazing for the model is some of the finest I have seen in any scale and are a real sign of how far Zvezda has come. The under carriage and wheel bays are nicely detailed for the scale and I was very pleased to find weighted tyres; something that other manufacturers could learn from even in larger scales.
The wing is assembled as a mono wing before being added to the model and I feel that this approach will result in making it easy to avoid wing droop if left a decent amount of time to fully set up. There are a few holes that need to be opened up depending on the finish you are going with and I would have liked to see a drill size mentioned rather than leaving it to trial and error. The engine nacelles have been nicely tackled offering a good degree of internal detail considering the scale. There is one thing which could have been tackled better and that is the propellers themselves; they have been provided as individual blades which is fine by me, but there is no positive locking location I can see to ensure that they are all in the same orientation and so I strongly advise a jig is made to get this aspect right.
The loading ramp of the model can be assembled open or closed and I am pleased to see that Zvezda has not relied on the loading ramp to keep the front wheels on the ground as shown now. Zvezda has supplied three alternate nose cones depending on the finishing option chosen and it states to add 25g of weight for which I highly recommend liquid gravity from Deluxe Materials; this is a superb product for getting the maximum weight into small areas. The model having various finishing options does mean there are alternate parts used and I really like the look of the RAF version with the refuelling probe.
C-130H (78-0811). 758th Air Lift Squadron of the US Air Force, Pittsburg Airbase, 2007
C-130E (upgraded C-130H), 14th Air Lift Squadron of the Polish Air Force, Powidz Air Base, 2010
C-130H (95178), 15th Composed Transport Squadron of the Republic Korea Air Force, Seongnam Air Base, 2012
C-130H (83-0002), 401st Tactical Aircraft Squadron of the Japan Air Self Defence Force, Komaki Air Base, Japan
C-130K (66-8565), Lyneham Transport Wing of the Royal Air Force, Lyneham Air Base, 1991, This aircraft was involved in Operation Desert Storm.
This offering from Zvezda as all models can be improved by the modeller as well as the manufacturer, but this offering has more highs than lows. As far as complaints go I restrict them to the positioning of the propeller blades as it is something that Zvezda could have easily fixed as well as providing a drill size for opening holes for optional parts. On the plus side I like that the nose is weighted and the needed weight needed covered, I also like the figures provided in this scale. Truth is I think this is a great offering in the scale and I appreciate that specific aircraft are covered in the finishing options.