by: Jan Etal [ ]
Within the last few years, the C-17A Globmaster III has become the US Air Force’s most important multifunction transport. At present, 11 USAF wings are equipped with the C-17A and have seen service all over the world. Besides the USAF, other users include the Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Indian Air Force, as well as the Air Forces of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Maximum payload capacity of the C-17A is 170,900 lb., and its maximum takeoff weight is 585,000 lb. with a payload of 160,000 lb. The C-17 has an unrefueled range of between 2,400 and 2,800 nautical miles. As an example of its capabilities, it can carry three M2 Bradleys or one M1 Abrams tank with additional cargo. Alternately, 102 paratroopers can be carried along with their equipment.
The subject of this review is the Revell USA 1/144 C-17A Globemaster III, kit #85-5867
Upon opening the box the modeller will in many cases be pleasantly surprised to see that it is filled to the brim with sprues. One will be struck by just how big the real aircraft must be, given that this is 1/144th scale. According to the information provided on the box top side panel, the wing span of the completed model will be 14.5 inches (36.8 cm) and the length 14 inches (35.56 cm).
Residing in the box is one large bag containing four sizable sprues, a second large bag containing another two large sprues, a medium sized bag containing four sprues and a smallish bag with a sprue of clear parts. On these sprues is a combined total of 145 parts with the majority moulded in light grey coloured plastic and 13 parts in clear or transparent plastic.
One will also find present an 8 x 5.5 inch (20.32 x 13.97 cm) sheet of water-slide decals with a choice between two aircraft.
“The Spirit of Berlin,” USAF 437th Airlift Wing, Charleston AFB, South Carolina, 2008
“The Spirit of the Wright Brothers,” USAF 62nd Airlift Wing, McCord AFB, Washington, 2008
A twenty page instruction booklet is provided featuring 21 steps for assembly and finishing. The assembly steps are in the form of exploded view line drawings with lines for parts placement. The painting guide for the plane mostly uses generic colour references such as light grey, medium grey, flat black, etcetera.
On this review sample there was virtually no flash on any but the odd parts. There is a combination of recessed panel lines as well as raised details to replicate similar lines and shapes found on the real aircraft. The majority of ejector pin marks are on surfaces that will not be visible after assembly. The one exception to this is the interior walls of the cargo compartment where there are a few light ones. However, due to their location and the limited visibility into the area, even with the cargo ramps open, they should not present a major problem to the majority of builders.
The overall moulding is superb and should hopefully please a large number of modellers. Even the smallest parts show clear details and most mould seams will be easily removed with a light scraping with a sharp hobby blade. Despite the number of parts in this kit, and their varying size, this reviewer did find that parts 48A-52A (the exterior port engine nacelles) had noticeable sink holes near their forward bottoms. These will require some careful filling and sanding to avoid damaging the panel line details in the area.
Considering the scale, the interior of the cargo area is very well detailed. There is an interior shell that contains the detailed side walls and a cargo floor. A compartment-length floor decal will provide even more definition once applied. In this reviewer’s opinion, this inner shell should also add overall rigidity to the completed model.
There is minimal detail in the cockpit with the exception of there being no less than four seats provided in its forward end, plus a rudimentary instrument panel and center console. Additionally, two forward bulkheads are also supplied with two more seats provided behind the forward cockpit, along with an interior staircase which leads down to the cargo area. While the builder will know it is there, once complete little will be seen through the cockpit glass, so this should not be a major issue.
Several of the clear pieces are positively tiny and include navigation lights that are barely a 32nd of an inch long (.8 mm). These will definitely require the use of some very fine tweezers and a steady hand. Another example of attention to detail is that each engine and pylon involves the use of no less than ten separate parts in their construction.
The aircraft can be built in one of three configurations, flight, on the ground and most interestingly, on the ground with cargo compartment door and ramps open. If the builder decides to make one of the aircraft using the ground poses, they will need to take care, as the main undercarriage is quite complex as well as being side specific. For some it may be a challenge to get all eighteen wheels touching a level surface at the same time.
Another option that Revell USA has provided is posing the crew door under the cockpit in either the open or closed configuration. If the former option is chosen, you will be required to assemble a five piece “aero-stair” with two sets of stairs and delicately moulded stair railings.
The level of attention to detail and moulding of this kit, in this reviewers opinion, can be expressed as nothing short of exceptional. For such a large aircraft in this scale we also see Revell USA paying attention in how they engineered this kit. While some of the pieces are quite large, yet thin, where necessary they have added or enhanced aspects of the kit to add strength to what otherwise would be a very delicate model.
Granted, more marking and/or colour options would have been appreciated but numerous decal makers offer decals for “export aircraft.” An example is a set put out by XtraDecal with markings for the RAF, RCAF and RAAF versions. In more ways than one, this kit is impressive and therefore highly recommended for those interested in subjects of this nature.