|Media:||Vac form, resin and white metal|
S u m m a r y
|Contents:||One Sheet of Vac-Formed Components, Resin Engine Cowlings|
|Price:||US$41.75 (Hey! Ya' wanna nice C-124 or not?)|
|Advantages:||Nicest C-124 available, good use of white metal detail parts, excellent vac-formed surface detail|
|Disadvantages:||Inaccurate and incorrectly positioned engines, laborious cutting of 65 portholes/windscreen panels|
vac-form and small scale aircraft fans; or those feeling sentimental about "Ol'
Obtained from: Precision Enterprises Unlimited
B a c k g r o u n d
Some bird, Ol' Shakey!
The 'World's Largest Three-engined Airplane'...three million rivets flying in formation...one hundred and twelve big cylinders....squealin' brakes...twelve-hour nav legs...grossed out climbs at 100 fpm for thirty minutes...cruising at 184 - 204K.... intercepting all weather at eight thousand to twelve thousand feet throughout the world. For fifteen hundred MAC hours of "boredom pierced by moments of stark terror" I experienced the rumbling power of four massive R-4360s driving that obese aluminum shell, spewing tens of gallons of black oil over the nacelles and empennage. But, Shakey always brought me home safely, and for that I'll be forever grateful to Messrs. Douglas, Pratt and Whitney.
F i r s t L o o k
But, Bondo digresses.......the old Airmodel 1/72 vac kit's been up there on the shelf for at least ten years, now. Rude, crude, thin plastic, with rounded trenches for panel lines...hey, it's Airmodel! So, along comes Mr. D.R. Wade of Welsh Models with a multimedia gem of a Charlie One Two Four, and ahm'a wanta build it...now!
Even at 1/144, the Welsh Models Shakey isn't exactly tiny. In fact, it's physically larger in this scale than many 1/48 fighters. Welsh has managed to fit all main vac components on one medium-sized sheet, and the robust feel of the thick plastic puts one in mind immediately of Rareplanes. The crisp, delicately engraved vacuform molding is very, very good, easily the equal of Dynavector. A small bag is filled with lots of petite, well-molded white metal flap hinges, props, landing gear, wheels, wingtip heater pods and that little pug-nosed radome. Engine cowlings are nicely cast in resin, but are the source of my main criticism. As modeled, the front row of cylinders are not only way too far forward, relative to the lip of the cowlings, but nine cylinders are modeled instead of the seven possessed by each row of the R4360. This double whammy just doesn't look like a one-twenty-four. I'm going to drill out all the molded cylinders and simply install black discs of plastic way back in the cowl where they should be, with a little bit of scratchbuilding to represent the crankcase nose. In this scale, the prop blades and hubs cover most of the cowl opening anyway.
It appears that the most difficult, or, at least, laborious part of the construction is going to be drilling or cutting out the fifty portholes plus fifteen windshield panels. Oh yeah, and also my nav porthole and sextant bubble that seem to have been left off the master...they are portrayed on the side view drawings, though. Builders of this kit are evidently expected to be big boys who will be able to do the Krystal Kleer trick on all glazed areas. As an optional procedure, the builder might consider using clear epoxy in the window wells.
Although two fuselage bulkheads and a short section of deck are provided (I assume for fuselage strength) detailed directions for building gear wells--all gear doors are outlined--and mounting the gear struts are non-existent, so it's Scratchbuild City. The plastic is thick enough that I doubt any wing spars will be necessary, and they're also not mentioned.
A very attractive sheet of decals--thin, colorful, with overall excellent registration -- provides markings for one A and two C models, all three from the MATS era. One C model is an Oklahoma Air Guard bird. Curiously, no MAC emblem or tail strip is provided, although MAC ruled from 1965 to Shakey's final active USAF days, circa 1971.
Welsh provides a large combination sheet of brief instructions and three
nice 1/144 side views (plus a partial front view line drawing) for markings and paint reference.
A smaller scale top and bottom plan view and paint guide is on the back of the sheet. The MAC birds I flew in the late Sixties were overall natural aluminum and had minimum markings. I don't know about other Shakey fans, but I'm going with the vivid MATS white fuselage top, Arctic red tail/wing markings and black engine nacelles.
C o n c l u s i o n
My affection for recip aircraft obviously extends even to the big and ugly. The noise,
dirt, smell and vibration of those brutish corncob radials on takeoff roll, with the
engineer's torquemeters pegged and the exhaust pipes glowing orange, is an experience I'll
never forget. My thanks to Welsh Models for this excellent release and trip down Memory
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