1/72 Italeri C-130J Hercules

Gallery Article by Carmel J Attard on Dec 22 2010


While it maintains the familiar lines of the Hercules, by now is a common sight in the world skies and for decades to come, the C-130J has been extensively re-designed. The most visible change lies in the use of four-4700 HP Rolls Royce (Allison) AE21003 engines, with six-blade composite material propellers that ensure silent running and low fuel consumption.  High performance features include an excellent rate of climb and an extended range of action thanks to the new engines.  An equally important development is the avionics: the cockpit in fact, is equipped with new digital instruments and a Head-Up Display that provide the pilot with a constant stream of data without him having to look away from the cockpit window.  The C-130J is steadily becoming the standard transport aircraft in many NATO countries, Italy included.

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Kit No: 1255 C-130J Hercules
Scale: 1/72
Price: 36 Euro
Type: Injection moulded kit with clear transparencies, three colour decal options and complete with lots of detail and colours information booklet.

The kit
This is the same Italeri kit of C-130E and H of early 80s with updated injected parts that come as addition new sprues. Despite the age there is not the faintest hint of flash and the clear parts are commendably transparent.  Moulded in grey plastic a short fuselage C-130J can be produced. The Photographic Reference Manual provided also suggests details and accurate dimensions to enable one make the stretched C-130J where an extension cut from an additional fuselage taken from another kit having a staggered joint can be worked out or the extension part can be scratch built. Using this method any of the longer versions (L-100-30, C-130H-30 etc) can be made.

One can follow the 10-page folding instruction sheet stage by stage and there are 9 stages. Colour data is also provided where each component is clearly marked with a colour reference letter. There are a few components that you would not need and these are clearly marked.  I did not fit the refuelling probe as the particular type I made did not have one fitted.

I chose to build the Maryland Air National Guard aircraft even though the detail pictures dealt mainly with the Italian and the RAF C130J.  I had to assume that what detail there was on these also applied to the US aircraft.  Even so the clear art work on the box cover also provided good clues for surface detail.  The surface panel lines on all parts is raised and the original Allison T-56A engines are now replaced with a new set of the later Allison AE 2100 D3 Turboprops.  For the C-130J a minor modification consisting of cutting off the earlier beaver tail which is then replaced with the recent version.  Other exterior alterations come in different antennae and air intake scoops.  This also reveals that some of the chaff and flare dispensers and warning systems are absent in the kit.  When it comes to the nose area for details the instruction sheet gave brief indications and reference to the manual photos was the answer.  Alterations to the nose area consisted of blanking one on each side of the nose of the vertical rectangular windows; these were also faired with filler.  The lower two front square windows were also blanked.  On top of these I added sensors as shown on close up photos in the manual on P15.  As for the interior a new instrument panel for the upgrade C-130J is provided.  Otherwise the interior remains fairly basic and if left with the rear loading door open there is scope for a lot of detail to add.  The rear cargo hatches and ramp also required additional detail.  I had no plans to leave the cargo door and side doors in the open position and so much for additional internal detail.  However there is a conspicuous embossed panel right on the outside and in the middle of the ramp.  This is shown in great detail on P38 where the raised panel is faired at the sides.  Other additions were altering the aerials and antennae in both shape and their location on the fuselage.  The only difficulty encountered was with narrow gaps when the ramp was fixed in place.  These were fixed with super glue and a little amount of ‘Plasto’ filler followed by smooth sanding.

It is essential to add weight to the nose area in order to balance the kit on the nose.  The new engines and six blade propellers made the principal difference in appearance to the earlier C-130 Hercules I made.  Reference to additional photos I downloaded from the Internet showed that additional aerials and antennae were fitted to the type.  These had to be made from plastic card. The final assembly was the tailpiece that was replaced with a different one supplied.  In the end the undercarriage was fixed in place making sure that the 6 wheels were all level and all touched the ground.  The propellers were left to a stage after the painting and decals are complete.  Each of these simply locates on a small round platform, which can be fixed to rotate on small shafts. Prior to painting I masked all clear areas using a mix of Humbrol Maskol and Tamiya tape.

Decals and colour
The entire model was airbrushed in Neutral grey FS36173, Model Master aircraft grey ADC1731E.  Then blended areas with a darker or lighter shade in way of erosion or exhaust flow from the Allison engine.  The model was then given an overall coat of Johnson’s Klear.  Decals are accurate in colour and in perfect register.  They also have good fixing properties and are therefore very good.  These include also all formation lights and walkway lines on top of wings and fuselage.  Decals were applied a little at a time working from those that fits under the wings, then on fuselage sides and finally on the fuselage and main planes.  Most of the interior was light grey. The exhaust path under the wings was painted black.  The only additions I made to the cockpit interior were painted tape to represent seat straps/harnesses.  In the end I sprayed the entire model in semi matt transparent lacquer.  Light coats of engine grey mixed with lots of Lacquer gave indication of wear across loading ramp and side doors.

I like the overall sit of the attractive aircraft complete with a good choice of decals.  The kit was practically built straight from the box with minor additional detail to the exterior.  The C130 J contrasted well with a previous C-130 built in USCG livery.  I recommend the kit to anyone with average skill and certainly a must for those keen on present day transport aircraft.

Carmel J Attard

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Photos and text © by Carmel J Attard