1/72 Italeri C-130H

Republic of Singapore Air Force 122 Sqn No. 730

by David Bey

--------------------

 

Greetings! I just finished this build today - 10082005. It wasn't intended for Singapore's National Day, on the 9th of August, but rather as a present for a birthday on the 10th of August. I had been planning this kit for about half a year now, and bought the Italeri kit during Christmas Sale. I also purchased the Flightpath Detail Set, and Flightpath T56-A-15 Engine Units in Resin. I used photos from MINDEF (122 Sqn helped a lot in the tsunami relief efforts, and they have plenty of photos to show it), the Verlinden Lock On book, and also the RSAF 25th Anniversary book called: "   ". Decals was always going to be a problem, until I found out that Scalenutz was planning to release a set for RSAF C-130s in 1/72 scale around summer 2005 (Of course, in typical Singaporean style, that just means "the near future, no exact date"). I emailed Y C Ha at Scalenutz many many many times (I do have to thank him for his patience), and finally managed to get him to agree to thermal print a set of markings for me, for $50 SGD. This set had markings for 2 planes - except on one goof - he included twice as many Merlion heads (the national insignia) and only one set of the numbers "30".. so in reality I can only build one plane. Decals took me about 3 months from the first email to final collection. I started the build on the 1st of July, so time taken was 40 days, with last 10 days modelling at maybe 8 hours a day

Click on images below to see larger images

 
Using the Flightpath detail set and the verlinden book, I tried to spruce up the cockpit as much as I could, but losing the throttles to the carpet monster god. I realised that it would be extremely difficult to look in from the windows in this scale, so I concentrated my efforts on the ramp and the cargo hold instead. However, one look at the photos in the Verlinden book told me that I would not be able to reach that level of detail in 40 days (unless maybe, if I was John Vojtech who was the guy at the IPMS Nats 2005 who built that AC-130...). I tellya, the Flightpath photo-etched set is one bugger to use, as not all the words (ie instructions) are illustrated. Hey you guys at flightpath: A picture paints a thousand words! Assembling the flaps was a headache, as there were so many pieces to put together on each side...
 
Painting was done with standard SEA scheme colours, masked using blu-tack snakes. RSAF C-130s have the unique feature of having WRAPAROUND camo - no light grey on the undersides. I could not find any photos that gave me more than 5% (in total) of the underside camo.. I gather the underside isn't a popular shot to take for photographers eh? Attempts at getting photos from contacts were also futile, nowadays it's illegal to bring phones with cameras inside, much less a digicam (Ah, those good ol pre-911 days). To give myself a reference when I painted, I photo-copied the Verlinden scale drawings in 1/144, and started to draw on them, piecing the tens of photos I found over the net. This resulted in a rather comprehensive camo scheme, except for a few parts. As for the underside, I simply used my imagination..  No one's gonna look at my model's underside either! You can see my hand drawn camo scheme layout in one of the pictures
 
As I built the cargo hold, I also realised that the innards were simply too sparse. I built 2 boxes to fit inside, wrapped them with wrapping paper that had "Happy Birthday" on it, and glued it insdie to hide the emptiness. I guess it also looks like the plane's delivering birthday presents... As for the Flightpath detail set, the main attraction is the cargo ramp piece - when masked off and painted (took me an hour to mask), it looks very nice indeed... The set, as the flightpath guys say, really isn't for amateurs.. I used up quite a few x-acto blades as they got blunt on the brass faster.
 
I also had to chop and fill the engine mountings on the wings in order to fit the resin T56-A-15 units, this I didn't do too well, and some areas are still rather.. edgy.
 
I also restored panel lines by masking off a thin line and filling the gap with putty, then sanding it down to shape. It works quite well, as I realise I can't tell the difference after a few coats of paint.
 

 

The decals gave me a shock when I got them - they were just the markings, no stencils (RSAF planes have a lot of unique stencils). Ah well, at least I got my 730 markings, I thought. I tried to use as much stencils from the kit decals, but I'm still missing a lot. The display base cost me about 5USD, a photo frame from Ikea, painted using any spare grays I had, dirtied with all sorts of mumbo-jumbo. The lines were masked after drawing them out in pencil (and a compass, of course), yellow sprayed and weathered. The squadron patch, I got from a friend who used SAF credits to buy it (ie... free).

 
The HF antennas are beading wire, sprayed black. I stretched it a little to make it just that little bit thinner. Antennas and all, from the Flightpath set. Here's the weird part: in some photos, a plane would have the railing antennae, in some photos it wouldn't, so I was at quite a loss as to which ones to put. In the end I put those that made the plane look nice.
 
When I presented the present (doh), it got a few WoWs and dropped jaws. I hope you enjoy it too

Click on images below to see larger images

Finally, I can get back to building 1/48 Jets!

David 

Click on images below to see larger images

Photos and text by David Bey