This offering from Zvezda is I believe the 3rd or 4th Hercules I have seen from them, and on every occasion they have catered well to “Fat Albert”. On this occasion we get a C130J with the option of producing a British, American or Italian aircraft.
This offering from Zvezda arrives is a flip-top cardboard box with the artwork printed on it and the box should do a reasonable job of protecting the contents. Inside the box the sprues are packaged inside 3 plastic bags with a Ziploc bag protecting the clear sprue. The decals are loose within the bag, and unusually this has caused the large decal sheet to be creased in one corner - luckily this has not effected any of the decals. Looking at the sprues, Zvezda has done a very good job of moulding this release with incredibly subtle recessed panel lines that may actually have to be emphasised in order to remain visible after painting. An examination of the sprues reveals clean mouldings, with no defects I can see. There are a few very subtle ejector pin marks, but I believe at this time none of these will be visible on the finished model.
The office of this release is pleasingly detailed for a 1/72nd scale offering. Bulkhead detail is present where it needs to be. Three nicely detailed figures are provided with each being made up of 4 parts and I see no reason for them to be replaced. The only thing that I can really pick up to complain about, is that nothing is supplied to represent the instrument panels, as regards dials. Moving backwards along the interior of the fuselage we again have the bulkheads between the cockpit and the loading bay with very good detail present despite being difficult to see or display. The floor of the cargo bed has the marks present for the floor securing loops, and the interior wall detail has been nicely presented by Zvezda due to moulding on the main halves of the fuselage and panels and details that need adding to the model. I am pleased to see that the side doors have been provided separately and so could be shown open. The roof detail for the loading bay is also provided as separate pieces, and once added I am sure a super detail-er will enjoy playing around in this area. The bench seats that run along the sides of the fuselage, have all been provided in a folded up position.
The flight surfaces of the model are again moulded with very finely recessed panel lines, with the same note to be made by the modeller to avoid flooding these details when painting. The engines of the aircraft have nicely done engine nacelles with a pleasing amount of engine specific detail provided as regards tunnelling within the engine and turbine face. You do need to drill some holes in the wing to accommodate the external fuel tanks. The wings themselves are made up of five parts and assembled off of the model. The upper centre panel being secured to the lower halves of the wing before attaching the out upper surfaces of the wing. I believe this will enable the modeller to easily obtain the correct profile. The tail also has the nice panel lines, the flight control surfaces are integral within the main structures and so surgery would be required if it is your intention to alter their orientation. Another nice aspect about the wings being assembled off of the fuselage, means that the engine nacelles and fuel tanks get a chance to be set in place prior to gravity taking a hold of them. The external surfaces of the fuselage again exhibit the great panel lines, and you are notified that a 25g weight is needed in the nose to prevent a tail sitter. Looking at the nose moulding I would definitely say that this is a job for “Liquid Gravity”.
The six bladed props for this release have all been moulded individually and the modeller adds them to the spinner. The rear cargo doors, can be assembled open or closed with the detail inside of this release screaming “Leave them open”. The undercarriage is well secured at the rear, but if a little less secure at the nose, and so make sure that everything is seated and cured prior to sitting it on its wheels. A nice part of the wheels in this release is that they are provided weighted. The small number of antennae and aerials that need to be added, look to be well detailed for the scale.
As mentioned there are three finishing options for this release, with a very large decal sheet indicating the areas on which a person can walk, and the details on the props and so on. There are also decals for the American version on this sheet. The finishing options are:
C-130J of 135th Airlift Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard, Warfield Air Force Base, Baltimore, Early 2000s
C-130 from the RAF 24 Squadron, Lyneham Airbase, 2010s
C-130J Italian Air Force/Aeronautica Militare 2 Gruppo 46a Brigata aerea, Pisa Airbase, 2010s
This release from Zvezda of a C-130J is another great Hercules model from them in 1/72nd scale. The detail has a beautiful level of finesse that will test the modeller during painting in order to retain that finesse and detail. I am very pleased with the amount of effort put into the interior detail of this release, especially so considering the small scale. The decals are nice and thing, with so far as I can see everything that needs to be present is. Complaints: I cannot really think of any complaints that I can lay at Zvezda’s door as regards detail, assembly and contents. The result here is a beautiful model of a late version “Fat Albert” with my only wish being that Zvezda considers taking the detail to the next level and releasing it in 1/48th.