Amodel 1/72 Antonov An-24T (Coke) Build Review
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review||October 2015||Manufacturer||Amodel|
|Kit Number||72160||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Unique subject||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||Approx. $50.00|
The Antonov twin turboprop family (An-24, 26, 30, 32) is a large and very diverse one. Amodel has represented this family very well in the 1/72nd scale and also in 1/144th. I bought most of their 1/72nd scale kits and finally decided to start working on them. I thought it would make sense to start from the earlier variant, the T = Transport version. Very much like the A with the APU for the third aux jet engine exhausting on the side as opposed to the back of the engine nacelle.
Amodel has designed this kit in a modular way so all the variant can be represented with judicious sprue inclusions. Looking at the model in the box impresses you with the amount of surface detail and attention to detail. Cutting the parts off the sprues and test fitting them is another story. The injection execution is a bit rough and not high pressure with all the trouble that entails. Be prepared for lots of cleaning , trimming, sanding, test fitting etc.
I started the model with the cockpit section first. Not bad for 1/72 scale kit. Little will show through the painted clear cockpit glass but I added a few extra things to it just the same.
The front fuselage went together OK after lots of sanding and trimming of the interior. The rear fuselage was troublesome and I had to glue it a little at a time as the two halves had no locating pins and there were many mismatches. I was thinking about gluing the four halves in the logical left to right way and then merging left to right but I had no idea how much weight will be needed to keep the model on its landing gear. So I built the front plug and the rear plug separately. This way I can figure out how much weight is needed and add it between the halves. There is already ballast ahead of the cockpit assembly. The joint between the front and rear lugs is not great. The top to bottom part is fine but there is a step on each side. I will have to squeeze and super glue the sides and then liquid glue the top and bottom later.
I love that Amodel added the cutout at the base of the tail for the red anti-collision beacon. I do not like that one side is filled with an extra blob of plastic. Cleaning and surgery is required before the clear beacon part gets sandwiched and cover by a clear lens (all provide in the kit).
The fit of the wings to the fuselage is not so great but it will be manageable with lots of sanding and putty. Same goes for engine nacelles. Plenty of work remains ahead before primer and paint touch the model. Yes, this is a tough build but how else can one get a Russian Coke?
After the main assemblies finally came together it was time to start puttying the joints. As hard as I tried there were many joint irregularities that needed attention. So I marked the areas with masking tape in order to identify them and also to protect innocent surface detail from eradication. Red 3M went on and was left to dry overnight.
I next directed my attention to the front fuselage plug. I cleaned up and sanded the putty and also installed the astrodome window. This part was a major pain. The instructions have you install it before the two halves come together. I thought it would be very tough or not possible. I slowly enlarged the top opening until the astrodome would drop-fit. One little problem is that the astrodome base is flat but the fuselage top is rounded. It does not show really bad but it is there.
Then the transparencies went in. Another tough part in the assembly process. As much as I tried dry fitting, I could not get a perfect relationship. As such it will need some putty again.
The front to main fuselage joint is another ordeal. As mine came together, I had two different and dissimilar circumferences. In other words, the front fuselage would not butt-joint perfectly with the main fuselage. The front to bottom joint was OK but the sides left gaps. The only way to solve it was to glue the top and let it set. Then I superglued the sides as I was squeezing them to shape. Once set I forced the bottom joint into compliance. It was good enough so I left it alone for the night. The next day I masked the raised front to rear fuselage reinforcing band joint area in preparation for sanding and puttying. I used 3M Acryl Blue for that.
Next I installed the exhausts in the nacelles after I painted them in pale burned metal. It will be tough to mask them and protect them from overspray so I might have to touch them up later.
The nacelles did not go on easily. They did not want to fit correctly. I took me two days to get them on right.
The canopy was also masked, sanded and puttied. Care was taken not to affect any of the transparencies that needed to stay clear. Masking the canopy was an amazing proposition. A whole morning was required for that. Boy, how I wish there was a masking set for this beast. The framing is so imperceptible and after a dip in Future it became even less visible! The round fuselage windows were Squadron liquid masked.
After the masking was done I sprayed the model with Mr Surfacer 1000.
Next job will be to reconstitute the lost panel lines and attach the wings and tail. Spraying the first coat of Mr Surfacer 1000 helped me identify the expected blemishes on the model surface, like scratches, impacted panel lines and seams. One more application of red 3M, one more night of drying time and more judicious sanding of the putty. Next came the necessary repair of the panel lines using Dymo tape and scribing tools.
Once the model surface looked good, I masked the exhausts and landing gear and proceeded to attach the wings and tail. The model provides a tail anti-collision beacon and clear cover. I spent a lot of time trying to get the cover to fit.
So, as I am getting ready to paint the model I am searching the web for any images of an aircraft of the specific subtype and era. Wouldn't you know it, airliners.net sure had an image of the exact same plane Amodel includes decals for!
I made a mixture of Testors 60% gloss white and 40% RLM 21 and sprayed a few thin coats. Since white is delicate and takes a while to dry fully, I left the model in the Arizona sun-room to bake.
Next, I fully masked the white and sprayed the gray. I used Xtracolor Dark Ghost Gray with a drop of blue and white. This brand of color takes just as long to dry as well so one more day was spent with the paint baking in the sun-room.
The Alclad II Aluminum leading edges and the Dark Aluminum cowling fronts were sprayed next.
I followed that with matte black for the anti-glare nose, props and exhausts areas on the engine nacelles. I then completed the props and the steel plates around the exhausts.
Lastly I unmasked the whole model and I will let it sit for a few days before touch ups and the addition of the small antennas and other details.
Drilling the resin wheels so they are ready for mounting has always been a problem for me since all the tools I have would make a conical shape hole. What I want is a cylindrical hole. There is a tool that my buddy Eli Raphael gave me last time we met that does just that. I am including a picture of it although I do not know where to buy it from other than the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.
The last step was applying the decals and the weathering. The decals are a total failure. They look nice with lots of stencils and all but they crack and break. Dipping them in warm water is a mistake. Cold water immersion is better. The trick is to dip them in cold water and then take them out. Then very gently push them off the carrier paper onto the plastic. The large decals will break for sure. Very disappointing.
The small antennae went on last.
Lastly, I applied weathering and then sealed it with semi-gloss varnish. I am pleased with the final result.
It is a very nice kit design-wise but the molding is a bit weak.
Recommended to the veterans of limited run kits.