Zvezda 1/100 Dusty Crophopper/Air Tractor 402 Build Review
By Chuck Holte
|Date of Review||January 2014||Manufacturer||Zvezda|
|Subject||Dusty Crophopper/Air Tractor 402||Scale||1/100|
|Kit Number||2061||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Simple snap-tite construction, inexpensive||Cons||None|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$8.98|
"Dusty Crophopper" is an animated character from the current Disney DVD production "Planes." The Zvezda model is based on the Dusty character and has a family resemblance to the Air Tractor series of crop duster and aerial fire tanker aircraft.
Several internet sources cite specific Air Tractor series aircraft as the basis for this kit. I spent considerable time at the modeler-friendly Air Tractor web site http://www.airtractor.com/ downloading dimensioned three-view drawings of the various aircraft.
I'm still not sure which one Zvezda kitted, but I think it may have been an artist's rendition of the "402" or "502" series. Comparing the 1/100 scale kit with the drawings, I decided to modify my kit to "402" dimensions by adding a longer nose, longer and wider wings and elevators. I chopped the nose and added ½ inch of styrene, removed and replaced the kit wings and elevators with scratch-built sheet styrene parts. I also re-contoured the windscreen and canopy and vacuformed a replacement from clear styrene.
Since the cockpit would now be visible, I added a seat and belts to the otherwise bare interior. I redid the turbo-jet exhausts with aluminum tube, added scoops and vents and a door to the forward fuselage, per the drawings and photos. I also extended the business end of the crop duster by adding brass rod and spray nozzles per photos. I should have but did not relocate the main landing gear from the wings to the fuselage. It would have been more accurate, but I was happy with the way it looked as designed by Zvezda.
After several sand-prime-patch-sand-prime sessions, I used Tamiya rattle can Gray and White Primer followed by Tamiya Chrome Yellow to paint the model. Bogus civil registration decals were created on my personal computer. Model Master Aircraft Interior Black enamel was used for the anti-glare panel and black decals for the wing walks. After the final details were added, Floquil Flat was airbrushed to kill the "toy-like" shine.
This kit was designed for seven year olds, and my five year old great-grand-daughter thoroughly enjoyed putting it together out-of-the-box with just a little help from "gramps." I realized I didn't have a crop duster in my model collection so I decided to see what I could do to "enhance" the Zvezda kit to be more of a "scale model." We both had a good time building and one can't ask for much more from a modeling experience. "Dusty Crophopper" is a recommended kit for beginners and for those who want to add a semi-accurate Air Tractor "duster" to their display cabinet.