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Amodel 1/144 C-130A Hercules Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2010 Manufacturer Amodel
Subject C-130A Hercules Scale 1/144
Kit Number 1437 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Very nice kit of this early variant Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $25.00

First Look


The Lockheed C-130 arose out of a requirement for a more capable airlifter after combat experience in Korea revealed serious airlift shortcomings with the existing World War Two vintage transports. In 1954, Lockheed first flew the YC-130 and in the decades that followed, more than 2000 examples have been built.

The C-130A was the first production variant, and early A-models were distinctive with their Roman nose profile and the three-bladed Aeroproducts propellers that created a gut-wrenching sound at full-power that was very disctinctive. The nose profile was later changed as an improved navigation radar was adopted for the C-130B that was housed in a larger radome and this feature was retrofitted to most C-130As as well. The four-bladed Hamilton Standard propellers that were to equip the C-130B-H models were also retrofitted to many C-130As as well.

The C-130A suffered from limited flight range and was retrofitted with external tanks outboard of the outboard engines. The C-130B was equipped with additional tanks in the wings and the outboard tanks were deleted. The C-130E/H retained the internal fuel and added larger external tanks between the inboard and outboard engines. The EC-130E ABCCC was one of the first C-130s to receive air-refueling capability and this has been expanded to many other special mission Hercs as well.

The C-130 is such a versatile airframe, it was adapted into a variety of special missions from gunship (AC-130), drone mothership (DC-130), electronic warfare (EC-130), airborne command post (also EC-130), tanker (HC-130), ski-equipped arctic airlifter (LC-130), special missions (MC-130), and hurricane hunter (WC-130). In 2006, the aircraft marked its 50th anniversary in military service and it is clear that it has another decade or two of service (at least) left in her.

Amodel has released their first installment in the 1/144th scale C-130 series to challenge the Minicraft kits. The kit looks really nice out of the box and shows hints of versions to come.

The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on eight parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The kit was designed to be able to replicate quite a few of the Hercules family, which is all-the-more reason to keep it in 1/144, as a die-hard Herc nut wouldn't have room for many variants in the larger scales.

Detailing is scribed and will look nice after painting. Fit will be critical in this particular kit since this is a bare metal scheme and we all know how bare metal finishes telegraph any flaws. In experienced hands, this will look great in the provided early airlifter scheme.

So what features are in here anyway?

  1. External tanks for the A-model or the later E/H models
  2. Early A-model three-bladed propellers
  3. Roman nose as well as the later nose
  4. Positionable ramp and door
  5. Nicely detailed landing gear

There is no interior in the cockpit, so you may want to scratch-build the crew seats for the pilots and flight engineer, as that will be about all you'll see through those tiny windows.

If you do leave the ramp and door open, you'll need to add hydraulic actuators for the ramp, open the accessway through the forward bulkhead (station 245), and add a few details in the interior. A main cargo deck is provided.

Markings are provided for two examples:

  • C-130A, 54-1631, USAF Reserve, camouflaged
  • C-130A, 53-3131, USAFFTC, Edwards AFB, 1956, bare metal

This is a nice-looking kit that has some definite promise. It will be interesting to see how well it goes together alongside the Minicraft kit.

My sincere thanks to HobbyTerra for this review sample!