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American Kit

Minicraft 1/48 Cessna 172 CAP Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2009 Manufacturer Minicraft
Subject Cessna 172 CAP Scale 1/48
Kit Number 11651 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely detailed kit Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $27.95

First Look

American Kit
American Kit
American Kit
American Kit
American Kit

The Civil Air Patrol dates back to World War 2 where volunteer pilots and crews contributed to the defense of the US borders and coastlines flying older USAAF aircraft. After the war, CAP's mission focused on search and rescue (SAR) and its adult and youth volunteers provided the manpower to make this mission a success.

One other mission of the CAP after the war was its cadet program where the youth learned the history of the US Air Force and followed its guidelines and traditions. CAP members, adult and youth, wear USAF standard uniforms with different devices to distinguish CAP members from active duty Air Force members. As a cadet learns more and can demonstrate greater military proficiency, they not only receive promotions as their active duty counterparts receive, but they are also given opportunities to do more like learning communications, ground SAR, or like me, to earn their wings.

I earned my private pilot's license and wings with the CAP in California back in the early 1970s. Many cadets who've also availed themselves of the opportunities to learn and grow within the CAP moved on to serve their country in the USAF or other branches of service. While the CAP of my youth was still focused on the SAR mission, today's CAP has expanded back into its World War 2 missions again with missions flown in support of a variety of agencies while retaining its SAR proficiency.

Here's another Cessna 172 kit from Minicraft in 1/48 scale, this time wearing the contemporary colors of the Civil Air Patrol. This kit has been released in a few civilian packages as well as the T-41 Mescalero. What's the difference? The plastic is the same, the markings are different.

The kit is molded in white styrene and presented on three parts trees, plus a single tree in clear styrene. Out of the box, the kit looks as nice and offers some interesting possibilities.

For many folks, one Skyhawk looks like any other, but like any other aircraft subject, there are differences between production models and some are not as subtle as others. As always, check your references to see if the Skyhawk you're representing has wheel pants or not. The aircraft depicted in the box art is flying without.

The interior provided in this kit is the same as all of the other releases and you may want to make some changes here. They have a jump seat in the cargo area behind the rear seats, toss that part. The front and rear seats have headrests and nicely ribbed seatbacks.

The windscreen is the correct one-piece unit that was in use by this time, but you'll want to check your references on the rear window - this kit has a centerpost which was on some models of the Skyhawk while others had the one-piece rear window.

Markings are provided for two examples:

  • Cessna 172S, N430CP, Alaska Wing, 2009
  • Cessna 172P, N19NJ, New Jersey Wing, 2007

This is a nice looking kit and the basic styrene parts will serve the basis for modeling quite a few of the variants of the venerable Skyhawk family with simple modeling skills required to affect those changes. Have some fun!

My sincere thanks to Minicraft for this review sample.