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C-97 Kit

Minicraft 1/144 YC-97A 'Angel of Deliverance' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2008 Manufacturer Minicraft
Subject YC-97A 'Angel of Deliverance' Scale 1/144
Kit Number 14572 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautiful kit Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $21.95

First Look

C-97 Kit
C-97 Kit
C-97 Kit
C-97 Kit
C-97 Kit
C-97 Kit
C-97 Kit

The C-97 was a military derivative of the Boeing Model 377 airliner that was developed near the end of World War II as a long-range transport aircraft. The Boeing 377 and C-97 design was initially based upon the wings and tail section of the B-29 Superfortress, the advent of the B-50 with its larger engines and tail was incorporated into the production airlifters.

The XC-97 first flew in early 1945 with the 2200 horsepower R3350 engines and the shorter B-29 tail. The YC-97A incorporated the R4360 engines of the B-50 rated at 3500 horsepower each. Built in 1945, the YB-97 was used in flight test as any pre-production prototype would be, but one prototype in particular, serial number 45-59595, would gain additional distinction as being the only Stratofreighter to participate in the Berlin Airlift. Named the 'Angel of Deliverance', 595 was able to pack in record payloads into Tempelhof airport.

Minicraft has produced the first styrene kits of the C-97 in 1/144 scale. In this release, they've replicated the early YC-97A that flew the corridors into Berlin and carried its valuable cargo into Berlin Tempelhof airport. Many other C-97 variants would visit Tempelhof over the decades to follow, but this one was the only one to participate in the airlift.

The kit is molded in light grey styrene and presented on five parts trees, plus a single clear styrene dome that represents the cockpit enclosure. The kit was designed to be able to replicate quite a few of the Stratofreighter family, which is all-the-more reason to keep it in 1/144, as a die-hard C-97 nut wouldn't have room for many variants in the larger scales.

Detailing is scribed and will look nice after painting. The finish on this subject is bare metal, so you'll want to take care with seam lines, etc., as these will be visible.

So what features are in here anyway?

  1. External tanks for the G-model
  2. Air refueling boom
  3. Separately molded radome

None of these 'features' are used in the YC-97A, but can be used to render a C-97G or KC-97G if you're so inclined. The jet pods of the KC-97L are not in this boxing.

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.

Markings are provided for 'Angel of Deliverance'. You can build the aircraft sans the radome to render the YC-97A or with the radome to render the KC-97G that is being backdated by the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation as a flying museum and painted as 595.

Here is another interesting subject from Minicraft that renders a variant (YC-97A) that has not been produced in any scale to date. The only other options are Academy's 1/72 Stratofreighters, which are nice kits, but naturally much larger as well. The choice is yours!

My sincere thanks to Minicraft Models for this review sample!