DC-130 Hercules
Drone Carrier
Kit No. 00000. 1:48th scale

Ted's Corner


<>Italer's latest version of  the hercules is the  DC-130  drone carrier,  this is a C-130A and is used to carry four drones of which there are at least a couple of different types. Those supplied in the kit are BQM-34As which I believe are actually target drones as opposed to intelligence gathering vehicles. The kit is moulded in light grey plastic which is very close to the grey used by the US Navy (could be useful). All the parts are totally without flash and the fit of parts, with the exception of the rear side doors, is very good leaving only minimal join lines to clean up. The wing fuselage joint is quite good enough to allow painting before carefully joining with liquid cement. The clear window parts are well defined around the cockpit area making for easy masking prior to spraying. The cabin has enough detail to make it look busy, but there is room for some super-detailing if you wish, whilst the fuselage simply has a floor and some interior ribbing towards the rear. The main cargo doors can be fitted open or closed, with hydraulic rams included for the open position.
The four drones are each made up from eight separate parts forming quite nice little models in their own right; the big wing pylons included are used in place of the external fuel tanks which are still on the frame (a useful supply of spares). A small radome is provided to fit below the nose of the USAF version, but beware, as that particular machine should have an extended nose section and three-bladed propellers with shorter nacelles, none of which are provided in the kit.
Decals are provided for one air force machine and a navy aircraft in the standard grey/white scheme with large areas of high viz, yellow and orange, all with a gloss finish, and it is this colourful version that I chose to model.
port front view 
My method of construction was dictated somewhat by the colourful paint scheme, and as such, is rather unusual but worked quite well. When you fit the rear side doors (parts 43 and 67) use a piece of 40 thou. card as packing to fill the gap at the top edge. I also added some 15 thou, strips to the inside edges to give a little extra strength. Make sure that you fit all the windows securely as there is a tendency to push them in whilst handling.
Assemble the fuselage as per instructions but don’t cement the front undercarriage leg, this will allow you to retract it and lay the gear doors in position along with the main gear doors (I use a blob of Blu-Tack to hold them there) to avoid more masking. The cargo doors were temporarily held in position with a dab of white PVA glue as I wanted to fix them later in the open position (this also saves masking).
Ordinary masking tape can be laid on the canopy and pressed into each window with a cocktail stick; cut around the frames with a sharp scalpel. A drop of white glue can be placed on each of the round windows to act as a mask. These are easily removed later with a pointed knife to pick them off. The wings, including the nacelles and pylons, were all assembled as were the tailplanes. These items were firmly held in clothes pegs to make handling a lot easier.
  stbd rear view
As white, yellow and orange are always poor in covering power and always look dull and very dark over a grey base, I decided to undercoat all the light areas with white. Use Humbrol HR228 Satin White, which has a smooth finish ready to take the top coat. The white areas were done in 22 Gloss White and left to harden for two days before masking with draughting tape to take the grey. No F.S. number is given for the correct grey, so I have used F.S.16473 ADC Grey which looks about right to me, (Hannants,. produce this in a gloss finish). Run some masking tape through your fingers a few times to reduce the tackiness and mask the fin to cover the rest of the fuselage. Lightly tape around the orange bands on the wings and spray these and the assembled drones with F.S.12197 International Orange. I have used the ‘new Extra Colour from Hannants but you can use Humbrol 132 or 82 Orange Lining; both of these colours will need a little gloss varnish added but are an almost perfect match.

stbd front view

After masking the orange bands, the wings and tailplanes can be sprayed in F.S.13538 Gloss Yellow. Again, I used Extra Colour but I found it quite thin, requiring several coats to build up a good body of colour. This then took several days to dry off enough to handle. With the exception of the orange bands, you can remove the masking and assemble the wings and tailplanes; if you use a little care you shouldn’t have to clean up the joints. The walkways can now be masked using half inch tape pressed down lightly but firmly. Matt Dark Gull Grey F.S.36231 is the colour to use here, but apply with care to avoid overspray. To do the area around the base of the fin I simply held a sheet of 15 thou. card against it to act as a mask. I have used the pattern suggested on the sheet but after removing the masking I outlined the area with black decal stripe. There is a cheatline between the grey/white from cockpit to tailplane depicted on the instruction sheet, but not included with the decals. This is Dark Blue F.S.15050 and is available from Scale Master or Microscale trim film. The decal sheet is very matt so I have sprayed it with two coats of gloss varnish. This meant that each item had to be closely trimmed, but they blended in nicely with the gloss paints.

port rear view

Finally, the radome and prop hubs were finished in Humbrol 85 Satin Black, the prop blades and small panel high on the fin were treated with Rub ‘n Buff. Various little touches of colour were used to finish off the model and the rear doors were opened as so often seen on parked “Herky Birds”.
  underside view
Quite a striking model can be made from this kit, one that is well worth the effort you put in at quite a reasonable price.
The Navy had two of these aircraft, 8228 and 8229. Both of these are depicted in Ko Ku Fan No.79 on the C-i 30 Hercules, but the planes are shown with three­ bladed propellers and the shorter engine nacelles, before they were re-­engined and given four-bladed props. Squadron Signal C-130 in action depicts 8229 in a slightly different scheme that would not be too difficult to duplicate.
The other aircraft in the kit, 57-496, is a DC-130A but this aircraft has an extended nose plus three-bladed props and is also illustrated in the
KoKu Fan. If you fancy the extra conversion work, you could make a DC-130E, 61 -2368, pictured on the same page, with four ­bladed props and longer nacelles. This machine has drone pylons fitted on the outer stations and fuel tanks on the inboard pylons.
Number 5 in the Warpaint series from Aviation News will be very useful as it has 1/72nd drawings including this particular aircraft type. 

Ted Taylor

APRIL 1987

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