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In-Box Review
VC-10 with Bra.Z resin replacement engines
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by: Is a secret [ JESSIE_C ]

Originally published on:

First impressions
Very little flash for a 47 year old kit. Fine raised panel lines that are out of scale for 1/144 and will be obliterated by all the sanding that will be necessary. Open doors but nothing to put inside them. Airfix never bagged their kits inside the box and over the years many of the parts will break free of the sprues to rattle around inside. This kit was purchased already partially built, so it is not possible to show the majority of the parts on the sprues as moulded. This box includes an airstair truck which will be useful for a diorama or vignette display. The moulds were altered to produce the RAF's tanker aircraft in the early 1980s. The tanker version may be converted back to an airliner by removing the refuelling station under the aft fuselage and filling in the slots under the wings where the refuelling pods mount. The tanker kit was most recently released in 2003 and stayed in the catalogue until 2008. Every release has had the prototype's wing and engine pylon configuration.

The fuselage is two halves from nose to tail. The cabin windows are open. The first issue in 1964 had clear parts to insert in the windows but they were so thick and distorted nothing could be seen of the interior anyway so it's just as well that there's nothing provided. Either fill them and use decals or Krystal clear/Clearfix the windows; decal film alone just won't do it. The cockpit windows are a single piece strip that is easy to either break or lose within the fuselage. Its fit is less than precise. The poorly-fitting clear part leaves quite a large gap around the frames which will take a fair bit of work to eliminate without destroying the windows. The VC-10 has 6 small eyebrow windows above the windscreen which are represented by raised lines, and black decals in the newer issues. Both of these problems may be avoided by using decal windows. There is a cockpit bulkhead which prevents the see-though look and makes for a good place to put the nose weight. The instructions do not indicate the need for nose weight but from long experience I know it's needed, especially if you use the Bra.Z replacement engines. If you chose to leave the windows clear, the interior should be painted black to prevent it from looking toy-like. Airfix chose to mould the cabin and baggage doors separately for nearly all their airliners. Unfortunately they have never fit very well, and will need to be puttied and sanded after they are installed. All the sanding needed with this kit means that the raised panel lines will be obliterated. Perhaps this is a good kit to practise re-scribing on. There are sink marks above some of the alignment pins which will need to be filled.

The wings are two pieces each. The trailing edges could benefit with a little thinning. Again most detail is raised, but it will generally escape the sandpaper. The fit is not good enough to enable the wings to be attached after painting; they will have to be done first and masked off. The wing fences are correct only for G-ARTA. The VC-10 went through many different wing fence configurations during its career. Study pictures to make sure the of the configuration on the aircraft you want to model. At a minimum you will need to add the very prominent inboard fences as seen here:

The tailplanes are two piece mouldings complete with the aft portion of the tailplane bullet fairing. They have to be assembled over a pair of pins at the top of the vertical stabiliser after the fuselage is assembled, and are intended to be movable. Most photographs showing parked VC-10s show the tailplanes in the neutral position. If the modeller so desires, the pins may be trimmed off to allow the tailplane to be fitted after assembly and painting.

The engines are two halves plus intake guide vane disks (they're not actually the engine faces which were further back in the nacelle). The exhausts are left open and not detailed. The engines are moulded with half the pylon, which makes for a tricky seam cleanup job. The pylons are only correct for G-ARTA as it was rolled out of the factory. Production VC-10s had a larger, wider pylon that attached near the tops of the nacelles, making them appear to 'hang' from it as seen in this photo on an RAF tanker: http://www.airliners.net/photo/UK---Air/Vickers-VC10-K3/1807210/L/ Replacement engines are available from Bra.Z models, but these were apparently produced on one of Ivo's off days because the intakes are far from circular and one has a blob of resin left from a bubble in the mould rubber. They will need a fair bit of work to correct them. If you use the Bra.Z engines, you will need to remove the portion of the pylon Airfix moulded onto the fuselage. The guide vane disks mount too near to the front of the intake and should be moved backwards if you're going to use the kit engines.

Landing gear
The landing gear struts and wheels are basic. They could use some brake lines and whatever else the modeller likes, but will look acceptable without. The wheels are designed to roll, thus the inaccurate holes at the ends of the gear legs. They will be difficult but not impossible to correct. Since they're not very visible on the finished model, I don't consider the amount of work to be worth the effort. There is an option for raised gear, but no stand is provided in the current issue. Earlier issues had one of Airfix' famous clear plastic stands. There is no detail in the wheel wells. As with all 1/144 kits, the gear doors are overly thick and may be replaced if the modeller wishes.

I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like a VC-10. After a little work, it looks much more like a VC-10 : )

Decals and markings
The decal sheet is basic, with only the airline markings provided. The sheet in my copy was water damaged, so I will have to use aftermarket. Luckily Two Six decals produces a modern version of the kit scheme. If you don't like the kit scheme there are many different choices provided by the aftermarket industry. No window decals are provided. Modellers wishing to apply decal windows must source them separately. Given that the previous owner puttied in all the windows, I will have to use decals.
Highs: The only standard VC-10 available. Good shape and wide variety of decal schemes available.
Lows: Raised detail that will be sanded away due to the poor fit. Some accuracy issues.
Verdict: If you want a standard VC-10 it's the one to get.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:144
  Mfg. ID: 04171-3
  Suggested Retail: OOP
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 22, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

About Is a secret (Jessie_C)

Copyright 2020 text by Is a secret [ JESSIE_C ]. All rights reserved.



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