Friday, December 28, 2012

Biggest surprise of 2012

Throughout the year I frequently go to Cybermodeler to check their list of upcoming releases, which is updated regularly and generally quite accurate. That said, sometimes a new release sneaks in under the radar and surprises us. That was the case with Roden's 1/144 C-124A Globemaster this year. Of course at my age (mid-forties) my memory ain't what it used to be, so I could be wrong; maybe it was announced two years ago. No matter, it was new to me and a total surprise.

If you haven't seen the kit, here's a review on Britmodeller, and here's a good discussion on Aircraft Resource Center.

I view the C-124 and C-131 as the first of the super cargo aircraft that eventually gave us the C-141, C-5, and C-17. The C-124 is an important aircraft that's been overlooked for a long time, not surprising given that cargo aircraft are generally less sexy than, say, an F-94 or MiG-21. Have you ever heard of a pilot graduating at the top of his UPT class and requesting cargo aircraft? Probably not. Therefore it was great to see Roden find the courage to release the C-124 this summer. On a side note, it has some meaning even to my mother, who flew to France on a Globemaster in the mid-1950s when, as a young Army PFC, she was assigned to a base in Lyon.

In fairness, Roden's kit doesn't have the finesse we see in the latest fifth-generation releases from Eduard, Cyber Hobby, and Tamiya, but as it's unlikely we'll see those heavy hitters produce a Globemaster anytime soon, we're lucky to have manufacturers like Roden to give us decent models of more obscure aircraft. While not perfect, a talented modeler can create a real gem with them. The model shown below is Carl Knable's C-124, which is the perfect kit to show off his talent with natural metal finishes.

A couple of weeks ago Roden announced a C-124C, the variant with the distinctive, bulbous nose (the one seen on Carl's coversion). We can only hope that 2013 will see them release a C-133!

Runner up goes to the Great Wall 1/48 MiG-29. This came out of nowhere and has made many of us very happy! The only reason it doesn't take the Surprise award is that it's not as risky a release as the Roden Globemaster.

Tomorrow I'll give you the WTF award of 2012!

Thanks to Carl for sharing photos of his model.

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