The C-123 was developed in the early 1950s and deployed by the USAF and US Coast Guard beginning 1956. They were used in the Viet Nam conflict and valued for their rugged STOL capabilities. Beginning 1962 this was further improved by the retrofitting of turbo jets in underwing pods, aircraft so equipped were redesignated C-123K. C-123s were also chose to be the platform for ďOperation Ranch HandĒ , designated UC-123K, this is the subject of this boxing by A-model. C-123s continued to be useful to TAC and MAC, and were variously operated by AF reserve units through the middle 1980s, when they were finally retired and superseded by newer C-130s.
A-Model kits always have sharp looking box art. The instructions are clear and complete. The sprues look decent but these is flash evident especially in the window openings. Panel lines are nicely engraved, Small parts arenít extremely well formed, but in 1/144 scale that can be passed over.
The fuselage is in two main halves, with a floor piece and two part rear door. There are two nose options, some C-123s received radar. The top of the tail fairing is molded into one side of the fuselage and the other fits into a recess, preventing that annoying gap that is so often hard to close up or fill. There are detailed wheel wells, a decent cockpit, which might just be visible given the amount of glass, but nothing in the way of detail in the cargo bay. There is a possibility of an open rear loading door, though some scratch building would be needed to make that worthwhile.
The wings have an upper and lower piece, the lower piece fits into a recess in the upper, so all the edges are molded solid, as for the tail fairing, producing gapless leading and trailing edges. There are underwing tanks, and turbo jets on the sprues in every kit, most but not all C-123s were upgraded to the K version with the addition of the turbo jets, so both these options are appreciated.
The vertical tail is part of the two fuselage halves. The rudder is all on one side, so you get a gapless trailing edge, though the leading edge must be cemented. The horizontal is a single solid casting that fits into a slot in the fuselage moldings, captive between the two halves
The nacelles are each in two halves, the radial engines and cowlings are reasonably well formed given the scale. If you want rotating propellers there will be some effort required to mount a shaft to the propeller, and bore the engine. The shaft and back stop are provided on the sprues but are among the tiny parts you could probably make as well from scratch.
The C-123 didnít have much visible of the landing gear. The wheels and struts provided are perfectly adequate and mount securely.
I didnít attempt to measure, but I trust A-model to be geeky this way. I did see these planes in service quite a bit, years ago, and the model looks good to me.
Decals and markings
There are markings for two different planes on the decal sheet. The printing is crisp and the offset is good. I have never tried to apply Amodel
decals, so I canít speak for the finish quality of the film.
The real thing
Of the various missions the C-123 was applied to, the one represented by this kit is perhaps the most remembered. The repercussions of that mission continue to the present day, and we do well to remember it.
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