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1:144 Minicraft C-130J Hercules. Good, bad or indifferent? Can't seem to find a review anywhere.

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So I picked up the Minicraft 1:144 C-130J Hercules from Hobby Lobby the other day, and I'm wondering if anybody has built this thing. Heard anything good/bad/ugly/pretty about it? I Googled it, and I can just find it for sale. I can find a review for the WC-130J kit, but not for this one. Also, are there any aftermarket decals available for it? Can't seem to find any of those, either. Looking at the kit in the box, it looks like it's really easy to slap together, and the included decals are high-quality Cartograf ones, so I'm actually looking forward to starting it and seeing what happens. Any info would be helpful. Thanks :)

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I did not record where this critque was posted.  Here's a start:



Hi! I'm Grant Matsuoka currently living in Tokyo.  If you prefer building a kit as is and getting the most out of it, perhaps this will be disappointing.  If you are a worrywart who likes it perfect, perhaps this is for you.  If you might be interested in what might be necessary to make a kit more accurate, even if it is not important, this might be an interesting read.


Among other things, I'm a C-130 nut who came back to C-130s after a long time due to the issue of the Minicraft kit.  This is for the Coast Guard kit.


Well here it goes.  On first inspection, the kit looks good.  Scribing is a bit heavy for 1/144, but acceptable.  If slapped together, it will be a satisfying build.  It provides many items that modelers would want, flight deck, cargo bay flooring and opening cargo doors.  The join for the wings to the fuselage insures that the alignment of the wings is at the proper angle.  Minicraft has put out a much needed kit.


If you are interested, in improvements to the kit, read on.  This is my opinion and I am not infallible.  Part of this derived from comparing the kit with the excellent but by no means perfect drawings in the old Koku-fan Famous Aircraft of the World #79, C-130 Hercules, from Nov. 76, but more importantly from detail pictures that I have accumulated over the years.

 The fillet that covers the forward wing join to the fuselage is too large and extends too far forward.  In other words the curvy part that covers where the wing attaches to the fuselage is too large ahead of the wing.

  1. The main landing gear door is about 2mm too long and cuts into the APU area.  The wheels are too large in diameter.
  2. The fuselage around the cockpit is too angular.  The lower forward windows should be slightly curved rather than have an angle in the middle.
  3. Looking at the rear fuselage towards the tail, the fuselage width should start curving in at the about the point where the two ramp cargo doors meet.  On the kit it starts bulging out very slightly.
  4. The shape of the fuselage width under tail should be a more gentle curve rather than a sharp break.  This is from before the horizontal tail surfaces to the beaver tail, looking at the kit from the bottom up.
  5. In the same area, lengthwise, the under fuselage is too deep.  It should not be a raised area like on the kit, but follow the fuselage contours with the lowest part on the centerline.  The raised area should be thinner in outline.  Look at the Italeri or AMT kits.
  6. According to the plans, the fuselage is too short, perhaps around the paratroop doors and the tail is too narrow and too short.
  7. The fuselage under the paratroop doors should be flat and not curve upwards as in the kit.
  8. The props are too wide.  The stubs that attach the props to the prop cone are too long and in this scale the back edge should almost be flush with the cone.
  9. The engines are too wide.  The rear of the engine is too short and too flat at the end.  The flat area should be narrower.  They extend a bit too far back.
  10. Engine intakes are too square and too flat at the bottom.  It should look like a deeper smiling mouth.  The intake should pinch in where it joins the prop cone.  From the front it should have a figure 8 shape.  The prop cone diameter appears too wide.  The small rear intake is too far forward.  The exhaust cans at the rear have ends that are too slanted.  The ends should be much closer to vertical.
  11. The under wing tanks are too short and the nose is too blunt.  The pylons are too short and a bit too thin and missing the cutout for the flaps.
  12. The refueling pods should be more tear drop shaped.  Perhaps they could be a bit larger in diameter.  The forward part can be more rounded and the rear sanded down to present a longer tail cone.
  13. The fuselage and cargo door bumpers are missing.  These support (?) the fuselage and door when they come in contact with the ground during loading or unloading.
  14. The air vent grill is missing from behind the right cockpit windows.
  15. Does not provide the more common 60s thru 80s straight edged beaver tail.
  16. The kit is of an E model whereas USCG 1703 should be a super H model.  I think they now call it an H-7.  Sorry.  The landing gear housing should extend past the prop line and on the left side it should have a ball hump for the APU while the right side should have a small air intake (air conditioning?) in front.  There should also be another bump behind and below the right cockpit.
  17. The orange on my decal was too red and slightly splotchy.  It would have been nice to see the USCG emblem as a separate item.


Sorry that this is a lot.  I love the C-130.  I am sorry that it will take a lot of effort to make it acceptable in my eyes.  I may be wrong in my comments and would appreciate any comments to help me.


Finally, thank you very much to Minicraft for releasing the kit.


Making an accurate C-130A


If you want to make an accurate A model (AC/DC/JC/RC/WC, C-130D, and RC-130S) you would have to correct three major things:

  1. Set the engines further back into the wing.
  2. Scribe the forward cargo door and add extra windows.
  3. Reshape slightly the join of the nose radome and fuselage.


The A model engines were set further back into the wings.  There is a vertical panel line on the engines about where the wing meets the engines.  On the A model, the wing extends forward of that line.


The rear engine fairings extend further back.  On the inner engine, the rear ends at the front of the flap.  On the outer engine, it extends onto the flap itself.  The rear portion of the engine fairing is attached to the flap and there is a break line at about the 60% part of the flap, starting from the front of the flap.  As the flap extends backwards and downwards on rails rather than downwards on hinges, there is no need for a cutout on the fairing.


To get a better idea of the differences in engine length ahead of the wing, compare the red prop warning line on A models with B and later models.  The prop line for the A model touches the front of the landing gear housing.  On the B and later models, the prop line is about a foot ahead of the landing gear housing.  For the later super H models, from about 72-XXXX tail numbers and later, the landing gear housing was extended forward so that the prop line is now flush with the front of the right housing, and is about half a foot behind the front of the left housing.


As three blade props must do more work than four blade props, they are longer and have square corners and straight tips.  They get wider towards the tips.  The four blade props curve inwards slightly as they approach the blade tips and have rounded tips.  I've always felt that the A model blades were fatter than the four blade props, but cannot confirm this at this time.


The A models, (and their derivative Ds and Ss) B and E models up to and including the 61-XXXX tail numbers had a forward cargo door on the left fuselage side.  These had an unfortunate habit of opening in flight with at least one tragic result and so were ordered locked shut and later deleted from later models.  The outline is clear, even if perhaps less so, on camouflaged planes.


The A models also had an extra window ahead of the landing gear housing, one on each side.  B models and later deleted this window.  Little remarked on, early A models (up to and including 55-XXXX tail numbers) had at least 4 windows on the upper fuselage, two on each side ahead of the wings.  Look for 50s era photos to see this.  Later A models had the windows plated over.  You could still see this from the inside. B models and later deleted the openings entirely.  From the early 60s the windows were painted over.  The navigator also had a proper window rather than a sextant porthole.  I have a picture showing this.  I don't know when it was changed.  I think it was probably at the same time as the upper windows.


The very early A models had the Roman nose to house the smaller AN/APS-42 radar.  Later C-130s had the larger beak nose radome to house the APN-59 radar.  The A models radome attachment did not seem to consider its effect on airflow around the cockpit windows. (time, money?)  The side profile shows a clear angular join where the upper part of the radome attaches to the cockpit.  B model and later radomes had a scab attached to the fuselage and a slightly rounded upper radome to present a curved outline from the side.  Look at photos of the side nose profile to see this.


Be aware that most published fuselage lengths are for the original short tail stub.  If they give the same lengths for A models thru H models, it is forC-130s with the shorter tail.  From about the late 60s or early 70s a longer beaver tail was added to the fuselage after the vertical and horizontal tail surfaces.  This was to hold a CPI. (crash position indicator) I believe that it was thought that this area would better survive a crash or a fire.  In the early 80s the CPPI antenna was replaced with a short white whip antenna (?) and the super H production line reverted to the original short tail.  The beaver tails installed on A to H models were not removed, although I believe that the CPI was progressively removed and changed to the later ones.  Some aircraft never had the beaver tail mod, such as the JC-130Bs at Hickam AFB. (not Hickham)


For A models, in the cockpit, the navigator's black boxes were installed on exposed racks.  There was no soundproofing paneling as on the B and later models.  The steps from the main floor to the cockpit were different in the A model.  It is wider at the bottom, angled and slightly twists towards the rear and the slope of the ladder is lower so that the bottom steps are closer to the front door.  From B models on, the steps are vertical and the ladder is rectangular in shape.


If you are doing the Minicraft C-130; for the 450 gal wing fuel tanks, the old Otaki/Arii F-105D wing tanks are a close match.  I haven't compared the kit tanks with drawings so I'm not sure how accurate they would be.  The kit wheels are too small.  The A Model C-123 main wheels are a good match in diameter.  The C-123 kit rims have spokes and are wrong for a C-130, but gives you a good idea of the size.  For engines, the old LS/Arii P-3 kit's engine intake part is nice.  The P-3 kit intake has an upper lip that needs to be removed.  The middle should pinch in a little more.  The P-3 kit props are also very nice but are too rounded at the tips.  Like the Minicraft C-130, the P-3 engines are too wide.  Compare them with the Hasegawa P-3 kit engines to see this.

I wrote this from memory, pre 90s publications and photos so there are probably errors.  I apologize for any future misinformation being disseminated from this post.  If anyone can confirm what I have said or elaborate on it, I would be grateful.  I would even appreciate being contradicted.  Thanks beforehand.

I paid 7980 yen for this kit in Tokyo.  I WILL still buy more.

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The WC-130J review you read was probably mine. Since then I've started two more kits. With regards to the C-130J-30 you have, the only things you might want to do are fix the intakes of the engines (the kit's are too square) and maybe add a cockpit from the Arii/LS P-3C. 


There are a few other shape issues but the engine faces are the worst, and the other issues I can live with. Be aware that the wing-to-fuselage join will require lots of dry fitting and sanding, and then some putty, sanding, and rescribing of the panel lines. The rest of the fit isn't too bad.


For decals, I know Flevo Decals makes a sheet for the two C-130-30s (not a J model) of the Netherlands Air Force (I have the sheet). Though they don't make any now, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for Draw Decals to produce some J markings. CanMilAir make some Canadian J-30 decals. http://www.canmilair.com/products.php?cat=62&pg=9


I'm sure there may be other decals out there. Hope this helps you out a little for now. Looking forward to seeing your completed build!



Edited by Kingoalie
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I did a dry-fit test today of the main fuselage parts. It looks like the wing-to-fuselage joint will be a stickler, but not too bad. I'm also thinking I'm going to try to add the various antennas and domes on the top of the fuselage. It was kind of disappointing that they left those off, as they are pretty prominent features.

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Well, I am a bit late to this conversation, but here is my opinion.

The props are poor.

The engines are terrible

The wings lack the proper dihedral on the underside.

Absolutely no attempt at any cockpit.

The vertical tail is not accurate.

It is grossly overpriced.

Fit is poor almost everywhere.

The A Model kit is a little better, but not by a whole lot.

Sure would be nice to see a decent kit of the Herky in this scale.

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Be glad to. The attached photos should show the differences between the kit and the real bird. I did not do a prop comparison drawing, but the differences are pretty obvious to me. The kit blades are just rectangles while the real prop has curves on both the leading and trailing edges. That is fixable with reshaping (16 times!!??). The unfixable part is the base of the blade is too far out from the spinner

. http://smg.photobucket.com/user/nfiler/media/C-130 Tail comparison_zpsnbn38u8x.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1

http://smg.photobucket.com/user/nfiler/media/C-130 Prop_zpswfldub8r.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0

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OK.  I'm confused.  TomcatFantastic 123 says he purchased a C-130J and is asking about it..  People are posting reviews and pictures of C-130 E/H model kits.  Is that helpful?  Not sure...


Tomcat, I suggest you do a build report and review for all of us!  I'd follow...



Edited by Cubs2jets
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I'll definitely post pics and write up a quick review when I'm done with the build (which should be very soon). I've been working on a Hasegawa Tomcat, and we all know how stressful those builds are, so I whipped this one out because I needed to pump out a decent looking kit to remind me "Yes, James, you still can build models." For a build like this, accuracy is nice, but it's not the be all, end all. As long as the fit is good (which it has been so far), somebody can glance at it and go "Yep, that's a C-130J," and it looks halfway decent, I'll be happy with it.

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  • 1 year later...

Bumping an old thread, I know, but are there any aftermarket decals for the C-130J-30? 

I'd like to do a MAFFS bird to break up the boring grey, but my searches came up dry on pretty much any option. 

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First, thanks for all the tips.  I will begin a WC-130J conversion to KC-130T soon, using Bra.Z T56 engines and Aeroclub props.  I also plan on making a KC-130T-30 using the C-130J-30 kit and the same Bra.Z T56 engines and Aeroclub props again.  As to decals for 1/144 Herks, C-130A-J there are several options.  Scalemates lists 16 sheets that have been released (availability may vary), most with multiple subjects and two planned releases by Caracal later this summer.  HTH! Dutch



Edited by Dutch
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3 hours ago, ST0RM said:

@Slartibartfast  Fixed my sig. Thanks ;)


Looks like Caracal have an upcoming release with Guard Herks. I'll wait and see what is on that one. 


It may end up being a C-130H-only sheet with exactly what is on the 1/72 sheet; plus two sets of general markings to allow two models to be completed. It might have been possible to make up space for a few more options, but that sheet is already at the technical and budgetary limits (number of colors that could be printed, # of pages of instruction sheet) so I can not add anything to it. I will probably do a C-130J sheet later on.

Edited by KursadA
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1 hour ago, KursadA said:

I will probably do a C-130J sheet later on.

Well, then I'll have to wait and see. 


Maybe in the interim, see if I can score a C-130J shorty and do one of the scabby RAF birds I used to see at the 'Deid.

Thanks Kursad


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  • 2 years later...
On 4/26/2018 at 1:03 PM, KursadA said:


It may end up being a C-130H-only sheet with exactly what is on the 1/72 sheet; plus two sets of general markings to allow two models to be completed. It might have been possible to make up space for a few more options, but that sheet is already at the technical and budgetary limits (number of colors that could be printed, # of pages of instruction sheet) so I can not add anything to it. I will probably do a C-130J sheet later on.

Kursad, any more progress on the 1/144 C-130H ANG sheet? I just picked up a Microscale HC-130H decals. Was wondering if anyone makes the AN/ARD-17 dorsal radome and Fulton nose in 1:144 scale?

K/r,  Dutch 

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  • 4 months later...


On 10/26/2016 at 11:20 PM, TomcatFanatic123 said:

So I picked up the Minicraft 1:144 C-130J Hercules


Did you ever build the J model? Would be curious on how it is. Also see they have a -30 version too. Does it have a lengthened fuselage in the kit?


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On 1/2/2021 at 8:04 PM, SinisterVampire319 said:



Did you ever build the J model? Would be curious on how it is. Also see they have a -30 version too. Does it have a lengthened fuselage in the kit?



I will answer for TomcatFanatic123 as to the kit contents.  Yes the Minicraft C-130J-30 kit features the lengthened fuselage and cargo floor.  It includes both the short T-56 nacelles and the AE2100 nacelles, however only the Dowty six blade props.  It does include two sets of extended wheel well sponsons which require cutting the fuselage sides and inserting in their place.  I have already done this on a USAF C-130H build on SCM.  I am also half way through building a L-100-30 in Ethiopian markings and USCG HC-130J, also chronicled on SCM.


On 1/2/2021 at 3:58 PM, SinisterVampire319 said:

Has anyone seen this one?
Available in multiple scales. It is the same bird that had the mid-air with the F-35 and bellied into a field.


I have a set of the UpRise 1/144 KC-130J VMGR-352 Battle Herk decals on order direct from Dmitri.  Yes, it is the same bird that belly landed in a field post mid-air with the F-35 last year.  I will post pics when I receive them.  I will use my Minicraft #14524B bagged C-130A/E/H/J kit plus a set of 3D printed IFR pods.



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