1/72 Hasegawa P-3C Orion

Gallery Article by Carl Jarosz on May 6 2019



P-3C Orion Centennial of German Naval Aviation

This is my first successful build of the rather large (even for 1/72 scale) P-3C, after three abysmal attempts to build a US Navy unit Orion. This Lockheed aircraft is used to patrol a country's seas for bad guys in boats, above or especially below water level. 

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The instruction sheet was the usual Hasegawa fold-up, with assembly steps in basic black and white sketches. What I learned from my previous messes was the following: 

  • 1) Use more weight than the instruction sheet shows! You likely have to fashion a disk to fuselage inside diameter size, to confine the weight in the area chosen, then reinforce it with scrap plastic rods to prevent breaking loose of the disk; 

  • 2) Be prepared to use an x-acto knife or some scraper device to open the molded window recesses in the fuselage halves; 

  • 3) Install the windows after assembly and painting, or else you'll have to mask the bulbous round clear pieces so they don't get scratched and/or stray painted;

  • 4) As this aircraft had two (2) antenna wires, you'll have to attach two rather long sections of thread. What I discovered to maintain thread attachment, and avoid excessive sagging of it, is to hand drill tiny diameter holes in the fuselage - in proper location (look at photos of the real aircraft in book(s)) - after gluing, and painting, the sub-assembly. Push one end of the thread into a hole leaving a generous length of excess, then glue it onto the fuselage wall. Of course do this with both sections of thread. As the fuselage sub-assembly has a gaping hole in the center, for the wing sub-assembly, it should be fairly easy to grab hold of the thread ends inside the shell. Once fully assembled, merely super glue the other end of thread to the tail, again in location per photos. Trim off any excess thread, then touch-up paint the point of attachment;

  • 5) If there's a design weakness with the kit, for me it was the wing sub-assembly joint with fuselage sub-assembly. This kit is so relatively massive that the wings, to have the proper degree of dihedral, must be securely glued to the fuselage sides. Then, even when glued, the weight of each wing puts a lot of stress on the mating joint; I strongly recommend handling the model by the wing tips, or place the model on a base plate and move the whole thing if the model has to be placed elsewhere. 

I used a specially purchased UNI-Caenis, 20den, black thread to rig the antenna wires. It had the right scale diameter, . . . plus I didn't know of anybody who had such long hair to ask for a lock.

Painting the blue fuselage band was easier than expected, as I again used Tamiya's 2mm flexible masking tape. I also added a special flair: the black pin-stripe at the fuselage blue-gray border. I used a combination of cut black decal sheet, along with masking and using black enamel paint in the curved section.

Weathering was modest; I mainly used black pastel and a short tipped brush.

Finally, I left off armament, as this aircraft was mainly used as a temporary showbird, to advertise 100 years of Germany watching for threats to its sovereignty from foreign powers using the Baltic Sea.

Carl Jarosz

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Photos and text by Carl Jarosz