1/144 Minicraft "Super Consolation"

(Constellation)

by  Mark Littrell (ARC forum name Mark M.)

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Last Christmas I was given the gift of a small television set with a built in DVD player.  Unfortunately, the place where the order was made did not have it in time for Christmas day.  So, my family (the source of the TV gift) went out and got me this "consolation gift."

You read it right, it's a "Super Consolation."  I posed the model against the box top to display the translation error Minicraft made when packaging the kit.

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The kit is pretty awful.  It allows for all the major versions you can think of, including wingtip fuel tanks, radomes for the dorsal and ventral bulges, a second nose if you want to chop the long nose off and replace it, but despite these features, it's still a poor kit.  The fit is bad on almost everything.  The quality of the entire engine assembly is sloppy, but I suppose this is part of the game with such an old kit like this.  My main complaint, aside from fit issues, is that the propellors are misshapen and poorly molded.  I tried to sand them clean of flash and get them looking acceptable, but they are still less than perfect.

The decals are interesting.  While I wanted to do another bare metal foil project, I decided to do the Blue Angels decals' paint scheme.  I had plenty of "Blue Angels Blue" (2 jars) for unrelated reasons.  I also liked the yellow highlights.

While the decals on the fuselage include windows, you have almost no placement guides, so it's a matter of careful placement, moving, and more placement.  The fuselage stripe is split at the middle in 2 parts.  I applied them both at the same time so that I could line up the place they join and get the proper placement for the rest of the decals.  Prop stripes were supplied in decal form, but the blade tips were not the same shape, so they didn't fit very well.  They also fell off, before I went out and bought some MicroSet.  The missing stripe decals were hand-painted using Blue Angels blue, Floquil Reefer White, and plain old "red" paint.  It matched very well.  Decals were split front/back, but the silver paint of the props would show at the edge.  I had to run over every tip with red paint to fix this.  Luckily the color was close to the decals.  I had the same problem with the deicer boots (the black leading edges).  When they were curved they gave you 2 halves, but they almost never met up, even with MicroSol, so in the end I had to go back and "fill in" the gaps with black paint.

I like the finished kit, but I wouldn't do it again.  If I want another Connie I'll get a different brand, perhaps something newer.

As I typed this ARC article up, I only now noticed I put the nose gear decals on upside down!  They're melted into the plastic with MicroSol, and I don't think I can/want to try and fix them.  Oh well, I can live with it!

Mark 

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Photos and text by Mark Littrell