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KIT REVIEW


Special Hobby SH72344
CASA C-212-100 -- 1:72 Scale



The CASA C-212 Aviocar is a Spanish-produced light transport aircraft that is in service throughout the world with many different air forces and civil operators.  Yet it has not seen a lot of attention in scale model form outside of a few vacuform kits from Broplan and Aircraft in Miniature, as well as a series of limited run resin kits by Scratchareonautics.  Finally, the C-212 is landed in the world of mainstream injection-molded kits with a new series of 1:72 scale offerings from Special Hobby.  Here, we take a look at their new C-212.    

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The origins of the C-212 reside in the late 1960s, when the Spanish Air Force was at the end of the operational lifetime of their obsolete WWII-era Douglas C-47s and Junkers Ju 52s.  Airframe manufacturer CASA proposed the C-212, a small twin-engine aircraft with a high-mounted wing and a squared-off and boxy fuselage with space for up to 28 passengers.  Effectiveness through relative simplicity was stressed in the design, including a fixed tricycle landing gear configuration and the cabin was not pressurized. The first prototype flew in March 1971.  Three years later, the Spanish Air Force approved acquisition of the Aviocar.  This kicked off 42 year-long production run of more than 550 airframes between the CASA factory in Seville, Spain, and Bandung, Indonesia.

C-212 variants are operated by 40 nations in a wide range of roles, underscoring the rugged versatility of this airplane.  Beyond the more standard roles of personnel transport, C-212s have been used for more unusual jobs, such as intelligence gathering and cloud seeding.  Designated as the C-41A with the United States Army Special Operations Command, their Aviocars take advantage of the STOL characteristics of the airplane in the context of infiltration and exfiltration of special operators in locations normally denied to other, larger platforms.  Aviocars have seen especially wide use as a short-hop commuter airliner, and thanks to the presence of a rear ramp, the C-212 is ideal for smokejumpers and skydivers.  

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Special Hobby’s 1:72 scale CASA C-212-100 represents the first production run and earliest military variant of the Aviocar.  It consists of 148 medium-grey injection molded plastic parts on five sprues, and in this version of the kit, nearly 70 parts are not used (all intended for other versions and other releases of the C-212).  There are also 40 clear parts on two clear sprues, and 14 are not used here.  The high-quality instruction booklet guides the build over 19 steps.  The decal sheet contains markings for three markings options:

Strengths:  To me, it seems that with every almost every new Special Hobby kit, the company is getting better at refining their kit design, tooling, molding, and all their manufacturing processes.  This kit pleasantly surprised me.  It demonstrates some great detail along with many other positive characteristics.  The surfaces of the parts are as smooth as one could ever hope for.  Even the smallest detail parts, such as the semi-retracted tail ramp wheel, antennas, tire treads, landing gear, and individual flap hinges demonstrate comparable high-quality details and molding.  The parts are also quite clean in the sense that they demonstrate a near-total absence of flash.      

Panel lines are fine, crisp, and delicately recessed.  Raised details, such as the corrugated surfaces on the elevators, are perfectly sublime.  Past Special Hobby kits often had very large sprue gates leading to the parts, making their removal a challenge, to say it nicely.  Here, the sprue gates are of ideal size (equivalent to, say, a Hasegawa-style tooling).  I snipped off the fuselage halves and wings to do some test fitting, and I can report an excellent fit.  Historically, past generations of Special Hobby kits have lacked features such as locating pins, but here, the locating pins are not only present, but they are quite finely made and facilitate just about as perfect of an alignment between the fuselage and wing halves that can be achieved.  Nice!  I also like the clear parts for the fuselage windows.  They have a nice locating tab that insures an airtight fit with the fuselage, and as they are installed in the inside of the fuselage, the mounting tab is no longer in sight.

The markings options allow for an interesting range of paint schemes and C-212 operators, even though there are only three schemes included here.  Eduard printed the decals and they look fantastic.  Colors are vibrant, everything is in register, and the carrier film is acceptably thin. 

Weaknesses:  I can think of two minor critiques sand one observation.  First, I think the panel lines on fuselage are noticeably wider than those on the wings.  It should not be too perceptible a difference on the finished model, but they seem a little over-scale.  In contrast, the recessed panel lines on the wings look flawless, especially for 1:72 scale.  Second, the rudder and elevators are separate parts so they can be positioned as the builder wishes, but the flaps are integral to the wing while the flap hinges are all positioned in the “up” configuration. 

For the observation: the interior is a bit sparse.  That is, the cockpit is good, but on some levels, fairly basic (e.g., no restraints on the pilot/co-pilot seats).  Behind the aft cockpit bulkhead, there’s just empty space.  For the builder who wants to build the kit out-of-the-box, there’s no problem.  It can be a really clean build, particularly as the kit does not have the options to open doors or the aft ramp.  But for the scale modeler who wants to add some extra detail, there’s certainly room to do this.  Hopefully, Special Hobby’s sister company, CMK, will release some cast resin and photoetched metal detail parts for the interior in the future.   

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Special Hobby has done an all-around great job on their C-211 kit.  I try to be objective and if I was perhaps a bit ambivalent upon opening the box, I am now quite enthusiastic and impressed.  Special Hobby already makes a pre-cut self-adhesive masking set for the kit, and we can only hope for some detail sets to come in the near future.  Also, the sheer quantity of unused parts for other Aviocar variants are plain to see, and this suggests that there will be a LOT of other releases of the C-212 from Special Hobby.  Hats off to Special Hobby on this inaugural release of this kit, and we look forward to their future releases of more C-212s. 

Sincere thanks are owed to Special Hobby/CMK for the review sample. You can visit them on the web at http://www.specialhobby.info/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/specialhobby

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

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