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KIT REVIEW


Special Hobby SH72376
CASA C-212-100 "Portuguese Tail Arts" -- 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 has 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 the second release of their C-212: the “Portuguese Tail Arts” edition.    

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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.  Simplicity was stressed in the design.  Its tricycle undercarriage was fixed and the cabin was not pressurized.  The first prototype flew in March 1971.  Three years later, the Spanish Air Force decided to acquire the Aviocar and a 42-year long production run of more than 550 airframes was initiated 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 seeing.  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 “Portuguese Tail Arts” 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.  It includes 11 small cast resin detail parts and six photoetched metal parts on one small fret.  The high-quality instruction booklet guides the build over 19 steps.  The decal sheet contains markings for two 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.  This kit also includes 11 cast resin parts that cover the small specific variations that are present on the Portuguese C-212s.        

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 many of the parts, making their removal a challenge, to say it nicely.  Here, the sprue gates are of ideal sizes (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 special markings in this are printed by Cartograf, and frankly, they are g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s!  The print quality is just awesome – decals as printed art.  On the 1:1 scale versions these commemorative/ anniversary schemes represented some beautiful artwork on these airplanes, and the Cartograf renditions of these schemes are quite beautifully done and elegant.  For those scale modelers looking for distinctive subject matter, look no further!   

Weaknesses:  I can think of two minor critiques and one observation.  First, I think the panel lines on the 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-212, and I am quite enthusiastic and impressed.  The additional resin and PE parts along with these decals just sweeten the deal – extensively!  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.  Hats off to Special Hobby on this excellent edition of this kit.  

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,
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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
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