KIT: Nostalgic Plastic 1/144 C-133A/B Cargomaster
KIT #: 1
PRICE: $110.00 MSRP
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin


The Douglas C-133 Cargomaster was a large cargo aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company between 1956 and 1961; 50 aircraft (32 C-133A and 18 C-133B) were constructed and put into service with the USAF. A single C-133A and a C-133B were built and kept at Douglas Long Beach as "test articles." They had no construction numbers or USAF tail numbers.

The C-133 had large tail doors and side doors and a large, open cargo area. With the C-133B, the rear cargo doors were modified to open to the side (petal doors), making an opening large enough to transport ballistic missiles such as the Atlas, Titan and Minuteman more cheaply, safely and quickly than road transport. Several hundred Minuteman and other ICBMs were airlifted to and from their operational bases. The C-133 also transported Atlas, Saturn and Titan rockets to Cape Canaveral for use as launch boosters in the Gemini, Mercury and Apollo space programs. After the Apollo capsules splashed down, they were airlifted in C-133s from Norfolk Naval Station or Hickam AFB to Ellington AFB, Texas, or to California.

The C-133 was for many years the only aircraft capable of hauling very large or very heavy cargo. Despite the C-124's capabilities, there was much cargo that it could not carry because of its configuration with a cargo deck 13 ft (4 m) off the ground and its lower, though substantial, engine power.

By 1971, shortly before the introduction of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, the Cargomaster was obsolete as well as being worn out, and all were withdrawn from service in 1971. The C-133 was originally a 10,000-hour airframe that had been life-extended to 19,000 hours. Severe vibration had caused critical stress corrosion of the airframes to the point that the aircraft was beyond economical operation any longer. The Air Force managed the C-133 fleet to keep as many as possible in service until the C-5 finally entered squadron service.


There are many aircraft kits that enthusiasts have been asking for over the years. One of those is the C-133 Cargomaster along with a number of other large aircraft. Nostagic Plastic in concert with Anigrand of Honk Kong has finally brought what many have wanted, an accurate C-133A/B kit. Since doing something this large in 1/72 would be prohibitive due to its size, 1/144 scale was chosen and a wise one, I think. Even in this scale, the fuselage measures over a foot in length so you can imagine the space required for a larger scale kit.

This kit is very much like other kits produced by Anigrand for themselves and others. The resin is well detailed with engraved panel lines that seem initially to be too deep, but once you get the model together and paint it that impression goes away. There are the usual air bubbles and voids that those of us who have built kits like this are used to seeing. Repair is easy and a variety of materials can be used to take care of that. The two piece fuselage has keyways to assist in providing the proper alignment and I'd recommend getting the the front and rear sections properly together before gluing the halves. There is room in the nose for weight as I'm thinking this one may well need some to keep from tail sitting.

Engines and flight surfaces are a single casting, making it easy to assemble once the parts have been cleaned up and prepared. A single clear resin part is provided for the cockpit. The resin is thick so little will be seen through the windows. The major bits of thecockpit like seats and consoles are also provided. The engines are one piece and have different keyways to keep you from mounting them in the wrong place. Prop blades are separate and must be placed properly in the spinners.

Instructions are quite good in that there is a history of the plane, some construction suggestions, an exploded view of the parts (more than adequate for a kit like this), and a decal/painting guide printed in color. The instructions will also tell you how to scribe new panel lines for the larger rear doors on the C-133B if you wish to model that version. There are decals for five aircraft, all in unpainted metal. There are three C-133As with white fuselage tops; one with the 1607th ATW from Dover AFB in 1958, with a second from that wing in 1964, but with da-glo bands on the nose, fuselage and wings. The third is  another Dover based plane 'State of Delaware' from 1957. Two C-133Bs are from the 1501st ATW at Travis in 1964 with no white upper fuselage. The other is the one at the AMC museum in Dover, DE. Decals are well done and provide basic markings. Wing walk and upper/lower fuselage demarcation stripes will have to come from another source. Microscale makes several sheets of stripes and the ones for N gauge should be about right. Check your local train shop as thin stripe decals are not that easy to find.


So there you have it. A kit that many have wanted and now available to you with free shipping in the US and Canada. Quantities are quite limited so you need to get yours now while they are still around. Initial production kits also include a nice CD of all the salient features on the C-133 to use as an aid while building your kit.


My thanks to for the review kit. Follow the link and get yours while the getting is good.

August 2007

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