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Glencoe Models 1/96 scale Vickers Viscount

Kit: No. 06501
Scale: 1/96
Manufacturer: Glencoe Models, 508-869-6877,
Price: $14.98
Comments: Injection-molded, 79 parts, decals
Pros: Classic kit available again, good decals
Cons: Poor parts fit, awkward cockpit window installation
I remember Capital Airlines Viscounts approaching the Buffalo, N.Y. airport when I was growing up. My dad taught me how to (and I still can) hum and whistle at the same time to simulate the unique sound of those Rolls Royce Dart engines.

Hawk's classic kit has been part of Glencoe's stable for years, and is now available again, this time with Northeast and Air France markings. As you would expect, the plastic parts retain their 1950s panache, with lightly raised rivet detail, simple construction, and less-than-precise fit. My sample suffered from warpage (two wing halves and the "butterfly" horizontal stabilizers). I was able to warm the plastic and bend against the warp to correct them. The instructions appear to have borrowed the original's assembly sketches, but are basic and difficult to understand in spots. Fortunately, there are few parts, so nothing is terribly complicated.

The biggest trouble building the kit was installing the tiny individual window panes in the cockpit. Years of wear on the molds have made the fuselage halves thick in places, and the windows don't fit well into their recesses. There was also some mismatch at the tip of the fin when the rest of the fuselage halves were aligned. I had to clean flash from the propellers and wheels. Hawk's original boarding stairs and stiff-looking passengers are included in the kit, too.

There's no mention of adding weight to the nose - and there probably wasn't back when Hawk brought out the kit - but you'll need a lot to keep the model on its nose gear. Parts' fit overall wasn't terrible, and accomplished modelers should be able to adjust the fit and fill the seams.

I painted the entire model with Krylon spray-can gloss white decanted into an airbrush bottle for more precise application. When it was dry, I masked and painted the fuselage bottom, wings, and stabilizers with Alclad aluminum.

The decals went on OK, but the cutouts in the Northeast stripes under the stabilizers created some alignment problems. Put the decals on the left side first, with its separate decals for the boarding doors. Then align the right side rear section to match the left. There will be some overlap on the right side as you align the cutouts for the windows.

The finished model still looks like the Hawk kit of old and, more importantly, looks like the Viscount of my childhood. I spent about 20 hours on this classic, and now I'm thinking about finding the Capital Airlines issue. Now, let me teach you how to make that Viscount sound ... .

- Paul Boyer


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