Model No. 056
MSRP – $70.00US (most online suppliers average $45.00US)
Developed back in the 1950’s, the C-123B Provider designed for use as a short-range assault transport to deliver cargo and troops to the battle field. The plane was pressed into service in 1955 played its largest role in Southeast Asia arriving in 1962. Able to land and take off on short, unprepared runways, the C-123B was ideal for combat situation during the Vietnam War. Air-drops, night missions to flush out enemy positions and of course used by the CIA in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, the C-123B quickly became the workhorse of the US Air Force throughout the 60’s and 70’s.
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney R2800-99W radial engines that delivered 2300hp, this plane was capable of reaching speeds of 228mph (367km/h) and a range of around 1600km. Typically the plane would be manned with a 4 person crew. Along with transport, converted C-123’s was used in large part in the Ranch Hand Defoliant Program during the Vietnam War whereas large areas were sprayed with a defoliant agent to uncover the enemy positions as well as deprive the enemy of food.
A more modern and visual use of the C-123 was within the movie ‘Con Air’; where a large group of convicts hijack the prison aircraft in an attempt to make an escape from custody staring Nicholas Cage, John Malkovich and a slew of other famous actors. Well after the war in Vietnam to the present day, many C-123’s are still being used today as part of the US Coast Guard, Arctic research missions, crop dusting and material transport.
Fairchild C-123B Provider – The Kit
Provided in a standard slip-top box, Roden’s 1/72 scale Fairchild C-123B Provider is a 200 part injection-molded styrene model kit. The kit contains the following:
- 176 – Grey styrene parts
- 24 – Clear styrene parts
- 1 – Decal sheet
- 1 – Instructions booklet
The kit parts are laid out over 10 sprue trees and all appear to be molded cleanly and with little to no flash. The fuselage is provided in the standard two-piece fashion with the cockpit area of the plane made from Clear styrene. There are a number of ejector pin marks within the fuselage that need to be both filled and sanded along with one on the inside roof of the cockpit itself. There are many great detailing to the interior of the plane; however, there are a few missing supports and internal bracing that is missing. If chosen, this would be an easy fix with some styrene rods and flat pieces. This may not be needed as it is very difficult to see the interior section of the plane after construction due to the non-opening doors and small window configuration. The read drop door does not come with the option to position open.
The wings are a two-piece affair and molded to show all of the various panel lines. The two Pratt & Whitney radial engines are provided on two individual sprue tress and mad up from 14 parts each. The piston sections will need some clean up from numerous ejector pins that are left behind form the injection molding process. The molded engines are nicely detailed and for what is seen after construction, perfect for the job I think.
On looking at the cockpit there are some nice details that Roden have added to help give this area the “busy” look from what we see in the original plane; however the top clear piece roof part does not have any overhead controls as seen in most C-123 variants.
The clear parts to the kits provide the full array of viewing windows for the body of the aircraft. They are not molded as crystal clear as seen in other newer kits but with their small size most of this could go unnoticed. A quick dip in a bath of Acrylic Floor Wax should render a clear set of windows to solve this issue.
The decal sheet provided allows the builder to created one of three different configurations of this aircraft:
- Fairchild C-123B Provider (57-6291), USAF, South Vietnam, early 1964
- Fairchild C-123B Provider (56-4362), was named ‘Patches’, Vietnam Air Force (VNAF), South Vietnam, during 1964
- Fairchild C-123B Provider (54-576), Air America air company, Southeast Asia/Thailand, during 1964
The instructions provided with this kit are a twelve-page twenty-seven step detailing showing the construction of this model. These instructions are provided in a black and white explode-view format that is easy to follow. The last three pages of the instruction booklet show the painting and decal placement for the model.
My first take on the Roden Fairchild C-123B Provider is that this is fairly decent kit that appears to have been much anticipated by some of the aircraft modelling community. There are nice appointments to the kit; panel lines are prominent, detailing is nice and it fills a void in the subject matter well.
Not to be too hypercritical, there are few items I noticed that could be improved on by the manufacturer and/or enhanced by the builder. Internal structuring can be added and possibly opening of the side doors as well as the rear drop-gate door to allow for internal viewing. A few minor additions to the cockpit would dress up the interior in this section as well. One other item I did notice it the although there are panel line to give the illusion of exterior cladding of the aircraft, typically this is more than acceptable in my mind, there is a lack of exterior riveting which this aircraft certainly had plenty of. This may or may not turn off some of the diehard wingy enthusiasts.
All in all this is a well-built kit. The online pricing of around $45.00US seems to somewhat acceptable, the detailing is nice with some minor clean-up issues with regards to the EPM’s and should build up into a very nice static display with a little time and patience. I recommend this kit to anyone interested in the subject matter as it is a better viable option for building the C-123B…new to the hobby or otherwise.
MSC would like to thank Roden for this review sample