Friday, January 13, 2012
Finishing out my collection of Entex "Air Giants" is this little C-5A Galaxy in 1/480 scale. I remember seeing the larger 1/144 scale Otaki C-5A (in Entex form) at Peterson Hobby and Crafts, but knew I could never afford it. It was always one of those special "untouchable" kits displayed high on a shelf behind the counter. So I settled for the next best thing, the "Air Giants" version for .89 cents. This model isn't much of a giant when finished, but it's crisp, accurate, and takes up hardly any shelf space.
The original one I built in '75 was molded in white, and I remember painting the wings and lower surfaces gloss gray. The rebuild shown here however was molded in the correct gray, so all I had to do was paint the upper fuselage white. The decals were barely usable; the thin blue stripe which separates the gray from the white on the fuselage was unusable, but its absence is not really that noticeable at this scale. The original Fuji and Entex versions of this fine little kit include early USAF C-5A markings. If you buy the current Academy version, you get a slightly later version with MAC emblem for the rear fuselage, and no cursive "galaxy" script for the forward section. No landing gear is included for this model, just a display stand.
There were several other "Air Giants" available at Gemco when I was a kid including the XB-70, Guppy, B-1, B-52, P-2 Neptune, B-17, and Martin P5M. I didn't buy any of those, and now I wish I had to complete the set. Entex also had a neat little set of airliners in what was labeled "pocket-pak" kits. These included a DC-8-62, 727-200, 737, 747, Concorde, and Boeing SST. These were even smaller than the "Air Giants".
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Continuing with Entex "Air Giants" is this 1/380 scale Boeing 747. When I built this model first time as a kid, it looked pretty good. I don't remember painting it, but I did a pretty good job on the decals. Like the DC-10, it came with itty-bitty landing gear parts, and I can't remember if I put them on or not. Unfortunately, Entex decals, at least on these "Air Giants" kits don't have a very long shelf life. The long fuselage stripes broke apart and were useless. I had to mask and spray paint a thin blue line to replicate Pan Am's livery. The other smaller decals were okay, but were hard to budge off their paper backing.
As far as I know, the "Air Giants" 747 is the largest model in the set, being even bigger than the C-5 Galaxy which will be covered in the next post. It's highly detailed and accurate in shape with one exception: the glass cockpit windows. Fuji, or whoever engineered this kit back in Japan would have done better to just engrave the windows in the fuselage pieces rather than stick a clear piece in - it makes this otherwise excellent little kit rather toy-looking.
Building this little model again reminds me of the days sitting at my little school desk in my kitchen/dining area on J-5, which is where I built many models, including the four Entex "Air Giants," the Aurora DC-9, and Revell Constellation among others.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Second of four Entex "Air Giants" I built as a kid was the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10. This little kit is pretty detailed for its small size, and accurately shaped. It might be a scaled-down version of the 1/100 scale Nitto DC-10, which Entex also marketed and sold in the U.S., but I'm not sure. It has tiny little landing gear pieces that even a ten-year-old's fingers would have trouble negotiating. I remember not messing with them 37 years ago, and I didn't miss with them again on the rebuild pictured here.
What's neat about this model is the decal set provided - DC-10 "ship one" or demonstrator. This airplane could be seen flying around the Long Beach area in the early 70s, but I don't think I ever saw it flying around Palmdale like I saw Lockheed's L-1011 prototype.
The Entex "Air Giants" are favorites of mine because of their low cost and high quality. I wish I had collected the entire set way back when, but I only had the TU-144, DC-10, 747, and C-5A.