1/72nd scale C-17A Globemaster III – Combat Models Vacuform
I started this back in November of 2014, and after 8 months of blood, sweat and tears, I’ve got my big C-17 finished.
There are two kits currently available in 1/72nd of the C-17: one being the Anigrand Craftworks resin kit, and the other is the Combat Models vacuform. I really wanted to add a C-17 to my collection, and with the fact that I don’t get on with resin all that well I decided the easier option for me would be the Combat kit. I love a modelling challenge and knew what was in store having built a few Combat ‘kits’ in the past… previous experience didn’t prepare me for what lay ahead though – this was a pig!
I also knew that the Anigrand kit is poorly shaped, with the wing being too far forward and the nose and cockpit being completely off. I’m not bothered about accuracy all that much, but having seen the Anigrand kit before, even I couldn’t live with the obvious shape errors. Rumour has it that the Anigrand kit was based on the Combat one, so I knew that the shape errors were likely to be common to both kits, and reshaping vacform parts is a far easier task than sanding chunks of resin. I was proved right, and much work was ahead of me.
The plastic is some of the thinnest I’ve ever come across in a kit, and the whole length of the fuselage had to be strengthened with bulkheads and bracing. The flightdeck had to be scratch-built, and the glazing was cut to shape from clear acetate and dropped into the apertures I’d cut. All the surface detail that you see had to be added by me – the kit’s surface is devoid of all detail and both raised areas and the panel lines had to be added.
The engines were very basic indeed and took almost as long to make as the remainder of the model – they’re about 30% kit plastic and 70% filler used for re-profiling and shaping them.
I sourced a set of undercarriage from Anigrand, but all the doors etc. needed to be scratch-built. The undercarriage took a lot of work to get installed – all mounts etc. had to be made from scratch. Decals were from DrawDecal, and provide a scheme for ZZ177 which wears the distinctive 10th Anniversary of C-17 operations badge on the fin – a splash of colour for an otherwise drab scheme.
Although this was a very challenging build, it was a huge amount of fun, too. They say that the name ‘Combat Kits’ are a description of the building process rather than a brand, and I’d have to agree. I’ve heard many modellers say that Combat vacs are about as close to being unbuildable as you can get, but I’ve happily proved they can be built – I just wouldn’t recommend one for a vacform virgin!
A full, in-depth WIP can be found here for those interested:
And also in our very own WIP section here:
As always, feedback both good and bad is gladly received.
11 additional images. Click to enlarge.