Caravelle French Airliner

Published: December 2nd, 2016     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: Ron Bell - IPMS# 12907
Scale: 1/96
Company: Round 2 Models
Price: $25.99
Product / Stock #: HL531/12
Product provided by: Round 2 Models

The Kit

The Caravelle was the world's first short/medium-range jet airliner, first flying in 1955, and was produced by the French Sud Aviation firm. The Caravelle was one of the most successful first-generation jetliners, selling throughout Europe and even penetrating the United States market, with an order from United Airlines. The Caravelle established the aft-mounted engine and clean-wing design that has since been used on a wide variety of aircraft.

This is another of Round 2 Models re-releases of old Lindberg kits. This one originally released by Lindberg in AirFrance livery, but this release is just called "International Airlines", but yet sports the AirFrance logo on the engine pods.

A unique feature of this one is that one whole side is clear, allowing you to see the provided interior which consists of sixteen rows of five seats, a flight deck, several bulkheads and two rest rooms complete with toilets and sinks and labeled Men's and Women's. One engine pod also has a clear half and two engines are provided so the other pod has something in it as well. The kit consists of around 120 parts, eight of which are well done in clear plastic. The engines have basic detail on them and look nice in the see-through pod. There's even a boarding ladder, three passengers, two pilots and one what was then known as a stewardess. As the plane seats 80, the three passengers kind of get lost in the cabin area. The seats are molded into the floor with separate seat backs and there are basic instruments on the flight deck, but not much else. There is a fine rivet detail on the outer surface with raised panel lines.

Assembly

I usually say that these older kits are good for new modelers, but not this time as the assembly absolutely must happen in a particular order and there is much waiting time for parts "A" and "B" to dry before you can put them on part "C" and you better check the fit first because there is lots of flash and mold seams to get in the way. The landing gear have to be trapped between the wing halves, so you cannot paint them separately and add them later, making for awkward handling of the model as you move along. In addition, the main gear, if positioned as the instructions show, will be out of alignment by 5-10 degrees. Because of this and not wanting to get into a lot of major surgery on a review model, I decided to build it with the gear up as it had a pretty cool looking stand.

The wings have separate flaps and ailerons that move or can be positioned up or down. They are in top and bottom halves, as are the wings, so that's six parts just to get a wing together. Fortunately, they fit pretty well. The landing gear doors took a little work, however that you can avoid all this by putting the landing gear down.

Now I was ready to close this baby up. I had to add the nose gear doors now as they are trapped between the two fuselage halves as is the rear boarding latter. As I progressed, I must have test fit the interior several dozen times to make sure it fit. I glued the interior to the fuselage half as instructed and let it set to make sure the clear fuselage half did not fog from trapped glue vapors. However, when I went to put the clear half on, it just would not fit. After much pushing and pinching, I got the front closed up, but in the rear, the interior which I had test fit dozens of times as I said, just did not fit and I could not get the fuselage to close up. Complicating this was the fact that the clear plastic is brittle and cracks and scratches easily, so I couldn't use too much pressure or apply clamps very well. I don't know what I did wrong and at this point I still had a very long way to go yet. Wing to fuselage joints to fill, primer, paint, masking, elaborate decals and all the normal problems those would bring never mind any more surprises from the kit. Taking all in all, I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and I set it all aside until I got some great idea about how to fix it. Oh, and I found out that a key part of the stand, a metal rod that held the a/c to the stand was missing, so that didn't help any either.

Conclusion

The kit is very old and almost every part has a mold seam, ejector pin mark or flash on it, all of which much be cleaned up. The build is involved if not difficult so I can't recommend this for a younger modeler. However, if you're experienced and proceed carefully and slowly and test everything you can probably make a nice desk top model out of this kit. You could even forgo using the interior and paint the entire model as decals are provided for both sides.

Thanks to Round 2 for supplying the sample kit and to IPMS/USA for the chance to review it.

  • Decals & & Instructions
    Decals & & Instructions
  • Kit Parts
    Kit Parts
  • Cockpit
    Cockpit
  • Interior detail
    Interior detail
  • Interior
    Interior

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