Kit No. SH72094
Decals: Four versions: 3 for Dutch East Indies, 1939-41; 1 for British Colonial Forces, India, 1942
Comments: Engraved panel lines; vacuform canopy and turret blister (one spare for the latter); resin detail parts for the cockpit (floor, seats, instrument panel) and engine details (spinners and exhausts); scratchbuilding skill required to install dorsal gun turret
The Lockheed Model 212 was the result of a request by the government of the Dutch East Indies in July 1938 for a modification of Lockheed’s Model 12 that was suitable for training bomber crews. At the time, the Dutch East Indies was the largest single operator of the Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior, accounting for 36 of the total of 130 Model 12’s built by Lockheed.
The Model 212 was basically a Model 12 with the addition of a partially retractable dorsal turret housing a .303 Browning machine gun, with a second fixed-position .303 mounted in the nose. In addition, a staggered series of racks was fitted under the wing center section to carry eight 100-pound bombs. The 212 was powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-985AN-4 radial engines. Sixteen Lockheed 212’s were delivered to the Dutch East Indies by June 1940. By that time, in Europe, the government of Holland had surrendered to the Germans following their May 10th invasion. But the Dutch East Indies remained an independent government, having yet to be overrun by the Japanese as of mid-1940. It was so pleased with the initial batch of Model 212’s that it ordered 16 more. These aircraft were immediately employed for maritime patrols; many were destroyed in the subsequent Japanese invasion, a few were transferred to India, and one made a daring escape with one Dutch and three Australian pilots to Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
Special Hobby has produced the first injection molded Lockheed Electra since the Williams Brothers kit of the 1970’s. This kit is crisply molded in gray plastic with finely engraved panel lines, and consists of 78 parts. 28 are resin, for the detailed cockpit interior, propeller hubs, engine exhausts, and the dorsal machine gun turret housing; there are 2 vacuform parts for the windshield and the turret; an additional 6 clear plastic pieces for the cabin windows complete the inventory.
The paint guide is highly detailed, covering almost every individual part. The cockpit features injection molded detail in the instrument panel and cabin floor, right down to the seats and individual control columns. There is fairly good detail in the parts for the radial engines, which are complemented with resin propeller hubs. The landing gear are faithfully recreated, down to the mud guards for the main gear. A moderate amount of scratchbuilding skill is necessary, since a portion of the fuselage must be removed with an Xacto blade, and replaced with a separate part, which contains an opening for the machine gun’s turret housing.
The kit decals are by Aviprint, and they are sharp and in register with realistic color. Although three of the four versions purport to be for Dutch East Indies aircraft, one version of the DEI markings looks more like the tri-color roundel of the Czech Air Force – a circle comprised of red, white and blue thirds, with the only difference being the addition of a smaller orange circle at the very center. There is a small amount of color bleed from these orange circles to the surrounding area, all other markings are in register as noted above. The fourth version is for an aircraft that originally served in the DEI Air Force, but moved to India and was transferred to the RAF in January 1942.
This is a detailed and updated kit of a Lockheed Electra variant that has received too little attention. Highly recommended.