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Anigrand #AA2104 1/72 Douglas C-133 Cargomaster



 
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Kit #AA2104. 1/72 scale. This is a highly-detailed resin kit of the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster, complete with decals.

In early 1950s, the USAF asked Douglas – long a supplier of military transport aircraft – to develop a new strategic airlifter, based around advanced turboprop technology. This was to be an improved replacement for the piston engine-powered C-124 Globemaster II, and was to complement the turboprop-powered Lockheed C-130 theater airlifter. A major design requirement called for the C-133 to be able to transport intermediate-ranged Thor and Jupiter missiles. Douglas submitted two designs – the radical swept-wing XC-132, which is reminiscent of a turboprop-powered Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, and the more conventional straight-wing YC-133. The C-132’s design called for the use of experimental 15,000 horsepower turboprops, while the C-133 used proven and in-production 7,500 horsepower engines. Following a review of mock-ups and specifications, the C-133 was selected to go into production straight off the drawing board.

Both aircraft were radically-redesigned airlifters, having little in common with Douglas’ previous Globemasters. Instead of low wings and high, stalky landing gear, the C-133’s wing was mounted on a pylon above the fuselage. This left the cargo compartment wide open, nose to tail, and kept the plane low-slung to the ground and much easier to load. Like the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, the C-133 had its main gear mounted in external blister fairings – again, leaving the cargo compartment free from landing gear storage, while keeping the plane low to the ground. Finally, it had tail-mounted cargo doors and ramps, allowing cargo to be driven onboard, shortening loading and unloading time.

The C-133A made its maiden flight in 1956, with the first deliveries occurring a year later. A follow-on C-133B design was capable of carrying the Atlas, Titan and Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles that were just coming into service. This upgraded C-133B featured a side-opened clamshell door at the back, which allowed for easier loading ICBMs. These aircraft also supported NASA’s manned spaceflight program, transporting boosters including Atlas, Titan and Saturn rockets to Cape Canaveral for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space flight missions. C-133s also transported Apollo spacecraft back to Cape Canaveral after their splash-down in the Atlantic or Pacific.

Fifty aircraft – 32 C-133As and 18 C-133Bs – were produced for the Air Force, one of them setting a trans-Atlantic speed record for transport planes. One each of the A and B models were kept at Douglas for testing, and were built in addition to the 50 that entered Air Force service.

When the United States became involved in Vietnam War, the C-133s – know as "Weinie Wagons" – were an essential part of the Military Airlift Command’s fleet supporting the war. Both the C-133 and older C-124 carried outsized loads, while the C-135 – the military’s Boeing 707 – and their Lockheed C-141 Starlifter – were devoted to higher-priority cargo. After 15 years of service, and an average of more than 19,000 flight hours per airframe – which had originally been designed for 10,000 service lifespans – the thoroughly worn-out C-133s were retired as the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy entered service in 1971. Several Cargomasters later entered civilian service, serving with Cargomaster Corporation in Alaska and the Foundation for Airborne Relief in California.


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