Lockheed C-140A JetStar

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The Aircraft

The Lockheed JetStar was originally developed in the late 1950s by Lockheed as a prototype for a US Air Force light transport. The project was not bought by the Air Force, but the prototype was used by Kelly Johnson of the “Skunk Works” as his personal transport. It was the first dedicated “biz’jet” to enter service.

Later the project was resumed, and the Air Force bought 5 C-140As for Air Force Communications Service to test airport navigational aids. Another 5 were bought as VIP transports, as the JetStar could carry 10 passengers and 2 crew, more than any other jet powered business aircraft of the period. The JetStar was also noted for having four engines in pods in the rear, much like the DC-9 or VC-10 airliners.

The Model

The model comes in a fairly small box, but then it’s not a big airplane, and it IS 1/144 scale. The aircraft this model represents is one of the AFCS “navaids” checkers, which were camouflaged. There are 4 grey sprues and one clear. The decal sheet is small, with 4 USAF stars, USAF & serials and MAC & AFCS for the tail. There are also two decals marking emergency exits. There’s no interior for the cockpit or passenger area.


This kit is pretty simple. The windows go in the fuselage halves. The holes for the navaids antennas are drilled. The nose gear well is installed and the fuselage halves glued together. Then the wing top and bottom halves are assembled, and glued to the fuselage halves. The engines consist of 3 parts, top and bottom of the engines and the intake sections, and these assemblies are glued to the fuselage. The horizontal stabilizers are glued to the fuselage halves. At this point I stopped and painted the camouflage.


The camouflage shown on the box art, the box back and the instructions are for the “Euro One” scheme of dark grey and two dark greens, FS 36091, 34092 and 34102, according to TO 1-1-4. The paint callouts on the instructions are for Vallejo. The names match up, but the color of the gray they give is closer to Neutral Gray, 36173. I couldn’t find a FS callout for the two greens, so I can’t comment on them.

Having painted the aircraft, the two greens are so close that it’s very hard to differentiate between them, just like on the SEA scheme used in Vietnam. The grey I used really looks too dark, although it’s “correct”. Probably I should consider “scale color” when painting in 1/144 and lighten everything.

The actual painting went pretty well. I had put liquid mask on the windows, so that wasn’t a problem when painting. I painted the entire aircraft gray, then followed up with patches of green. I used a Paasche medium airbrush for the gray, then used an Aztek with the finest tip for the two greens.

There are black leading edges on both wings, the horizontal stabilizers and the tail. I used flat black, and was satisfied with these.

Painting was followed by a coat of Future to give the decals a gloss coat to stick to.


There wasn’t much to the decals, considering there are no markings on the wings. The stars on the engine cowlings and the emergency exit markings both silvered. After they dried, I used MicroSol and MicroSet to get them to snuggle down. This worked pretty well, but not completely.

Final Construction

After the decals, I put on a coat Future, followed by a coat of acrylic clear flat to finish the decals. Then it was time for the landing gear, the cockpit canopy and the antennas. I had painted the canopy, gear legs, wheels and doors before doing decals, so they were ready for me. I had a fit issue with the canopy. It stuck up about 1/2mm above the level of the fuselage top when I test fit it. I cut down the fuselage where the canopy fit until they matched.

The landing gear are extremely petite. When I removed the painted wheels from the sprue, there was a bit of cleaning up and touching up, as the sprue connectors are pretty large, and the parts are very small. The instructions also show bending the main gear doors 180 degrees to install them. Doesn’t happen. The plastic is slightly brittle, and both parts just snapped off at the slot. OK, glue them in as 2 parts, not one, and go on.

The navaids antennas and antennas on the top of the fuselage should go on last. I put the fuselage antennas on too soon, and had to reinstall them.

Overall Evaluation

Highly recommended. This is a kit of a little known US aircraft, and it is a great addition to my collection. The fit of the fuselage, wings, engines and other parts is marvelous. I had to use only a tiny bit of putty on one of the engines where I cut a little too much off the sprue connector. I’m not sure if the decal problem was the kit or me. Otherwise, this was a fast project from start to finish. No big problems, but what do you expect from 1/144?

Thanks to MMD-Squadron for the review kit and IPMS/USA for the chance to build it.


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