Civil aviation, except for airliners, tends to get short shrift in the scale modeling world so I thought I'd do a few columns on private aircraft, especially those released over the years by the much maligned and long defunct Aurora Plastics Corporation. They did have some real jewels in their line, and this is one of them - a 1/72 scale Jet Commander, the only kit of the type ever made in the most popular modeling scale.
The Jet Commander was one of the first executive jets available in the mid to late 1960s and was powered by two GE CJ610 engines, giving it a cruising speed of 525 mph with a range of 1500 nautical miles. It climbed at a respectable 5000 feet per minute to a ceiling of 45,000 feet.
The kit consists of 36 parts molded in the typical Aurora white plastic, six clear parts for the windows, and two more for the familiar Aurora-style display stand. The wings suffer from large shallow sink marks and very blunt trailing edges but the rest of the parts are crisp, if somewhat crude. A basic interior is provided for both the cockpit and cabin, making it easy to detail as much as desired. The clear parts however are extremely thick, with more bad sink marks in the passenger windows, and would need to be replaced before any interior work could be seen.
The decal sheet in my example is badly yellowed but would probably still be usable after bleaching in out in sunlight and giving it a coat or two of Superfilm. The registration included is "N1966J", probably the first prototype.
There's no need to sand off or fill overly large panel lines since there aren't any other than the control surfaces on the wings and tail. Not necessarily a bad thing in this scale, in my opinion. The landing gear wells are too shallow but one has to keep in mind that this kit was released in 1968. Plastic models have come a long way in 32 years but this one would stand up well to many of the limited-run injection molded kits available today.
I wonder if Revell-Monogram has the tooling for this kit or any of the other Aurora civilian aircraft, and if they'd dare to reissue any of them......
I'll look at another of Aurora's private aircraft next month. Till then, "Build what YOU like, the way YOU want to, and the critics will flame you every time."