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Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules
Here is my LDD model of the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules. There are many excellent Lego versions of the Herc out there but I thought I would add my take on this venerable military transport. This model is built to minifig scale. As always, leave a comment if you wish. Check out my flickr page for larger pictures here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/118702264@N05/. The LDD model of the C-130J variant is available on my Etsy site: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/KurtsMOCs.
About this creation

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. Originally designed as a troop, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft, the Hercules is capable of operating from unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings.

This image is of a Canadian Forces CC-130J-30 Super Hercules and represents the latest version of the Hercules. Aircraft number 608 flies with 8 Wing Trenton, which is the hub of Canada’s air mobility forces.


The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship, for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting.

Here is a C-130J-30 flying with the 115th Airlift Squadron of the Air National Guard. Stationed at the Channel Islands ANG Station at Oxnard, California, this squadron is the oldest unit in the California Air National Guard.


Entering service with the USAF in the 1950s, over forty variants and versions of the Hercules operate in more than 60 nations. The C-130 Hercules is the longest continuously produced military aircraft at over 60 years, with the updated Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules currently being produced.

This C-130J -30 flies with the Eskadrille 721 of the Royal Danish Air Force and is stationed at Flyvestation Aalburg in the Northern part of the Jutland peninsula. Aircraft B-537 is one of the four Super Hercules flying with the RDAF.


In February 1951, the USAF issued a General Operating Requirement (GOR) for a new transport. The new transport would have a capacity of 92 passengers, 72 combat troops or 64 paratroopers in a cargo compartment that was approximately 41 feet long, 9 feet high, and 10 feet wide. Loading would be via a hinged loading ramp at the rear of the fuselage.

Seen from below, the loading ramp is clearly visible on this Royal Australian Air Force C-130J-30. Based at RAAF Base Richmond, this aircraft is part of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Group No. 37 Squadron. For this model, the ramp is fully extendable.


A key feature was the introduction of the Allison T56 turboprop power plant, first developed specifically for the C-130. The gas turbine engine offered greater range at propeller-driven speeds compared to pure turbojets, which were faster but consumed more fuel and were much heavier than piston engines.

Coming in for a landing at Gardermoen Air Station north of Oslo, this Super Hercules flies with the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s 335 Squadron of the 135 Air Wing. On this model, the landing gear is fully retractable and the flaps, ailerons, elevators, and rudder are all fully functional.


The design of the Hercules, known internally as Model 82, shared similar wing and cargo ramp characteristics with the Fairchild C-123 Provider. The new aircraft had a range of 1,100 nmi, takeoff capability from short and unprepared strips, and the ability to fly with one engine shut down.

The United States Marine Corps fly the KC-130J for fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling. Here, aircraft 765 of the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 (VMGR-352 “Raiders”). The Raiders are stationed at Marine Corps Station Miramar in California. I chose to model one of the early KC-130Js that had the black tail paint scheme. Later versions opted for a low-visibility scheme and while effective, lacked the visual punch of the black tails!


The C-130 can be rapidly reconfigured for the various types of cargo such as palletized equipment, floor-loaded material, airdrop platforms, container delivery bundles, vehicles and personnel or aeromedical evacuation.

Here, a C-130J of 30 Squadron of the Royal Air Force awaits pick of cargo at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. In addition to the articulating ramp, the model also has an opening forward door and two operable waist doors. These can all be seen opened in this image.


This C-130J C5 ZH883 form Brize Norton is painted in a special colour scheme: the 50 years of Marshall Aerospace’s support of the RAF’s fleet of Hercules. The seven badges of the 36th, 48th, 206th, 70th, 47th, 30th, and 14th RAF squadrons that have flown, or are currently flying the Hercules, can be seen on the rear landing gear door.


When designing the C-130, I wanted to achieve a modular system akin to the assembly of the real aircraft. I broke the various components of the aircraft into sections that could be added or removed to fit the specific design of the numerous Hercules variants.

In this image you can see the main fuselage section connects to the nose and tail sections but can also facilitate extensions to lengthen the fuselage, as seen in the Super Hercules’ -30 versions.


From underneath, it is possible to see how the landing gear assemblies (I made extended and retracted versions) can be inserted and how the ramp functions. This system allowed for greater flexibility when assembling the variants. I could easily modify an aircraft’s nose or fuselage without having to make an entirely different model.


The first light of the YC-130 prototype was made on August 23, 1954 from the Lockheed plant in Burbank, California. After two prototypes were made and successfully tested, production began in Marietta, Georgia, where over 2,300 C-130s have been built through 2009.

Initial production was centred around the C-130A powered by Allison T56-A-9 turboprops with three-blade propellers and originally equipped with the blunt nose of the prototypes. The lack of range of the A-variant led to it being fitted with external pylon-mounted tanks.

I’ve shown the latest variant, the C-130J Super Hercules, first but I also want to show a few examples of the earlier versions as well. This C-130A has the different nose design and three-bladed propeller.


The C-130B model featured increased fuel capacity by including auxiliary tanks in the centre wing section and an AC electrical system. Four-bladed Hamilton Standard propellers replaced the earlier Aeroproducts three-blade configuration. The Allison engines were also uprated.

Countries from all over the world flew the Hercules. This is a C-130 flying with the Israeli Air Force. Known as the Karnaf (Rhinoceros), it has served in the IAF since 1971. Here you can see the camouflage paint scheme and the new four-bladed propellers.


The LC-130 is a ski-equipped USAF variant of the Hercules used in the Arctic and Antarctic. Begun as a prototype in 1956, 12 C-130As were modified with skis and hydraulics under the designation C-130D. In 1959, the first four factory equipped, ski-based Hercules were produced on the Navy designation of UV-1L. These aircraft were originally USAF C-103B models. In 1962, the US Defense Department standardized the aircraft nomenclature to LC-130F for all services.

The primary mission of the LC-130 is supporting the scientific community in Antarctica by transporting cargo and personnel from the McMurdo Station to field stations and camps, including the Amundson-Scott South Pole Station. The Navy Antarctic Development Squadron Six (first designated VX-6, then VXE-6 from 1969) originally operated the LC-130 aircraft. Initially, VXE-6 was stationed at the Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island and later at the Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California. Operation of the aircraft were transferred in 1999 to the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard when Navy support of the Antarctic program was terminated and VXE-6 was decommissioned.

The LC-130 as equipped with retractable skis that allow the aircraft to land on snow and ice as well as conventional runways. The aircraft have provisions for using jet-assisted-takeoff (JATO) rockets, four on each side of the aircraft, that are used when the LC-130 operates from rough, unprepared snow surfaces or when shorter takeoff runs are needed.

In this image, a LC-130H-3 takes off from an improvised ice runway using JATO assistance. Currently, the remaining ten aircraft are in service with the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard at Schenectady County Airport.


A redesigned outer wing, upgrade Allison T56-A-15 engines, and updated avionics were features of the C-130H model. Although appearing almost identical to the E-variant, the new engines of the H-variant brought major performance improvements to the aircraft.

The C-130s of the Argentine Air Force flew dangerous resupply missions for Argentine troops on the Falkland Islands during the 1982 conflict. Here, C-130H of the 1st Air Brigade flies low over the icy South Atlantic Ocean.


The C-130H Hercules Mk. 2 “Snoopy” (XV208) was converted by Marshall Aerospace & Defence in Cambridge, 1972 for the RAF and flown by the Meteorological Research Flight for several decades. The 18-foot nose boom necessitated moving the Ekco 208 weather radar into a pod above the flight deck.


The C-130E model entered service in 1962 as a B-variant with the addition of 1,360 US gal Sargent Fletcher external fuel tanks under each wing’s midsection and more powerful Allison T56-A-7A turboprops. There were also structural improvements, avionics upgrades, and a higher gross weight.

This is an EC-130G (a modified C-130E) designed as an Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC) for the United States Air Force and Navy. The Navy’s TACAMO (“Take Charge and Move Out”) variant, the EC-130G shown here, was fitted with VLF transmitters to provide communications with ballistic missile submarines.


The C-130T Hercules provides logistic support to Navy fleet operating forces. One of the most recognizable T-variants is the Blue Angel’s “Fat Albert.” The USMC aircraft provides logistical support by carrying spare parts, equipment, and personnel between shows (known as “Fat Albert Airlines”). Beginning in 1975, “Bert” was used for Rocket Assisted Take Off (RATO) and short aerial demonstrations prior to the main demonstration event.

Here is “Bert” pulling a steep climb after igniting the RATO rockets. The landing gear can be seen halfway retracted. The Blue Angels livery was fun to make!


The Combat Talon was developed between December 1964 and January 1967 as the result of an USAF “Big Safari” study for modifying special mission aircraft. Project “Thin Slice” modified two C-130E (aircraft 64-0506 and 64-0507 whose serial numbers had been “sanitized”) for low-level clandestine penetration use by MACV-SOG in Southeast Asia. The Thin Slice aircraft, along with newer “Heavy Chain” aircraft, were then collectively code-named “Rivet Yard” in August 1966.

During the development of the “Yards,” 14 C-130Es were purchased for SOG in 1965 and fitted with the Fulton Surface-To-Air Recovery System (STARS). Painted with a low-reflective paint, these aircraft were initially knick-named “Blackbirds” but later received the much more attractive code-name “Rivet Clamp.” These Clamps, along with the Yards, were collectively assigned the designation Combat Talon in 1967.

The Clamps were equipped with an electronic and infrared (IR) countermeasures suite and the AN/APQ-115 navigational radar. In 1970, a new AN/APQ-122 Adverse Weather Aerial Delivery System (AWADS) with terrain following/terrain avoidance modes replaced the APQ-115. The AN/APQ-122 with the Litton LN-15J Inertial Navigation System (INS) became standard as the MOD-70 upgrade on the twelve Combat Talons in service as well as the four Heavy Chain test bed aircraft. Following the completion of the MOD-70, the Combat Talons were divided into three designations: C-130E(CT) for the Clamp aircraft, C-130E(Y) for the “Yank” (formerly Yard) Talons, and C-130E(S) for the MOD-70 “Swap”. The Combat Talon designations were consolidated in 1977 as the MC-130 and have remained under that designation since.

In this image, a MC-130E Combat Talon I deploys the Fulton Surface-To-Air Recovery System (STARS). STARS was used to extract personnel and materials via air. A large helium balloon raised a nylon lift line into the air, which was snagged by a large scissors-shaped yoke attached to the nose of aircraft. The yoke snagged the line and released the balloon, yanking the attached cargo off the ground with a shock less than that of an opening parachute. A sky anchor secured the line as it trailed from the nose to both leading wing tip edges protected the propellers from the line on missed snag attempts. Crew members hooked the snagged line as it trailed behind and attached it to the hydraulic winch, pulling the attached person or cargo into the plane through the rear cargo door. This Combat Talon I flew from Eglin Air Force Auxiliary Field No. 9 (Hulbert Field) with the 8th Special Operations Squadron (SOS), 1st Special Operations Wing (SOW).


Another variant of the C-130E was the MC-130E Combat Talon I, developed between 1964 and 1967 to design special mission aircraft. The aircraft were painted in low-radar reflective paint, which added 370 pounds of weight, and sanitized of all serial numbers. Over a 30 year career, the Combat Talon I saw a variety of duties, configurations, and improvements. These included the Fulton Surface-To-Air Recovery System (STARS), an electronic and infrared countermeasures suites, and AN/APQ-122 Adverse Weather Aerial Delivery System (AWADS) matched with the Litton LN-15J Inertial Navigation System (INS) to provide terrain following/terrain avoidance capabilities.

These variants, known progressively as Thin Slice, Heavy Chain, Rivet Yard, Blackbirds, Rivet Clamp, Project 46, and Yank Talon, were later (mercifully) consolidated under the designation MC-130E Combat Talon in 1977. This changed to Combat Talon I in 1984 after the introduction of the C-130H Combat Talon II specifications.

Conducting top-secret operations worldwide, the MC-130E has operated in Vietnam under operational control by MACV-SOG. After Vietnam, the Combat Talons were reorganized into three squadrons based in Okinawa, Germany, and Florida. Notable missions included rescuing prisoners from Son Tay prison in North Vietnam during Operation Kingpin in 1970; the attempted rescue the US embassy hostages in Tehran during Operation Eagle Claw in 1979; inserting Army Rangers into Grenada during Operation Urgent Fury in 1983 and again in Panama during Operation Just Cause in 1989; and conducting airdrops and psychological warfare during Desert Storm in 1990.

Here, an aircraft of the 919th Special Operations Wing takes off on a clandestine mission. Don’t ask where or what they’re doing!


The long-range and airdrop capabilities of the Hercules served the broad needs of the US Coast Guard. The HC-130H is used primarily for long-range overwater search missions, maritime patrol, North Atlantic Ice Patrol and command and control of search and rescue. In some circumstances, the HC-130H can airdrop rescue equipment to survivors at sea or over open terrain.

An HC-130H of CGAS Kodiak in Alaska patrols the coastline. Note the large window on the forward fuselage. This makes it easier for spotters to see the ocean below.


After the 1970 Laguna Fire overwhelmed the existing aviation firefighting resources, the US Congress established the Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS). The US Forest Service worked in coordination with the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve to produce the equipment, training and operational procedures to integrate military air tankers into the national response system.

The first MAFFS system contains 2,700 gal of fire retardant in five tanks, which can be dispersed in five seconds over a fire, producing a fire line that is 60 feet wide and a quarter mile long. The second system, MAFFS II, has a capacity of 3,000 gal and on-board compressors, which cuts turn-around time significantly. MAFFS II disperses the retardant through a special plug in the paratroop drop door on the side of the aircraft, rather than requiring the cargo ramp door to be opened as in the first system. This permits the aircraft to remain pressurized during the drop sequence and with the cargo door up, cuts drag significantly.

In this image, you can see the placement of the MAFFS II sled within the C-130H cargo bay.


MAFFS equipment is stationed at eight locations around the United States. They are considered a “24-hour resource,” meaning that when activated, it is expected to take that amount of time for the aircraft to arrive on the scene prepared after being pulled from their regular military duties. MAFFS-equipped C-130s are only called upon if all available commercial air tankers are unavailable or otherwise committed to a fire attack. MAFFS has also been deployed to Mexico, Europe, Africa, and Indonesia.

Here, you can see a C-130H from the 152nd Airlift Wing of the Nevada Air Guard (the “High Rollers”) on a fire run using the MAFFS II system. The paratroop drop door is replaced with a specially fitted plug containing the inlet vent for the compressor at the top and the dispersal opening for the retardant below.


The civilian version of the Hercules is known as the L-100. The first flight occurred in 1964 with three versions available: the regular L-100, the longer L-100-20, and the longest L-100-30 variants. L-100 production ended in 1992 with 114 aircraft delivered. An updated variant of the model, the LM-100J, have completed its first flight and set to start production in 2018-2019.

The de-militarized versions of the C-130E Hercules fly for commercial and military operators. The L-100-30 in this image flies for Tepper Aviation, based in Crestview, Florida. The company has a long association with the CIA, suspected of flying weapons into Angola and transporting suspected terrorists through Europe. The boring all-white paint scheme of this L-100-30 belies the nature of its secretive missions!


The C-130J Super Hercules is a comprehensive update with new engines, flight deck, and other digital avionics. The only Hercules variant still in production, a total of 300 C-130Js have been ordered by fifteen different nations. The J-model is available in a standard length or stretched -30 variant.

The new engines are Rolls-Royce AE2100 D3 turboprop engines with Dowty R391 composite scimitar propellers. These changes have increased the maximum range and speed over previous models as well as 41% shorter takeoff distance.

Here, two Super Hercules from the 40th Airlift Squadron “Screaming Eagles” stationed at Dyess AFB in Texas fly in formation. The 40th AS uses the -30 variant but I wanted to include the regular variant for comparison.

Thanks to all those Hercules builders who have inspired this model. Also, thanks to Wikipedia, Military.org, and the various nations’ Air Force websites for the endless information, specifications, and images.



Comments

 I made it 
  September 28, 2017
Quoting Jeremy McCreary Outstanding sculpting and modular design, Kurt! Really enjoyed the write-up, too. An iconic and amazingly versatile aircraft.
Thanks, Jeremy! I'm glad you like the model and history. I've always had a soft spot for the Hercules and I'm glad others share the same affection for a great aircraft.
 I like it 
  September 28, 2017
Outstanding sculpting and modular design, Kurt! Really enjoyed the write-up, too. An iconic and amazingly versatile aircraft.
 I made it 
  September 27, 2017
Quoting Fell Skyhawk Amazing work.
Thanks!
 I like it 
  September 26, 2017
Amazing work.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2017
Quoting A QIEA QIEA wow really nice work and thanks for all the details
Thanks for the comments and I'm glad you like the model and descriptions.
 I like it 
  September 24, 2017
wow really nice work and thanks for all the details
 I made it 
  September 10, 2017
Quoting Fuzz Ball Brilliant work my friend. I remember living next to Peterson AFB (which was a USAFR C-130 base) and I would see not just the local aircraft, but on more than one occasion I saw a Canadian Forces Hercules land there as well, and there were plenty of F-18s on a regular basis which could have been Canadian as well. Again, brilliant work!
Thanks for the comments! It seems so many people have memories of the Hercules, proving just how iconic it actually is.
 I made it 
  September 10, 2017
Quoting Oliver Becker Wonderful, Kurt! I can hear the motors running and than she takes off... ;)
Thanks, Oliver! Those new RR engines and scimitar props purr like a content cat!
 I like it 
  September 10, 2017
Brilliant work my friend. I remember living next to Peterson AFB (which was a USAFR C-130 base) and I would see not just the local aircraft, but on more than one occasion I saw a Canadian Forces Hercules land there as well, and there were plenty of F-18s on a regular basis which could have been Canadian as well. Again, brilliant work!
 I like it 
  September 10, 2017
Wonderful, Kurt! I can hear the motors running and than she takes off... ;)
 I made it 
  September 10, 2017
Quoting Angelo Filipelli Looks awesome! This is a very familiar plane since I live near an air force base. (Travis Air Force Base to be exact) And these planes fly over 24/7, in the U.S Air Force scheme and Coast Guard scheme.
Thanks, Angelo. I'm glad you liked the model. A great story about living next to an air base. I'm sure it was a lot of fun if a bit noisy!
  September 10, 2017
Looks awesome! This is a very familiar plane since I live near an air force base. (Travis Air Force Base to be exact) And these planes fly over 24/7, in the U.S Air Force scheme and Coast Guard scheme.
 I made it 
  September 10, 2017
Quoting Sven ;o) I love the Hercules because when you see it flying it looks so elegant especially when it's turning. The sound of the engines and the propellers is such a unique and really nice one. All your versions here looks absolutely beautiful and I love them all! Fantastic work! :)
Thanks, Sven! I'm glad you like the models and variants.
 I made it 
  September 10, 2017
Quoting Misa Nikolic Wow, another amazing project – so many variants, so much background!
Thanks, Misa! I enjoy making the images as much as the models themselves!
 I like it 
  September 10, 2017
I love the Hercules because when you see it flying it looks so elegant especially when it's turning. The sound of the engines and the propellers is such a unique and really nice one. All your versions here looks absolutely beautiful and I love them all! Fantastic work! :)
 I like it 
  September 10, 2017
Wow, another amazing project – so many variants, so much background!
 I made it 
  September 10, 2017
Quoting Nick Barrett Beautifully done, in all the different versions.
Thanks, Nick!
 I made it 
  September 10, 2017
Quoting Johan van der Pluijm Impressive moc with all those versions and descriptions. I regularly see some Dutch Herculeses and I can say you did a great job.
Thanks, Johan!
 I made it 
  September 10, 2017
Quoting Doug Hughes Absolutely brilliant! Love the shaping and detail work on this!
Thanks, Doug! I appreciate your comments and I'm glad you like the model.
 I like it 
  September 10, 2017
Beautifully done, in all the different versions.
 I like it 
  September 9, 2017
Impressive moc with all those versions and descriptions. I regularly see some Dutch Herculeses and I can say you did a great job.
 I like it 
  September 9, 2017
Absolutely brilliant! Love the shaping and detail work on this!
 I made it 
  September 9, 2017
Quoting Clayton Marchetti Fantastic! It's amazing just how timeless this aircraft has been. Love how rounded you made the fuselage. The Blue Angles support craft looks gorgeous! Magnificent job!
Thanks for your support Clayton. The Herc seems ageless and there's something to be said about a design that just works. Oddly enough, the renown Kelly Johnson at Lockheed said that if the C-130 went into production it would be the end of the company. He wasn't wrong about too many things but this was one of them!
 I like it 
  September 9, 2017
Fantastic! It's amazing just how timeless this aircraft has been. Love how rounded you made the fuselage. The Blue Angles support craft looks gorgeous! Magnificent job!
 I made it 
  September 9, 2017
Quoting Henrik Jensen I really enjoyed this Hercules post, Excellent work!
Thanks, Henrik! I'm glad you liked the model.
 I like it 
  September 9, 2017
I really enjoyed this Hercules post, Excellent work!
 I made it 
  September 9, 2017
Quoting killswitch95 (Last Name is Dank AF) Nice!
Thanks!
 I like it 
  September 9, 2017
Nice!
 I made it 
  September 9, 2017
Quoting BATOH rossi you can surprise as always, for the proportions and the details ... only the AC-130 version is missing!
Thanks for the comments. I have plans for the AC-130 as another model. There are many variations of the gunship so I thought it deserved its own collection. Stay tuned!
 I like it 
  September 9, 2017
you can surprise as always, for the proportions and the details ... only the AC-130 version is missing!
 I made it 
  September 9, 2017
Quoting Seaman SPb Fantastic work, very beautiful build! As always!
Thanks, Seaman! I'm glad you like the model.
 I like it 
  September 9, 2017
Fantastic work, very beautiful build! As always!
 I made it 
  September 9, 2017
Quoting Gabor Pauler Excellent work, a long waited MOC from you again! I especially like the excellent proportions and the mindblasting shaping of the cargo ramp.
Thanks, Gabor! Thanks for the comments and I'm glad you like the model. I didn't know you were waiting for this model. If I did, I would have finished it faster.
 I like it 
  September 9, 2017
Excellent work, a long waited MOC from you again! I especially like the excellent proportions and the mindblasting shaping of the cargo ramp.
 
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