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Viasa DC-10-30 YV-138C InFlight 200 1:200

Updated: Aug 14, 2022

I do not normally buy metal 1:200 models as I have always respected them because I think they can be a quick path to running out of space and money 😅. But there are always exceptions.

On July 2021 InFlight 200 announced a Viasa DC-10 in the three-shades of blue livery, so I had the perfect excuse as there is a modest number of Viasa releases produced in this livery in any scale, and my birthday was approaching. Never mind that the model arrived about six months late.

The Livery:

In the mid to late eighties, Viasa's fleet ended up being composed of only five DC-10 aircraft. Around the same time, its image went through a slow evolution. The seven stars disappeared from the forward fuselage, and the Viasa titles shifted forward to take their place. The dark blue cheatline was lowered below the window line, and replaced by a blue gradient (three-sades of blue). Finally, the engine nacelles, which used to be bare metal, were painted white with a blue-collar behind the intake lip, and small Viasa titles were added.

Viasa DC-10s could be seen in different stages of this transformation flying around their route network. Here is YV-138C in 1987 with the nacelles still in bare metal, and a fresh paint patch covering the spot the Viasa titles used to be on. And here you can see that year later the nacelles had been painted and the entire aircraft looked a lot fresher.

While Viasa seven-star livery, with the thick dark blue cheatline, is classy and popular, the three-shades of blue is my favorite one. It is the first Viasa livery I saw in real life, in fact, I was ignorant of Viasa prior liveries until 1998 when I was introduced to the internet. So it represents the Viasa I remember. I also think this livery is a good representation of the nineties-style, which has been one of the best times of my life. Hence, allowing this model to join my small 1:200 collection was a no-brainer.

The Aircraft:

Line number 197 was delivered to Viasa on April 1975 as PH-DTH. KLM had leased the aircraft to Viasa before delivery to join another two KLM DC-10s that were already flying for Viasa: PH-DTG (became YV-134C) and PH-DTF (became YV-133C).

Herpa YV-137C in the background

Interestingly, sometime around 1978-79, before being registered in Venezuela, the aircraft was painted in full KLM blue top livery. Then it was seen wearing Viasa stickers while still in full KLM livery and registered as PH-DTH. It was also seen wearing full KLM colors with and without Viasa stickers after it had been registered in Venezuela as YV-138C.

Apparently, the reason behind this swapping back and forth between the two airlines is that KLM briefly took the airplane from Viasa and incorporated it into its fleet. This would have left Viasa with five DC-10s: YV-133C, 34C, 35C, 36C, and 37C. Looks like at some point the airplane was handed over back to Viasa and registered in Venezuela as YV-138C, but KLM held on to it a bit longer before it was repainted in Viasa colors.

Michel Gilliand, . The Aviation Photo Company.

Vito Cedrini, Dave Richarson,

After rejoining Viasa at some point in the early eighties the aircraft flew for the airline until it ceased operations in January 1997. After that, it was registered in the U.S. as N431AV to Avteam Inc. in August 1998. The registration was canceled on April 23, 1999 as it was being parted out at MZJ.

Special Appearances

This aircraft was featured in the 1975 french movie Le Sauvage (Lovers Like Us), where it can be seen looking brand spanking new.

In Closing

I am very pleased to have this model in my collection. Even though it is not my main scale, it was worth making an exception for this one. I am also happy to have discovered the interesting history behind this aircraft, as YV-138C is a new registration in my collection, so I had not looked into a lot of its details before receiving the model.

The model in its new home with some of my other "larger-scales" models

Update: This article has been updated on April 18, 2022. The original article stated that YV-138C was the aircraft that carried Pope John Paul II from Caracas to Maracaibo during his visit to Venezuela in 1985. However, new information indicates that this might not be correct and that it was actually YV-137C (coincidentally the other DC-10 featured in this article) the aircraft that transported the Pope during that visit to Venezuela in 1985.

Jorge A. Zajia

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