IBEX 1/48 T-6A Texan II Kit First Look
|Date of Review||January 2012||Manufacturer||IBEX|
|Subject||T-6 Texan II||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||4801||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin, Vac|
|Pros||Easy construction, nice detailing||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$45.00|
When the Department of Defense issued a requirement for a primary trainer that would serve as a replacement for the services' aging trainers, the program was called JPATS - Joint Primary Aircraft Training System. The JPATS would replace the T-37 for the US Air Force and the T-34C for the US Navy/USMC. While a number of innovative designs were offered, it was Beechcraft (maker of the T-34 Mentor) that teamed with Pilatus (Switzerland) to offer a tailored solution based upon the high performance PC-9 trainer.
The Beechcraft design was selected and the new aircraft was designated as the T-6 Texan II, fitting as the North American T-6 Texan trained numerous aviators enroute to fight in the skies over Europe and the Pacific during World War II. The Texan II provides turboprop reliability with economic operating costs and safer ejection seats than the venerable T-37 while providing greater performance (and ejection seats) in place of the T-34C.
Finally someone has tackled a very nice subject and will hopefully prove to the naysayers that trainer kits can sell. A new company called IBEX Models decided to take on this subject in the same tradition and format as Classic Airframes. One difference between IBEX and Classic Airframes is the instruction sheet layout. These instructions from IBEX are excellent! On the other hand, Classic Airframes used lid and tray boxes which aren't as easy to crush in a stack of kits like end-opening boxes like the one used by IBEX.
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on two parts trees plus a handful of nicely cast resin parts and two vacuformed canopies. In a break with tradition, construction of this kit starts with the nosewheel and the nosewheel well that is molded on the underside of the forward cockpit.
The cockpit itself is nicely detailed with resin ejection seats providing some nice eye candy to view inside the tandem cockpits. The instrument panels provide some nice relief detail and decals are provided for the instrument and multi-function display faces. I'm not too convinced on these instrument decals as the printing of the decals didn't get fine enough for this level of detail. There are some aftermarket options if you want to go with decal-based instrument faces.
With the cockpit finished, the rest of the airframe goes together rather quickly as construction of the aircraft is rather simple, just like the full-scale aircraft. A couple of points jump out though to take note of:
- The instructions call for 20 grams of weight in the nose which is conveniently mountable on the top of the forward section of the nose wheel well. Don't forget this!
- The instructions have you assemble the propeller in low-pitch position and while you do see an occasional T-6 parked like that, the prop should be feathered which is normal when the PT6 shuts down
- The instructions have you build the kit with the canopy closed. The T-6 canopy is one-piece including the windscreen and is hinged on the starboard side. It wouldn't be difficult to pose this canopy open with a little work. The kit provides two in case you mess one up during removal from the clear sheet
The only real down side to this kit is the surface detailing on the plastic parts. The panel lines are scribed, but they are wide and deep. A little prep work with some filler will take care of that as there isn't that much surface area to fix.
The kit provides a nice array of marking options:
- T-6, 01-3628, 8 FTS, Vance AFB
- T-6, 04-3723, 8 FTS, Vance AFB
- T-6, 05-3771, 33 FTS, Vance AFB
- T-6, 05-3742, 33 FTS, Vance AFB
- T-6, 05-3848, 559 FTS, Randolph AFB
- T-6, 02-3642, 12 FTW, Randolph AFB
- T-6, 05-3812, 84 FTS, Laughlin AFB
- T-6, 03-3682, 85 FTS, Laughlin AFB
- T-6, 400, Israeli AF
- T-6, 492, Israeli AF
This is a nice kit that can be built into an impressive model with a little work. Since the T-6 is such a clean aircraft, you could almost delete all of the panel lines and call it a day. An AMS modeler will want to add some finely scribed lines back into the cleaned-up airframe and take a second look at those instruments. Overall though, this is a beauty that can be built as-is or you can go to some aftermarket options and build some examples from the Navy or other nations to get some variety in paint and markings. If it is variety you want though, you could also backdate this model to a PC-9 and then you would have a variety of paint schemes and markings to choose from! If you're looking for an aircraft with weapons and external stores, you can also modify this kit into the T-6B COIN prototypes.
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!