Kitty Hawk Models 1/32 T-6 Texan Kit First Look
|Date of Review||January 2014||Manufacturer||Kitty Hawk Models|
|Kit Number||32001||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||First styrene kit of this subject in this scale||Cons||A few minor glitches (see text)|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$79.95|
North American developed one of the most successful training aircraft in the history of aviation. The initial version was the Model 16 (NA-16) that first flew in 1935, then modified into the NA-26 to compete for the Basic Combat (BC-1) trainer contract for the USAAC. Not only did North American win this competition, they supplied 400 to the RAF which became Harvard Mk.I.
The BC-1 and updated BC-2 were modified with new slightly swept wings and other distinctive aerodynamic changes to become the Advanced Trainer - AT-6 Texan for the USAAC and the SNJ for the US Navy. The Texan would continue to evolve into a number of training configurations and remain in production well into the 1950s, with nearly 15,500 examples built.
Here's a kit that many of us have been waiting years to see - an AT-6/SNJ in 1/32 scale. Kitty Hawk Models has released this kit and out of the box, this kit looks great. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on six parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one small fret of photo-etched parts.
When I first heard about this project, I was concerned that we'd see dozens of releases to reflect the wide variety of variants and users of this aerial workhorse. Such is not the case though as there are quite a few options in the box to get you to a number of variants.
Before we look at the features and options, let's look at what can you do with this kit. First, the instrument panel is laid out as a late-model T-6G, and as you know, the T-6G was a configuration applied to remanufactured Texans produced during World War II. If you're looking for a World War II era aircraft, you'll have to fabricate the appropriate front and rear instrument panels (that is no problem since we have those layouts here as we as adjust any external details as needed.
So among the features and options in this box:
- Nicely detailed cockpits
- Choice of control sticks or yokes for the both cockpits
- Nice replication of the tubular framing inside the cockpit
- T-6G (late) instrument panels only
- Photo-etched pilot restraints (front and rear)
- Positionable front and rear canopies
- Choice of framed or unframed rear windscreen
- Detailed R-1340 Wasp
- Choice of short or long exhaust stacks
- Choice of T-6 or SNJ hood covers
- Choice of spinner or exposed propeller hub
- Optional SNJ forward radio mast
- Choice of rear antenna mast, antenna blade, or ADF football
- Positionable rudder
- Positionable ailerons
- Positionable elevators
- Positionable flaps
So you have a variety of parts to replicate the USAAF T-6 or USN SNJ or the RAF/RCAF Harvard though you'll need to address the instrument panels to match your subject. For a post-war T-6, this kit is ideal as it still has the right mix of parts to reflect a remanufactured airframe and the addition of external stores. Speaking of external stores, this kit provides the following options:
- 6 x T-10 rockets
- 2 x Matra 122 rocket pods
- 2 x twin .30 caliber machine gun pods
- 1 x centerline drop tank
- 4 x 500 pound bombs
Markings are included for eight options:
- T-6G, TA-349 (N9523C), USAF, warbird, 'Dazzlin Deb'
- SNJ-5, 93449, USN, Guantanamo Bay NAS (show in instructions as VC-10 USS Carl Vinson...)
- SNJ-5, 90917 (N1038A), USMC, warbird
- Harvard, 20213 (CF-UUU), CAF, warbird
- Harvard, BF+056, West German AF
- T-6G, MM54101 (I-SSEP), 4-06, Italian AF, warbird
- Harvard, 7111, South African AF
- Harvard, FT239, RAF
The decal set provides maintenance stenciling for the airframe as well as all of the distinctive markings. Many of the warbird decals can be used to backdate the kit to a wartime example in whatever air arm you choose.
Whether you want to model a warbird (and there are some colorful examples here) or a service aircraft, this kit can get you there with little or no effort. If you really want to have some fun, there are a wide variety of Hollywood aircraft that started with the T-6/SNJ airframe from A6M to Fw 190 and a number of surprises in-between. This kit has lots of potential and I'm looking forward to putting this one through its paces!
My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!