Kitty Hawk Models 1/32 SNJ-7 Harvard Build Review
By Larry Horyna
|Date of Review||December 2014||Manufacturer||Kitty Hawk Models|
|Kit Number||32001||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||First styrene kit of this subject in this scale||Cons||A few minor glitches (see text)|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$79.95|
For a brief discussion of this subject and a look at this kit out of the box, look here.
The new Kitty Hawk T-6G in 1/32 is a welcome addition to the large scale plastic aircraft market. WWII's quintessential 'pilot maker' is also one of the most common airshow warbirds you're likely to see flying. Kitty Hawk's kit comes with several marking options as well as variant options (but the big caveat is that the only canopy provided is not suitable for many of these variants). In essence, this kit will make either a T-6G or SNJ-7 right out of the box. You cannot make a Harvard as the instructions suggest. And the solution to the problem is not as simple as buying an aftermarket canopy as the rear canopy decking is different, which will require some surgery to the spine in that area.
I opted to build this kit straight from the box as far as variant. I opted for an SNJ-7. I wasn't particularly thrilled with the kit markings for the SNJ and in looking on the internet I came across pictures of a current airshow warbird in markings which were inspired by a pre-war Boeing F4B-4 of VF-6. I just thought the markings were cool and decided to just have fun with this build and not worry too much about 'authenticity'. I had an old 1/32 Superscale decal sheet for F4B-4s with these markings and even though they were a bit small for the T-6 they were close enough!
The kit is molded in grey plastic which is very soft. There are quite a few 'sink holes' in many of the parts so depending on what you use, you may have bit of filling work ahead of you! Fortunately for me, most of the sinks were in the ordinance, which I did not use. I had heard a complaint that the interior had quite a few ejector pin marks in some bad places and it's true, but before you go work yourself to death removing them (as I did) be aware than about 80 to 90% of them will not be visible once the fuselage is together!
Construction was pretty straight forward. The interior is very well detailed. The kit comes with photo etched seat belts but I opted for a set of Fine Molds injection molded seat belts as I find them easier to paint and more detailed than brass belts. I had a bit of trouble fitting the upper fuselage section just in front of the cockpit and needed a little filler. The rest fit great, especially the wings. One other bone of contention is the engine/firewall set up. The engine mounting brackets are very delicate. Two of mine were broken before I even thought about cutting them out. They are just too flimsy and unless you are going to open a cowling panel, you won't see them. I opted to make some strip styrene replacements that were much more stout. I also waited to mount the engine until after the model was painted.
This scheme did require lots of masking. Yellow is also not the easiest color to work with, especially on a large area. I painted the wings white as a base coat for the yellow which gave it a nice vibrant look. The model was painted with Tamiya acrylics. The tail blue is a mix (and it's a bit dark, as is the fuselage grey) but as I mentioned, I was not too concerned about color 'accuracy'. Being a modern airshow airplane, the real aircraft is pretty clean and shiny. That's just not my thing. I wanted a little more weathered look, so that's what I did with a brown wash and a little post shading.
The last little fit issue was the canopy. It does not fit well at all in the open position. I decided to close the rear section (you can still see inside pretty well since the later canopy had fewer frames). In order to keep the front section from 'riding high' I added a thin strip of styrene to the bottom edges to extend them just enough to touch the fuselage. The last thing I did was make a few modern antennas out of plastic card stock and fine wire. I also make a new pitot tube from fine tubing.
Overall, I am very pleased with the result. It was a fun build and in the end, a fun looking model! I hope that Kitty Hawk continues to produce subjects along this line. This is pretty good for an early effort though I will say that they need to do a bit more research as far as having the correct parts for the variants they claim the kit will make. It would also behoove them to make adjustments to avoid the ejector pin marks being in bad places and the 'sink holes' in parts.
My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!