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T-34C

Czech Model 1/48 T-34C-1 Turbo Mentor COIN Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2005 Manufacturer Czech Model
Subject Beech T-34C-1 Turbo Mentor COIN Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4810 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Improved injection molding, nicely cast resin parts Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

T-34C-1
T-34C-1
T-34C-1

Developed as an evolutionary version of the T-34A and T-34B Mentors, the T-34C featured a turboprop engine that gave students turbine experience at a fraction of the cost of operating a TA-4J Skyhawk or T-2C Buckeye. The T-34C also drew interest from overseas customers as they also needed an inexpensive way to train their future fighter pilots. In addition, many air forces outside of the US operate armed trainers to serve as counter insurgency (COIN) aircraft. Beech developed a COIN version of the Turbo Mentor dubbed T-34C-1. Equipped with four external pylons, the T-34C-1 could carry rocket pods and/or small gun pods. Many Latin American air forces operate the T-34C-1 today.

The Czech Model T-34C-1 is a multimedia kit, with the fuselage, wings, tail, and landing gear molded in light gray injection-molded styrene. The cockpit tub, seats, nosewheel well, and engine exhaust ducts are cast in resin by True Details. In true Squadron style, two complete vacuformed canopies are included, giving me one to work with and a compulsory spare when Murphy’s Law prevails.

As you can see in the accompanying photos, the detail in the wings and fuselage is all finely scribed, with the unique indents in the flight control surfaces that strengthen the structure all captured beautifully. You’ll note that the kit provides you with your choice of styrene or resin wheels. As the styrene nosewheel is pre-cast onto the nosegear strut, an additional nosegear strut is provided sans wheel to accommodate the resin nosewheel.

A few notes on construction: first, take heed of the weight needed in the nose. This kit will be a dedicated tail-sitter without sufficient ballast up front. Second, the instructions would have you assemble the propeller in a ‘normal’ position. T-34Cs (and PT6 engines in general) feather the propeller at shutdown. Check out the numerous T-34C photos on the internet to see what I mean. Lastly, the prominent clear lenses out on the wingtips are not provided in this kit. Inside these lenses are the red/green navigation lights and the anti-collision strobe lights. You might consider notching out the wingtips and inserting your own clear lenses. Parts B18 that appear to be wing fences out near the wingtips are actually shields to protect the pilot’s eyes from those strobe lights whilst engaging in night flight

While this review sample was missing its decals (Squadron provides excellent customer service in cases like this), markings are provided for two examples:

  • T-34C-1, Armanda de Argentina (Argentine Navy)
  • T-34C-1, Moroccan Air Force

The release of the T-34C was a welcome addition as this airplane is a favorite of mine. With the addition of the T-34C-1 to the line-up, a wide variety of color schemes that are not white and orange are now available to the modeler. This kit is highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!