Airfix 1/72 T-6G Texan/Harvard

KIT #: 03066
PRICE: 7.50
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Heller Mold. Two kits are built, one in kit’s own decals, the other in Carpena RNZAF decals



Almost certainly the most extensively used trainer of all time with more than 17,000 built by North American and others, the Harvard was derived from the N-16 prototype first flown in April 1935. A cantilever monoplane with fixed tail wheel landing gear, open cockpit in tandem and power provided by a 400hp Wright R-975 Whirlwind radial, the type after official testing received a production order under the designation BT-9.


The T-6 Harvard which is a descendant/evolvement from the BT-9 has made up several generations of military pilots the world over. The type was also built in Japan before the war as ‘OAK’ (allied code name) and utilised by Hitler’s Luftwaffe till November 1941. This aircraft, after its wartime useful life, has been roaring the skies in five continents with trainee airmen at the controls until the years 1980s. The sharp rasping sound that the propeller made when a Harvard is in the air could not be missed and is very enjoyable to the ear. The Harvard/ Texan was also used in its capacity as a light ground attack aircraft. Harvards were used as hack aircraft at Ta’ Qali and Luqa airfields, Malta, during the war years and after and these were camouflaged in dark earth and green.


Early production aircraft were ordered by Britain during the RAF expansion programme being named Harvard 1s and deliveries began in 1938. Production switched to the improved Harvard IIs that became the RAF’s standard advanced trainer from 1940 until after the war. The US Army Air Force also flew the Harvard where it was known as the AT-6 while the USN knew it as the SNJ. After the war the USAF adopted the name Texan and the designation T6. The T6G introduced the R-1340-AN-1 engine; increase fuel capacity, improved cockpit layout, steerable tail wheel and other improvements. These entered service with the USAF and USN and during the Korean War, 97 were modified to LT-6G configuration for deployment in battlefield surveillance and Forward Air Control roles. In addition to Texans, export to Brazil, China, Venezuela and many other air arms received surplus aircraft from RAF, RCAF and USAF stocks. The type remained in service with some air forces in the turn of the century. 




The new Airfix kit is in fact the same old Heller one that was a better kit than the original one issued by Airfix. This is now released in a new boxing displaying a colourful art cover of a Texan in South African Air Force markings. Although this so to say new release by Airfix came a couple of years ago the moulds go back to 1978. It is a very good kit at 1/72 scale of this popular aircraft. The 42 part finely moulded kit in yellow plastic are accurate when checked against known dimensions. The revised 8-page A4 size instructions have easy to follow stages of construction and also full markings for three different aircraft liveries.  One of these is a T-6G Harvard in silver and Day-Glo serving with SAAF; another is a SK-16C Harvard of Swedish F in camouflage of olive green upper and neutral grey lower; and a North American LT-6G Harvard in service with the Austrian Air Force. This is a good offer for a nice selection of three liveries from an endless variety that the T6 carried during service. Details appear to be of high quality and yet it yearns for a detail set that we find in resin form for the interior sidewalls in particular.




Construction starts with the sub assembly of the engine/cowling/propeller and these consist of 8 parts. The next stage is assembly of the cabin floor, seats, control stick and all items are correctly styled and even the control column has the right angle at the top. The cockpit was painted interior green; details to sidewalls added using printed side panel structure. Kit instrument panels fixed to both crew coamings. These were carefully painted in black with white dials. The bottom half of the wing is in one piece and there is a blanking plate over the wheel wells which fits very well. Be careful with the joint around the wheel wells and the wing to fuselage as the components have a thin section at the joining part and can easily snap if improperly glued and should therefore be held tight while it is fixed. Any gaps in the wheel wells that may be noticed are blended with white glue. Aileron control links are provided and appear to scale however these have to be reduced in section thickness before fitting in place. It is surprising how the extra detail to the engine particularly at the front can make to the overall appearance of the model. A one-piece 2-blade propeller is provided with an optional spinner none of which is needed for any of the three versions being offered.


Since I opted to do the SAAF Harvard I did some research for clear photos of the aircraft, which I found in These proved to be very clear photos and on close examination I noticed that SAAF Harvards differed in detail from one another. The version I picked to conform to the registration that comes with the kit required a number of detailing additions. These are as follows:


1. Remove the outer two under wing rail points and retain the inner two.

2. The gun pack marked impressions under wings are removed by smoothening.

3. Stiffener strips added across mid wings on each underside. These were made from thin plastic card cut in rectangular shaped strips.

4. Add seat straps.

5. Add two loop shaped aerials to rear sides of fuselage made identical from bent metal wire.

6. Drill 0.4mm diameter access holes one to each side at aft fuselage to take lifting devices.

7. Add whip aerial and blade antenna that do not come with the kit.

8. Thin down section of aileron control links.

9. Add more detail under fuselage from stretch sprue cut into bits.

10. The small intake duct (item 39) was deleted and the locating hole for it was faired over with filler.

11. Rear end of cockpit modified and added cover at rear, made from plastic cut to shape.

12. Cockpit canopy replaced with one from Vac-form Falcon set which is more clear and thin in section.

13. Exhaust pipe outlet opened by drilling.

14. Added a shallow hump or fairing right in front of the cockpit starboard side only. All SAAF machines appear to have it, possibly a modification made to the type.



Of the three aircraft I opted to do the Silver and day-glow and dark grey wings scheme on the SAAF Harvard, which represents a T6G of No 40 squadron CFS based at Dunnattar, Transvaal 1980. This kit was built alongside another Heller T6 but in RNZAF colours and decals that came from Carpena anniversary sheet set No 72-03. Both Harvards did not need the machine guns gun pods, SNEB rockets and rocket rails normally fitted to attack aircraft. The kit decals of SAAF are of correct size and colours however an important advise is to give them a coat of Future before cutting them as the carrier film is very thin and is bound to give trouble of unattended. They adhere well and there is stencil for each type. Including decals for the prop blades. I have used a mix of silver, a few drops of white and clear varnish which were mixed, thinned, and airbrushed and for the bright orange I used Revell Day-glow. The new Zealand Harvard had bright orange areas and I found out that the most suited was a Model Master Italian red.




This is a very good kit to build. With the correct reference material and small amount of additional work and extra effort in masking it can make into a very pleasing model and this is my suggestion to add a T6 if you do not yet have one in your collection. I made 10 so far and all in different liveries.


Carmel J. Attard


July 2009 

Thanks to If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page