Monogram 1/48 T-28B Trojan

KIT #: 5100
PRICE: $3.98 MSRP back in 1975
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Andrew Garcia
NOTES: Aeromaster decals, Black Box and Aries resin used

HISTORY


What aircraft can out-climb and out-turn a P-51 Mustang?  The T-28 Trojan will out-climb and out-turn the P-51 Mustang according to the “Final Tour of  Duty  N.A. T-28 Trojans text. Why? It is due to their outstanding power-to-weight ratio.  The T-28 Trojan actually has superior performance metrics than most WW II fighter aircraft. This sounds like my kind of trainer aircraft.  Like the Mustang,  it also was used as a close-support aircraft and one pilot even completed over 5,000 missions in T-28’s!  As the book by Robert Genat rightly states – “The more you’re around T-28’s the better they get.”

In 1948 the T-28A was chosen to replace the T-6 trainer. It was first flown on September 24, 1949, and entered production in 1950. The U.S. Air Force ordered  266 units of this version (T-28A). It was powered by an 800 hp. R-1300-A Wright Cyclone engine, whereas the later U.S. Navy versions (T-28B and -C) were powered by a R-1820-9HD Wright Cyclone 1,425 hp. engine. The T-28B was purely a land based aircraft and the one that many student pilots flew. To perform carrier landing and takeoffs, the T-28C, which had an arrestor hook fitted into a cut away rear fuselage, was used. When production ended in 1957, a total of 1,948 ( 489 “B’s”, 299 “C’s”, and over 321 “D’s) of these three versions had been built. The actual version numbers do not add up due to some recycling of airframes. Some “A’s” were converted to “D’s,  some B’s remanufactured into “D’s”,  and even some C’s” had their hooks pulled and faired over then converted to the “D” standard and were called AT-28D Trojan. A few Navy T-28Bs eventually went into the Air Force inventory and a few others were turned over to the U.S. Army so trying to be precise about modeling this aircraft can lead to some disagreements. My take on this is use a photo reference for your own peace of mind and don’t argue with anyone since chances are you are both right.

In 1962, the Air Force began a program to modify more than 200 T-28As into  T-28D "Nomad" tactical fighter-bombers for counter-insurgency warfare in Vietnam. Equipped with the larger 1,425 hp. engines and many other changes, the T-28Ds eventually proved to be an effective close air support weapon against enemy ground forces. The South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) used a number of USAF-supplied T-28Bs (Farm Gate detachment and modification program) in a similar role until the T-28Ds became available.

Other users of the T-28 were France which used re-engined T-28As as the T-28S 'Fennec' COIN aircraft in Algeria and Haiti. There were many other users such as Argentina, Cuba, Nicaraguua, Brazil (T-28R-1), Formosa (Taiwan), Japan, Korea, Mexico, Honduras and Morrocco.  This means you have a wide variety of colorful markings to enjoy. Unfortunately very few T-28 Trojan decal sheets in 1/48th have been released.

The T-28 Trojan was built in five models – the A, B, C, D and Fennec with several variants.

T-28 Versions with some Modeling Notes

T-28A Trojan  - for USAF Pilot Training  ( 266 produced)
- Two-bladed Aero Products A4222-E1  10’ Propeller with a small almost flat prop hub
- Early versions had a Roll-over pylon and High Canopy
- Later ”A” versions deleted the roll-over pylon and lowered the  canopy by 4 inches
- 800HP Wright R-1300-A Engine with TWO exhaust stacks
- Oil cooler intake starts at edge of engine cowling
- Rear seat beacon light is visible (see Squadron In Action #1089 pg. 11, 12 photo)
- Carried .50 caliber mg wing pod or Mk. 51 Mod 4 Bomb Pack
- Note – the rear seat had a canvas cover for instrument flying
- Large spoked nose wheel and taxi light on landing gear strut

T-28B Trojan – for U.S. Navy Pilot Training (489 produced between 1954 – 1955) for primary, basic and instrument training.
- Three-bladed Hamilton Standard propeller of 10’ 1” (with 6 inch prop hub dome)
- 1,425 HP Wright Cyclone R-1820-9HD Engine with THREE exhaust stacks
- Deeper more rounded cowling for larger engine
- Shortened  Oil Cooler intake and bulge on left side
- Speed brake under fuselage behind landing gear area (see Squadron In Action #1089 pg. 21)
- Smaller nose wheel (no spokes) hub (see Squadron In Action #1089 pg. 17 drawing)
- Note – rear seat had a canvas cover for instrument flying
- Occasional transparent green plastic inserted inside canopy as a sun-shade (see Squadron In Action #1089 pg. 21 photo
- Surplus T-28B’s were turned over to the USAF and later to the VNAF in the 1960’s

T-28BD Navy Drone Controller (6 produced)
-T-28C – U.S. Navy Carrier Training  (299 produced between 1955 – 1957) for carrier and advanced training
- Reduced size Three-bladed Hamilton Standard propeller of 9’ 4” (with 6 inch prop hub dome)
- Tail hook added, tail skid moved forward, cut-down rudder and rear fuselage
- If underwing gun pods or bombs are installed a pair of cowling strakes are installed to aid in stall and spin recovery by providing front-lift to the aircraft.
-  Increased  landing gear oleo travel
- 72 T-28A’s were converted tot he “C” standard configuration in N.A. Aviation in Columbus, Ohio.

T-28D USAF Counter Insurgency
- Added Armor Plate behind the seats
- Self sealing fuel tanks
- Ejection seat on some aircraft

T-28D-5 USAF Counter Insurgency

T-28D-5 Group II USAF Counter Insurgency

T-28D-10 USAF Counter Insurgency

T-28K Brazilian modification of Fennec

T-28S Fennec French Counter Insurgency “COIN”  aircraft

YAT-28E Unsuccessful Test & Evaluation Aircraft (two built)

RT-28B  Photo Recon  ( see Squadron In Action #1089 pg. 23 drawing and photo)

THE KIT


The Monogram T-28 Trojan has a long history of kit releases.  I have tried to piece together what occurred by looking at all but the most recent release. Scott Van Aken has provided us with some reviews of this oldie but goodie on several occasions.

Kit PA-14   released in 1956 T-28B US Navy Trainer
    - This kit had and arrestor hook and operating landing gear.
Decals were for: US Navy ATU-801  KE 123 Bu No 137721

Kit PA-121   released in 1965 as a  T-28D Fighter Bomber
- This kit deleted the arrestor hook and added wing gun pods, napalm pack and 250 lb. bombs.
Decals were for:
- USAF COIN Fighter  - minimal stars & bars markings Bu No 140040
- South Vietnam AF 516th FS  coded LT- 21208

Kit 6805   released in 1965 through 1968 in the Blue Monogram- Mattel box  which was a reissue of the earlier Monogram PA-121 kit.
    - This kit had the same contents as PA-121.

Decals are for:
- USAF COIN Fighter  - minimal starts & bars markings Bu No 140040
- South Vietnam AF 516th FS  coded LT- 21208

Kit 5100  released  in 1975 as a T-28B Trojan US Navy Training Plane

- Instructions were adapted from the earlier Monogram releases to reflect the new aircraft markings.
- No apparent changes to the mould

Decals were for one aircraft:
- Trainer from VT-122 Tail code NJ7707  # Black 235  Bu No 137707

What I finally built used was Kit # 5100 as a basis for a  T-28C Trojan using the Black Box resin cockpit and “C” conversion parts, along with an Aires Wright R-1820 resin engine, and Squadron resin wheels and clear vac canopy. Just as is occurring in the computer industry,  with hardware prices falling in relation to software and other “soft” costs,  this model is a  U.S. $ 1.99 cent plastic kit with $ 50.00 dollars in after market components. I had the good fortune to buy some T-28 Trojan kits from a Squadron bagged kit special sale several years ago for $ 1.99 cents each. What a deal! Normally you can find the kit in the U.S. $ 5.00 to $ 10.00 dollar range at Hobby shops or swap meets.

CONSTRUCTION

The kit parts are acceptably detailed with subdued rivet detail and even some recessed panel lines.  I lightly sanded the rivets to reduce them and chose not to rescribe the panel lines since photographs show a very smooth finish with little panel or weathering. Fortunately it only had the raised decal location lines on the props which are easily removed.

The under wing wheel wells are open featuring movable gear. I chose to box them in along with a new nosewheel bay made from plastic card. Actually for the wheel well I used the original kit cockpit. I cut it horizontally, removed some plastic, glued the two pieces back together and used it as the main landing gear well bay. If you have a Dremel drill and thin cutting wheel it is a 5-minute task to do this and it looks pretty good. The nose gear was done using styrene sheet. I did not use the very nice Mike West resin parts due to the complexities caused by opening up the engine bay.  I used the kit undercarriage struts and opened up the torque links and added other details from scratch. The kit wheels were replaced with the Squadron
resin wheels for an  F-80/T-33 since they are a similar diameter and probably N.A. Aviation did the same. The kit undercarriage was designed to retract so I had to carve off the over scale hinge mechanisms and fill the resulting trenches.

The Squadron products vac canopy was separated and combined with the Black Box components as per their instructions.
A more recent (1999) re-release in the Monogram Classics series may still be readily available in retail outlets. Since I had several of the earlier releases in my personal collection I did not purchase one of these (which I now regret!).  It is my understanding that the “Monogram  Classics” release used the old T-28D components with a two-bladed Aero Products A4222-E1 10 foot prop that is correct only if used on the T-28A version.  This leaves the oil cooler opening and some other parts in need of changes. (I'm not sure if this is correct or not.
See preview. Ed)

There are about 7 or 8 Wright R-1820 resin engines available. Verlinden (-52) for the SBD-3, the old and OOP KMC (-56) for the General Motors FM-2, along with a couple from Engines and Things (various dashes), one from Teknics (for the B-17), one from Koster (?) and the newest release, the Aires version #4166  (no dash given, but it looks close to a –40 version.). I chose to use the Aires product.

The Aires engine scores very high in detail points with exquisite resin casting and phenomenal etched metal parts, but when looking at reference photos it seems the electric prop control housing is not provided and the component found at the six o’clock location is undersized. Probably due to Euro currency versus U.S. Dollar issues the Aires version is also a little
expensive in the U.S.  The distinguishing features of different Cyclones are found at the face of the engine crankcase, The most prominent detail items being the type of prop governor and the ignition control box.

I was very surprised to find the T-28 Trojan has a pair of clamshell doors for engine compartment access. Unlike most other aircraft that require panels to be unscrewed and removed,  the T-28’s open engine area looks like a car hood or trunk lid opened up.  This added a lot of complexity to my open compartment exposed engine modeling.   Excellent color exposed engine detail photos were found  on pages 40, 42 and 43 of the “Final Tour of Duty  North American’s T-28 Trojans” by Robert Genat text.

I scratch built an engine firewall, engine mounts and engine bulkhead from styrene sheet and a portion of the ICM Spitfire firewall. Since I recently built a Hasegawa Spitfire Mk. IX with the exposed CMK Resin Merlin  engine I doubt I will be using the ICM engine parts and they gave me a head start on adding details.

I used the outstanding Black Box resin cockpit (# 48062).  There are two BB cockpits available, #48059  T-28D Trojan Cockpit Set  Resin Cockpit detail set, and the # 48062  USN T-28C Trojan Cockpit Set which also has the tail hook and notched rear fuselage plug. They are flawless castings and you will truly appreciate what they add to the kit. As with all BB cockpits they are so well detailed they are a kit by themselves with clear instructions.  The cockpit went in without any fit problems. Excellent color cockpit detail photos were found  on pages 30,31,44,45,46,47 of the “ Final Tour of Duty  North American’s T-28 Trojans”  by Robert Genat.

In this build I also used the Squadron  True Details TD48089  Resin Wheels (from F-80/T-33 but they look fine on a T-28) and SQ9628    Vac-formed Canopy for Monogram T-28 Trojan. I added some brake lines and disk brake pads to the resin wheels for additional details.

Unless Classic Airframes or one of the Czech companies does an updated version, this oldie is the one that you'll have to use. It has rivets, raised panel lines and other unpleasant 1960’s kit technology standards but it also looks very much like a T-28 when you are done.  Updated with a small amount of effort and the Black Box resin cockpit and Mike West resin components and you have a gem in your built kit collection. You will not regret building one! Maybe next time I build another T-28 Trojan I will add the battery that slides out on a rail and the nearby a power receptacle along with the fold-down ladder in the nose-wheel well.

COLORS & MARKINGS


I used Gunze acrylic paints and Testors Metalizer for the aluminum engine. The markings are from the excellent Aero Master Decal # 48-614 American Trojans In The Sky for a T-28C Trojan VT-27 Bu Nu 140062..

For all the T-28 Trojan modelers wondering what else is available (but hard to find):

Microscale 48-109 has three aircraft on its sheet.

1. US Navy T-28C Bu No 140068   VT-5 Trainer   Black 519  Colors: Overall white with red orange     panels    and nose art (gaping mouth with teeth and eyes).
2. USMC  T-28B Bu No 138231  Quantico  based Tail Code 8231  Colors: Overall white with red orange panels
3. T-28B US Navy  Bu No 137663

Microscale 48-111 has four aircraft on its sheet.

1. T-28B US Navy Bi-Centenial Markings VT-2  Bu No 138155
2. T-28D USAF  1st S.O.W.  No. 55-1480
3. T-28B US Navy ATU-800  Bu No 137691
4. T-28B  US Army  at Edwards Air Force Base as a Helicopter Chase Plane  No. 137702

AeroMaster
AeroMaster Decals  AMD 48-613 and AMD 48-614. I found Aeromaster decals replicated several of the aircraft on the two old Microscale/Superscale sheets, ie the US Navy T-28C Bu No 140068   VT-5 Trainer   Black 519;  T-28B US Navy ATU-800  Bu No 137691 and  T-28D USAF  1st S.O.W.  No. 55-1480 . The AMD decals are great sheets none the less since many folks do not have the old Microscale-Superscale releases.

AeroMaster  Decal 48-613

1.   Bureau number 140068, a T-28C belonging to VT-5 and wearing the 2S tail code of NAS Saufley. The aircraft is in the Training Command high visibility finish of overall gloss red and white with yellow cat’s eyes and mouth on the cowling and a red and white striped rudder.

2.   T-28B, Bureau number 137691 of ATU-800. The machine is finished in another Training Command scheme of overall yellow with orange bands to the wings and fuselage. It also sports an olive drab anti-glare panel. The placement guide advises that the aircraft was assigned to ATU-800 whilst the decal and the side-view show it as “ATUB00”.

3.   DT-28, Bureau number 138335 of an unnamed squadron. This aircraft is finished in the bright drone/target tug scheme of engine grey/red and yellow.

AeroMaster Decal 48-614

1. Bureau number 140052, a T-28C of VT27. Finish is the Training Command high visibility scheme of overall gloss red and white with a white chevron on the fin and rudder.

2.  T-28C, Bureau number 40528 of an unnamed unit. Finish is overall gloss yellow with an olive drab anti-glare panel and with a black SB tail code.

3. T-28D USAF  # 51-480 of the Air Commandos is finished in the South East Asia scheme of FS 34079 dark green, FS34102 mid green, FS 30219 tan (the placement sheet lists the tan as FS32079), and FS36622 light grey. Markings are discreet but include white tail codes/serials, Tactical Air Command shields for the tail and unit shields (?) for the engine cowling. The shields are provided as one-piece decals as well as two-part decals to address any register problems that may arise. The ejection seat warning triangles are also provided as two-part decals. A cord-wise red band for the fin and rudder round out the markings for this machine.

4. DT-28B, Bureau number 137652. The markings depict it when it was assigned to the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School. The machine is painted overall white with the forward part of the fin, outer thirds of the tops and bottoms of the wings and cowling/forward fuselage in red.

CONCLUSIONS


This was a great project for me.  I could visualize the T-28 kit with an Aires Resin engine and Black Box cockpit to the extent I set aside a massive Tamiya P-47 Razorback building project (building ten simultaneously – 3 completed)  and started working on the T-28’s. The first one I built tested my scratch building skills. The rest of the T-28’s were to satisfy the colors and markings excitement AeroMaster generated when they released their long awaited and superbly produced series of T-28 decals.

REFERENCES


The best modeler reference is:

Final Tour of Duty  North American’s T-28 Trojans by Robert Genat Specialty Press  1996

It’s format features all color photography  with limited text showing all versions of the T-28. It is a combination of a “Walk-Around” book with detailed aircraft close-up component photographs and lots of static and in flight pictures from all angles. The best cockpit and engine detail photographs come from this source.

The other two must have books for the T-28 Trojan are:

North American T-28 Trojan in Navy, air Force and Foreign Service by Steve Ginter Naval Fighters # 5

Squadron T-28 Trojan In Action # 1089

Other valuable reference sources include:

Profile # 155  The North American T-28 Trojan  by Profile Publications 1967
Air Classics August 1972 “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” by O’Hara
Air Combat March 1981
Scale Aircraft Modeling Vol. 4  #5 February 1982
 

September 2004

Andrew Garcia

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