|NOTES:||Two full kits in this box|
Many people will be familiar with the Beechcraft T-34
"Mentor" primary trainer. It was introduced in 1953 and served with the US Air
Force and Navy and more than 20 other countries. A later version, the T-34C
Turbo Mentor, replaced the piston engine with a turbo prop and served with a
range of countries.. The last one was built in 1990.
This kit represents the Japanese version of the piston engined T-34. It's known as the Fuji T-3. Fifty were built. Our friends at wikipedia.org tell us this:
"The KM-2B was a further development of the Fuji KM-2 (itself a four seat development of the T-34 Mentor with a more powerful engine) for use as a primary trainer for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). It combined the structure and engine of the KM-2 with the tandem cockpit of the T-34 Mentor, first flying on 17 January 1978. Fifty were purchased by the JASDF as the Fuji T-3, production continuing until 1982".
The gang at Hasegawa offer the following extra points in the kit's instruction sheet:
"Basic T-34 configuration was retained, however a 300hp engine with supercharger was installed which altered its nose shape slightly. Performance is superior to the T-34 due to the new engine and constant speed, three-bade propeller. The T-3 uses electric gyros, TACAN, a modernised HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator), and carries a radar encoding transponder".
The aircraft has since been replaced in Japanese service by a later development, the Fuji T-4.
This is one of the cool two-for-one sets that Hasegawa released in 2004 to commemorate the JASDF's 50th anniversary. It's clearly an older kit, though, because the detail is mostly raised and the moulding isn't as clean as more modern Hasegawa kits. Still, it is a very buildable kit, judging by the sprues.. A tiny bit of trimming here and there seems to be all that's needed to prepare for a fast and trouble free build.
The model is small but nicely detailed. The cockpit has
two control sticks, and two reasonable seats, plus decals for the smooth
instrument panels.. This will still be a bit sparse given how large the canopy
is, so a little extra work (seatbelts, or pilots) would probably be called for.
Wheel wells exist but have no detail.
This will be a colourful model. There are three choices, all of which are 50th anniversary special schemes:
1. the 11th Flying Training Wing: white overall with red leading edges top and bottom, a white tail with a red/blue badge, and a red fuselage side running from the canopy backwards, and covered in badges (as seen on the box art).
2. the 11th Flying Training Wing "Early Marking", same as above but with a silver tail, and a red fuselage side from the nose backwards.
3. the 15th Flying Training Wing, same as above but with an orange tail and different badges.
All of them have bright orange wing tips and tail tips.
The decal sheet contains all the red and orange stripes you need to build two of these aircraft. The decals look great and are printed by Cartograf of Italy.
A simple and straightforward build of a colourful subject, with two for the price of one. Hard to go past!
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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