Pavla 1/72 BT-13 'Valiant'




$20.00 AUD


Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Short run kit with etched fret and resin bits


The plane that actually put Vultee on the map was the BT-13. The initial design was for four different planes all based on the same airframe. Three were trainers of various types and a fighter. The fighter was the P-66 and 100 were eventually built, with some going to China and the rest being used in the US as advanced fighter trainers.

Of the trainer variants, only the basic trainer was built. In fact there were over 11,000 of them eventually produced. Normal training was initially started on the Stearman PT-13, then on to the BT-13 and finally to the AT-6. The BT-13 was also produced as the SNV for the US Navy, some 2,000 being delivered. The plane was a good transition from the biplane Stearman and allowed an increase of performance that made moving up to the much faster and more difficult to fly Texan. Though officially called the 'Valiant', most who flew it called it the 'Vibrator' for the way that the engine shook the airframe.

The aircraft was also sent to a number of foreign countries during and after the war. As with other trainers, a large number of them survived to be bought by civilians after the war. If you saw the movie 'Tora, Tora, Tora' then you saw a number of these planes converted to look like the Val dive bomber and Kate torpedo bomber.


This is your now standard Czech short run kit. It comes on a single sprue of plastic with the cockpit components and engine in resin and the canopy in vacuformed plastic. Also typical of these types of kits, some of the parts needed will have to be made from stretched sprue or scrap plastic. For this kit, that means the rudder pedals/assembly and the rear support for the radio.

External detailing is very good with the usual nicely engraved lines. However, you'll undoubtedly have to rescribe those that will be sanded away. There is some flash present and the large parts have ejector stubs that will need trimmed off. I found several of the thicker parts (tail wheel assembly and wheels) to have some sink marks on them. The wheels were not particularly well formed in my example and I'll probably have to find replacements for them.

In terms of options, you really only have one. That is to use the streamlined fairings around the landing gear or not. The prop is three pieces; a hub and two separate blades. Though the sprue attachment points are commendably thin, it would be easiest to replace this prop with one from the Aeroclub line of metal props. The vac canopy is well formed though a bit cloudy.

The instructions are very good and some of the best you'll find in short run kits. All the paint colors are given with Humbrol references so that matching some of the more interesting colors won't be a problem if you have access to Humbrol paints. There are numerous small drawings showing the proper alignment of various parts and assemblies, a very nice feature. Decals are for three planes. The first is the cover plane used as a hack at Wright Field. Next is a Navy SNV in medium blue-grey over light gull grey. Finally, a French version used post war. The decals are well printed and very gloss. I can't tell if they are a continuous film or not but will find out when I use them. It seems to me that the blues are a bit light and the font for the US Army is off a bit as well. However, I have no references against which to check the font so will undoubtedly use them as is.

One really nice thing about this kit is that there are a slew of countries that flew the plane. It was provided to nearly every Central and South American country. That means if you don't like what is provided on the decal sheet, finding something interesting will not be a problem.



Overall, this is a very welcome kit. If you are relatively new to short run kits, this one would be a good choice. It is somewhat complicated in parts, but should make for a very satisfying and colorful model.

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