Azur 1/72 NA.57 (BT-9)






Three Aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Short run with resin and vac canopy`


Undoubtedly the most successful American training aircraft since the Curtiss Jenny was the series of trainers developed by North American in the late 1930s. These eventually became the well know and still much seen T-6 and SNJ 'Texan'. However, like most planes with a long life, they had to have a beginning and the North American model 57 was that beginning.

Unlike the AT-6 that followed, the model 57 was accepted as a basic trainer as the BT-9. While the wing was similar, the fuselage was fabric covered and the fin/rudder was somewhat different. Same with the powerplant. This version had a lower horsepower engine than did the AT-6, making the plane more docile and easier to handle. Probably the biggest difference between the later Texan and this plane was the landing gear. The BT-9 had fixed landing gear. In addition, the wing was mounted much lower, resulting in large fairings to smooth it in with the airflow. In addition to France and the US, the planes were used by Germany, Honduras, China, Australia, and Sweden. A manufacturing license was obtained by Japan, but it is unknown if any planes were built. To my knowledge, none are still flying and I'm unsure if any survived to be put in museums.


'Typical Czech short run kit'. For those of you who have been with us a while, that means thicker than normal sprue gates, a bit of flash, resin pieces, and a vac canopy. Thankfully, there are no etched metal pieces. On a personal note, I do not like them as I have trouble getting them to properly fit.

All of the large bits have big ejector stubs that will need removed, otherwise the detailing is actually very nice. The fabric effect is not highly pronounced at all, which is more the way that fabric covered planes are. Resin bits are for the engine and interior pieces like control sticks and instrument panels as well as for the roll over bar and some intake/exhaust bits. Wheels are in two halves. Actually, it would be a big step forward if the wheels could be molded in one piece. Some of the decal options will require you to remove the partial spats on the wheels if the box top art and some photos I've seen are to be believed. No strut is offered so you'll have to make that up yourself.

Instructions are more than adequate and give color information as required, though it is generic color and not matched to FS 595 standard. However, in this case it isn't a problem as the decal options are not for any US bird. You get a choice of a two tone blue/grey Vichy Air Force bird with the red and yellow nose and tail stripes (which you paint on), an overall silver French Navy plane, or a version used by the Luftwaffe in early 1944 that is in overall RLM 02 with a yellow nose. Decals are by Propagteam, so you know they will be excellent. As with all Propagteam French decals, the blue seems to be too light. Replacing those on the roundels may not be too much of a problem, but the fin and wing stripes will.

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that averages thousands of  visits a day, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.