Heller 1/72 T-6G Texan

Kit Number: 223

Price: $3.00

Decals: one version, Norweigan AF

Reviewer: Scott Van Aken

Date of Review: 13 August 1997

In addition to being the most used training plane in the US during WWII, the T-6 Texan went on post war to be used not only by US forces, but by many of the air forces around the world.  One the the larger users, South Africa, retired theirs just a few years ago, still in excellent shape, but no longer adequate in the age of turbine engined aircraft.  They were quickly snapped up by enthusiasts and collectors.

Heller's T-6 kit comes in a lovely shade of yellow.  Typical of the time, raised panel lines are the norm and Heller's kit does not come with gear doors and with the modified canopy with fewer frames in it as befits the rebuilt T-6s that became the T-6G.  In addition to this, improved radio gear and attachment points for various weapons (rockets and underwing gun pods) are provided.  I did not use these items so needed to sand off the raised area denoting the underwing pods.  If you're building a Portuguese aircraft in Angola, or a French one in Algeria, for example, these items would be very useful.

This T-6 is the most detailed one currently available in 1/72 scale. It has a complete interior with seats, sticks, instrument panels and roll over bars, although there is no sidewall detail.  The canopy is quite clear and fits very well. Many of the scoops and intakes are separate items, but the location is noted on the kit with raised lines. The wings are a three piece affair with the flaps and ailerons molded in the upper sections to give a nice sharp trailing edge.  Some putty was needed when attaching them to the lower wing section. Aileron hinges and landing lights are provided as separate items and fit quite well. A satifactory engine with separate pushrods is provided and fits in a two piece cowling with nicely sharp edges to it.  The drawback with the two-part cowling is that it is difficult to get a nice round opening and requires multiple attempts with putty to rectify that.

The tailplanes are a bit narrower than the roots so some fudging needs to be done for what looks best to you.  I made mine fit at the top and did not worry about the bottom.  The wing fits well, but the design of its attachment to the fuselage means some work needs done on the upper surface for a good fit. Landing gear and wheels are satisfactory and fit well.  There is no boxing off of the wheel wells, but they are deep enough to be scale.

This particular aircraft was one of a series using Microscale decals.  For this plane, I chose a nice Dutch aircraft using green and grey  uppers with a lighter grey underside.  All are RAF colors of light aircraft grey underside, ocean grey and green uppers. I used Testors and Humbrol paints on this.  As with all aircraft of this type, the most time consuming job was masking the canopy.  Once done, it was coated with Future and when that was dry, the decals applied.  They worked beautifully as you can see. Last things attached after the landing gear were the engine/cowling affair and the ADF antenna housing.

This kit is highly recommended to all but the beginner.  I have built a number of them and still have more to do.  The downside is that this is a late T-6 so you cannot do a WWII aircraft or a Harvard.  The only 1/72 Harvard  that is available is the Airfix kit.  There is a review of that elsewhere.

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