Czech Model 1/48 T-34C Mentor




$29.95 ($24.96 at Squadron)


Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Short run with resin parts and vac canopies.


The T-34C Mentor was designed as a replacement for the T-28 Trojan for USN pilot training. Originally, the Navy had used the T-34A/B for primary training, with pilots moving on to the T-28 and then on to the more advanced T-2 jet. However, the Navy realized that the days of piston powered trainers was coming to an end and were looking for a new aircraft. Because of the success of the T-34B, an upgraded version was sought. Beech took a T-34B and installed a Pratt& Whitney PT6 turboprop. It also had to do some airframe strengthening and modification, but eventually came up with the T-34C.

The C model has different wing tips and tail section with two stabilizing strakes under the rear fuselage. Though it was no longer the esthetically pleasing design of the earlier planes, it was just what the Navy wanted. A basic trainer that combined jet and prop operation in one plane. Between 1977 and 1990, over 350 T-34Cs were built and have been flying successfully and safely for many years. These planes are not carrier capable; carrier training being done by the next step in the training pipeline, the T-45A/C. There is a sub-variant of the T-34 that has capability to carry light weapons on wing racks. Some T-34s have been sold to foreign air forces.


As you probably know, Czech Model is a Squadron product that is contracted out to MPM of the Czech Republic for the plastic and resin parts. The decals, instructions and boxing are done here in the US. As MPM products improve, so do Czech Model kits.

From a personal standpoint, I'm very pleased that Czech Model chose the T-34C for its ninth kit. I've always liked this aircraft and have often wondered why this, the T-2 and T-45 have never been properly kitted in 1/48. The kit comes on 2 and a bit sprues of darkish grey plastic. The molding is excellent with crisply done engraved panel lines. This is a short run kit so there are no alignment pins and the large pieces have some ejector towers that will need to be removed. The detailing of the tail planes is also well done as this area of the plane is somewhat corrugated.

Resin parts are provided for the cockpit, wheels, seat, exhaust and nose gear wells. The instrument panels are injected plastic and have good detail on them. Those who want great detail will probably want to use Reheat instrument decals on them. Instructions are typical for Czech Model and are well done. There are 10 construction steps with notes provided where needed. Decals are provided for two aircraft and are well printed. Both schemes are shown on the box art and are for planes from TAW-5. One has a rather fearsome shark mouth painted on it. They are both white and international orange, but the design of the orange markings is different on both planes. It will be interesting to see how well the white of the decals copes with the intensity of the orange.


Overall, it is a very nice looking kit and one that has gone to the top of my 'things to build' pile. It is about time that we had a decent kit of this aircraft and I salute Squadron for doing it.

The T-34C has also been used over the years as unit hacks, providing some inexpensive flight time for those who need it. Most of them were earl y build T-34Cs.  Below are a couple of photos of these aircraft. As you can see, they are not all in white and international orange! Perhaps some enterprising decal maker will do a sheet of these planes.

160449 from ASW at NAS Patuxent River in November 1985.

160514 from VF-124 at NAS Miramar in August 1991

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