Special Hobby 1/72 BT-9, NJ-1, SK-14

KIT #: 72069
PRICE: $24.95 SRP back when new
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES:  Short run with resin parts 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. The US Navy also operated the type as the NJ-1. 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.


 This is an upgrade of their earlier NA-57 kit that was released under the Azur label. Since the BT-9 was not exactly the same, a new sprue is added. This contains different cowling, landing gear options, wheels, fin/rudder, horizontal stabs, and wing tips.

In addition an additional resin sprue is included. This provides some alternate parts in terms of antennas, scoops and a set of leading edge slats as used on the BT-9. A basic interior is provided with seats, sticks, instrument panel and rear bulkhead. This is trapped between the fuselage halves. After assembling the wings, the wing tips are cut away and more rounded ones installed.

Then the wings, stabs, and fin are attached and the rollover structure assembled and installed. Engine and cowling are next and here you have choices depending on which aircraft is being modeled. You also have multiple options when it comes to the landing gear and the carb intake scoop. Canopy and other small bits are installed along with the prop and that's it.

Three markings options are provided. One is the BT-9 as shown on the box art. The NJ-1 has yellow wings, silver fuselage and red tail and cowling. Finally, the Swedish SK14 has a dark green fuselage with orange wings and stabs. The decal sheet is very nicely done and should prove to be quite thin.


Typical of all short run multimedia kits, this one won't be an easy build, but the results will be worth the effort.  

February 2023

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