Airfix 1/72 Harvard II
Kit Number: 2057
Decals: Two versions: RAE and RAuxAF
Reviewer: Scott Van Aken
Date of Review: 20 August 1997
The Harvard trainer was basically the North American T-6 Texan built in Canada. The major differences were the throttle operating in reverse of USAAF aircraft, some radio equipment, the long exhaust manifold that supplied cabin heat for the cold Canadian winters, and the aft canopy with the extra brace running vertically.
Airfix's kit is the only 1/72 Harvard available in injected plastic. It is typical of Airfix of the era with pronounced rivets, a tolerable interior, raised panel lines, and generally simple build. Unlike the larger kits, there are no moveable control surfaces. The kit was molded in a lovely yellow, no doubt to help prevent excess painting of the kit!
Rather than go into a long tirade on its construction, let me point out the areas of concern. They are relatively few. The largest is the wing/fuselage join. The area on the top of the wing will need attention and careful construction. Since the wheel well is along the front of the wing, there is really no easy way to do this without using putty to fill in a prominent join. I basically sanded off all the lovely rivet detail fixing this area. The other is that the aft portion of the cowling needs a major thinning job, however, if one does too good a job, then there will be no place to attach it to the airframe. The other parts fit with little problem. A great deal of masking needs to be done to the canopy before painting, typical of these greenhouse canopies. This kit is a great deal simpler than the Heller T-6, but with a few more parts than the Testors/Hawk SNJ.
A great number of colorful schemes can be done on the Harvard as it was as widely disseminated as the Texan, some air forces flying both types. After reading a history of the Harvard, I was determined to do a nice yellow job from the post war Canadian Navy. Typical of these esoteric schemes, there is no ready made sheet. However, a number of years ago, IPMS Canada, put out a great sheet of roundels and codes, and it is this sheet that I used. Other than the yellow paint (Testors), the rudder was painted white and when dry, masked and the red stripes painted on. At this time the red cowling was also painted. Once all this was dry, the black anti-glare panel was painted, the decals applied and there was a Navy Harvard. The decals worked quite well and reminded me of Modeldecal's product.
A very nice kit and suitable for all levels of expertise.
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