Kitty Hawk 1/32 T-28B/D Trojan
|KIT #:||KH 32014|
|PRICE:||around $100.00 SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New tool kit|
After becoming adopted as a primary trainer by the USAF, the United States Navy and Marine Corps adopted it as well. Although the Air Force phased out the aircraft from primary pilot training by the early 1960s, continuing use only for limited training of special operations aircrews and for primary training of select foreign military personnel, the aircraft continued to be used as a primary trainer by the Navy (and by default, the Marine Corps and Coast Guard) well into the early 1980s.
The largest single concentration of this aircraft was employed by the U.S. Navy at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Florida, in the training of student naval aviators. The T-28's service career in the U.S. military ended with the completion of the phase-in of the T-34C turboprop trainer. The last U.S. Navy training squadron to fly the T-28 was VT-27, based at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, flying the last T-28 training flight in early 1984. The last T-28 in the Training Command, BuNo 137796, departed for Naval District Washington on 14 March 1984 to be displayed permanently at Naval Support Facility Anacostia, D.C. Many T-28s were subsequently sold to private civil operators, and due to their reasonable operating costs are often found flying as warbirds today.
There are a considerable number of us who really like the T-28. We are fortunate that this aircraft has been kitted in 1/72 and 1/48 rather recently to provide us with modern toolings of this aircraft. However, until Kitty Hawk released this new kit, the 1/32 crowd has been left out of things.
That has all changed with this new kit.
Kitty Hawk has provided quite a bit of detail with this one. Included in that is a very nicely done cockpit complete with seats, side consoles, control sticks, instrument panels and braces, rudder pedals and other parts. The majority of the photo etch provided is used to build up each of the seat harnesses. Rather than offer a single p.e. stamping, Kitty Hawk provides the flat bits and one then threads and attaches the harness buckles and clasps to it. A lot of work for belts, but I'm betting the results are worth it. The instrument panels and side consoles are no longer etched bits, for which I am glad. Instead, you get nicely raised detail and decals to fit over this detail. While it may sound lame, this actually works very well. You can still paint the panels if you so desire.
One then builds up the nose gear well and installs the nose gear. Three different nose wheel options are provided. Two are Navy style with high pressure tires; one having a spoked wheel and the other a steel one. The third is a low pressure tire used on T-28Ds. The instructions do not tell you which marking option uses which wheel, nor are the color and markings pages helpful. You'll need to do some research on the plane you are modeling to make that determination.
A major portion of the parts count goes into the engine and accessory section. This is quite detailed and where the smaller etched fret is utilized. The pushrod and ignition harness pieces are particularly nicely done and having them in plastic makes them easier to install. Once the engine assembly is done, this, the cockpit and the nose gear assembly are mated with the gear well being the common mounting area.
Each of the main gear wells for the fuselage are built up from five pieces and installed in the fuselage. One then attaches the engine/cockpit assembly with two hefty weights fitting in the fuselage halves just behind the engine. A rudder spar is attached when the fuselage halves are glued together.
One can display the engine cowling bits open if one wishes and to do so, there are small cowling panel stubs that are glued on. Conversely, one can hide the engine and accessory section by having the cowling closed. I should mention that it is normal to have the cowl flaps open on the ground and one can see into this area through those open flaps so don't try to shortcut the detail in there. Another item that can be displayed down is the speed brake. Note that USAF based aircraft did not have the speedbrake Check serial numbers to see if the plane you are building has a USN or USAF serial.
Not surprisingly, there is a separate lower tail area. This is to allow the different lower rear fuselage and rudder to be attached for the hooked T-28C. It appears that Kitty Hawk has tried to duplicate the static dischargers on the rudder and elevators. The rudder trim tab is separate as are the elevators, ailerons, and flaps. Each of the main gear wells in the wing is an eight piece construct with separate stringer pieces. There are two different wheel styles for the main gear. One is spoked and the other is not. Again, no information on which is to be used with which markings option. There are also a pair of clear lenses for the wing gleading edge and once more, no indication of what option has these or not.
The clear bits consist of a windscreen and the two sliding canopy parts. The instructions show them closed. THe prop has a three piece hub with separate blades. Two styles of blades are provided though the instructions would have you use only the thinner ones. The tips of these blades look a bit odd. They are not really the more rounded version, yet they are not really clipped square, but somewhere in the middle. Take the time to search period photos to determine just how these blades are to look. Warbirds are not good references.
Now to things under wings. There is a lot of stuff provided for weapons. Let me first say that Kitty Hawk has already opened all the wing holes so those doing straight trainers will have to fill them all as these planes rarely carried racks. It seems there are more racks than the reference states were carried. You will need to do some research to see what your plane actually carried. The kit offers two styles of gun pods as well as rocket pods and a couple of bomb styles to choose from if you decide to do the armed version.
Instructions are very nicely done in Kitty Hawk's usual booklet style with large color foldouts for the color options. Color information is provided throughout the build process. You get seven markings options, all of which are colorful, and here lies the rub. Four of the seven options are warbirds and while the markings are accurate for the warbirds, typical of warbirds, the owners have taken some liberties with the accuracy of the planes.
For example, the French version should be a Fennec with a T-28A canopy and upper cowling scoop along with a B-17 R-1820. It isn't. The colorful USAF version should be a T-28A with a smaller engine and two blade prop. It is not. The T-28D is lacking a gun sight, as is the French plane. The USN plane appears to be the most accurate of the four aside from the civil registration. The other three are all with Asian air forces. There is a Thai plane in light gull grey or perhaps ADC grey over white. This plane was used for light attack so it does have weapons pylons, though how many is unsure. It does carry a USN serial number so is not a T-28D as those were re-serialed when converted. The next two are in silver. This could be aluminum lacquer or unpainted metal. One is a T-28D with the Philippine Air Force. These may have been armed as hastily camouflaged planes took part in a coup in the late 1980s. The other is a standard trainer with the JASDF in 1965. Note that the T-28Ds will have the low pressure nose wheel/tire. The decals are superbly done, very thin, and with minimal carrier.
Kitty Hawk has provided the large scale builder with an excellent kit. It does have a few areas that could be improved, but other than the missing gun sight and the spurious speed brake well, it seems like everything is there for you to build a nicely done T-28B/D. If the kit has a downfall, it is the use of warbirds for markings references. In fact, it is the lack of proper research that is the downfall of not only Kitty Hawk, but many other China-based model companies. They really need to get someone on the payroll who knows about these sorts of things. The aftermarket folks will fix any glitches, of that you can be sure. These things are really rather minor in the scope of thiungs, and none of this really takes away from what is a superbly molded and most welcome kit.
Thanks to Glen Coleman and Kitty Hawk Models for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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