Sky High 1/72 T-34C (VF-101)

KIT #: 7223
PRICE: $10.50 plus shipping
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short Run


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. The T-34C was replaced by the T-6 a few years back. Some have found their way to the civilian market.


This is not the only T-34C to have been done in this scale, with Sword having produced one as well. However, the Sword kit is more difficult to find and will be about 2-3 times the price of this one. This is what passes for short run today. The molding is good, with fairly large engraved panel lines; not Matchbox Mad Trencher stuff, but not Hasegawa either. There is no real flash but some enhance mold seam lines. I found a few shallow sink areas on the fuselage and wings opposite interior attachment points. The clear canopy is quite thick and pretty much devoid of any frame lines. However the T-34C canopy only has a few frames so those who would be building a kit like this should have no issues. A lot of the fine trailing edges are rather rough so you'll need to sand those down a bit.

Interior detail is fine for this kit. There is no detail on the sidewalls. The interior consists of a floor with molded in rudder pedal wedges, two control sticks and two generic seats. There are also a pair of instrument panels and a hood for the rear one. There is raised detail on the panels. Two crew figures are provided with separate right arms.

The fin/rudder is molded to the right fuselage half and there is a separate nose gear well that fits into a slot on each nose section. While no nose weight is shown, you'll definitely need as much as you can cram in there. Wings are a single lower half with separate upper halves and tail planes are a single piece that slots into openings in the rear fuselage. Oddly, the instructions want you to install the main landing gear legs prior to closing up the wings. This is only asking for them to get broken. The various scoops and exhaust are separate and installed prior to adding the underside stuff.

On the underside you install the nose leg that has the wheel incorporated along with all the gear doors. The two rear fuselage strakes are separate and though there are small pegs on these, the attachment point on the fuselage is quite shallow. The kit also provided under wing pylons, which, though appropriate for other boxings, are not for this one. You'll need to fill in the holes that are pre-drilled for these.

Instructions are well drawn and since this shows the pylon attachments, I get the feeling that they are the same for all the boxings, you just add or leave out what is appropriate. Color references is with Humbrol paints. The lone markings are for a dark blue plane as flown by VF-101 many years back, though there is no unit ID. There is a name, SFWSL, on the strake. Even though the instructions state this should be Blue Angel Blue, it is darker than that and I'd use Insignia Blue for this one. It is NOT black. The decals themselves are very nicely done and hopefully the white will not disappear when put over the dark blue.


It looks like this will take a bit of work to get just right. There is darn little in the way of aftermarket for this so if picking up one of these, you need to be ready to build what is in the box. Just to give you an idea of how short run this is, only the box top was stapled. When I removed the top, the box bottom flattened out!

February 2018

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