Тhis Special Hobby release is a rebox of the Academy kit of the T-6G Texan that was first released in 1998, with specific parts added allowing its conversion to the Harvard Mk II/IIA/IIB, and a decal sheet offering some colourful liveries from the British Commonwealth. Inside the box, we find three sprues moulded in a light grey plastic. The moulding is excellent, and the panel lines are thin, although some ejector pin marks will have to be dealt with during the build. Harnesses and a ring and bead sight are provided on a small photoetch fret. Some resin detail parts are also included. The Academy clear sprue is provided but will only be used for the landing light covers as Special Hobby include a clear sprue with no less than three canopies to cover the various versions offered. Care needs to be taken with these parts as they are extremely thin and fragile
The ten-page, A5-coloured instruction booklet is well designed and printed. You need to choose your airframe early in the build as the first option appears at step 4. The decal sheet is perfectly printed.
Upon looking at the proposed camouflage schemes, I was immediately attracted by NZ932 with its red numbers over yellow placards. Research only uncovered three pictures of this specific airframe, one of which shows the aircraft in an awkward position. Should you opt for a RNZAF Harvard, I recommend you have a look at 'The Harvard Pile' on www.rnzaf.proboards.com where many photos and some detailed information can be found.
Harvard Mk II/IIA/IIB British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
Type: Injection Moulded Plastic
Manufacturer: Special Hobby www.specialhobby.eu
Looking at the photos, it was obvious that I would need to make some improvements to the kit, as it seems to have all the characteristics of the Noorduyn-built RCAF Harvards: rectangular baggage door, X-shaped roll-over bar, standard control stick at the rear pilot's seat, no red-orange-green identification lights, and a position light aft of the canopy. A rear-view mirror and a gunsight at the front pilot's position, canopy handles, and a hood for instrument flight behind the rear seat are also clearly visible and will need to be scratch built.
I did not follow the instructions and started the build with the Pratt & Whitney engine scratch built the engine oil tank sump shaping a length of stretched sprue, the alternator using Plasticard and a punch and die, the ignition ring and the pushrods with 0,25mm chromed copper wires, and the spark plug cables using thin copper wire. The Harvard did not have a propeller hub. Therefore, some improvements are required on the Academy part. A resin replacement would have been nice as this is a prominent feature of the aircraft. I made a cutout on the engine coaming to accommodate the exhaust as instructed at Step 5.
A mask made using a punch and die was stuck on the coaming and I scored the plastic with a needle following the guide. I then cut the plastic roughly with a blade and shaped it using a needle file. On the port side, I carved a latch housing and a latch and added a thin strip of aluminium foil.
I glued the wing halves and added some details to the wing and the landing gear bay, which is largely bare out of the box. It took me a while to figure out how to do this, but the result is not too bad, although not 100 per cent accurate. I painted the bays in interior green. A yellow zinc chromate dry brush and a dark brown wash helped bring some depth.
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