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The most important US aircraft of WWII? SNJ Texan, Testors 1/72


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I used the title that I did because I recently read an editorial in an aviation magazine that argued that the T-6/AT-6/SNJ Texan was the most important US aircraft of WWII, simply because it trained so many of our pilots and aces.  I don't know if I agree that it was the most important a/c, but it may be overlooked sometimes the important role that trainer aircraft play.

 

There was a time, about when I was in middle school, that I really didn't like the Texan.  As a child I loved it because it was a WWII aircraft, which was my true passion (at least until "Star wars" debuted... 🤔).  But as I got a little older, I found that every small-town airshow would advertise that they had a genuine WWII "fighter" or "Warbird" and my mind would boggle about what it could possibly be (P-47? P-38? P-51?) and then I'd get to the little airshow and see a bunch of 172s and 150s and another Texan.   As I've gotten older, I've come back to liking and appreciating the type because it is a WWII aircraft after all, and not a bad looking one.  There are 2 at the Richland airport that fly low, directly over my house, on very nice weekend mornings and I still run outside to get a look when I hear that familiar radial engine growl. :D

 

Ug2SEEj.jpg

 

I bought this kit when I was in college, mainly because it was cheap -- I think it was on clearance for a couple of dollars, and because it was colorful.  It has lain dormant in the stash all this time.  Since I've been looking for simple, stress free builds since my Yak-38 summer, this one is on the workbench.

 

Scalemates shows this to be a Hawk mold from 1955 (!!!).  I'm so surprised because it has nice recessed panel lines.  The fit seems pretty nice too.  There's a grand total of 18 parts, so it's pretty basic.

 

Despite wanting to recover from so much scratch building, I immediately started scratch building because the cockpit consisted of two benches.  With a nice big bubble canopy, it's easy to view inside, so a little work would not go unnoticed.

 

5ulVoDq.jpg

 

Armed with pictures of T-6 cockpits, I cobbled this up:

 

Q4MiL2p.jpg

 

2xWrAgy.jpg

 

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There's still a little work to do.  There's some sidewall detail I think I want to put in, and the control sticks.  The T-6 cockpit is very sparse, so there isn't a whole lot to do to make it a complete cockpit.

 

The other task before assembly is to fill in the engraved national insignias

 

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The disappointing part about the one on the wing is that there are very finely raised rivets, that can be easily seen in photos of the real aircraft.  This would be one of the few time's I'd want to keep that raised detail.  Unfortunately, even if I could keep from damaging them while filling in the insignia, there would be a funny looking blank spot where the insignia was.  So I've reluctantly decided to sand them off.

 

I'm still working on my Fiat G.50, and this is a lower priority, so I don't know how much more I will do this weekend.  This is such a simple kit, however, that I may get a lot done this weekend.  We'll see.

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Nice start on another oldie. Shame about the engraved insignias - how archer's rivet transfers to reinstate the lost ones?

 

By stretching the imagination a long way, you could argue that the Texan was a warbird - the CAC Wirraway saw combat and that's kind of a Texan..... ;)

 

The cockpit work is fantastic, well worth going the extra mile.

 

Cheers,

Mark

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3 hours ago, 2996 Victor said:

Nice start on another oldie. Shame about the engraved insignias - how archer's rivet transfers to reinstate the lost ones?

Hey thanks Mark!  Happy to have you along.

 

I considered replacing the rivets, having watched @The Spadgent use them on his gorgeous Mil-24.  I don't know if I'm that upset though....

 

3 hours ago, 2996 Victor said:

By stretching the imagination a long way, you could argue that the Texan was a warbird - the CAC Wirraway saw combat and that's kind of a Texan..... ;)

I like your thinking!

 

3 hours ago, 2996 Victor said:

The cockpit work is fantastic, well worth going the extra mile

Thanks!  I thought it would be given how easily you can see inside.  I'm becoming better at calculating if it's worth detailing the cockpit based on how easily it can be seen from the outside.  I need to decide how much further I want to take this cockpit, though...

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Nice cockpit work there, I'm surprised at how easy it is to see through that canopy so a good call to add some detail.

 

I've used tiny dots of CA glue applied with a toothpick to replace raised rivets in the past; it works very well and if done sufficiently carefully will blend in with the kit rivets such that even you won't be able to find them.

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Excellent cockpit work. It’s looking fantastic already. ❤️ Those insignia are bonkers. 😳😖

you can buy archers rivets. I have T used them myself but they are readily available over there. Also @mark.au’s comment about the glue and cocktail stick. I did this on a few of my builds and it works great. 😇

 

 Good luck sir. I’ll tag along if that’s ok.

 

 Johnny.

 

 

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On 9/4/2022 at 11:00 AM, mark.au said:

Nice cockpit work there, I'm surprised at how easy it is to see through that canopy so a good call to add some detail.

 

I've used tiny dots of CA glue applied with a toothpick to replace raised rivets in the past; it works very well and if done sufficiently carefully will blend in with the kit rivets such that even you won't be able to find them.

I'll have to give the CA rivet trick a try!  Thanks for that idea.

 

On 9/4/2022 at 11:22 AM, HOUSTON said:

One of MY favorite aircrafts....   :heart:

The cockpit  is indeed done superbly.

Very clean neat start Sir.

:thumbsup:   :clap:

 

 

Thank you!  Glad you like it!

 

On 9/4/2022 at 7:57 PM, The Spadgent said:

Excellent cockpit work. It’s looking fantastic already. ❤️ Those insignia are bonkers. 😳😖

you can buy archers rivets. I have T used them myself but they are readily available over there. Also @mark.au’s comment about the glue and cocktail stick. I did this on a few of my builds and it works great. 😇

 

 Good luck sir. I’ll tag along if that’s ok.

 

 Johnny.

 

 

Glad to have you along!

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A delightful start on one of my favourites, Opus. I have several Testors kits with engraved markings to deal with, so I'm interested to see how you go...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've finally gotten back to this.  I finished the Fiat G.50 and then got sick, spent a weekend in Seattle and then just didn't have the desire to work on this for the last week.  I think it was the scratch building.  I like doing it once I get going... it's just getting going that's difficult! 

 

But, I started in last night and filled the engraved national markings with super glue and then sanded them flush.  I forgot to take pictures, but you'll see them soon enough.  I tried to make rivets using the ideas provided to me above, but I just don't have the skills to make straight rivet lines and (especially) to make consistently sized rivets.  I made several attempts and finally threw in the towel.  I ended up sanding all the rivets off, which was a bummer, but on the shelf I won't notice it anyway.

 

Today, I set to finishing the scratch building in the cockpit.

 

kYZkaQ0.jpg

 

1dDN2if.jpg

 

W9l0JjU.jpg

 

I didn't quite get all the support bars in there that I needed, but it will still look OK when all sealed up.  Tomorrow I will paint the cockpit and hopefully get the fuselage all buttoned up.

 

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The interior detail looks wonderful, what a cracking job .  The engraved National Insignia is interesting, I have started a Testors Howard Ike racing plane and that has the racing and aerials engraved too, have filled with sprue goo.  Not had a chance to progress due to other models on the go.

Great work on this important type , I am sure you will end up with a wonderful model.

Chris

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10 hours ago, opus999 said:

I've finally gotten back to this.  I finished the Fiat G.50 and then got sick, spent a weekend in Seattle and then just didn't have the desire to work on this for the last week.  I think it was the scratch building.  I like doing it once I get going... it's just getting going that's difficult! 

 

But, I started in last night and filled the engraved national markings with super glue and then sanded them flush.  I forgot to take pictures, but you'll see them soon enough.  I tried to make rivets using the ideas provided to me above, but I just don't have the skills to make straight rivet lines and (especially) to make consistently sized rivets.  I made several attempts and finally threw in the towel.  I ended up sanding all the rivets off, which was a bummer, but on the shelf I won't notice it anyway.

 

Today, I set to finishing the scratch building in the cockpit.

 

kYZkaQ0.jpg

 

1dDN2if.jpg

 

W9l0JjU.jpg

 

I didn't quite get all the support bars in there that I needed, but it will still look OK when all sealed up.  Tomorrow I will paint the cockpit and hopefully get the fuselage all buttoned up.

 

Wow, this is modeling way beyond my skill set, and it is very impressive!

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Thanks guys for all the support. I'm normally not crazy about how my scratchbuiliding turns out, but I'm fairly happy with it this time!  Even more so with paint, which I was able to do yesterday:

 

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The decals are from a 40 or 45 year old micro scale P-51 sheet.  They still worked fine!  I see some of the tape seatbelt has broken loose from the underside of the front seat, so I'll have to glue that down.

 

To show how much is visible through the canopy I took the following photo.  Darn camera kept focusing on the frame!

 

SykRiMx.jpg

 

And, because I promised, here's one of the national insignia that I filled in with liquid CA and sanded with down to 6500 grit sand paper:

 

PE9S8ER.jpg

 

I've got a little time tonight, so I'll glue the fuselage together and start on the tedious task of masking the canopy.

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Not a lot of time this week, but enough to get the canopy masked.  It took probably twice as long as normal because all the panes of glass were beveled.

 

SSmmeZX.jpg

 

The tape doesn't want to stick down very well for some reason, so I will need to remember that as I paint.

 

Tonight I was able to do something that I usually forget -- make landing lights.  Usually, I realize at the end of the build that I didn't do it, and then I'm too afraid of messing up the paint and decals.  At that point I usually paint the landing light silver, which I think looks kind of cheesy.

 

Not this time though.  Here's a picture of the molded in landing light:

 

wjTA4jz.jpg

 

And after I cut it out, which was difficult to get looking nice:

 

gfN7Lnw.jpg

 

I used some clear sprue and rough-cut it to size, and then glued it in.  Once secure, I trimmed with a knife and then sanded down with progressively finer grit all the way to 8000.

 

Vq2CKMG.jpg

 

After that I pried it off and drilled a hole to resemble a light bulb.  I will paint the back silver and the bulb white (maybe).  I plan to glue them back on after painting.

 

I hope to really make progress painting tomorrow!

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57 minutes ago, opus999 said:

The tape doesn't want to stick down very well for some reason, so I will need to remember that as I paint.

Yeah I get that sometimes myself, pain in the rump but what else can you do. 

 

59 minutes ago, opus999 said:

I used some clear sprue and rough-cut it to size, and then glued it in.  Once secure, I trimmed with a knife and then sanded down with progressively finer grit all the way to 8000.

Next chance if you remember use a pine vise drill and put a tiny hole in the back side about halfway through the sprue. Then a drop of silver paint. When its all said and done looks like a bulb inside.  

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18 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

Next chance if you remember use a pine vise drill and put a tiny hole in the back side about halfway through the sprue. Then a drop of silver paint. When its all said and done looks like a bulb inside.  

I'm on it!

 

Didn't quite get all the painting done today, but I got awfully close!

 

First off, I painted the canopy interior green

 

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That tape is really giving me grief though.  It's getting to the point where it pops right back up when I press it down.  :wall:

 

Next was gray primer and black

 

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and (not that you can tell) white

 

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Even though Testors provides decals for the red stripes, I don't think it's a perfect match for insignia red.  Heck, the reds are mis-matched on the model on the box top!  Unfortunately, the white numbers are part of the same decal as the red fuselage stripe, so I elected to paint the numbers by reverse masking.  It was a lot harder than I anticipated.

 

rb8Z4Ij.jpg

 

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When that was done, I painted the red.  I elected to paint the wings red to give the yellow that I was going to spray on it a deeper color.

 

GIffi5w.jpg

 

I unmasked the numbers because I couldn't resist.  They're adequate.  Quite a bit of touch up is needed to make them look right, but they look pretty good from a distance.  I then masked the red stripes on the wing.

 

1xqXIjq.jpg

 

I sprayed the yellow and then unmasked everything.  So here is where I'm at tonight:

 

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I will need to do a little masking tomorrow and then It will be time for the silver.  The instructions specifically state that the a/c was not natural metal, but rather a silver paint.  I decided I would use Alclad's RAF High Speed Silver.  I will use my usual Tamiyz Silver leaf for the metal parts (landing gear, propeller, etc.)

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59 minutes ago, opus999 said:

That tape is really giving me grief though.  It's getting to the point where it pops right back up when I press it down

Is it Tamiya or a clone ? I have a roll of 40mm thats a clone that does this. Thank the makers I only use it to mask wings and such. Have you ever used liquid mask ? Maybe brush that over the tale as a second layer/barrier ? 

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On 10/1/2022 at 2:19 AM, ModelingEdmontonian said:

Wow looking gorgeous, and impressive work on the landing lights so far and the masking of the 75s!

 

On 10/1/2022 at 2:30 AM, Sturmovik said:

I like how the 75s came out. I may try your technique on an aircraft I don't have decals for.

 

Thanks guys!  I didn't post any close ups of the numbers, but there were little "oops"es I had to fix, either where there was a little spray under the tape, or where I didn't quite have things lined up.  A little touch up with a hand brush and they ended up looking a lot better.  I'd probably use that technique again.

 

On 10/1/2022 at 2:54 AM, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

Is it Tamiya or a clone ? I have a roll of 40mm thats a clone that does this. Thank the makers I only use it to mask wings and such. Have you ever used liquid mask ? Maybe brush that over the tale as a second layer/barrier ? 

 

It is genuine Tamiya tape.  I almost wonder if I got a little grease or something on it.  I like your idea of liquid mask, but in the end I just remasked the parts that were pulling up.  with my infini-cutter mat, it's pretty easy to get precise masks so it went quickly.

 

On 10/1/2022 at 7:29 AM, bigbadbadge said:

Ooooooo lovely paint work   looks fantastic so far, cockpit detailing looks fantastic and the extra efforts have really paid off

 

Great work 

Chris

 

Thanks Chris!  I'm pretty chuffed with the cockpit.  I can't wait to take the masking off.

 

So, I was out of the house at my youngest son's Cub Scout Rocket Launch.  The local rocket club invites them out every year to launch rockets.  It's a lot of fun, and boy are there some really cool rockets that the club puts up.  Highest altitude of the day was 7000 feet. My favorite was an Avro Vulcan glider.  It boosted to altitude on an H engine and then the owner flew it down for a perfect landing via remote control.  That was cool.

 

When I got home, there was a lot of masking going on:

 

3kHuUIf.jpg

 

All I had to paint was the RAF High Speed Silver.  After that I detailed the engine and painted the prop.  Here's the a/c after a couple gloss coats:

 

vAAKA4a.jpg

 

the prop and engine ( a bit blurry)

 

w0H0VPk.jpg

 

And a close up of the engine:

 

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The engine was a pain to paint since it was molded in one piece.  I took a little creative liberty with the gray on the inside -- pictures I found of real Texans have the engine cylinders all the way forward, so you can't see the inside of the cowl.  I plan to go over the cylinders with pencil.

 

Decals next!

 

 

 

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Almost finished!  My goal was to finish today, and I might just do that.  Depends upon how the evening plays out.

 

I put decals on, and did a little oil weathering on the control surfaces:

 

kXcEe1V.jpg

 

I painted the tires, did some oil weathering on the landing gears and panted the exhaust stack.  I put another gloss coat over the decals and the oil weathering, which is what you see in the above picture.

 

I also used a pencil to go over the cylinders in the engine, which I think is a neat trick to provide a fairly realistic look:

 

zQMQ9J1.jpg

 

Xx47MPN.jpg

 

All that's left is to seal in the oil wash on the landing gears, paint some exhaust (pretty faint, though since it was probably kept fairly clean) and final assembly!

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@opus999 great work! I really enjoy reading your build threads, especially older kits and rebuilds. It's inspirational knowing that great results come from skill and effort, not necessarily from the kit.

 

I'm not familiar with the Texan in detail but definitely agree that trainers and transport planes are the often overlooked workhorses of any nation's war effort. And there are truly beautiful airplanes among them that don't even have scale model kits!

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On 10/4/2022 at 6:49 PM, Ventsislav Gramatski said:

@opus999 great work! I really enjoy reading your build threads, especially older kits and rebuilds. It's inspirational knowing that great results come from skill and effort, not necessarily from the kit.

 

Thank you very much, @Ventsislav Gramatski!  I'm glad you enjoy it! :)

 

 

On 10/4/2022 at 6:49 PM, Ventsislav Gramatski said:

I'm not familiar with the Texan in detail but definitely agree that trainers and transport planes are the often overlooked workhorses of any nation's war effort. And there are truly beautiful airplanes among them that don't even have scale model kits!

 

Yeah, that's very true.  Makes me wish I was better at scratchbuilding.... I've seen some guys on here make some great models of rare aircraft from scratch!

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