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Building a (semi) Accurate Cessna T-37 in 1/72


hsr

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Just as a warning in advance this thread could crash and burn at any moment when I screw something up beyond repair but, for now here goes.

 

As many of you might be aware there are no kits in 1/72 scale of the Cessna T-37 Tweet trainer. There is a Hasegawa kit that calls itself a T-37B but, in reality it is just a rebox of their A-37A with a set of T-37 decals and a bunch of suggestions of things to cut off or fill in, none of which will give you an accurate T-37. There was also a T-37 kit/conversion from the now defunct Kiwi Models but I could not find any pictures, reviews or builds of it.

 

When Cessna upgraded their docile jet primary jet trainer into a potent light attack aircraft they made many modifications. The most important, visually, of these is; they replaced the 1025 lbf thrust J69 engine with the larger 2850 lbf thrust J85 ones. This required them to enlarge the wing root engine nacelles, mostly on the underside, and give them a much squarer appearance.  They also; removed the intake splitters enlarging the intakes, added wing tip tanks and wing hard points. There were other changes but these don't impact the appearance, or are easily fixed.  

 

These 2 pictures, curtesy of @CarLos show the wing roots of the T-37

52606868300_f736625b5b_b.jpg

52606890260_c9835d08fd_b.jpg

 

While these show the A-37 

050322-F-1234P-013.JPG

 

cama37b.jpg

 

At the suggestion of @Trenton guy I am starting with the Academy A-37B kit. One way to fix the wing root  is to remove the lower wing root and to build up the correct profile with putty or epoxy. I decided to take the opposite approach. I first removed the part of the upper wings where the exhaust of the J85's are exposed and cut 2 pieces of pieced of .062 styrene tube.

VYybm6z4_o.jpg

 

 I then filled the lower wing root with epoxy putty and embedded the tube into that

 

lOeJrdni_o.jpg

 I next assembled the wing to the fuselage and started to sand away until I got an approximation of the T-37 wing root. removing most of the plastic and sanding into the putty

PjWpXQhg_o.jpg

DB6ozHhe_o.jpg

guWcHqV5_o.jpg

Next I worked on adding the intake splitters. I have .015 x .250 styrene strips that I doubled up to .030 and also added to their width. I then sanded them into an approximation of the correct shape

oUqGFUoa_o.jpg

 

next with a razer saw I cut slots into the front of the intakes and inserted my splitters

 

3vRJsvZK_o.jpg

foe5toF7_o.jpg

 

The last major issue was the wing tips. The wingspan of the T-37 is 33' 9" (I calculate this to be 10.28 meters but Wikipedia says 12.58). I measured the wingspan of the Academy kit without the tip tanks to be 32'7" with my 1/72 ruler so I made some .08x.08 strips and added them to the wing tips.

 

Clearly all of this is going to require a lot of filling and sanding, but that is for tomorrow. In the  mean time here is my build so far in comparison to the Hasegawa kits:

5S7qcSVk_o.jpg

QwvzvkrC_o.jpg

Front view with the Hasegawa kit on the right. That left intake is going to need some work.

PazOTSJn_o.png

 

Until tomorrow.

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BTW I found this film on YouTube

 

It has footage of the T-37 in natural metal finish which is how I hope to finish mine. It refers to the T-37 as "a machine designed to turn fuel into noise" 

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Nice job on the intake / wing root conversion. I built Academy’s Dragonfly not too long ago and was pleasantly surprised by how nice a kit it is. It’s weakest points are, I believe, are the engine inlets & exhaust which are easily improved upon. 

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17 hours ago, billn53 said:

It’s weakest points are, I believe, are the engine inlets & exhaust which are easily improved upon. 

They are pretty primitive with no turbine face of exhaust. Just open holes. The landing gear it pretty primitive too.

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As my last step yesterday I slathered all the seams with Mr. Surfacer 500

7S5STXnT_o.jpg

 

and left it to dry overnight. Then today I spent the afternoon sanding and filling and sanding some more. Then I gave it a coat of primer to see how I was doing

 

JBnjJ80v_o.jpg

 

The right side of the bottom doesn't look too bad

 

XvYn3Irf_o.jpg

 

The left side, not so much

 

KLwRM8Lk_o.jpg

 

The intakes are better, but still need some more work

 

noRzNLbh_o.jpg

 

The same with the exhausts

 

U3ZEuoa6_o.jpg

 

Overall I am happy with the progress. Tomorrow more filling and sanding

 

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4 hours ago, hsr said:

They are pretty primitive with no turbine face of exhaust. Just open holes. The landing gear it pretty primitive too.

 

Yes, but fixable with a bit of work. You can see how I rebuilt the kit's intakes & exhaust here:

 

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235094411-oa-37-dragonfly-of-the-wisconsin-air-national-guard/#comment-4100612

 

-Bill

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So I spent the last couple of days getting it to the point that where I figured it was time to do the cockpit and get that buttoned up. I made 2 upgrades to the Academy kit. First I got some Pavla ejection seats to improve on the kit ones

pU3k3xJF_o.jpg

Second was using the instrument panel decal from the Hasegawa kit. A little hard to see here

PcP79TnL_o.jpg

So I painted up the seats and the kit sticks and installed them

LQinOlKa_o.jpg

 

KtbXmKdx_o.jpg

 

Then I masked the canopy and glued those 2 pieces on

O8gECwoP_o.jpg

 

The fit of the canopy parts was pretty good and will only need a little blending in. I got the intakes and exhausts as good as I think I can so I am going to declare victory on them.

Zkm2965i_o.jpg

vhcC1Ijs_o.jpg

il2dBrCs_o.jpg

 

Tomorrow will just be blending in the canopy, some finish sanding and polishing, I hope.

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I was also just inspired to add the engine front hub cap (there is probably a technical term for this but it eludes me) by using the similar part of a propeller (another technical term)

ePGLxGHD_o.jpg

uFDDSPtu_o.jpg

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Just a quick update. I am leaning towards a natural metal finish so, I am just doing cycles of; priming, fixing any issues, repeat. I won't bore you with pictures that all look the same.

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So I was ready to start finish painting today but then I realized that this antenna mount

DGE9SaF0_o.jpg

 

Is an A-37 feature, not a T-37 one. I looked through  a bunch of pictures and could not find a single T-37 that had it. Strangely the Hasegawa instructions do not say to remove it. I could of just chosen to ignore it but I have come this far I decided to remove it 

 

o4cQJGuQ_o.jpg 

 

and that set me back a day. 

 

Tomorrow I will spray the exhausts and then Saturday the main exterior color. I am still leaning towards a natural metal finish but, the all white scheme is also a strong contender.

 

 

 

 

 

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I have done some preliminary painting. I decided to wimp out and not do the natural aluminum finish and instead go with the all white scheme;

KZYPpQB9_o.jpg

jHS4FdQS_o.jpg

 

I have the Print Scale Cessnae A/T-37 Dragonfly 72-111 decal sheet. One of the options is serial number 58-7982 that it shows in an all gray (FS36622) finish with black intakes. This same aircraft is shown in the centerfold of the Squadron "A-37/T-37 Dragonfly In Action" book in all white with black intakes and wing tips. Finally it is also shown in the  Schiffer "Training the Right Stuff" book with white intakes and black wing and stabilizer tips. In none of these publications is a picture of the actual aircraft nor can I find one anywhere on the internet (I did find some pictures of 68-7982 in the white and blue colors). I did find this photo 

800px-T-37_020925-F-9999s-0014.jpg

 

albeit of a different aircraft that has white intakes and wing tips. Also note the natural metal gear and gear door insides. So unless I can find a picture of the actual aircraft I am going to go with that.

 

 

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Just when I was beginning to think this would never get done, all painting and construction, (except for the wheels and a couple of antennas that will go on last), is done. 

TcZP7y87_o.jpg

AqQhsloL_o.jpg

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zC2Jq90s_o.jpg

Tomorrow it will get a coat of gloss, Tuesday will be decals and Wednesday a coat of semi-gloss and done. 

 

 

 

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On 4/30/2023 at 12:08 PM, hsr said:

I have done some preliminary painting. I decided to wimp out and not do the natural aluminum finish and instead go with the all white scheme;

KZYPpQB9_o.jpg

jHS4FdQS_o.jpg

 

I have the Print Scale Cessnae A/T-37 Dragonfly 72-111 decal sheet. One of the options is serial number 58-7982 that it shows in an all gray (FS36622) finish with black intakes. This same aircraft is shown in the centerfold of the Squadron "A-37/T-37 Dragonfly In Action" book in all white with black intakes and wing tips. Finally it is also shown in the  Schiffer "Training the Right Stuff" book with white intakes and black wing and stabilizer tips. In none of these publications is a picture of the actual aircraft nor can I find one anywhere on the internet (I did find some pictures of 68-7982 in the white and blue colors). I did find this photo 

800px-T-37_020925-F-9999s-0014.jpg

 

albeit of a different aircraft that has white intakes and wing tips. Also note the natural metal gear and gear door insides. So unless I can find a picture of the actual aircraft I am going to go with that.

 

 

I’ve never noticed that heavy a sootting from the engines before. Maybe because I’ve typically seen only dark gray or SEA camo?

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Decals applied:

s9wWWMOw_o.jpg

 

The decals were mostly from the Print Scale Cessna A/T-37 Dragonfly 72-111 decal sheet, with the exception of the yellow strips at the filler caps and the ejection seat triangles. For once the Print Scale decals were a pleasure to use; they did not try to roll up into a ball and where movable once applied. The only exception was the black tail flash that didn't come anywhere near fitting. That will need to be touched up before the final finish coat goes on tomorrow.

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  • 5 months later...

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