Pilatus PC-6/B2-H4 Turbo Porter
Our thanks up front to Squadron mail order for providing this kit to IPMS so we can review it! A note about Squadron’s customer service; had one small issue with a part sprue, and we received the parts ASAP. Thanks Squadron for your attention and drive to ensure you maintain your customer base! And thanks to IPMS leadership for sending this one my way
The Turbo-Porter is an interesting aircraft; it is designed for a specialized purpose, operating from unprepared airfields, with short takeoff and landing capabilities. In this kit, markings are provided for French Air Force operations; one overall white with a cheatline, and one in overall dark gray. I used Tamiya IJN Saesebo arsenal gray for my build as it seems close.
The instructions are well done in several languages. A parts diagram is provided and proved helpful. Color callouts are provided for all parts, which is great. Some other manufacturers have been falling down in this area, not Roden! The final paint diagram is clear and shows concise painting direction.
This kit was a conventional modeling effort. Roden have a well-earned reputation for detail. This is apparent in the cockpit area, where each passenger seat has it’s own framework to build up from three very fragile parts. No easy way to remove them from the runner, but maybe a hot knife would be best for those who can deal with that. As it was I used a fine razor saw, and only destroyed three of them! Its’ the old guy’s hands, not the design. The parts are ok until I get to them, the pilot seats were easier.
I managed to cobble together four seats, and proceeded to finish the cockpit. The interior is white for some reason, so you can’t cheat here. Maybe a bit of dirt where the ground-pounders scurry in and out would be appropriate. Detail is good for this scale; interior braces, flooring and walls are all there. The instrument panel, power lever tower (remember this is a turboprop; no mixture here) and a duct all comes together.
At this point I deviated from the instructions. After assembling the fuselage halves, I installed the nose and engine compartment, which are shown on the instructions as being installed in step 27. Not for me - I like to have all my filler work done (if required) before things that break off are installed. In this case, this seam required a touch of filler but nothing onerous.
The horizontal stabilizer and elevator assembly has scale (read “fragile”) actuating arms and end plates. The landing gear is also a “what can we break off after building” opportunity. Two types of tires are provided - in this version the low-pressure, larger tires are appropriate. In removing them from the parts tree, I destroyed the mud guards but was able to get the foot steps into place.
A note about the clear parts, I had real difficulty getting the door windows in. There are different types based on whether or not there are sliding panels. Side cargo doors are provided for different versions as well. I decided to leave them off as a paratrooper setup.
Wings are next. They also have all the actuators and separate control surfaces. Different wing tip sections are provided for this aircraft so follow the instructions for the correct version. Also, remember to drill out the lower wing holes for the external tanks.
Construction continues with the lower fuselage panels with the landing gear. Take your time here and it will work out. It’s robust when complete. The propeller assembly was a bit tricky to line up as this engine is a free-air turbine (no gearbox), the blades are feathered into the slipstream when the engine is shut down. Exhausts are two-piece affairs, once finished and cleaned up they look good.
Last steps involved installing the external tanks and wing mounted radar dome. These are each two-piece affairs and only required a touch of finish sanding to clean up seams. To finish we have simple painting. I chose the gray bird as I’m not into commercial schemes. Mask the windscreen, and have at it. Gloss coat, and apply decals. Roden decals tend to silver even on gloss coats. I used the Future puddle technique and avoided the problem. A finish gloss coat to seal everything, then Dullcoat, and we are complete!
As I write this I am unaware of Roden’s status, due to the current issues with their country and the one to the East of them. I pray everyone in the company is ok.
This kit was a good out-of-box, break the AMS build, and I enjoyed it. Thanks again to Roden for producing non-mainstream aircraft to model, and Squadron for providing us this great opportunity to comment on their products!