From a company, although 10 years old but brand new to injection molded kits, comes a brand new model of the T-6 Texan II. To the best of my knowledge, this is a first-time release of a never before kitted aircraft in 1/48th scale. First, a little about the Texan II, a modified version of the Pilatus PC-6. My stepson was the lead A&P mechanic of Hawker Beechcraft that was able to obtain the USAF blessing by certifying the various modifications in San Antonio, Texas. During this time, I was able to become quite familiar with the bird, but alas, couldn’t get permission to get any “stick time,” being of civilian status. The Texan II has quite an impressive flight envelope, with the performance figures being closer to that of a P-51 Mustang than that of the original T-6. In short, “this ain’t your father’s Oldsmobile”. Oh well, enough wool gathering and on to the kit.
Molded in a medium grey plastic, there are 2 runners, nicely cast resin seats, wheels, exhausts, nosepiece, prop spinner, 2 vacuformed canopies, and one of the most beautiful decal sheets I’ve seen. The markings offer the modeler the choice of an Israeli aircraft assigned to a flight school and aerobatic team. Also, US markings offer the option of 8 different aircraft from Vance, Randolph and Laughlin Air Force Bases. When the box is first opened, I must admit to some disappointment in two areas…first, the panel scribing puts one in mind of the Matchbox offerings, being not too crisp and somewhat over done. Secondly, even though this is a 1/48th scale model, the treatment of the smaller parts was difficult, to say the least. An example is shown in the images. The scissors on all 3 landing gear consist of 2 separate parts each. The runner is actually thicker than the part, making removal difficult, to say the least. Also, once removed, they are difficult to sand. This is also true of the pitot tube, which I discarded and replaced with a hypodermic needle.
As to the landing gear, the kit offering was replaced with metal gear from Scale Aircraft Conversions (many thanks to Ross McMillan). Once past this, assembly was quite straightforward, excepting the kit gear and pitot issues. No fit problems to report, except the horizontal tail took some trimming to fit all the way into the slot. A major plus, no putty was used at all. The fact is, that except for the very tiny parts, the kit is quite a simple build. One item to mention – the instructions show the prop blades in a flat pitch position while, to be accurate, this aircraft, being powered by a Pratt-Whitney PT-6, would have the blades go to the “feathered” position upon shutdown. Images show the scratch built prop bridle and exhaust coves made to help with the “parked” appearance. The canopy opens in one piece, which is somewhat unusual. I opted to leave it open, but either way the fit was very good.
Painting the model consisted of spraying it overall Tamiya lacquer pure white, then trimmed with the correct FS# midnight blue lacquer. Decals were applied and, as I stated, using the Micro system, they behaved perfectly. When all were in place, the entire aircraft was sprayed with 3 coats of Testors’ Glosscote lacquer, followed by a polishing with pads ranging from 6,000 to 12,000 for a deep shine.
In conclusion, I’d like to suggest that the folks at Ibex spend a little more time with their injection mold makers in an attempt to “crisp” things up a bit on their next release. And to the modelers, please don’t mistake the foregoing comments to be disparaging…if you want a 1/48th scale Texan II, this is the only game in town. Further, as you can see, upon completion it builds into an excellent model of the subject. Many thanks to Gary Newman at Squadron for the review sample and IPMS/USA for the review opportunity.