Beechcraft T-34 mentor in 1/72 scale: building the Sword kit
The American Beechcraft T-34 Mentor was designed as a military single engined trainer. The small Beechcraft company manufactured mainly small private aircraft. First flight of the Model 45 was end 1948 and it was widely introduced by the US Armed Forces as the T-34 Mentor which had a piston engine. The type was upgraded to the T-34C Turbo-Mentor, powered by a turboprop PT6 engine. The T-34 was also licensed manufactured in Japan as the Fuji KM-2. Over 2,300 aircraft were manufactured and it was also used by many countries.
Sword released a small 1/72 kit #72007 of the T-34C Turbo-Mentor in 2000. It is basic and a short run kit comparable in technique with MPM kits. There are about 34 unnumbered parts including a one piece resin tub with seats and nose bay. In my kit the propeller was unfortunately broken. The loose blade was still in the bag.
Decals are very basic with a US Navy scheme and an Argentine T-34C during the Falkland conflict.
Construction is straight forward but use a razor saw to remove the parts because of the thick sprue gates. The resin tub needs a bit shaving off at the lower end to fit. Before closing the fuselage, add weight in the nose.
Hardly any filler is required except at the wing roots. Gaps in the interior and nose wheel bay were closed up with white glue.
The overall got a base grey with Revell 75 "steingrau" aqua as primer to check for any errors in filling.
I wanted for the World Air Forces in Plastic collection a T-34C of the Gabon Air Force. It has a light grey colour for which I airbrushed Gunze Sangyo H308 (FS36473).
The large canopy hood and windshield is one piece and the frames were hand painted with a fine brush. It was set closed.
The interior was given a light gray color and the seats got some straps made from tape.
The landing gears were fitted and the wheels fit better with their centres drilled out. The propeller was repaired and painted black with white-red-white tips. The anti glare panel was airbrushed also black with also a small area aft of the canopy hood. A black smoke trace was also suggested aft of the exhausts.
The kit exhaust bits are better replaced with tube rod and also the pitots and smaller antennas must be added from thin card and rod. A pair of small anti blind fences were set near the wing tips and well as anti-collision lights. At the lower fuselage there are also air flow fins.
The markings came from the spares box and 6 roundels are needed. These were made from several decal sections.
The model was kept clean without pylons nor stores but Gabonese T-34C were also seen with black painted 0.50 gun pods.
To get an even sheen, the model got a gloss coat of varnish airbrushing Johnson Future / Pledge (mask of the glass work when applying this).
I found out that I had added not enough weight in the nose, so to prevent tail sitting had to install a tiny piece of wire below the fuselage.
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For info about the "Forces Aeriennes Gabonaises" look at the Mirage V page here...
Gabon air force T-34C Turbo Mentor
A nice addition in the World Air Forces in Plastic collection....
.... Back to 1/72 propeller models...
- T-34 in action, Lou Drendel, Squadron Signal publications
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Created this page December 12, 2018