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iModeler Review: Revell 1/48 Stearman PT-17

Revell 1/48 Stearman PT-17
Product ID: 85-5264
Skill Level: 3
Scale: 1/48
Length: 6-1/8″
Height: 2-5/16″
Wingspan: 8-3/16″
Parts: 60

The Stearman (Boeing) Model 75 is a biplane used as a military trainer aircraft, of which at least 8,584 were built in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. Stearman Aircraft became a subsidiary of Boeing in 1934. Widely known as the Stearman, Boeing Stearman or Kaydet, it served as a primary trainer for the USAAF, the USN (as the NS & N2S), and with the RCAF as the Kaydet throughout World War II. After the conflict was over, thousands of surplus aircraft were sold on the civilian market. In the immediate postwar years they became popular as crop dusters, sports planes, and for aerobatic and wing walking use in airshows.

After having only the Lindberg 1/48 Stearman kit for the past 30+ years as the only option in quarter-scale, Revell has gone outside of the model-manufacturing box and come up with this; A new, state of the art Kaydet in 1/48. Where most new releases over the last several years have been Messerschmitts, Supermarines, and North Americans, as they are sure-fire sellers, Revell has surprised a lot of people with this release. And, based on the amount of online retailers that are consistently out of stock of it, they seem to be seeing their risk paying off early.

The box is of the typically thin, flimsy cardboard I am used to seeing Revell kits come in. Happily, the box is top-opening. Eleven sprues are individually bagged, one of which holds only a (wooden) propeller.

The 60 parts (2 of which are clear windscreens) are all cast in white plastic. This will help those modeling the yellow Navy version achieve brighter colors, but I feel that the plastic is slightly brittle as a result. I much prefer gray styrene, and the associated density. However, this is strictly personal preference on my part.

The wings were the first parts I looked at, and what I noticed immediately were the very thin trailing edges. There won’t be a need for any sanding of them to achieve scale chord. The wings are upper and lower parts that need cemented together. There are cut-out hand holds on upper and lower wings, where they should be. Revell has shown good attention to detail here. Fabric detail here, and on the aft flying surfaces, are nicely restrained and appropriate. The starboard elevator underside has “Revell 2014/Made In China” molded onto it. This will be easily removed with a little light sanding.

The cockpit features a complete tubular frame in addition to rudder pedals, heel boards, linked control columns, throttles and fire extinguisher, instrument panels, and two seats. The seats have molded-on seatbelts. The instrument panels have raised bezels, but no other details. IP decals are provided on the sheet. Sidepanels and molded ribbing inside the fuselage halves themselves round out the well-thought interior.

The fuselage is typically split; a port and a starboard half. Additionally, the cockpit holes are molded onto a small, top part. Metal panels are neatly engraved and there are a few raised rivets, fasteners and inspection panels. The cabane struts are molded in a fixed position on the fuselage, which will ensure proper alignment and poisoning. The landing gear struts, as well, as molded directly onto the fuselage bottom. The kit’s wheels have nicely-detailed tread patterns molded onto them. A full engine is provided, along with an oil tank, push rods, tubular engine mount, and exhaust collecting ring. The details apparent should really look nice with some careful drybrushing. The kit has two propeller options; one metal (US Navy), and one wooden (US Army). Wood-grain decals are included for the wooden one.

The decals are in excellent register and colorful. Markings for 2 machines, one Navy & one Army are provided. The instructions are clear and concise. A rigging guide is provided but, sadly, the attachment points aren’t marked on the parts. That would have been very helpful…extra care and thought will be required by the modeler who chooses to rig the model. I do like that the instructions have the needed lengths diagrammed out for easy trimming of each rigging wire.


• A much needed subject in 1/48 scale
• Excellent raised and recessed details
• Intelligently engineered kit
• Molded in white plastic
• Optional propellers
• Excellent decals
• Low price point


• Molded in white plastic
• Plastic may be perceived as slightly brittle
• Fixed flying surfaces

All in all, this appears to be a great little kit. Here’s a link to Eugene Clark Cook’s excellent build of this kit:

My thanks to iModeler for the review sample.

23 additional images. Click to enlarge.

14 responses to iModeler Review: Revell 1/48 Stearman PT-17

  1. Strange to see decals for the props….but a nice touch, nonetheless. Don’t see molded in white as a “con”, exactly….it’ll take any color paint (primarily yellow, I’d assume) better than gray, wouldn’t it? I don’t think I’d want it molded in yellow to begin with anyhow. Thanks for the review….good stuff.

    • “Don’t see molded in white as a “con”, exactly…”

      Well….that’s why I listed it as a pro and a con. Most people seem OK with it, as it will be theoretically better for the yellow paint.

      Personally, I’d prefer a light gray.

  2. Thanks for posting this review. I have this kit & might need to move it up in my “to build” line.
    Plastic color is not an issue with me as long as it is not a bleed through color. Odds are if it is going to be painted yellow& you use any filler it will need to have some form of base coat to even it out for the yellow.

  3. Jim,
    This is such an important airplane that I am thrilled that Revell did it. When I saw the kit I bought two and I only hope that I can do it justice. I have done a number of the Lindberg kits for myself and others and no matter how I did it I was never happy with the results. This kit looks to be outstanding.

  4. Thanks for the review, I went to a show a few weeks back and saw a lot of those kits in the hands of people. I think it was a great choice by Revell and I am glad they did a good job on it. For any of you that need some reference, I happen to work for the owner of a Stearman and I posted pictures here a while back. Here is a link

  5. When I opened the box and saw all that white plastic I had a “they reposed the Lindberg kit” moment. After a couple of Valium I was able to look at the plastic again and the all the new goodness Revell had produced. Just waiting for the “active duty” decals that are sure to come.

  6. When I opened the box and saw all that white plastic I had a “they reissued the Lindberg kit” attack. Fortunately upon further examination the truth was discovered, and the need for Valium passed (damn it). Just waiting for the “active duty” decals that are sure to come.

  7. I had purchased this kit approximately two weeks after it was first released for $14.00. I figured I was not going to get much for that price, but I wanted Stearman in my collection. Well, faith and begorrah, this is an amazing kit with extremely nice details and features. The engine and all its mounting hardware is worth the price of the kit alone. I figure when I get around to building it, I will leave certain fuselage panels off just to show of the engine and it’s mounts. Hopefully, Revell will consider doing a Tigermoth.

  8. Try adding an extra 35 to that “30+ years” we’ve only had the Lindberg Stearman. It’s the second polystryrene injection-molded kit ever made. 1949.

  9. Sadly not available to us Brits yet :-[ but it does look very nicely done and if it does make its way this way i will definitely get me one
    i could get one from eBay but the price is way way to high, looks like im gonna have to wait till i get to the US on Holiday in July does any body know any good model/ hobby shops around Nevada or Arizona possibly Utah ??

  10. Building this kit right now. It’s been a delight. Very intelligently engineered. And at $17, I hope to get a dozen. Has anyone ever seen Stearmans in Recall schemes?

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