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Rob Anderson
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My first Trumpeter kit, good, bad and ugly?

May 12, 2014 · in Aviation · · 18 · 3.6K

Started building the 1/48 HU-16A kit, having never built a Trumpy kit before, but reading lots of mostly bad reviews, I dove in. First off, the reviews of this kit bashing it, are well over stated. Yes it has problems, the hull curve, the curved fuselage section below the canopy that is not there on the kit, the floats are at the wrong angle, the glass is not quite corrrect...on and on. Fair? Yes, but really straight out of the box will get you a very nice . Wanting to correct the Hull I bought the Alley Cat conversion set, at $30 on top of a $100+ dollar kit...well I thought it would make my life easier...NOT. The hull shape is still not quite correct and really not much better that Trumpeter. The curve under the canopy is wrong, not the right shape, and the casting is not up to what I expected from what had seen of their other stuff on line. There was soooooo much excess resin inside the hull that even after sanding THROUGH THE HULL BOTTOM the wheel well parts of the kit would not fit. The Trumpy plastic parts fit nearly perfectly. So I ditched the hull. What I did though was use the canopy section, some milliput and make my own fix for the issue of the curve below the glass. We will see how it turns out. I also scratch built nose wheel rims to replace the cartoonish ones in the kit. So this is where I am so far, eventually it will be a USN HU-16C...more to follow!

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9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

18 responses

  1. I've built quite a few Trumpeter kits and didn't know (or care) that "something" wasn't 'quite right'. I always thought they built up fairly nicely with little or no fit issues. Then again, I build for relaxation and enjoyment and I'm comfortably ignorant of all those nuances that the "experts" bash on practically EVERY kit, regardless of manufacturer.
    Oh well...the box art is nice. LOL

    • Spot on Craig! The so called "Experts" criticize in order to compensate for the fact that they cannot build or because they are to damned lazy to do any actual modeling.

    • Although this is a very old post, I just built the 2022 version of the Trumpeter kit it is definatly not up to Tamiya standards but it came out OK.

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  2. You know Craig you are spot on. I at one point taped the Alley Cat hull to the Trumpeter Hull and the curve was almost identical. Now Trumpy does seem to mess up the canopies frequently, but again if you built this kit SOB you would have a great fitting nice looking Albatross. On the other hand, I have their 1/32 A-1 Skyraider in the to do pile, and I read the canopy was too wide and the ZM superwings kit was spot on. Welllll I LOVE the Skyraider, and am pretty anal retentive about it. I pasted a ZM pic, a Trumpy pic and an in flight pic of the real thing, and to my eye Trumpeter got it right the ZM kit is too NARROW. Personally I think it is fashionable to bash Trumpeter, and there is some reason to, but really so far I LOVE the HU-16 kit and am very glad I am using their hull, I am having fun and the hardest part should be what great USN paint scheme should I use!

  3. I loved my Wellington. It's one of the nicest kits I've ever built. Fun .:)

  4. I've built several Trumperter kits. There are always issues with any manufacturer's products, whether it's practicality or accuracy of the build, but I don't have any real issues with them.

    The HU-16A is a new type for me, but then my knowledge of US support aircraft isn't great. One thing about Trumpy - they pick some unusual subjects.

    Are you going with NMF? This should be an attractive model.

  5. I think that you have a valid point here. I've also been under impression that Trumpeter kits often get that bit extra scrutiny and criticism than, for example, Italeri would, even though both companies have a record of mixed quality in their releases.

    A reissue of an old Monogram or Airfix kit would often get praised by reviewers as "still good" and "basically sound kit" (judgements often based on sentiment) while any brand-new mould from China could be condemned for the width of a canopy, bogus panel lines or need for aftermarket wheels.

    Trumpeter makes the only 1/48 kit of the Albatross, so if that's what you want, it doesn't get any better than this. Enjoy the build.

  6. I am looking forward to the completion of your Albatross. I envy those who have the space to display large models. I agree with Craig's attitude about nit picking every accuracy issue. Just enjoy your project.

  7. Looks like a great start despite the surgery and having to toss the expensive resin (ouch!). Having built both the Trumpeter Wellington and C-47-before reading the scathing reviews, I felt somewhat abused. In retrospect, they were both fun builds, and son of a gun, look quite nice when completed, OOB. I build examples that interest me ( see my AZ Vengeance and Ki-48,same situation), and have no interest in building a million Bf-109's, regardless of correctness. Yes, I do believe the manufacturers should strive for accuracy and excellence, but perfection is a reach for us all. I plan on building one in the future, so keep the posts coming.

  8. Plodding along in accuracy ignorance has probably kept more of us in the hobby than people would admit to. It certainly has with myself.
    Yes, I'll clean up seams & upgrade cockpits but don't get overly concerned on dimensional accuracy.
    Keep at the Albatross & enjoy the kit.

  9. the only genuine complaint with trumpeter is they stick the ejection marks on the good side when they could put them on the backside...causing a lot of silly needless and unnecessary work...but they are not alone

  10. Hi Rob, I have seen your comments about the Alley Cat nose correction on another board and I was surprised as well with the issues with it. As you say Alley Cats other products are gold standard. I think you were right to forge on, your "fixes" so far look great.
    Looking forward to seeing your progress

  11. I am just about finished with my first Trumpy kit, a 72nd scale Vigilante, I enjoyed it. It had it's quirks but for the most part that is the fun of it. Don't really care about accuracy reviews for the most part, I read them and for the most just make not of the issues and deal with them if I get the kit. But very rarely will it keep me from buying it some day. But this is about a cool Albatross kit, which I have been wanting to get and was quite thrilled we would get it in 48th scale. It is a golden age in this scale for the last 3 years, So looking forward to seeing how you tackle this beast. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Good to see I am not alone in my opinions! The kit fits better than most kits I have built in recent years. As for the Alley Cat nose section I kind of feel they didn't put their best effort on it. I fully expected to have to remove some material here and there, clean up the moulds maybe even straighten a warp here or there, but the bottom of the wheel wells not being even close to flat and then grinding through and still there was not enough removed to get the Trumpeter part to fit. As for the scheme for my Albatross I am building a USN Dark Grey/White scheme maybe with some Day glo! Note I added two pictures from the web of possible schemes, I have the Caracal sheet that has markings similar to these.

  13. It's funny every time a company does a Navy or Air Force SAR aircraft they depict it rescuing a sinking ship. In point of fact the U S Coast Guard, under a post WWII service agreement, tasked the inshore SAR as USAF territory and off shore SAR the USCG as the primary first responder (in most cases). The HU-16 was designed as a SAR platform to pick up downed aircraft crews flying from a coastal overseas airbase, not sinking ships. But then again the box art is just a small thing.


    is this model the long wing or the short wing version? I believe all the short wing HU-16's were NMF with appropriate yellow SAR markings.

  14. This is the short wing. The Navy flew two versions short and long wing like the USAF did. Shortwings were originally the UF-1 then the HU-16C Long wings were the HU-16D. The Caracal decal sheet is for shortwniged birds. Few USN versions were ever in NMF, the only one I can think of is the one that flew equipped with skis out of Antarctica. Here is a good link to some pics of all the versions including the Japanese variant

  15. Rob,
    I'm not going to jump into the good, the bad, and the ugly, of this kit. I have it and I plan to build at some day and I'll bet it looks like an Albatross when it's done. I eagerly await seeing your completed model. So far it looks great.

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