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Boris Rakic
72 articles

Filling the gaps – Special Hobby’s 1/48 T-2C Buckeye

August 12, 2017 · in Aviation · · 19 Comments


I have a confession to make: I think I have a couple of screws loose. That is the only explanation I have for my overarching modeling theme - building a complete collection of US military hardware from the 1920s to present. Well, at least what is available in 35th, 48th, and 350th scale. And with an undertaking like this, it helps to break it down into smaller sub-themes, making it more manageable and focused.

One of these sub-themes is a collection of US Navy and Marines training aircraft. As far as I know, there are only six 48th scale kits of USN trainers around (and this includes the ancient Testors PT-20). I cannot find the PT-20 anywhere, the T-45 Goshawk is readily available, SNJ Texan and T-28 Trojan are in my stash, and the Kaydet is done. And that leaves us with the chubby ...

The Kit

's Buckeye comes in two flavours: a boxing with the standard red/white trainer scheme, and the "Camouflaged Trainer" offering, containing some very nice markings for Greek, Venezuelan, and of course US Navy aircraft. As most of the other trainers I am going to build will either be yellow or red/white, I went for the camo version.

So, what do you get? Well, this is not a Tamiya kit. The plastic is a bit rough in places, there is flash galore, and fit isn't always the best. In that sense, it is more of a short-run kit. What you do get, on the other hand, are some beautiful resin parts for the cockpit and seats, pre-painted photoetch for the instrument panels, clear acetate sheets for the gauges, and a very thin and clear vacuformed canopy.

The only real fault I could find with this kit is the rear cockpit. It sits about 2mm too low, which results in the rear seat not sufficiently clearing the cockpit side walls. An easy solution would be to raise the seat by stuffing some sheet styrene underneath it - but I this could look a bit weird, especially with an open canopy. So instead I cut apart the cockpit tub, shimmed the location tabs on the fuselage halves, and altered the cockpit sidewalls to accommodate the new cockpit position.

The trickiest part of the whole construction is the landing gear. the main gear struts consist of two parts each, with no positive locating pins and a mediocre fit. Once you have tackled this step, you have to attach the two-part oleo scissors, the gear bay doors, and the wheels, again with no clear locating points. Oh, and don't forget the four tiny PE tie-downs on each gear strut...

The Fun Part

When painting the Buckeye I ran into some issues. After my usual primer coat of Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black, I traced the camo scheme with a thin white pencil and then started applying the first color, FS36440 Light Gull Grey. The combination of Lifecolor Acrylics and around 35°C in my hobby room resulted in paint constantly drying on the needle and some choice words. In general I like Lifecolor, as they offer a huge range of colors not only for aircraft, but also for ships. Spraying them is okay-ish most of the time, but in this instance, it was no fun at all. If only MRP would release colors for ships...

Anyway, I somehow managed to free-hand the scheme, adding FS36321 Dark Gull Grey and FS35164 Blue Grey. As I did not like the stark contrast between the colors, I oversprayed everything with a light coat of FS36720. Finally, the areas to be painted black were masked off and received some XF-1, followed by a misty application of XF-85 Rubber Black.

To the Finish Line

Decaling was done in no time, as this plane does not sport a lot of markings and hardly any stencils. I was lucky to find a picture of the very aircraft I was building, which helped a lot in getting the weathering right. I started by adding the paint touch-ups and corrosion control, using highly diluted paint and a very low air pressure. Next, I added a couple of different colors of Mig's Panel Line Washes, working on small areas at a time and generally being slow.

Two Down, Four to Go

So, there it is. This kit was a bit of a challenge, but that was to be expected. I still enjoyed it very much, especially the final stages. Now, if someone could point me towards that Testors PT-20...

19 responses

  1. Beautiful work, Boris...VERY nice!

  2. Outstanding work on all fronts, Boris! The fit and finish your your T-2 is immaculate, and the accompanying build article and photographs are excellent, too. I have this kit in the stash, and will refer to your article when I get around to building mine. Bravo, Sir!

  3. Wonderfully done, Boris! I would have chosen the same paint scheme, too.


  4. Boris: Congratulations on your very fine T-2C. Special Hobby kits are always a challenge to build, but you seem to have beaten the monster, and built a beautiful model. Congratulations once again.

  5. Boris, very nice indeed, wonderful paint scheme with just enough dirtiness to look just right. Well done !

  6. I love the concept "generally being slow".

  7. Nice clean build and subtle paint job.
    I really like the way you toned the decals down.

  8. So like this...


  9. Looks great in aggressor colours!

  10. Thank you guys! Although it was a testing build at times, I am already playing with the idea of building a Greek one in the future...

  11. Excellent! Beautiful finish and weathering.

    By the way - what about a Temco TT-1 Pinto - there is a resin version in 1/48...?

  12. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    Very nice BUCKEYE Boris. Your choice for the livery is just spot on. This one is very entertaining to see, thank you for sharing the photos.

  13. Very nice Boris- a lesser known type- but one I have wanted to render as an adversary bird like yours. One day I will sell enough other kits to justify to the wife why I can get one!

  14. Love this! I got to see this specific bird at an open house at NAS Norfolk in the spring of 1988 - the color contrast you saw was quite noticeable when I saw it up close.

    Nice work!

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