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John Healy
153 articles

1/48 SNJ-5c

June 21, 2021 · in Aviation · · 28 · 2.1K

This is the old but still the best, kit. The last time I built one of these was when it came out in 1979. This one was made from a 2008 Revell release, made in China. Since Revell's bankruptcy, I've noticed that a lot of the better Monogram kits like this one, haven't been re-released. Let's hope Revell or Atlantis have these molds. They're still worth building.

This is really a model that I built because of an aftermarket decal sheet. When I saw that the Caracal USN Texan sheet featured an option for a Barin Field, Alabama plane, I had to build it. Barin Field is close to my home and I pass by it once a week when I meet friends for lunch in nearby Elberta. Barin is still operational. It's an outlying field for NAS Whiting Field and I often see modern Texan IIs circling to land.

My model depicts a carrier qualification, tail hook equipped -5c from the 1953-54 period. In those days, students took the bus over from Pensacola for their stay at Barin. In addition to qualifying aboard either USS Monterey or USS Saipan in the Gulf of Mexico, they had to demonstrate proficiency at shooting a towed target over the Gulf with the SNJ's .30 cowl gun.

When I researched the subject, I was surprised to see how beat up these SNJs were. In addition to the expected grime, they all seem to have seriously chipped and peeled paint, especially on the leading edges of the wings , fin, and stabilizers. I looked my plane's bureau number up and it was a 1945 build. It was probably delivered in bare metal. Was the yellow paint applied without a primer? It kind of looks like it.

The kit assembled really well. It just needed a little Mr. Surfacer in a few spots. I added Eduard seatbelts and fabricated a tail hook from a HobbyBoss Hellcat item and some scrap. I painted it with Mr. Color #329 and gave it a semi-gloss clear coat. The one bad part of this kit is the clear sprue. The only usable parts are the belly lights and windscreen. I replaced the rest of the canopy with a Squadron vac item. I made the landing light covers from cello tape, added pastel exhaust and called it finished.

Reader reactions:
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11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

28 responses

  1. Looks great John! I love the cockpit ingress decal...

    • Thanks Andrew! And thanks for the color info! Students stalling coming aboard for qualification was a big problem. Lots of SNJs ended up in the Gulf or on south Baldwin county farmland. They didn’t call it “Bloody Barin” for nothing.

  2. Nicely done, John! The chipping is spot on!

  3. Beautiful build, John @j-healy
    It was a pleasure to follow your thread.
    The vac canopy turned out great, like the rest of the build.

  4. Well done John, see looks good. Still a nice kit but agree with your comments about the thick canopy.

  5. Good looking SNJ. I like what you've done with the weathering.

  6. Great build and paint.

  7. I love the yellow work!

  8. Wonderful model @j-healy! And yeah, that vac canopy is great! Can I hire you to cut some out for me? 😉

  9. This is a wonderful result out of the nice Monogram kit, John!
    You did an excellent job reproducing this yellow, heavily weathered bird. Nice job on the clear parts, as well!
    Your build thread was a joy to follow, thanks for sharing all your build experiences!

  10. I always like to see one of these built, and you did an excellent job! I learned aircraft mechanics on a couple of SNJ's my high school had.

  11. That looks fantastic! Makes a trainer more interesting to see it dinged up and well-used! Well done.

  12. Boffo job on your SNJ @j-Healy! Enjoyed your build blog too. Vac canopy looks beautiful. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for one of these kits.

  13. I still absolutely love the T6-Texan / Harvard. Reminds me of my childhood seeing hundreds of them with SAAF

  14. Hello John,
    Monogram, always good. Even today. Your construction is the proof. Besides that, the Harvard most be the most loved airplane amongst aviators. My generation of pilots from Navy and Air Force, all made their first hours on this airplane. Hundreds of thousands must have started like this. Regards, Dirk

    • Thanks, Dirk! You are correct. Many Dutch, British, and French naval aviators trained and qualified at Pensacola and Barin on these planes during the 50s.

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