Trainer: Curtiss-Wright AT-9 Fledgling, "Jeep" – Dora Wings 1/48
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For whatever reason, this was one of those kits that got my attention from beginning to end, with no other kits interdicting the build process. I was able to complete this one in about 9 days. Here I present it to you, ham-fists and all. It was a rather simple build, with a number of quarks. For both a good history of the aircraft, and cautionary recommendation in regard to the build, see Tom Cleaver's build and article featuring this kit elsewhere on this site.
For a cliff note version from myself though, I will say that the kit is nice, but a bit overpriced in my opinion. It's easy to have that perception in today's market, and perhaps I'm just using this as a means to chastise myself for spending money on static model kits, but I just can't keep from saying that in this case. However, if you are interested in such a subject, this is the kit you're going to want to purchase. It has perfectly adequate detail, and goes together well with some modelling experience and a touch of common sense.
The most frustrating issue I had was getting the crankcase cover with it's mold on pushrod tubes off the sprue. Each pushrod tube had it's own gate, and of course careful precision is required to remove every gate on this radially shape part without damaging it. I gave up and just cut them all off, with no will to scratch build all 32 rods.
The most reoccurring troubles were from the two-piece control surfaces (that produce a seam needed filled) and rough molding lines on mating edges that need filed away for fit, most obviously on the doors/sills, and the cowling parts.. Test fit, test fit, then test fit some more.. then glue!
The kit comes with vinyl masks and a small PE fret, which is acceptable for the spirit of the kit. Perhaps it was due to working with 1/700 Flyhawk PE immediate prior to starting this kit, but to me the PE was a bit clumsy and thick, reminiscent to Monogram's early "High Tech" offerings in the early 90's. Looking at the belts and control knobs in the finished cockpit though, you will not likely get this impression. The cockpit is well detailed, and fairly well seen with the canopies in place. As Mr Cleaver demonstrated, the doors can be poised open to good effect for better view, but I thought the exterior lines of the aircraft were more aesthetically pleasing with the doors closed.
The kit has a nice set of decals that include 4 nice schemes (3 aluminum, and 1 OD/Grey). I decided to do the one that I found to be the most unique. All of the red was painted on using my usual mix of MM and Vallejo colors. I highlighted the panel lines with Tamiya dark grey panel line highlight, as I usually do with aluminum aircraft. The final finish coat was about a 3/1 mix of X-22/X-35, which was then diluted 1/1 with Mr Leveling Thinner.
According to the manual, this aircraft is AT-9 41-12059, from Lubbock AAF, 1942/'43. I'm not sure if that is Lubbock, TX, nor am I certain that the dates are even correct. On to the next subject, I suppose. Enjoy!