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Derek Bowen
13 articles

Academy 1/48 T-34B Mentor

April 28, 2024 · in Aviation · · 24 · 206

This is a good kit overall and a quick build. I definitely love the bright colors and markings on this trainer which really stands out from my other models. I scored the joints for the ailerons and flaps and that made a huge difference in overall appearance. The kit was mostly OOB but I did add the beacon light on top of the fuselage and the static wicks on the trailing edges of the wings/rudder/stabilizer. These are all very prominent in the photo of the actual aircraft so I had to add those simple details. This plane is also a tail dragger so ensure you install ballast in the nose section before sealing the fuselage halves together. I also had to install two roundel decals, one over the other, on the wings because the orange paint showed through the white section of the roundel.

Pros about this kit:

  • These are by the far the best Academy decals I have used. They are very thin, no silvering whatsoever, and no need to even use MicroSet/MicroSol. The decals melted into the panel lines perfectly with just water.
  • The canopy is super clear and slightly tinted.
  • The kit provides marking for 3 different aircraft and multiple spinner and propeller blade options
  • No issues with the kit construction other than installation of the wheel struts.

Cons about this kit.

  • The canopy comes in 4 individual sections but they aren't molded in a way to give the option of having open canopies.
  • The rear wheel struts are longer than they should be. I trimmed about 1/8" off the wheel struts to get the proper length.
  • Installing the rear wheel struts was next to impossible. I had improvise the connection method between the strut and wheel bay.
Reader reactions:
15  Awesome 4 

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

24 responses

  1. Very clean build. The challenges are you overcame in the tooling are not visible in the excellent final result.

  2. Great looking Mentor! I'm glad Academy picked up these molds, such that one can build the nice 1/48 T-34 at an affordable cost. You've done this kit justice, and it looks lovely in the Navy colors.

    • Thanks Andrew. Yeah, I really liked this kit. Easy to build and looks great. I actually bought me another kit to build the yellow trainer version at a later date.

  3. Looks great, Derek (@mrocs2000). I cringe when I think of all the masking involved in your model, but it came out perfectly. I can imagine how much weight was needed to keep the nose wheel on the ground. Well done.

    • Thanks George. My masking skills have definitely improved since I started building models two years ago. I didn't measure how much weight weight I put in the nose but I had to add some more weight in the space where the exhaust pipes protrude out of to keep the plane from tipping backwards. Trimming the rear wheel struts by 1/8" shifted the center of gravity further back requiring more weight.

  4. Fantastic job, Derek!

  5. Really nice. I did this kit and you hit all the strengths and weaknesses a modeler will have to deal with. Really super result.

    • Thanks Tom. I actually trimmed the rear wheel struts because I learned that from your post about the same kit so I have you to thank for that bit of extra realism. I didn't recognize that on my own initially after looking at my reference photos.

  6. Fantastic build, Derek.
    I especially like the subtle weathering details you applied to the Mentor. Top-notch!

  7. Very clean job. Thanks for the tips and tricks!

  8. Well done. Now I want one!

  9. A great build! I have to say, the Mentor in Navy colors looks a lot better than the USAF livery my dad trained in!

  10. Excellent work, Derek. I need to get one of these.

  11. everything has already been said by you and the other friends who have commented... your creation is truly beautiful, I sincerely congratulate you. Bravo!

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