Academy offers this kit designed especially for beginners and new to the hobby builders. The box is a side opening style containing individually bagged sprues and decals. The artwork on the front appears to be a picture of the built kit, and the rear of the box contains information about the kit and the aircraft itself. A nice addition to the back of the kit shows a broken down pre-build parts layout. The decals are individually bagged and are actually peel off stickers that are simply applied like any other. Initially it took a minute to figure this out, as no directions for peeling them off was evident. There are 4 sprues of plastic provided in their own bags. The two white and one black sprue sets build the aircraft, and the clear set contains a mounting base for the aircraft to sit on as a display. There is also a clear canopy included. Parts are crisply molded with very fine panel line details. The cockpit tubs each have depictions of instruments on the forward and side panels. The kits instructions are extremely well laid out. They provide easy to follow drawings in very few steps. Color decal placements are well marked and easy to read. At only 25 parts, the assembly should not take too long.
The kit was built with almost no tools at all! I took great care to build as if I were new to the hobby and for the most part, Academy delivered a fantastic snap kit. Parts went together with a distinct click. Build time was under 1 hour. The only slip ups I had were in placing parts A1 2 and B3. In this step, number 6 in the instructions, you have to press the external fuel tank and pitot tube through a sticker that has been placed over the mounting spots. For the fuel tank, I was able to open the hole just using pressure from my fingernail. A little bit of clearing out was required (using a hobby knife) for me to get the tank to fit in without damaging it. With the Pitot tube, I realized that it could have been useful in the previous step! It is just pointy and sturdy enough to break the stickers and be used to clean out any remains that hold the parts from being inserted. Again, at this step I used a sharp hobby knife just to clear out the sticker left overs, and B-3 went in smoothly. The rest of the build was a real joy, and I was very impressed with the tightness of the fit of every piece of this kit. Seams are minimal and generally closed tight with a little pressure.
For me, the stickers were both a pleasant surprise and somewhat a challenge in parts. The stickers are just that, adhesive backed vinyl stickers. They have very fine separation lines that will benefit greatly from a sharp hobby knife. Picking away at an edge will release it enough to peel the rest of the decal off. Applications went well with very little overlap. When a piece had detail underneath, burnishing it with a rubbing action with my finger usually got them to sit down well. For hard to get areas, a fingernail worked as well. Decals took almost as long to apply, but in the end I think the extra time spent will greatly benefit the modeler.
As an experienced modeler, I found this kit an absolute joy to build. Even without all the intricate details and parts of a more advanced kit, Academy did a very good representation of this new trainer. My biggest issue with it was NOT taking paint and picking out all the little details that are there. This may very well be another purchase for intermediate and advanced modelers to “spruce up” with paint and weathering. For the first timer, I think it builds into an outstanding model that any young person would be proud to say was their own.
Highs: Quick easy build, straight forward detailed instructions. Very well engineered parts with zero flash or ejector pin marks. Lows: Decal/stickers require some attention to detail in applying them wellVerdict: This is the kind of kit that I will be building with my son when he is a couple years older. I HIGHLY recommend it for anyone who wants to bring a new person into the hobby.
About Brian (fhvn4d) FROM: MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES
I am 43 years old, and have been modelling in plastics most of my life. I started around 7 years old, mostly aircraft and armor. I work full time as a Lieutenant on a career fire department, as well as a heavy equipment operator in the Army National Guard. I am also a member of FEMA Urban Search and...