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KH T-6/Harvard Kicked Up A Notch: Apr 14/20: Finished!

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November 21/19


Time to build another model!  As some of you know, my last model was the 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E, that fought me every step of the way.  For those who might be interested, that build is here:




I’ve taken 6 weeks off from modeling to re-charge my modeling mojo and do some research on my next project, which is the 1/32 Kitty Hawk T-6 Texan that will be slightly modified to a Canadian Harvard.




I have always built fighters and bombers to date, with the following models completed so far:


1/32 Revell F-15E

1/48 Tamiya Lancaster

1/32 Tamiya F-14B and F-14D

1/32 Tamiya F-4J and F-4E

1/32 Tamiya F-16CJ

1/32 Academy CF-18A and CF-18B

1/32 Trumpeter A-10C

1/32 Tamiya F-15C

1/32 Tamiya P-51D

1/32 Trumpeter P-38L

1/32 Tamiya Spitfire Mk IX

1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E/N



Why a boring Harvard after these iconic fighting aircraft you might ask?  Three reasons:


1)  I have run out of room to display them, because at least 6 of them are 2 feet long or wide.  As I build new models like the recent F-5E, something has to go and I have already tossed in the garbage the Revell F-15E and the Academy CF-18A, because they weren’t very good and took up a lot of room.  I don’t have the heart to throw anything else out, but a smaller model can still fit in my display cabinet.


2)  I want to build something simple for a change.  Every single model that I still have is heavily modified and took at least 8 months to build, with the F-4E taking 18 months.  While rewarding in the end, it’s sometimes difficult to stay dedicated to the same model for a year or more.


3)  I grew up with yellow Harvards buzzing loudly overhead, sometimes right over my house.  For those who know Calgary, we used to have a RCAF training airport called Currie Field (renamed Lincoln Park), which I used to live near when I was 8 years old.  To make ends meet, my parents rented out a basement suite in our house and probably because my farther served in the RCAF, we always had RCAF pilots and their families renting that suite.  Long before the airspace rules and regulations that we have today, many of those pilots would fly fairly low over the house, dipping their wings back and forth to say “hello”, often in Harvard Trainers.  As a result, I’ve always loved the glossy yellow and flat black paint scheme of this trainer-  and aircraft in general, hence this addictive hobby most of us share for similar reasons.


What I was unaware of until I thumbed through this book below, is just how many variants of the Texan/Harvard there are.  There are at least 80 different versions, each with subtle differences, that were exported to about 50 different countries- and even Japan received a couple in 1939 before the War. 






I’m finding it difficult to find pics of a single Harvard inside and out as a reference to replicate.  For instance, while I can find dozens of pics of instrument panels, finding pics of the sides of the cockpit and especially the back area are super rare.    FYI, there are several Harvards in flying condition just north of Calgary at Red Deer at the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association, but each Harvard is a bit different from the rest.  Their website is here for those who might be interested:


Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association



So what do I build, exactly?  The answer is, “whatever I feel like”!  Since accuracy is not important to me for a change, I’m going to use the best of the kit and aftermarket parts that I can find, with no concern whatsoever as to what is “correct”.  To help in this effort, Jari (Finn) has found me this pure gold publication in pdf from 1942, which are “Erection and Maintenance Instructions” (try not to laugh) for the T-6 and Harvard variants.  While all pics are in black and white only, there’s a pic of just about everything I will need.



T-6/ Harvard Erection and Maintenance Instructions



While my subject is somewhat generic, I’m going to use this particular Harvard from the Canadian Warplane Museum in Hamilton as a guide, mostly because the kit has decals for it and I can’t find any other Harvard decals in 1/32 scale.  I’ll likely use the insignia decals and paint the code letters instead:






There’s really good pics of the engine as well…







To add some nice detail, I have the Eduard “Big Ed” set, along with a few other aftermarket items that  I have on order, like the AlleyCat rear canopy glass, that is specific to Harvards.









Although I’m not a fan of using Eduard “stickers” in cockpits, because it’s sort of “cheating” and often looks unrealistic, the kit instrument panels and decals are pretty much stickers already.  While I could use Airscale instrument decals on the kit parts instead, the Eduard IP’s look fantastic (below), so I’m going to use them after all.  One important thing to do with these stick-on parts is to knock down the shine with dull coat as I have done already, because the original finish is always too shiny.







My last Kitty Hawk F-5E kit had fairly good surface detail, but the parts did not fit together very well and there were ejection pin marks and seam lines everywhere.  This kit follows that same theme in spades so far.  Here is the interior face of the cockpit cage on both sides that you can mostly see.  I count about 45 pins marks to fill, and there are NONE on the outside that you can’t see.  Stupid planning!






What makes filling and cleaning up these pin marks so difficult is that most of them are on thin curved surfaces that are really difficult to sand.  Arrgh!






Dry fitting some of the parts, there’s a horseshoe shaped part (D31) at the rear that doesn’t really fit anything.  There’s a gap at the bottom of this part and the sides do not fit well at all- and it sits back from the curved part below it, with nothing that really anchors it into position.






Checking other builds of this kit, the fit of D31 is all over the place and most times lumpy, with the part often deleted completely.  Thankfully, the manual above has a pic of what it should look like on Page 248- a slide for a rear gun, which is obviously optional.  This means that it should be elevated from the rear deck, but should fit more flush on the sides.






While Canadian Harvards likely don’t have this rail since they don’t have rear guns, I kind of like the added detail, so I want to keep it.  After a lot of trimming the sides, it fits much better, while leaving the rear gap….






After this small modification, it fits much better when viewed from above.  Note the 4 sanded off pin marks on the back deck that are huge, while there are no pin marks on the bottom that you can’t see.  I guess that is why some modelers refer to these kits as made by $____Y Hawk!






Time to start painting!






Switching topics at the risk of obvious self-promotion, I just received a copy of the January 2020, FineScale Modeler magazine which has my recent Spitfire Mk IX on the front cover, along with 8 pages of coverage in it as Part 1 and a similar number of pages in the upcoming February issue as Part 2.  During this same time frame, my F-15C Eagle Aggressor will be featured in a FineScale book on Modeling Aircraft.  In our fairly lonely hobby of “making toy airplanes” as some of my friends and relatives will say, this is pretty cool and it makes all the hard work I put into these builds worthwhile.  Thanks for following along and indulging me.











Edited by chuck540z3
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Excellent work so far, Chuck. The T-6 hold a special place in my heart, as my Grandad flew them out of Merana, AZ in the 1950’s. I do want to complete a T-6 he soloed in, and this kit really is the only game in town thus far. I will be taking notes. 


Oh, I am sure you know already, but you will need to modify the main gear mount points in the wing. Kitty Hawk molded them too far inboard, and it makes the stance look strange out of the box. There is an article on LSP on how to mod it.


Great start, always a pleasure to follow along. 


THOR    :ph34r:

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1 hour ago, Kagemusha said:


This is it, hope it helps.


Thanks Andy.  Lot's of good stuff here, but did this model ever get completed?  I can see following some tips, but certainly not all of it, mostly because I like to "cut my own swath" with every build.




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I don’t think Harvards are boring at all, great little aeroplanes full of character. If you’re taking the KH kit “up a notch”, and it certainly needs it, one of the most prominent corrections needed is the tail wheel. It’s just plain wrong! My recent build referenced above gives some guidance towards a more accurate representation. 

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Thanks for the tips guys. I already have the rear canopy and prop corrections coming, but if anybody has further tips and corrections, bring it!  One other thing that strikes me as needing replacement are the tires/wheels.  Any tips for these?  I read somewhere that resin Mustang wheels might work.




Edited by chuck540z3
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Yes Chuck, I’ve used Brassin Mustang wheels on both of my Harvards, they look so much better than the skinny kit ones in my opinion. You’ll need to do a bit of work with the wheel centres but that’s not difficult.



The other outstandingly horrible feature on the KH kit is the rendition of the fabric covering/ribbing on the rudder, ailerons and elevators. I sanded mine smooth then used Archer ‘rivets’, not perfect but far far better than the original.


Edited by mozart
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21 minutes ago, mozart said:





Thanks for that, which brings up a question that I've already been thinking about.  I've used Archer rivets extensively on other models and while they can look terrific, getting rid of the decal edges can be a problem no matter how thin you cut them and how much Microsol you use to dissolve the decal film.  Looking at pics of real rudders for this aircraft, it appears that there should be a tape-like band, so I'm torn whether I should just leave the decal film as is, or try to smooth it out like I usually do.  I see that you have left the edges, which is fairly accurate.




Edited by chuck540z3
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In scale Chuck it looks absolutely fine; even under ultra thin MRP paints the edge is barely, but just enough, discernible.  On a different matter, I assume you know about the rudder control wire "horns" on the KH kit - or lack of more accurately put!


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