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Minicraft 1/48 scale Cessna 172 T-41 Mescalero

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Kit: 11646
Scale: 1/48 Manufacturer: Minicraft, 847-429-9676,
Price: $27.99
Comments:Injection-molded, 60 parts, decals
Pros:Good fit, clear parts, and decals
Cons:Locked propeller; weak main-gear mounts; correct engine and constant-speed propeller for U.S. Army version not included
Issue Published: March 2009
This reissued kit from Minicraft features markings for two military versions of the Cessna. Box art shows the Air Force A variant; I built the Army B version for its attractive paint scheme. Inside the box, two trees of white injection-molded parts are accompanied by a six-color decal sheet printed by Cartograf and an eight-page assembly instruction booklet. Exploded drawings guide assembly through 10 steps. Colors are keyed to Testors Model Master enamels and Acryl paints identified by bottle and Federal Standard numbers.

Assembly begins in the cockpit with the floor, aft bulkhead, and seats. The instrument panel has difficult-to-paint recessed dials. (I would have appreciated an instrument-panel decal.) Cabin windows are installed in Step 3, but to minimize masking I delayed installing the windows until just before attaching the wing in Step 8. This allowed me to paint the entire model without screwing up the clear parts.

The engine and its mount are nicely detailed and beg augmentation with wiring, placards, and paint. While there might be an advantage to delaying the mounting of the nose gear shown in Step 5, it is a more difficult task after all other assembly is completed. The three-piece cowling was surprisingly easy to assemble. Part 67, the exhaust pipe, is not recognizable on the tree - don't lose it.

Parts fit throughout this kit is extraordinary. I used just a BB-sized piece of glazing compound on the upper fuselage/wing joint. Otherwise, the "bubble-up" gluing process filled all the seams. The windows pop right in - the windshield was snug enough that I could have skipped the glue.

The main landing-gear struts glue to the sides of the fuselage with simple locating pins, a very weak mount. My model sits high aft because the angle of the main gear finished out too steep - but, because of the limited gluing surfaces, I did not make a second try. Be aware that both the main-gear tires and the propeller are pinned mounts that can only be installed one way - they won't move after assembly.

I painted with Testors Model Master gloss white and olive drab, followed by several coats of gloss clear lacquer. The fluorescent red panels are Hawkeye's SnJ.

Decals were trouble-free using Micro/Super Scale solutions. The white of the decals was slightly translucent.
My measurements showed this model to be just under 1/48 scale. But, aside from its high tail, it looks just like the 172s at an airfield near me. I'll put it right next to the Lindberg Stearman in my display case. If you have an airbrush and some experience with masking, you should have no problems with this model.

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