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Kitty Hawk T-28C Trojan

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/32 scale plastic model aircraft kit
Kit:No. KH32015 // Scale:1/32 // Price:$94.99
Kitty Hawk
Great surface detail; nicely detailed engine; separate control surfaces
No option for open canopy; several poor fits; difficult PE belts; kit-supplied counterweights insufficient (tail dragger)
Injection-molded, 391 parts (42 PE, 2 white-metal), decals
There has been an explosion of kits in 1/32 scale in recent years — fighters, jets, even World War II bombers. But some of my favorite aircraft are L-birds (liaison aircraft) and trainers. When I heard about Kitty Hawk’s T-28C, my hopes were high.

The box contains nearly 400 beautifully engraved parts with fine panel lines and scale-appropriate rivets. There are several options for the landing gear, a full engine and accessory bay, and all the parts and weapons from the earlier T-28B/D kit. Clear parts are boxed separately. Two tightly packed decal sheets contain colorful markings for five aircraft. There are photo-etched (PE) seat belts and screens for the engine, two nose weights, and a 25-page instruction book with glossy color pages for the decal and painting guides. Paint callouts are for GSI Creos Mr. Color.

I began by cleaning up the parts for the cockpit. Though the detail in the moldings is quite sharp, there is an abundance of mold lines and back flow on the ejector-pin marks. The excess plastic is in some awkward places to clean up.

The two-piece cockpit side walls allow for better detail in the moldings, but there’s an additional seam to fill. Location tabs on the seats and tub help but do not “lock” things in place. I had a gap at the front, port corner of the cockpit tub, and the fronts of the seat buckets do not line up well.

Instructions for the PE seat belts left me confused. I finally referred to a prepainted aftermarket set and left off Part PE5. I used the finely printed instrument panel decals, but their background does not match the dark gull gray called for in the cockpit. So, I painted the side console rather than use those decals. Parts B36 and B37, the instrument panel fairings, did not fit well and interfered with the fuselage and the canopy.

Careful alignment of the parts in the engine bay will pay dividends later, and detail painting and washes bring the engine to life. Be careful with all the small parts!

Step 7 calls for “Part E55” to be installed on the reduction-gear housing, but that is one of the cowl doors. I never did locate the pictured part. Larger alignment guides for attaching the nose-gear well to the cockpit would have helped.

The instructions fail to indicate when or where the counterweights should be added. There is space next to the nose gear well, but an engine scoop will run through the port side (leave room for it). Leaving one of the cowl panels open, I chose to leave the engine and accessory bay off until after painting the fuselage.

I had trouble aligning the main gear well, which caused problems later with the wings. I suggest adding alignment tabs along the lower fuselage seam. I didn’t and had a step along that joint.

It took me 10 minutes to figure out that the Part E55 is shown end on in Step 12, unlike its counterpart, E53, in Step 14. If you keep the cowl panels buttoned up, do not use parts E11 and E12, the hinges mounted to the intake trunk in Step 13. I had difficulty eliminating the seams for the tail-hook fairing; adding these to each fuselage half before joining them might fix this.
Aligning the wing halves, I had to remove pins that didn’t match their locator holes. I also blanked off the holes for the pylons, filling them with Vallejo putty. After that, the wings went together quickly. I did have to adjust the flaps slightly; they are an incredibly tight fit. I never did glue mine down and can adjust them up or down as desired.
I decided to paint all subassemblies separately. I used Testors Model Master instrument panel black to paint the exhaust areas, masked them off, and then used Tamiya white Fine Primer spray cans. The high-visibility markings are Mr. Color shine red.

Adding the wings to the fuselage, I found the main gear wells interfered with the fit of the wings. I ground them back until I could get a good fit. When I test-fitted the horizontal stabilizers they looked loose, but after painting all the subassemblies they were tight enough that I didn’t need any filler. After adding the engine assembly, I did need to fill the joints in the multipiece engine cowl. Thinned white glue and careful brush-painting provided an acceptable result.
The decals were slow to release from their backing; some needed to be coaxed from it. Once they do float, they are thin and tear easily. The NAVY modex is connected by clear film only at the top and bottom of the letters. This helps prevent silvering but makes it hard to position. Even over a layer of Pledge FloorCare Multi-Surface Finish, some of the stencils silvered.
The provided weights were not enough, and the T-28 ended up a tail dragger. I tried filling the accessory bay with lead fishing sinkers but didn’t come close to tipping the scales.
With its various trouble spots, Kitty Hawk’s T-28 took me 80 hours. But, with patience, an experienced builder can obtain a highly detailed model. The results are worth the time and effort.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the April 2018 issue.
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