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Revell Boeing Stearman PT-17

Revelle 1:48 Boeing Stearman PT-17
 



History

The Boeing Stearman Model 75 is one of the iconic training aircraft of World War II, holding the same aura for US pilots as the DH Tiger Moth does for Commonwealth pilots. This rugged biplane first took to the air in 1934, beginning its military service in 1936. After the end of the war, thousands of aircraft were sold on the civilian market, becoming popular as crop dusters, sport planes and aerobatic planes at air shows. In a testament to their durability, over a 1,000 of the more than 8,500 aircraft built continue to fly, making appearances at numerous air shows and fly-ins.


The Kit

On removing the lid (this is a Revell US kit so no end opening box) we find 10 sprues of white plastic containing 60 parts, a small clear sprue for the windscreens, the typical Revell instruction booklet and a decal sheet for the two subject aircraft. On initial inspection, the parts appear to be crisply moulded, with no flash and only some fine seams lines to be removed. Panel lines are finely engraved and the ribbing effect on the wings, horizontal and vertical stabilizers is subtle. There is no fabric texture which is correct for a properly doped and maintained airframe. One annoying detail on the lower surface of the elevators is the Revell copyright lettering that will require careful removal to not damage the rib detail.

 

 

 





The fuselage interior appears to be fairly complete. The kit comes with a 3 part tubular frame work structure for the sides and bottom. To this assembly are attached the instrument panels, seats, rudder pedals, throttles and other cockpit furnishings. This is then trapped between the two fuselage halves which have the internal ribs and stringers moulded on, with a couple of ejector marks which may require part of the structure to be repaired. The seats have rudimentary lap and shoulder belts moulded on and the look would be greatly improved with photo etch belts. The instrument panels have raised bezels but no details for the instrument faces relying on decals for this detail.

 



The cabane and landing gear struts are moulded as part of the fuselage parts, simplifying the usual difficulty in getting the correct alignment for the struts and added strength to the assembly.

The uncowled engine will likely become a focal point for any completed kit. It consists of multiple individual parts including the engine mount, pushrods, exhaust system, firewall with accessories and a choice of a wood or metal propeller. The painting instructions show the metal prop on the Navy option and either the wood or metal on the Army option, so check you references for the correct installation. The engine assembly could be further enhanced by adding some wiring. Decals are provided for the wood grain pattern and metal leading edge unique to the wooden propeller.



There are rigging diagrams provided that, while not providing a diameter, do give a length for each wire. There are no dimples on the kit plastic to aid in rigging placement so take care when drilling the rigging installation holes. There is no mention of the spreader bars that keep the wing wires from rubbing against each other where they cross. With the increased interest in biplanes, there are several aftermarket suppliers that produce turnbuckles and terminals that will improve the look of the rigging. Fuel lines from the upper wing fuel tank and into the upper fuselage could also be added.



The assembly instructions are well done and easy to follow. There are markings and colour schemes for two aircraft. The first is an early war US Army PT-17, powered by the Continental R670-5 engine, with blue fuselage, yellow flying surfaces and red and white striped rudder. The second is its US Navy counterpart N2S-3, powered by the Continental R670-4 engine, in overall yellow. Colours are listed by generic names with the exception of the yellows and blue which have Fed Std numbers listed. Both of these markings are for war bird aircraft and have a civil “N” number on the vertical stabilizer so, as always, check your references if building either as a war time aircraft. The decals are glossy, nicely printed and should work well.

 

 

 



Conclusion

This is a well done kit of this classic aircraft and should build up into a very nice replica out of the box. With a MSRP under $20, it is a good balance of detail and ease of assembly. For the more adventurous modeller, it will provide a good base to add detail to the cockpit and engine. The wide and varied use of the Stearman provides the aftermarket community with the opportunity to provide many upgrades including alternate engines for the different variants, alternate decals for the many colourful schemes, cockpit details and maybe even conversion kits for the Stearman Fighters used by some Air Forces, crop dusters and air show performers.

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