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1/48 CT-156 Harvard II


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I've been chomping at the bit to start posting progress in this GB. I started building on the 1st of August, but I have truly missed the GB experience as I went along. Not much time this afternoon to post (I have a dental appointment in an hour), but here's some of the progress. I also plan to browse all the other threads in this GB, because I love the theme and the way it allows us insight into the ways in which modeling and real life often intersect.

My first chosen subject (and I hope to build a few other aircraft types for this GB) is the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) CT-156 Harvard II. My connection to this aircraft is through a project I worked on while employed at CAE Electronics in Montreal; I was a test pilot on the NFTC simulator project.

CAE built more than one simulator for NFTC. Honestly, I've forgotten if we built 2 or 3 Harvard II simulators. We also built 2 Hawk simulators. The Harvards went into Moose Jaw, and one Hawk went to MJ while the other was installed in Cold Lake.

As part of the test program for this project, I got to fly one of the prototypes twice, at the Raytheon plant in Wichita Kansas. It was a fun little airplane to fly, and very well-suited for a basic military trainer. For those who don't know, I instructed on the CT-114 Tutor in Moose Jaw, during my 5 years there from 1980 to 1985. It was the same job as the folks who now instruct with the Harvard and Hawk; all that has changed are the aircraft and some improvements to the training facilities (classrooms, computer software for learning, and simulators). This aircraft is used to teach everything from how to take off and land visually to formation, aerobatics, low level navigation, and instrument flying.

Needless to say, I was very excited when the IBEX kit came out for this aircraft. It wasn't our small fleet in Canada that prompted this; the USAF and USN use the T-6A-1 Texan II equivalent of this aircraft for all of their primary flight training (JPATS, or Joint Primary Aircraft Training System). The USAF/USN and Canadian versions of the T-6A are virtually identical, with minor additions for Canada (a radio, direction finding, and other minor stuff).

Let's start with the kit, before going on to the aircraft itself. It is a multi-media kit, but reasonably well done. With the benefit of experience building so far (due to the GB late start), I can say it goes together better than the 1/32 T-33 from Czech Models, and definitely better than the Classic Airframes F-5A in 1/48.

The box cover shows a JPATS aircraft.

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The instructions are really nice, with lots of illustrations like these colour reference pics for the instrument panels. If you look carefully, you'll see the kit decals under their protective sheet. The cockpit side panels are all decals - and there are more for the cockpit (when I talk about the cockpit you'll understand).

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All the sprues come in a bag. The box is small, and the whole aircraft is small and cute.

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The majority of it is styrene, with pretty good moulding and recessed panel lines. One thing I immediately didn't like, though, was the total lack of part numbers on the sprues! The instructions refer to part numbers, but try as I might, I can't find them on the sprues. I finally realized that the part numbers are printed on the back of the instructions with decal and paint schemes, but of course as I often chop up the sprues as I build, this system was not much use to me. Luckily, it is not a complicated build.

The cockpit panels are minimalist, but you'll see they're not too bad after they are decaled and painted.

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The panel lines are nice, and detail is good for this aircraft.

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Now, the multi-media. There are some nice resin parts - prop spinner, seats, etc. Detail is good on these as well.

The thing that has me a bit scared is that the canopy is vacu-formed. I've never dealt with this before. Luckily, there are two in there, so I can screw up the first one, then use the other for a final version if necessary. The thing I can't help thinking, though, is that there seems to be no easy way to pose the canopy open. Oh, well - I like it closed anyway, so it's less fragile and because I don't particularly want to spend ages perfecting the cockpit details.

P1150533.jpg

Sorry for the fuzzy shot - but here are the resin seats. The casting blocks are easy to chop off, and the detail is not bad.

P1150534.jpg

ALF

Edited by ALF18
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Now a bit about the NFTC program itself. Bombardier Aerospace/Military Aviation Training is the Prime Contractor. They offered a turn-key training solution to the Canadian Forces (DND). CAE (where I worked during the project, which went from 1998 to about 2000) was contracted for the simulators.

Here is an early photo-shopped pic of the two NFTC aircraft types done by Bombardier marketing, well before they actually existed.

hawkharv.jpg

And here is the sticker we created at CAE. I'm proud to say that the design was a joint effort between the project administrator (a very smart and capable woman), and myself. We attempted to show a generic NFTC cockpit (a mix of the Harvard and Hawk panels, representing neither), the multi-faceted visual display system, and the aircraft. GBTS means "Ground-Based Training System", which is the simulators, ground-school, and instructional service provided on the ground by Bombardier personnel (all former military pilots).

nftcsimsticker.jpg

Here is the first 4-screen Harvard simulator. We built one like this for limited field of view tasks, like IFR approaches and basic checks. The others had 8 screens, providing almost 360 degrees field of view. The visual scene you see here was a very early JFK airport scene from New York, courtesy of the CAE commercial department. This marketing photo for CAE was taken well before the Moose Jaw and Cold Lake databases were completed.

4channelt6.jpg

Here is a view of the sim once it had been installed in Moose Jaw, flown by a CAE tech in this shot. The terrain is the actual prairie around Moose Jaw, allowing students to navigate with real maps during sim training sessions. For 1998 technology, it was pretty good.

Harvard20II20Sim20cockpit20view.jpg

Here is the simulator console, in a separate room from the actual sim, operated by a retired military pilot instructor.

simiosMooseJaw70.jpg

ALF

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ALF:

Nice choice of subject, sir. Good story about your connection to the aircraft as well. I'm looking forward to seeing more in progress action shots. What markings are you using?

Mike

p.s. - have fun at the dentist!

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ALF:

Nice choice of subject, sir. Good story about your connection to the aircraft as well. I'm looking forward to seeing more in progress action shots. What markings are you using?

Mike

p.s. - have fun at the dentist!

Mike

So why did it take you so long to post? :woot.gif:

Nice to hear from you - I'm looking forward to going through your thread as well.

I am back from the dentist - hate that frozen-mouth feeling. :angry:

And thanks for the segue into the decals I'm using...

I picked up some after-market decals from Carcal models.

P1150528.jpg

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They look pretty good.

ALF

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Sorry I took so long but you're welcome, buddy. Anything to help make people's live easier. I was wondering when you were going to join the fun. :banana:

Do you have any stick time on the real thing?

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Good luck in the upcoming electoral silliness. :rolleyes:

Mike

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ALF18,

I remember seeing these A/C flying when I was out at Moose Jaw a few years ago... actually quite a few years ago now that I think about it.

I built a the 1/48th Airfix Hawk Trainer kit after I got back to add to my RCAF collection. I missed the fact that the Ibex kit would cover the other half of this RCAF training duo... and there are decals to boot!

I'll be following your build along to see how you do with this kit. Looking forward to seeing it progress.

Cheers,

:cheers:

David

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Cool project! I recently bought Ibex kit and will convert it to Slovenian Army PC-9M 'Swift'.

Interesting! I know Raytheon modified the PC-9 to make the T-6A-1... kind of ironic that you will be "undoing" their job on your kit.

ALF

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I will be watching this build with interest! I hope you enjoy using the decals.

KursadA

Nice to see you comment here. The decals look nice on the sheet - hopefully it won't be too long before you can see them applied. I'm very happy Caracal Models did these - the choice of subjects is great.

ALF

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Sorry I took so long but you're welcome, buddy. Anything to help make people's live easier. I was wondering when you were going to join the fun. :banana:

Do you have any stick time on the real thing?

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Good luck in the upcoming electoral silliness. :rolleyes:

Mike

Mike

I can always count on you to ask the right questions. Yup, I've flown about 3 hrs on the real thing - two 1.5 hr flights. The first flight was in the back seat, where I took all kinds of video of various maneuvers, and got the feel for it in flight. We had lunch, then I hopped into the front seat, with the Raytheon test pilot in the back. He took my video camera and did a bunch of filming of the instruments while I flew the whole time, from start of taxi to shut-down. It's a breeze to fly, even with the propellor making it a bit different from a jet. When I strapped in and adjusted my seat, I heard Jim (the Raytheon pilot pictured below here with me) chuckling. I asked him what was so funny - he said he could always tell what kind of experience his client pilots had when they adjusted their seat. He had come from an F-15 Eagle background, and said that he recognized a kindred spirit as I jacked the seat up as high as I could get it without scraping the canopy with my head - the mark of an air-to-air fighter pilot. He said the transport-background guys would drive the seat down into the bottom of the 'pit, so they could see the instruments better.

I got quite a surprise when I quickly reviewed the video post-flight. During the take-off, Jim braced his arms on the sides of the cockpit, squinted into the viewfinder, and ensured that the instruments were properly filmed during take-off. I looked at the footage, then asked how he managed to film while watching me take off for the very first time in this aircraft. He just grinned and said "I didn't - I knew you could handle the aircraft fine, and it was more important to get good video."

Flying this little turboprop was a fun experience. It's not a fighter, but a nimble little aircraft that does nice aerobatics, glides well for simulated forced landings, and got us up to 31,000 feet and over 300 knots indicated airspeed.

P1150639.jpg

This is the aircraft I flew - I think it was PT-6 (for prototype number 6), or maybe it was the 7th production prototype.

P1150642.jpg

Here is the production line in Wichita, in full swing. This was one of the Canadian aircraft - I took many pics of the cockpit for the simulator program, but I can't remember where I put them... maybe I will find them sometime soon. Note the small Canadian flag on the wall - a nice touch.

P1150641.jpg

Good night - have to teach tomorrow at the early hour of 10 am!

ALF

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Alrigh got the chair and the popcorn ready ALF cant wait to see your master skills at work on this one !

And i must say from that picture you havent changed a bit!!!

Im wondering between the bombardier pic with the 2 jets and the real thing they dont look the same color at all. the pic look more like the T-33 MAKO has the real ones look more Midnight blue. Did they carry different color over the years ?

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ALF18,

I remember seeing these A/C flying when I was out at Moose Jaw a few years ago... actually quite a few years ago now that I think about it.

I built a the 1/48th Airfix Hawk Trainer kit after I got back to add to my RCAF collection. I missed the fact that the Ibex kit would cover the other half of this RCAF training duo... and there are decals to boot!

I'll be following your build along to see how you do with this kit. Looking forward to seeing it progress.

Cheers,

:cheers:

David

David

You've truly lived the Moose Jaw experience when you've watched the aircraft doing traffic patterns amongst the tumbleweeds and endless fields of grain! What were you doing there?

I just happen to have an NFTC Hawk kit (the one you mentioned); it just might be the next build I do...

Thanks for joining in.

ALF

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Alrigh got the chair and the popcorn ready ALF cant wait to see your master skills at work on this one !

And i must say from that picture you havent changed a bit!!!

Im wondering between the bombardier pic with the 2 jets and the real thing they dont look the same color at all. the pic look more like the T-33 MAKO has the real ones look more Midnight blue. Did they carry different color over the years ?

Neo

Nice to see you commenting. Thanks for saying I haven't changed a bit - although it's not quite true, as guys we have the advantage of being allowed to age gracefully!

The pic with the different blue colours was altered by the company with something like Photoshop. The NFTC aircraft have always been a very dark blue, and the colour has not changed over the years. Now that I look at that old pic again, it looks very strange next to the real ones.

Does anyone have a good colour match for the NFTC blue? Something right out of the bottle, and not requiring mixing? I'm not super fussy about exact match; anything relatively close is OK with me.

ALF

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Interesting! I know Raytheon modified the PC-9 to make the T-6A-1... kind of ironic that you will be "undoing" their job on your kit.

ALF

hehe yeah it may be, but I prefer the looks of PC-9M - much more sleeker and as our pilots who had a chance to test the T-6A say, much much better aircraft to fly. And our camo rocks! :D

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Alf:

Fascinating story, thank you. I saw a harvard II last week at Abbotsford and now I get to read how it all started.

I'm sure there might be a more "direct" paint match, but the way I might do it is to prime the model with a glossy black then do a thinned top coat with tamiya X-3 royal blue. The other option is Gunze's "midnight blue" or "Navy Blue" which seem to be in that range.

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Alf:

Fascinating story, thank you. I saw a harvard II last week at Abbotsford and now I get to read how it all started.

I'm sure there might be a more "direct" paint match, but the way I might do it is to prime the model with a glossy black then do a thinned top coat with tamiya X-3 royal blue. The other option is Gunze's "midnight blue" or "Navy Blue" which seem to be in that range.

Neu

Nice to see you check in. I told you I'd start the thread soon!

I like the idea of using Tamiya X-3, but not sure about the black primer. I was thinking of priming it white, so that I could make the undercarriage and wheel wells white with primer, then mask them off to paint the silver and blue parts afterward. I suppose I could still do the primer white underneath, mask, then do a black overall with Tamiya black, followed by the blue...

I might do some tests and see how the Royal Blue X-3 works out by itself first.

ALF

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Neu

Nice to see you check in. I told you I'd start the thread soon!

Actually I'm surprised by how many people have posted in the past few days... I won't deny that I was a bit nervous in the first 24 hours with only two threads, one of which was ax's half completed CF-100. However I'm having a blast reading some of the stories behind the models.

I like the idea of using Tamiya X-3, but not sure about the black primer. I was thinking of priming it white, so that I could make the undercarriage and wheel wells white with primer, then mask them off to paint the silver and blue parts afterward. I suppose I could still do the primer white underneath, mask, then do a black overall with Tamiya black, followed by the blue...

I might do some tests and see how the Royal Blue X-3 works out by itself first.

ALF

My fear is that the white primer (or base plastic) will make it too much of a light blue. The other option is to guestimate mix royal blue with the black and do it in one go.

Edited by -Neu-
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Interesting read and a great kit. I'd love to get one of these but am scared to death of the canopy. I seem to get all handicapped when it comes to anything vac formed. I've tried a couple times and just can't seem to figure them out.

Look forward to the completion.

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Vacuform's trick is to really undercut (ie leave more than you need) then progressively cut down. Most canopies have the frames' integrally mounted, so you can make a bit of a mistake without creating a disaster. The other trick is white glue. You can correct any mistake by adding some and painting over it.

Trust me, I used to be scared to death of the stuff when I built resin kits. It just takes a bit of patience and you;re fine. With a dip of future they look that much better as well.

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Interesting read and a great kit. I'd love to get one of these but am scared to death of the canopy. I seem to get all handicapped when it comes to anything vac formed. I've tried a couple times and just can't seem to figure them out.

Look forward to the completion.

Nice to hear from you again.

I too am scared about the canopy... sure is nice to have 2 to flub!

ALF

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Vacuform's trick is to really undercut (ie leave more than you need) then progressively cut down. Most canopies have the frames' integrally mounted, so you can make a bit of a mistake without creating a disaster. The other trick is white glue. You can correct any mistake by adding some and painting over it.

Trust me, I used to be scared to death of the stuff when I built resin kits. It just takes a bit of patience and you;re fine. With a dip of future they look that much better as well.

Thanks for the tips. I will be getting there soon - I have made a lot more progress than what I've posted, given I started 3 weeks ago. More to come soon.

ALF

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I would go with Humbrol #15

Thats what i use for my blue angels

Neo

I was about to say "well, you'll just have to drive up to visit and bring me a little can of Humbrol 15... I'll pay for the beer", but I realized that I have one. You still need to come up and visit though!

ALF

I used XF-17 for my CT-155, same colour I use on my GSB USN builds. A nice dark blue.

I have some XF-17 as well. Very dark, but the colour on the real thing is quite dark anyway. Do you have a pic of the finished thing you can post here? It would help me see the effect.

I also have a ModelMaster Acryl "Insignia Blue", which seems as dark as the Humbrol 15, and has the advantage of being acrylic (which is my preferred airbrushing paint).

Anyone else have an opinion?

ALF

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