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Vince Maddux

1/48th scale T-37B conversion.

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When it comes to great aircraft in modern time people think of the F-16s, F-15s, an B-52s, which are great aircraft and have severed to defend the nation for a number of years. But one aircraft is rarely note for its contribution to the Air Force. That is the little Cessna T-37. Since the 50s it has trained nearly every pilot in the USAF . Sure it’s not as sexy as a fighter, but to me it’s a nice honest aircraft.

I have always loved this plane and have wanted to have one in my collection. For years trainer planes have been looked over by kit makers so the options are slim. With the T-37 there are two kits that have been put out. One is the OLD Aurora T-37, which was release in the 60s, so it lacks the basic details of today’s standards an even though the box states its 48 scale comes out to be larger. Since fining them can be hard an people our asking for collector’s prices, I decided to skip over that an see what else is out there.

Hasegawa issue a 1/72n scale T-37 witch was based on their old A-37 kit. It offered little more than a set of decals and a set of instructions on how to make an A-37 look like a T-37, close but no cigar. I have seen a resin kit on Ebay by a company from Brazil, I know nothing about it and I haven’t seen them on Ebay for a long time.

So now comes Monogram’s A-37 this is a great kit, it has good detail, simple to build and easy to find. I’ve built several and I decided to try to convert it to a T-37B.

YOU CAN”T GET THERE FROM HERE!

That’s what I have been told and read about on-line when it comes to converting a A-37 to a T-37. The biggest difference between the two are the engines. The A-37 was designed to accept the J85-GE-17A which were bigger than the JT69-T9. This is more noticeable on the bottom of the engine housing. It’s been said that it will take nothing short of scratch building the center section of the wing to fix that.

There are tow schools of thought here. The first one is for people that wants total accurately and feel it’s not an easy change to make. There other school of thought is to do nothing in this area since most people won’t notice the differences. But thoughts are right. It’s not an easy fix, but unless your very familiar with the T-37 who would know??

I like to offer a third option on this subject: Mitigation. Instead of being completely accurate in this area, there is a lot to do to make it look the part. Well will cover this later on, there is still a lot to do before we get there.

Picking the right kit.

The Monogram kit has been issued by three other companies. Anyone of them will work. These are:

Monogram, All plastic

Revell Germany, same as the Monogram kit with better deals

Hasegawa has issued this kit in Japan under their label. Monogram parts with Hasegawa decals. This kit may be hard to find, but the decals are useful If your building and all white T-37.

Lastly there is the Encore issue of the kit, I comes with a great resin cockpit, color photo etch ,and a nice set of decals. As nice as the extras are there isn’t a lot that can be used for the T-37. Overall I would get the Monogram or Revell issue, its cheaper and has just about everything you need.

Let’s get started

So we cut the wing tanks and add wing tips right???? No, there is a lot more than that involved. I have done this once before and in the end there isn’t many parts of the kit that hasn’t been modified in one way or another. Here is a list of the basic changes….

1. Remove the wing tanks

2. Fill in all pylon openings

3. Remove radar pods on the spine and under the center fuselage. There is also a triangular device under the fuselage , I’m not sure what it is, But it needs to go too. This will leave holes that will be filled in.

4. Main landing gear doors need to be flattened.

There are other changes that will be made as I walk you through this conversion. None of them are hard or require great skill to do. Let’s dig in.

Tip tanks. The best way to cut them off is to just follow the line where the tank meets the wing. With a couple of passes with the knife the tank halves will snap off cleanly.

Now at this point you can decide if you want to re-scribe the model since most of the modifications and sanding will remove most of the raised panel lines. A lot of the panel lines are the same as the A-37,so they can be used as a guide to scribble your kit I will point out what different as we move along.

STEPONE_zpsaa1e1145.jpg

STEPTWO_zps45c22442.jpg

STEPTHREE_zps42a3b6dc.jpg

STEPFOUR_zpse52cb222.jpg

STEPFIVE_zps4b4c0426.jpg

Time to do some scribing on the wing....

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Will follow with interest. Spent many months at Sheppard AFB in the late 90's and those swarmed like giant gnats every day. Could always tell them apart when they were taxiing by because of that super high pitch engine whine. I heard them referred to as million dollar dog whistles once which is very fitting.

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Will follow with interest. Spent many months at Sheppard AFB in the late 90's and those swarmed like giant gnats every day. Could always tell them apart when they were taxiing by because of that super high pitch engine whine. I heard them referred to as million dollar dog whistles once which is very fitting.

Couldn't agree more! I spent all of '69 at Williams crewing T-38s. They didn't call the 37's 'Tweets' for nothing! Ear splitting scream at idle when taxiing by.

I wouldn't sweat the difference in that scale. The engine 'cowlings' were enlarged a little, but if you knock off all the lumps and bumps of the 'A' version and give it a genuine T-37 finish it will look great!

BTW, in '69 they were in natural metal. But they were all 'As' then, I believe. (Watched one nose into the ground one day... Student solo. He ejected and was only bruised up a little. Engine malfunction... It blew up!)

Will be watching with interest. And you're right. Not enough kits of trainer only acft!

DET1460

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Although I never served in the Air Force, my connection to the T-37 is this: In the early 90's I was a cadet in Civil Air Patrol and we use to have our spring break encampment was at Columbus AFB. the building we stayed in was at the end of the runway in the glide slope of the T-37s. We would do our formations and have tweets buzzing us at 200 ft! I love it and have always like the plane since.

Anyways what I'm building in this tread is my second T-37. I'm working on two now, the first one is in the painting stage. Here is the artwork I did for the two T-37s I'm building.

T-37_zps90099c84.jpg

And here is the artwork I did for the decals:

T-37decals_zpsea50cb65.jpg

Edited by Vince Maddux

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Just a quick update. I couldn't get out to the shop to work for the last couple of days, even in Alabama its cooolllddd. But I did bring a few parts inside to rescribe in the warmth of the house. But before I go to far I thought I would address some of the Fuselage changes.

STEPSIX_zps5b4d2943.jpg

I am rescribing the model. But before I do too much sanding I don't want to erase the panel lines I can use. There is a raised area on the spin for the for the large UHF(?) antenna. I won't sand that off until I glue the fuselage together to ensure both halves are flat and level with each other. On a side note, the kit is covered with rivets. I like them on the A-37 but to me it looks odd on the T-37. I'm going to try to preserve the fuel caps n the wing, but I'm going to sans off the rest of the rivets.

Edited by Vince Maddux

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Very good subject! I 'm following your build very close and taking notes on this one. Thank you for sharing! :)/>/>

let_models :)/>/>

Edited by let_models

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I have something that you may be interested in.

I started one of my own years ago.

I have a walkaround of the one at the Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa. The "chief" opened the cockpit for me and let me shoot photos. I have it on my drop box account.

I have also made resin wheels, most the cockpit, and a few other things.

If anyone is interested....PM me.

Harold

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Another update for the day. It warmed up enough to go out to the shop. I'm still working on scribing panel lines, I really don't like doing that, I think I spend more time correction to my plane lines then anything else. I said I was building two and I managed to get paint on the first one today.

IMG_20131211_163519_zps4525f123.jpg

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Thank you Very, Very much Harold! :)/>

Are you planning on making the decals available?

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Are you planning on making the decals available?

Not at this time, I just don't have the cash flow to even attempt that. Now if there was a kit of it out there. I would give it serious thought.

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Not at this time, I just don't have the cash flow to even attempt that. Now if there was a kit of it out there. I would give it serious thought.

I know all about that...maybe enough pressure on a mainstream kit company will help it along.

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I am sending you a white box tomorrow...I hope it helps.

One of the old molds was no good, so I will be sending your box next week...

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Not a problem Harold, I have a few other things to work on, oh and I hear there is a life outside of model building, whatever that is :)

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I had to take a bit of a break just before christmas wwith my daughter being out of school and home all day, ( I have to do my single dad thing) I do have a small update though.

First off I want to give a big thank you to Harold over at AMS resins for his care package he sent me.

IMG_20140110_155859_zps5d2b0ccb.jpg

I wish I had a better camera then my phone. But what he sent me was new gear doors, new cockpits,sidewalls, control sticks, rudder pedals, new instrument panel coming and blank instrument panels. But best of all NEW WHEELS! True decals makes wheels for the A-37 and market them as T/A-37 wheels which is totally wrong. Anywayss, I'm going to get back on it this week, I'm also working on a decal for the instrument panel. I'll try to get some more updates soon....

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