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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Taylor JT-1 and JT-2, Amodel 1/72nd double kit


What is it that attracts us in a plane, and that gives us the desire to make a scale model of it?

I am sure the reasons are as diverse as modelers themselves.

The main criteria for me is that they should be civil planes to start with, but, being an artist by education and profession, the drive many times is some aspect of their aesthetics. It doesn't mean that they should be beautiful in the sense that this is usually understood -as beautiful could be something completely different (and even opposite) for different people- but in a much broader sense. I love, as an example, contraptions as scandalous as the Farman Jabiru. Appeal may come from many sources, and in this case its something as simple as "cuteness". I really don't have much interest in what these two little sport planes are, how they came to be, or how they perform. I just find them extremely cute because of their small size, plus in the case of the JT-1 because of some inherent clumsiness, and regarding the JT-2 because of its peppiness.

Amodel kits have been steadily evolving since I first started to build them many years ago. I can see nice features and others that perhaps need some improvement, although it must be considered that these are short-run kits, and the media has its inherent limits. This particular double kit includes a photo-etched fret, parts that are well molded with very little and easily removable flash, nice surface detail, instructions that are finally a reasonable size that clearly allows the modeler to see what's going on, a set of decals that seems well printed (I had in the past  the occasional Amodel kits with bad decals) and reasonable packing. 

There are parts in the sprues marked as not pertinent for the versions given, and that tells us that there are other boxings with slightly different details and marks. In fact there is in the market -as I write this- already another boxing. The small parts are well formed and mostly free of flash, but some could be replaced if desired with wire and/or solder. Seatbelts are provided as decals and P.E. parts, your choice.

It is advisable to have a look at the machines depicted -there are photos available online- as there could be some minor deviations in some details.

I have chosen to build JT-1 as provided for in the kit, but opted to modify the JT-2 to obtain a much spiffier version I found on the Net.

Contents packed in a resealable bag:
The two sprues:
The P.E. set bagged separately:
Clear transparencies with various options:
If a bit on the thick side:
Nice surface treatment:

Decals seem well printed:
Good, large, properly scaled instructions with drawings that do not need magnification to be interpreted:
Even with the small size of the kits, a reasonable interior is provided:

The JT-2 sprue has the wheel pants marred by sink marks. This is not difficult to fix with some putty and sanding...

...but the plane I want to model has more elongated and "racy" ones, therefore they are made from shaped styrene stock and half-wheels:


Some parts are removed from the sprues. Amodel made a visible and successful effort to minimize the gates and their intrusion on the parts themselves, making the modeler's life easier and happier. Smaller parts like the spinner are better drilled in the back and given support via a toothpick, otherwise is almost impossible to clean the small remainder of the gates properly. Interior parts are being readied for painting:

 A number of small parts are painted. The prop is a bit too thick, so it was sanded to a thinner airfoil, and because the tips are white is painted that color, before masking and applying the wood tone. The wheels followed, the spinner was painted metal, the cockpit a neutral grey, inst. pan. and seat wood and leather, the P.E. fret was primed, etc.:

For the engine opposed cylinders as molded the kit provides two exhausts, one exiting from the front and another from the rear, but the kit omits two intakes that come from above. All these parts will be created from solder, far easier than using the kit's parts, and to facilitate their addition in a secure manner their locations are drilled whilst the part is still in the sprue:

The front end of the JT-2, a six-part affair that requires some care and good cleanup and truing. Not sure why wasn't this one molded as one part as it sits here. The only details that would need that breakdown are the exhaust locations -which the modeler can easily drill if accurately marked on the instructions- and a small engraved hatch. No biggie, as the assembly goes together reasonable well and we are used to deal with seams:

 The landing gear of JT-2 may be replaced by alternates I made of rigid aluminium. There are angles involved if you go this way that you need to replicate, though:

JT-2 needs its rudder control cable locations opened with a very fine drill bit:
And so does JT-1 too, beware these are in different positions in JT-1 and JT-2:

The prop of JT-1 is masked to preserve the white:

The P.E. parts are painted, although I am not going to use them:
Wood color is airbrushed on JT-1 prop:
Both cockpits are painted:
JT-1 prop unmasked and with its spinner, ready to receive a gloss coat. This thing is minuscule!
I ended up using the decals provided instead of the P.E. parts. Both cockpits are ready to be assembled and installed:

Since the dawn of modeling, interior parts such as cockpit and cabin floors, and many times bulkheads, have almost without exception negated the supposedly easy task of joining together two fuselage halves. This is true for most kit parts and ALL the aftermarket sets I have ever had to fit inside a fuselage. These cheeky basterds invariably need trimming down to various degrees, from a few passes of the emery board to the removal of generous chunks to improve their fit. If you are a novel modeler or one that didn't have the foresight of doing a dry-fit, you frequently will end up with your interior firmly glued to one side, and a chasm at the seam line when trying to close the fuselage halves, condemned to remove material and thus generating dust and burs that will not always be completely eliminated from your -until then- pristine assembly.

It's not at all terrible with JT-1 but the floor will still need a little bit of whittling down to fit. Now the floor and bulkhead of JT-2 need more removal of material, especially the aft bulkhead that needs serious adjusting, as it won't fit whatsoever as tall as molded.

The two fuselages have been closed, as said removing some material to achieve a good fit. The noses were primed:

The:Nose of JT-1 and its prop. An air vent observed in photos is carved in the chin:

JT-2 six-part nose blended and primed. The prop will be masked to paint the spinner later on:

 The two wings are glued to their corresponding fuselages. The fit required a small amount of fiddling, but nothing to be worried about. The fit was better on JT-1. Both will need a tiny amount of filler (probably a liquid one will do):

The kit provides a two-part prop retainer, as an axle and eyelet. I did not bother cleaning the axle, and instead replaced it with styrene rod. The issue with assemblies like this is that you have to add the prop to the nose before gluing the nose to the fuselage, thus greatly hindering surface preparation and painting. I placed a styrene bit as a retainer of the retainer (if you follow) so it will stay in place, still free to rotate, but without the prop that will be added later. Some kits, even older kits, have provided diverse effective solutions for the free-rotating prop issue, not sure why they are not universally adopted:

The nose is ready to be added to the fuselage. Previous to that, both contact surfaces are carefully trued with a few passes of the emery board. If you remove too much material the fit will not be good, so careful there:
And ready. Now to tidy the seams of the fuselage body. You may notice that the LG leags are already in place. They have locating pips, but no corresponding holes on the wing. They have to be marked and carefully drilled:
The JT-2 follows suit on all the steps detailed above:

After the seams are dealt with, the horizontal tails are added. They were a good fit. It's a good idea to keep each kit in a separate tray, in order not to end mixing parts that are similar, but not equal:

The JT-1 kit provides three very small parts to be added to the nose, the fuel cap, and two vents -one on top and one below. I replaced the vent on top with a home-made part as the kit's part was too bulky, and added a faring present in photos but missing from the kit positioned to the right of the nose:

The JT-2 kit is being modified to produce a model of a specific JT-2 that had some changes incorporated, one of them being a taller deck. A preformed piece of styrene sheet is glued, it will later be filled-up with epoxy, and then the edges sanded and blended with the general contour:

Meanwhile a new canopy has to be fabricated. Here is the rough cut of the plug that will be used to vacuform one:

A bit of superglue is poured inside the added deck, to secure the edges, and give some support material to work with as the edges are sanded from outside:

The faired fuel cap is molded with a flat base, and won't set well on the curved fuselage top, therefore a piece of tube with similar curvature is used to sand the base of the part and obtain a better fit:

Epoxy putty is used to fill the added aft deck as some sanding will be required and a solid volume is required. In parallel with the carved wood plug to make a new canopy, two of the kit's canopies are being also modified to provide alternates. I will use the one that comes out best:

The wood plug is ready to be tried:

A test shot on opaque sheet, as clear sheets are very scarce:
And it's a good fit, ready now to make the clear canopy:

The clear vacuformed copy is ready to be trimmed and added. It seems that the other approaches won't be needed:

First coat of primer for the two models and the JT-2 spinner, which will be the same color of the model (race green):

The engine heads are painted, they are metallic grey with the valve covers black:

To be continued...