CollectAire 1/32 T-28C Trojan
By Gil Hodges
The CollectAire 1/32 Trojan is a resin kit that's now out of production. With the exception of a 1/32 scale vac kit, it's the only game in town if you want a large scale T-28C!
The kit itself is one of the older molds from CollectAire and as such is of "average" quality. It's better than the oldest "orange-resin" releases from them, but no where near as nice as their recent kits like the B-66 Destroyer. It has approximately 45 resin parts, 4 white metal parts (gear and tail hook), and two vac canopies. Most of the detail parts exhibit flash and soft/inaccurate detailing. The wing is solid and all of the cowl features are molded closed. The best description of the kit overall is "crude" when compared to the most recent releases from CollectAire. The instructions are adequate and in fact contain some nice details that aid in improving the detailing. The kit decals looked good, with the exception of the national insignia (probably just my sheets). That said, it IS a 1/32 T-28C and the overall dimensions and shapes for the airframe appear good!
The pictures will show the building details, but an over-view of the building process is as follows:
The largest hurdle to overcome is the solid wing. The T-28 has about 7-8 degrees of dihedral and the kit wing has about ONE degree! It's a large molding that doesn't lend itself to being dropped into a pot of hot water for reshaping, especially as a whole piece. For that reason, I opted to remove the flaps and the speed brake and then grind out on top of the center of the gear wells in order to make the center section of the wing less strong. A hot water bath in a pan and bending to the point of actually cracking it allowed the dihedral to be set properly. Sheet plastic was used to build new flaps and strip plastic detailed the speed brake.
The cowl flaps, engine exhausts, and the oil cooler exit were all opened using the "plug-in" Dremel motor tool (power IS needed!). Parts were rebuilt and detailed with foil and soda can aluminum. Another distinctive feature of the Trojan is that you can see the rudder post, lightening holes and all, when you stand behind the airplane, even when the rudder is in neutral position. The rudder was cut away, detailed, and the hinges rebuilt to depict this feature.
The gear wells needed to have new floors and sides "skinned" into them. This was to cover holes from grinding, cracks from resetting the dihedral, and pin holes in the resin. The floors were detailed with strip plastic ribbing before being installed. Plumbing was added near the end of the build. Only some of the resin kit doors could be used, and those needed added detailing. New inner main gear doors, and all of the nose gear doors were scratchbuilt with plastic sheet and strip.
The kit metal landing gear are reasonably detailed and strong enough for this heavy beast. They were cleaned up and detailed with brake lines and retaining straps. New actuators came from the spares box. The kit resin main tires had too many pin holes and the front tire was the larger balloon type (ala T-28B) so new tires and wheels were cobbled together from spare parts and sheet plastic. A Waldron punch was used to make up the disc brakes on the insides of the main wheels.
The only usable parts of the resin kit engine were the crankcase and the ignition harness. An engine from the spares box was detailed with a prop governor, cylinder baffles, and oil sump. Ignition wires made from thin solder completed it. The kit resin prop blades were used, but the hub came from the bottomless spares box. The kit features a "resin box" that serves as the engine mount. Completely filling it with lead fishing sinkers was just enough weight to get the model to sit on its gear.
Filling (and there was a LOT of it!) was accomplished with a superglue/baby powder mixture. This thickens the glue and helps it fill gaps easily, and also makes it easier to sand out.. Some 5-minute epoxy was used when attaching the wing to allow for good alignment and extra strength. The rest of the filling (pin holes) was done with Mr. Surfacer 1000. The model was primed with Tamiya Fine White primer. The color coats were Model Master Gloss White and International Orange, both cut with lacquer thinner. The black is Floquil Engine Black. Future was used as a gloss coat throughout.
The kit decals were used except for the stars/bars, which are from Aeromaster. A clear gloss lacquer was sprayed on the kit decal sheet to insure they wouldn't shatter when used. After all, there aren't any after market 1/32 T-28 sheets to be had! The shark-mouth and the eyes are also a bit too orange instead of yellow, but when in Rome... The rudder was painted instead of using the decals provided as they were a bit over sized. A dark brown oil wash was applied in the recessed panel lines. Exhaust stains were applied by airbrushing some dark gray and brick red, and finished off with some pastel chalks. Premier clear plastic position lights were added as the finishing touch on the project.
I thought that this one would take a couple of months to build, but it dragged out to 5mos, partly due to me figuring out what the next "step" would be. It's as much an exercise in scratchbuilding and parts engineering as in model building. Still, it's good to challenge yourself every once in a while as it stretches your modeling legs and forces you to learn new techniques. I'm happy with the result and the knowledge that there won't be many other 1/32 T-28Cs on the table beside it! Cheers!
© Gil Hodges
This article was published on Wednesday, July 20 2011; Last modified on Saturday, May 14 2016