Another theme I likely have little need to introduce. But you all know, I will anyway…
Every nation needed aircraft designed for training. This isn’t quite the “duh” comment that, well, that it actually is. In the early days of aviation there were no such machines, even as actual series production started. But as military aircraft increased in power and specialized capabilities it became more necessary to have specific aircraft a neophyte could acquire basic skills in. By the time World War II started most Nation’s air arms broke this into several levels of instruction. I’ll present this by US terminology because its what I know best, but every major player did something similar. US pilot training was broken into Primary, Basic and Advanced. Primary trainers were around 200 horsepower, had fixed (non-retractable) landing gear, fixed pitch propellers and very simple instrumentation. The Stearman is the best known US Primary trainer, deHavilland’s Moth family for the British. Primary training courses established pretty quickly who had the essential tools to be a pilot. Basic trainers had around 400 horsepower and more sophisticated flight instruments. The most common US Basic trainer was the BT-13 Valiant, which also had a two pitch propeller and 2-Way Radio. From here, it was determined if the trainee would go to single or twin engine Advanced Training. Advanced trainers had at least 600 horsepower, and more or less modern systems all around including retractable landing gear and blind flying instruments. The Texan is the most famous US type.
For this Theme Build I will look at four advanced trainers. And to be clear, all of these are true trainers. Some of you may doubt this when you see the list! So I’m spoiling more here than I prefer to in advance, these are all two seat trainers. My four builds will be a North American AT-6, Mitsubishi A6M, Curtiss AT-9 and a Messerschmitt Me 262.
The first two are pretty simple builds, and apart from noting I have a bit of travel planned in the coming weeks, these should otherwise go quickly. The second two are a little more involved. But I expect this theme will be done by Summer’s end.
That took a lot longer than expected! As I mentioned at the start, the Eduard kit all of these planes were built from, is an involved and sometimes tricky build. Combine that with a few busy months and this got dragged out way too long.
But the good news is I’m pretty happy with the results. It also gives me two Mk II and two Mk XVI, sub-types I previously had none of. Neither is hugely important, I don’t expect I’ll build any more of either type. But here they are.
I also like that this basically was two early and two late aircraft. So we see a lot of how the Spitfire and its markings developed.
I’ll admit the embarrassing fact I have enough Spitfire “Dual Combo” kits to revisit this theme three more times! But it will be a couple years. For now, I’ll build a couple of armored cars. Look for a new theme later this Spring. Coming Soon… Trainers