Revell Stearman PT-17 KAYDET 1:48 Review
Prototype: The Boeing Stearman is one of the best-known and most-built double-deckers. The US Army Air Corps used them with the designations PT-13, PT-17, and PT-18 Kaydet as training aircraft. In the United States Navy, it was referred to as N2S. 300 of the PT-27 were exported to the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1942, 150 of the PT-17 went to China (including a license for reproduction) and a total of around 50 to Brazil, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Cuba, and Venezuela. According to Boeing, 8,584 machines were produced from 1934 onwards, and a further 2,000 in the form of spare parts. 2,100 flew as sprayers in agriculture in 1945. For this purpose, the wings were clad in aluminum because the chemicals would have attacked the fabric covering. As a result, these aircraft received better engines.
The U.S. Navy used the following versions: NS-1: 220 HP (164 kW) Wright J-5 Whirlwind engine, 61 were built (Boeing Model 73); N2S-1: R-670-14 engine, 250 were built; N2S-2: R-680-8 engine, 125 were built; N2S-3: R-670-4 engine, 1,875 were built; N2S-4: 577 were built; including 99 PT-17 of the USAAF with R-670-5 engine.
Span: 9.8 m
Length: 7.63 m
Height: 2.8 m
Original engine: A Continental R-670 with 164 kW (220 PS)
Empty weight: 880 kg
Max. Takeoff weight: 1230 kg
Top speed: 200 km / h
Range: 480 km
(Source: Wikipedia, excerpts)
Kit (prehistory): There has been a small-scale kit from Revell since the 1960s, which has seen many re-editions as Army and Navy versions to this day. At the same time, a 1:48 kit from Lindberg came onto the market, which for a long time was the only one on offer on this scale. According to the construction reports, this should be quite simple according to the time of construction, but still easy to build. In 2014 Revell-Monogram launched its 1:48 scale Kaydets in the USA in two versions so far, one as an army and one as a civilian aerobatic variant with additional parts, etc. for undercarriage pants legs. Revell Germany is now following the military version.
Kit: The kit comes in the new black company design with classification “Level 4” in an unstable bulk box on the handicraft table. According to the imprint, the 58 components are produced in China and distributed over six differently sized, sometimes extremely thick cast frames in yellow and one made of clear material, which in turn are packed in three transparent bags. The casting quality is quite decent, the parts have only a few ejector marks and some burr.
The cockpit is made up of 15 parts including the lattice frame, and the very beautiful engine from another 13. The kit includes a metal and a wooden propeller for the two decal variants. The fact that the canopy struts are cast on the fuselage so that the assembly of the upper wing is made easier is gratifying. The ailerons and the rudder are shown “cut out”, which also makes a deflected display easier. The tires are one-piece and have a pronounced profile, the seats have molded belts.
The 15-page colored assembly instructions lead through 31 steps to the finished model, whereby the last five pages are devoted to the tensioning plan and the painting instructions in four-sided cracks.
Painting: The highlights of the kit include the two decals:
A- Stearman PT-17 Kaydet, airworthy, Germany, “black/white 607” all in yellow with a red fuselage and wing bands and wooden propellers;
B- Stearman PT-17 Kaydet, US Army Air Corps, 1941, “Yellow 136” with the blue fuselage, yellow wings, white-red tail unit, and metal propeller.
Conclusion: Revell’s Kaydet kit is currently available on this scale. the only contemporary injection molding offering. It offers good quality for an acceptable price and is available (almost) everywhere. The casting quality and detailing are reminiscent of older Monogram kits but are ok. Personally, the yellow color of the casting material bothers me, the US kit has white-gray parts, which should be more pleasant to work with. Here again, the younger ones should be able to finish a model without painting, but the kit is actually too complex for that. Oh well! During my vacation stays on the Baltic Sea island of Usedom, I often had the opportunity to look at the excellently restored machines in Hangar 10 in Zirchow. This also includes the “white 333”, a PT-17 Kaydet with a paint scheme very similar to the first decal variant. I might be tempted to build the Revell kit as this airplane! Highly recommended for model builders with some experience.
Addendum: A club colleague kindly lent me his Revell USA building instructions for the Stearman. And whether you find the colored German version of the manual better or the American version in black and white is a matter of taste. What distinguishes both of them, however, is the tensioning instructions, referred to in English as the Rigging Wire Guide. The American version also contains precise measurements for the lengths of the individual tension wires, unfortunately only in inches, but conversion into metric dimensions shouldn’t be too difficult. Jürgen pointed out, however, that the length information only indicates the actual length of the wire installed; you should add a few millimeters to fix it to the model. Apart from the necessary arithmetic operations, I think this service from Revell-USA is very worthy of imitation!