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FT-6 Trainer

Trumpeter 1/48 scale

by Sebastian Lim

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The model depicted in this note is a Chinese-built Shenyang FT-6. This combat trainer was only operational in both People's Liberation Army Air Force(PLAAF) and Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Though the Shenyang F-6s had served the PAF since 1967, 15 FT-6s were delivered only in 1980, replacing the older FT-5s. Basically, the FT-6 is a fighter conversion trainer but with a secondary air-ground role. On 27 March 2003, it was replaced by the Chinese-made FT-7PG, along with the single-seater F-7PG Skybolt when the PAF took delivery of it's latest weapon procurement from China. Despite the retirement, few FT-6s were thought to be attached to either 16 & 26 Sqn, operating the A-5C Fantan.


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Basically, this kit was built straight from the box, except for the Martin Baker Mk.10PKD ejection seats, which were scratch-built using plastic card/rods. Typical of Trumpeter's offering, sink marks were found throughout the fuselage section but i must say the quality has improved with each new release! Fitting were generally ok except the nose-gear landing well, wing joints and both front/rear canopy. Take note when attaching the front windshield, you need to fill up the gaps in between it and the fuselage.


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Despite these problems, an average modeler can take care without much effort but do take note of the following:

Add noseweight...NOT indicated on the instruction sheet!
Flimsy landing gears, especially the mains! The axle attaching the wheels seems to wobble with the slightest touch!

Kit decals (quality has improved) were used since the only aftermarket option are limited to the extremely rare 1/48 TigerWings' for PLAAF & PAF F-6/FT-6. After checking my references, I concluded the included markings were meant for the early FT-6s. Later variants spots 5-digits aircraft numbers (both front & aft), extended PAF insignia with white border, a pair of "yellow/red' Chinese-style ejection seat warning triangles, etc.



Gunze enamels, Mr. Color series, were used for the painting. H305 (FS36118), H307(FS36320) & H308 (FS36375) were applied to depict the 3-tone gray camo scheme. As for the pair of drop tanks, i opted to paint one in early NMF (port-side) since PAF ground crews often have to make do with what they have at their disposal. Like I'd mentioned above, the kit decals provided were meant for NMF birds but i chose to model otherwise after having seen one example in Peter Steinemann's Asian Airpower - Exotic Warplanes In Action.


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Last but not least, the weathering. Most of PAF's FT-6 were moderately weathered, thus not having to resort to oil-washing. I opted for the 'pastel + washing liquid + water' formula :). The wash were applied along the panel lines and left to cure for 12 hours. Subsequently, cotton buds(or Q-Tips as it is known in the West) were used to clean up the wash...VOILA!

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Peter Steinemann's Asian Airpower - Exotic Warplanes In Action, published 1989.
Air Forces Monthly, November 2001.
Air Forces Monthly, June 2002.
Scale Aircraft Modeling, Vol.4 Number 2, November 1981 - yes the one came with a FREE PAF decal sheet!!


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