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Czech Model 1/48 scale Cessna T-50 "Bamboo Bomber"

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Czech Model 1/48 scale Cessna T-50 "Bamboo Bomber"
Kit: No. 4819
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Czech Model, from Squadron,
Price: $59.95
Comments: 51 injection-molded, 142 photoetched-metal, 25 cast-resin parts; decals
Pros: Choice of markings; prepainted photoetched metal; numerous construction options; large, clear assembly drawings; good surface detail
Cons: Warped fuselage halves; open cabin door window not included
Issue Published: January 2010
Czech Model 1/48 scale Cessna T-50 "Bamboo Bomber"
Czech Model 1/48 scale Cessna T-50 "Bamboo Bomber"
Czech Model 1/48 scale Cessna T-50 "Bamboo Bomber"
Czech Model 1/48 scale Cessna T-50 "Bamboo Bomber"
Czech Model 1/48 scale Cessna T-50 "Bamboo Bomber"
Czech Model 1/48 scale Cessna T-50 "Bamboo Bomber"
It took a long time, but Czech Model's Cessna T-50 "Bamboo Bomber" kit is finally here. Songbird, trusty steed in the 1950s for radio and television's flying rancher, Sky King, is featured on the box. cover. Inside the box, plastic, cast-resin, and two frets of photoetched-metal parts are individually bagged. The six-color decal sheet has markings for three aircraft, notably Sky King's 1951 Songbird.

The 12-page, 16-step assembly booklet is easy to follow and features color chips, three-view drawings, and FS numbers. Beginning with the instrument panel/rudder pedal assembly, you must choose between photoetched-metal or plastic parts. I figured the best chance of fitting the instrument panel into a cockpit of unknown width was with plastic, which I could sand to fit. Decals are provided for the panel instruments. Photoetched-metal parts are provided for both commercial and military panels. I saved time by using the seat-belt decals.

The photoetched-metal parts were prepainted and quite nice, but difficult and time-consuming to assemble and install. The cockpit floor edges needed sanding to mate the fuselage parts. Cockpit windows were masked and installed with Micro Scale Kristal Klear. If the model's cabin door is closed, a clear part including the
window is provided. However, if the door is to be shown open, there is no such part. I made one from some spare clear plastic.

Upper and lower wing panels fit well with panel lines matching nicely. The trailing edges are thick and could be thinned by sanding. I used glazing compound as a filler around the seams of the lower engine nacelles. The landing gear struts are weak for the weight of the model. I broke one and reassembled it with steel tubing for reinforcement.

Instructions indicate the cast-resin propeller parts, but they are difficult to assemble and align properly. Next time, I might try to make a jig for this assembly.

All four of the cast-resin engines in my kit were warped, which may have prevented them from fitting properly in the cowlings. My engines sit back too far and would need shafts added to the spinner backs so the blades would clear. There is no provision in the kit for attaching the propellers to the crankcases.

The windshield and cabin roof came close to fitting properly. I used a lot of glazing compound to fill gaps at the base and top of the windshield and the back of the cabin roof.

I never found the cast-resin radio antenna shown on the parts map, so I made one from sheet styrene.

My model is painted with Testors Model Master enamels: classic white, guard red, and Navy aggressor gray. Decals for flat surfaces were easy and responded well to SuperScale decal solvents. However, decals for the engine cowls and nose did not fit; I ruined one and cut all the rest apart, filling in empty spaces with paint.

The finished model measures about 6 scale inches too big, but it does have the look and stance of the full-scale Bobcat of TV fame. Nostalgia buffs will love it, but modelers should have experience with limited-production, mixed-media kits before attempting this one. I rushed this one for review, but it still took more than 36 hours to complete.

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