T-50 Advanced Trainer

Published: November 25th, 2012     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Rod Lees, IPMS# 10821
Scale: 1/48
Company: Academy
Price: $49.00
Product / Stock #: 12231

Thanks once again to Akiko at MRC for providing IPMS USA the opportunity to review one of their products...and IPMS USA for forwarding it to me to do the review!

This kit is a sleeper.  The reason I say that is I would not have purchased it on a whim.  It's a cool-looking "Indigenous" production of the Korean defense industry, designed as an advanced trainer, and incorporates many design elements of aircraft already flying.  Their display team, "The Black Eagles," fly T-50s, and Academy produces a kit with their markings as well.

Molded in "true white" plastic (it almost glows), the part trees have a staggering amount of detail.  Academy tends to design their kits with many details as separate items; this results in a bit more complex construction, but also provides kit fidelity in the final product.  Take your time and produce an excellent model!

The basic construction follows all conventions - the cockpit is built up of finely-detailed tub, side consoles, and instrument panels.  The control sticks and ejection seats are extremely well detailed, and it all slides into place.  Included on the decal sheet are flat-panel displays in the "on" position; you won't see them that way on the ground, power off, so you have the option.  Crew members are finely detailed as well, with articulated arms to be cemented into position once the crewmember is mounted on the seat.  The harnesses reach back to the backrest, adding to the realism.

The intake assembly, when carefully assembled, shows little or no seam.  The compressor fan can barely be seen once they are in place, but the effect is there.  With little work and liquid cement, you can paint them before you install them, and they are as good as aftermarket intakes.

Fuselage halves are provided for the nose, and the main body is upper/lower sections with wings attached.  Again, careful assembly with the intakes results in a seamless final product.  It's a bit of a Rubik cube, but all fits very well with no filler.  Don't forget to put a bit of nose weight in the radome; I used several fishing sinkers. BTW, the radome even has finely-molded lightning arrestors... and the fit is so good I didn't end up sanding them off.

Control surfaces are separate, as are the rocket rails (which are provided for Smokewinders as well as standard AIM-9 rails).  The "Smokewinders" and AIM-9-style shapes are provided for those wanting their rails to be loaded.  A centerline tank is also included, along with a rack and sway braces.

The landing gear can be shown in extended (unloaded/flight) or loaded (on ground) position; sufficient parts are provided for both options.  Detail in the wheel wells, on the struts, in the doors, etc., is absolutely stunning...a light wash highlights it all. Same for the afterburner can and nozzles; detail on both sides is fine and accurate.  Wheels and tires are easy to paint.

The decal sheet - that's one serious bit of detail!  Nothing is left out...you can easily spend several modeling sessions applying them.  Decals are even provided for strut data plates and ejection seat markings. The wing walk markings are some of the better items; they are sturdy and go on well with no tendency to fold back on themselves.  The rest of the red/orange markings tended to curl on me until I used Micro-set (not anything stronger); they were large surface area items, and fit perfectly, even around the radome.  There are areas which will require touch-up, such as around the edge of the wing markings. I used Tamiya rattle can TS-12 orange for this.  Decanted and applied with a brush, it's a perfect match.  The radome decal has a proper reddish hue which is different from the rest of the markings

Last item was the canopy.  Separate latch and rail detail is exquisite, and the two canopy bows also are catered for.  Excellent detail for an open canopy display, often overlooked in the past; Academy leads the field in this realm.  Crew ladders may be added; they are a bit complex in that every step rail is separate, which will involve tweezers and patience, but in the end they look great.  I had a "fall off the bench and crunch them" incident, so did not use them, but rest assured they have the same amount of detail as the rest of the kit.

In the end, this is an excellent effort by Academy; the proverbial 10 of 10 rating applies.  No filler used, parts fit is exquisite, and the kit is a unique subject.  Thanks again to Academy for designing and releasing this gem!

  • Right front
    Right front
  • Left front
    Left front
  • Air intake
    Air intake
  • Canopy actuator
    Canopy actuator
  • Main gear
    Main gear
  • Exhaust
    Exhaust
  • Active instrument displays
    Active instrument displays