Friday, November 5, 2010

Look Mom, Moving Parts! Monogram's T-28D Trojan

Another early Monogram kit I built in '75 was the 1973 reissue of Monogram's T-28D Trojan. I'm pretty sure my Dad helped me pick this one out at Gemco because it was a North American aircraft. I remember building it in our backyard on J-5, on a picnic table we had. Lancaster had great weather almost year round for building models outside, and I remember building many of them in the warm sunshine.
This was one of the first kits I built that had lots of moving parts such as retractable landing gear, and sliding canopy. I remember always being pleasantly surprised in discovering these action features during assembly, because I never bothered reading about them on the box.

Building the T-28D again was a real joy. I followed the building and painting instructions to the letter, to enjoy the full 'vintage Monogram experience' as it were. I left the upper surfaces unpainted. Decals are all original and applied with the Microscale system. I chose the South Vietnamese Air Force markings, because these were the ones I chose back in '75 on my original. All the moving parts work, but the front landing gear is a pain to pull out of the wheel well. Best to leave it alone any way, since plastic parts don't stand up well to friction and repeated stress.
While not one of my favorite airplanes, Monogram's T-28D still holds a high place in my memory because of the neat moving parts and ease of assembly. In 1975 Monogram reissued the T-28 again, this time as a Navy "B" version. I remember seeing it at Gemco, but passed on it because I already had the "D" model.

Enter the Monogram Kits: F-105 Thunderchief

The 1/72 scale Republic F-105 Thunderchief had to be my first model airplane kit from Monogram. Like the Revell kits, Monogram's were plentiful and cheap. I liked the F-105 because I had seen an old desk top model of one in my friend's garage. The sleek shape of the 105 really appealed to me. My original Thunderchief was completely unpainted because I didn't have any paints yet at the time. You can see a picture of me and this model if you go to my earliest blog entry. I kept her for a long, long time; longer than some other models I built later and finished with paint!
I decided to do this rebuild in the spirit of my younger days by hand-painting the camouflage scheme. It was very time consuming, but worth the effort. From a foot away or more, she looks great. It's a very simple model to build, heavy on the rivets, and not a whole lot of other detail. There are much better 1/72 scale F-105s out there, but this one was one of the first. Revell had their own version around the same time frame - late 50s, early 60s - but theirs was a tad smaller at 1/76 scale, or something close to that.
I've always liked the crew ladder that came with this model, but not the crewman. He doesn't fit well onto the ladder, so I left him in the spare parts bin. I would have preferred to leave out the pilot figure as well, but on this kit, he's mounted to the seat, providing the only detail to the cockpit interior.
The 1973 reissue of Monogram's F-105 Thunderchief remains as one of my all-time favorite plastic model airplane kits.