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Harvard Mk. 4

by Geoff McDonell


RCAF Harvard Mk 4
“The Goldilocks"


Academy's 1/72 scale AT-6 G Texan is available online from Squadron.com




This is the 1/72 scale T-6 by Academy, kit no. FA162-3000

Every dyed-in the wool Canukophile has to have at least a dozen of these wonderful little Academy T-6 kits on their shelves. This kit of the popular primary trainer is a gem of a model that needs very little effort to result in a fine looking replica. Upon opening the box, one is greeted by a well molded set of light grey sprues containing a very detailed selection of parts. The kit depicts a T-6 Texan with the early style framed canopy, and as far as my references go, represents the aircraft very accurately. As with any kit, there are minor detail quibbles, but these are easily corrected by a modeller with basic skills.



Modifications Required for a Canadian Harvard

I’d socked away the Leading Edge decal sheet No. 72-.21 some time ago with the intention of adding one of these specially marked RCAF Harvards to my collection, and so the research began.



To summarize my findings, here is a checklist of what needs to be done to the Academy kit to turn it into a Canadian Harvard MK 4.

  • New canopy with extended rear section (Falcon Clear-Vax set #30)

  • Long exhaust pipe with cabin heater tube

  • Spade handles to control sticks

  • Remove navigation lamps on side of fin and on upper surfaces of the wing tips

  • Add wing navigation lamps at tips of wingtips

  • Add sheet plastic shelf and blind flying hood to rear pilots’ position

  • Re-shape lower cowl air scoop

  • Cut-out in engine cowling for “Canadian exhaust”

  • Fill and partially rescribe baggage door on port fuselage side

  • Shave off the starboard elevator trim tab actuator off the top of the slab, and replace it with a chip of plastic on the bottom

  • Drill out the jacking holes on the lower rear fuselage

  • The roll-over pylon bracing has a slightly different strut arrangement than the T6 version

Other basic detailing issues that could be addressed are:

  • Fill in gaps in wheelwells and add plumbing details

  • Add lead foil seat belts

  • Drill out the air scoops

  • Add propellor hub details

  • Add engine detail – ignition wiring and oil sump between the two lower cylinders

  • Box in landing lamp housings in wings and add foil lamps

  • Replace kit pitot tube with a “stripped wire” scratchbuilt piece.





Construction started as per the kit instructions with the cockpit and interior parts. The interior parts and inner fuselage areas were painted with an “eyeball’ mixed concoction of interior grey-green with a touch of blue to replicate the actual interior colours of RCAF Harvards from my thick stash of photos.

The rest of the model was built up quite quickly using Zap-A-Gap. There were little to no seams or gaps to fill or rub down with more than a quick pass with 600 grit sandpaper.

The engine, cowling and propellor were built and painted as separate small assemblies, along with the wheels. I glued the landing gear into the wings so they would be painted yellow with the rest of the model.

The canopy was the most challenging aspect of the whole model. I was not aware of, or have access to the Falcon Clear-Vax kit No. 30 at the time, which contained the necessary Harvard rear canopy section, as well as the later T-6G canopy with the different canopy framing, so I elected to make my own. I took the kit canopy and glued it to a base, upon which I built up a rear canopy mold with Milliput and sheet plastic, using drawings and photos to get it “close enough”. At this time the rear canopy area on the fuselage was carved out and shaped to accommodate the new, larger rear canopy section. I filled-in the kit canopy framing with thickened grey paint, and polished it smooth.


After six tries with 0.015 “sheet butyrate and my home made vacuform, slaving over a hot stove, I finally got two “good” copies of the new Harvard canopies. With some careful cutting, trimming and test fitting, the canopy was dipped in Future floor wax to stiffen it up and provide a “water clear” appearance.

I glued the canopy on to the model by first taping it in place with a few small, thin strips of masking tape, and applying Micro-Scale Kristal Kleer all around the edges. When the glue was dry, the masking tape strips were removed, and the un-glued areas were treated to more Kristal Kleer, to seal the canopy onto the model. A moistened cotton swab was rubbed along the glued seam to smooth out the Kristal Kleer and blend the canopy into the edges of the model.



Painting and Markings


I chose to use thin strips of masking tape to cover the canopy and create the framing system. I figured the sharply cut edges of masking tape, once burnished down, would create some decent, straight canopy frames. The results were less than I expected, with paint bleeding under the edges, and the thick layer of yellow paint leaving a rough edge in many places. Yellow paint is notoriously transparent, and many coats were needed to achieve a solid, uniform colour. I used XtraColour #X-11 RAF Trainer yellow enamel, as it looks to me to be just the right match to the actual aircraft. I’d first sprayed the interior grey-green colour onto the masked canopy, and then applied the yellow, and more yellow, and than some more yellow, in order to get a uniform depth of colour. Unfortunately, even though I’d run the tip of a new #11 x-acto blade along all the masked edges to “break” the paint along the frames, the result was not as good as I’d hoped. Note to self - next time, use painted clear decal!

After the yellow paint was dry and cured (at least 2 weeks), I masked and sprayed the antiglare panel with a mix of gloss black with a few drops of Gunship Grey mixed into it, and then the decals were applied. The Leading Edge decal sheet provides a plethora of stencilling and full markings for a representative Goldilocks demonstration team Harvard. Unfortunately there are only enough national markings and stencilling for one aircraft. There are, however, enough serial numbers and cowl numbers to make any of seven of the Goldilocks Harvards.


The wheels hubs were first painted yellow, over which a disk of blue decal paper was applied, to result in the thin yellow outline at the hub rims. All of the decals went onto the model without any trouble, but a bit of test-fitting and trimming of the rudder stripes is needed to fit them a bit better to the Academy model.

The last step was to spray on a mixture of Testors Dullcote/Glosscote to get a semi-gloss sheen and to blend-in the decals. At this point it was time to carefully remove the masking tape from the canopy.

The thick layers of yellow paint, plus the overcoat, created a challenge to try to remove the masking without chipping the framing lines. I cleaned up the framing as best as I could and touched up some of the frames with yellow decal strips.



Finishing Touches


Final details included:

  • Long Canadian Harvard exhaust was built up from heat formed Contrail brand styrene tube, detailed with smaller tubing for the cabin heater tube. This was glued onto the re-shaped exhaust stub from the kit exhaust manifold part. The exhaust pipe was painted using Metalizer “Burnt Metal”, and buffed with a bit of graphite powder, and highlited with some SNJ polishing powder applied with a toothpick.

  • Pitot tube made from a section of wire, with a short section of insulation stripped off to reveal the silver wire. I also glued on a small triangle of plastic to replicate the actual pitot tube appearance on the actual aircraft, and the whole tip was painted with Testor’s Chrome enamel.

  • Water colour and chalk pastel weathering in key areas where the Harvard was known to get a little grimy from time to time.

  • Stretched sprue antenna wires.

  • Formed wire oil line along the forward, starboard fuselage to simulate the airshow oil smoke injector pipe.

  • Brake lines added with sections of small diameter wire.

  • Propellor was painted with Metalizer Aluminum, and polished up with SNJ polishing powder. The Hamilton Standard decals came from a set of IPMS Spruce Goose special edition decal sheets that contained a variety of 1/72 scale propeller logo markings.





This Canadian Harvard project was a nice quick build-up, with the exception of dealing with the canopy. Needless to say, I have ordered, and placed a number of Falcon Clear-Vax #30 canopy sets on my shelf, for future use!



And given the relatively straightforward canopy framing, next time I will use painted clear decal film to finish the canopy.





  1. Harvard! The North American Trainers in Canada, by D.C. Fletcher and D. MacPhail, copywrite 1990, published by Turner Publishing/DCF Flying Books.

  2. Website: www.t-6.com Modelling the T-6 Trainer.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view full-sized images:

Model, Description and Images Copyright © 2002 by Geoff McDonell
Page Created 17 October, 2002
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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