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Build Report: Monogram’s 1/48 AT-6 converted to an A-27

Continuing on the theme of early World War II aircraft that never really got very far, here is an A-27, a made for export attack version of the AT-6 built by North American aviation.

The A-27 was very similar to the standard AT-6 Texan. It had a Wright R-1820 engine in place of  the Pratt & Whitney used by the AT-6, two .30 caliber machine guns mounted in the nose, and it could carry 4 100 pound bombs. Ten of these aircraft were ordered by Thailand prior to the outbreak of World War II, but fears that they might fall in to Japanese hands led to the Army taking them over, and they were sent to the Philippines prior to the war starting.  Within days of the initial Japanese attacks on that country, all were destroyed.

So this little aircraft is truly a footnote in World War II aviation history.

The model is built from Monograms old but still very nice AT-6 kit. The kit, out of the box, is very detailed, and presents no problems in construction.

Building the A-27 took a bit of research. There is not a lot of published material about the airplane. There are a few good photos, even one in color, that I found, and from these and some other helpful research items provided by other modelers, I built what I guess would be best described as my “approximation” of an A-27.

The modifications were fairly simple. The air intake on the left fuselage side fit in to a recessed portion in the fuselage half, so I filled this in, and using the forward part of the kit part, fashioned the air intake that fit on top of the engine. The A-27 had two forward firing machine guns, and while the kit comes with a part that has a single machine gun, I decided to use an alternate kit part that had no machine gun to fashion the dual mount for the A-27. My reasoning was that I could not likely approximate the single machine gun on the kit part, but I could duplicate my own work on the other part that did not have a machine gun. Using various drills and files, and some pieces of sprue shaped accordingly, I scratch built the forward machine guns. The A-27 also had a three-bladed prop, so I scrounged one from the spares box.

The rest of the build was pretty much out-of-the-box. The only additional work I did to the kit, aside from assembly, was re-scribing the panel lines, as the kit has raised panel lines. I normally don’t mind raised panel lines, but in order to smooth over where the air intake recess was on the fuselage required a lot of sanding. That, of course, removed a lot of raised detail. So I decided to rescribe the whole thing for consistency.

The photos showed the A-27 was painted in US equivalents of dark earth and dark green, so I used Gunze and Tamiya paints for those two colors. There was some speculation as to whether the undersides were natural metal or a lighter gray. The single color photo I had left it open to interpretation. However, as I had several color photos of other aircraft built by North American for export that were delivered in light gray undersides, I decided to go with that option.

Decals came from the kit, simply using the US insignia and rudder stripes, as well as the US ARMY underneath.

Overall I was very happy with how the kit came out. It’s not something you see every day. I can highly recommend the Monogram Texan kit, it’s a gem. (Yes, I know it’s now Revell, but I always think of it as Monogram…) And tackling the conversion is not too difficult. If you’d like to give it a go, please contact me and I’ll be glad to share what research material I have with you.