However, this kit relates specifically to the use of the T-2 between 1982-95 in the Blue Impulse aerobatic display team.
A total of 90 production T-2s were built, including 28 unarmed T-2A and 62 armed T-2B. An additional two T-2As were built but modified for the S-FX / F-1 strike fighter program. The last T-2 rolled off the assembly line in 1988.
The first air show with the new planes was on June 25 1982 at the team’s new Matsushima airbase.
On November 14, 1982, during a bomb-burst maneuver at a Hamamatsu air display, plane #4 failed to pull up in time and crashed into a building, killing the pilot and injured 11 people on the ground. This accident brought a halt to the team’s performances for the year.
At Expo ’90 in Osaka, Blue Impulse performed at the opening event and drew the “Expo ’90” logo in the air.
Blue Impulse suffered another accident on July 4, 1991 over the Pacific Ocean, as planes #2 and #4 crashed during a training flight. This disaster again stopped the team’s performances for a year.
The team’s last performance with the Mitsubishi T-2 was in December 1995, after 175 demonstrations with these aircraft.
The sprues in the box are almost the same as used in the earlier F-1 kit, which is reviewed here. The major change is that the sprues are in a dark blue colour to match the overall colour of the Blue Impulse aircraft. There are 3 small new sprues, one clear, and you can see images of them below. For views of the other sprues refer to the F-1 review.
Now on to the kit itself.
The kit comes in a sturdy top opening box. The sprues are all in one bag apart from the 2 clear sprues which are in their own bag. The 2 clear sprues are actually attached to one another so they can’t scratch one another. The decals come in their own bag too and have a protective sheet on them. The instructions are on piece of folded paper giving 8 black and white pages.
The instructions are highly detailed and packed with information. They remind me of sheets from the likes of Hasegawa to be honest. The first page gives a few brief details about the aircraft. Then there’s 4 pages showing the actual build with some small photos of the real thing and some part views to show exact placement. You might need your good glasses on to see some of the details as they are that fine…my old eyes will be using a magnifier at times! It finishes off with 3 pages of decal placements. There are colour call outs throughout the instructions for Mr Color and Model Master paints.
The build is in 9 steps:
- This puts together the cockpit apart from the front seat. There’s a choice of 2 different instrument panels for the rear seat. The difference between them is very small. One is for the T-2A without a radar (part B19) and T-2B with a radar (B20). Of the 7 decal options available it tells you which one needs part B19, the other 6 use B20. So at this early stage you need to make a decision about decal options.
- This step builds the aft canopy and rail, the area between the 2 cockpits and the engine intakes. You have the choice of building with the canopy open or closed.
- Step 3 sees the fuselage halves go together and trap the cockpit in-between them. The engine intakes from step 2 are attached and the front cockpit coaming. You also have a 0.8mm hole to drill.
- Now we add the underneath of the fuselage to the aircraft. The T-2A has a couple of different parts to the T-2B, but you are clearly shown which parts to use depending which you want to build. The T-2A is unarmed so the cannon is not fitted. There’s more 0.8mm holes to drill too if you’re going to add pylons.
- This step is adding the wings, rudder, tailplanes and the rest of the canopy. You have the choice of drilling 2 x 1.3mm holes for wing lights and adding transparent parts, or just painting them. If you’re adding under wing pylons you will need to drill some 0.8mm holes. The canopy can be open or closed and there’s a choice of 2 front parts of the canopy but it doesn’t seem to say which one to use in English, just Korean. I suspect you use J3 for the T-2A and J1 for the T-2B, but I might be wrong.
- Now we add the engines and wing leading edges. You also add the airbrakes in either the open or closed positions.
- Step 7 is all about the undercarriage. Build the 3 single wheel undercarriage legs and then attach them. There’s some extra views and a photo to help you get everything at the right angles.
- Now you add the undercarriage doors, not too much to do in this step.
- Lastly comes the pylons under the fuselage and wings, if you drilled the holes for them in the earlier steps! You also have 3 x 220l fuel tanks and 2 AIM-9Ls for the wingtips.
The decal sheet is large and very crowded – there’s a lot of decals on this sheet! There are options for 7 aircraft of the Blue Impulse team, numbered 1 to 7. Aircraft 5 is a T-2A and the others are T-2Bs. The decals are produced by Cartograf and are to their usual high standard. There are decals to pretty much do the whole paint scheme of the aircraft, so you have a choice of using the decals or masking and painting the broad white anf light blue areas and stripes.
Overall this is a very nice kit with a great deal of attention paid to detail. This kit easily ranks with the best out there right now. It will look very nice on the shelf in it’s eye catching blue and white livery.
Thanks to Platz for the review sample.
Paul Tosney – Model Builder International – www.modelbuilderinternational.com