The R3Y was the "logistics transport" outgrowth of Convair's P5Y Navy patrol aircraft program, which suffered teething troubles from its outset. The biggest - and ultimately fatal - problems were the Allison T-40 turboprops.Though the few R3Y-1 and -2 variants that were produced reached operational status with Navy squadron VR-2, the continuous engine problems prematurely grounded and scrapped the Tradewind fleet.
This is a "50 Years of Revell" reissue of its 1956 offering. The kit hasn't changed much since then. It's a simple, easily built kit comprising only 32 bright blue plastic parts, with no clear parts or interior details except the loading ramp inside the hinged, operating bow. There's a mix of recessed and raised detail, including raised surface embossing where the decals go, and lots of raised rivets; I smoothed these down with fine steel wool and enhanced some of the panel lines with a scriber.
The overall fit was very good, and though the wingtips and vertical fin tip were blunt, the trailing edges of all surfaces were nice and thin. There was no warpage, very little flash, and putty was needed only sparingly. The kit holds its own with some of today's modern offerings.
The only real change to the kit from the original issue is the omission of Revell's famous all-axis swivel display stand with its ball-and-socket joint (we old-timers fondly remember this feature). Though the ball fitting is still in the kit, it's not used. Instead, Revell's provided a stand with a very small footprint; I weighted its base but still had to add ballast to the model's nose so it wouldn't tip onto its tail.
The contra-rotating propellers are made to spin, so the prop hubs are separate pins on which two propellers are mounted; it would enhance the appearance of the prop assemblies if the hubs were part of the front props. The prop spinners are too blunt, and the rudder hinge line is incorrect, but overall the model's very accurate.
The matte-finished decals are the same as the 1956 issue, but their quality's been updated; they went onto the model just fine. The markings, however, are not representative of an operational aircraft. The national insignia is out of proportion, so I substituted some from my spares box, then used the box art and an article on the Tradewind in "Wings of Fame" Vol. 18 as references to add wing walk areas from decal strips.
Good-lookin' airplane, and did this kit bring back memories! The first Tradewind I built as a youth probably met its demise at the wrong end of a firecracker in the far reaches of my parents' backyard. I'll take better care of this one. At 1/166 the size of the real thing, it doesn't match the more mainstream scales. But the kit has aged extremely well, and the 15 hours I spent building it (mostly sanding away rivets and surface embossing) were enjoyable.Kit: 88123Scale: 1/166Comments: Injection-molded, 32 parts, decalsPros: Easily-built kit, interesting subject matterCons: Raised rivets galore, embossed decal positioning aids