1/48 Ocidental / HTC T-6D Texan

Gallery Article by Wlad Franco-Valias on Sept 7 2013

Brazil Independence Day



The T-6 was the official mount of Brazil’s Esquadrilha da Fumaça (Smoke Squadron) for over 20 years (1952 to1977). There was a hiatus between 1968 and 1970 when they flew the Fouga Magister. The extra cost of operating jets as opposed to piston aircraft and the fact the T-6 could land in just about any airfield in the country ensured their noisy return.

The T-6 show was very good, with no narrator and only the roar of the engines and propellers for soundtrack. The sound of six T-6s taking off, one after the other, from a small airstrip is unforgettable. Most impressive was a four way loop where the four plane formation would first separate, then the planes would come in from four different points, cross over and loop, crossing at the top and again at the bottom, exiting in four directions. The solos also performed spins and, as a last touch, each member would do a barrel roll at low altitude while lowering the landing gear prior to landing.

Of note was their leader in the last 12 years with the T-6, Antonio Arthur Braga, who held a world record with the most hours, over 10,000, flown in a T-6. He is greatly missed by pilots and spectators alike in Brazil for his prowess with the T-6 in the air and his friendliness on the ground. He was a great ambassador for the FAB and the MUSAL (Aerospace Museum). When the Fumaça disbanded in 1977 he was presented with a T-6 and he continued performing at air shows for many years with it. For a slightly cheesy video of the Esquadrilha da Fumaça in action over Rio de Janeiro check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rby4KjhRYxE (and no it’s not Colonel Braga threatening to quit the movie). For Colonel Braga flying solo in his own T-6 check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=oONq85YtE7M.


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I got this kit from the Hobby Trade Center (HTC) store in São Paulo in 2003. Their boxing came with white metal parts for the rear machine gun mount, the machine guns themselves, the tall antenna mast and the forward top decking with the machine gun bulge. It also came with a FCM decal sheet covering nine schemes for most versions of T-6 flown by the Brazilian armed forces (NA-72, T-6D, T-6G and SNJ-5C), one of which is Colonel Braga’s last T-6 while with the Fumaça. This plane is preserved at the MUSAL.

Unfortunately the molding caters for only the T-6G version so the canopy pieces lack the extra frames of the earlier versions. Oddly the “football’ style DF antenna fairing, common in T-6s, is not included despite the fact some of the planes covered in the decal sheet have it. The options in the decal sheet convinced me to get another T-6 kit, this time the Heller version of the Ocidental T-6 kit which is covered in a separate article.

This kit represents an AT-6D-1LS, assembled under license at the Lagoa Santa Aeronautical Depot in Brazil. For this version I used the canopy pieces from the Heller kit, the white metal machine gun top decking and tall antenna mast. Additionally I added True Details T-6 wheels for the extra detail and to ensure a matching set of diamond treads; and MV Products lenses for the landing lights. The white metal pieces needed some preparation though. The antenna mast was flat so I filed it to an airfoil cross-section, and the top decking was about 1 mm too long and had to be filed back.

For other improvements I separated the elevators and posed them deflected down as in real life; thinned out the engine cowling; filed a machine gun trough at top right of the engine cowling; removed the wing navigation lights (too far forward); removed the rudder lights as they are a T-6G item; corrected the pitot tube; added ignition wires to the front of the engine; and used clear packing tape as the cover for the landing lights instead of the not so clear parts provided in the kit. I also hollowed out the exhaust pipe and added an extension made from aluminum tubing; the Fumaça T-6s had this extension likely so the fuselage wouldn’t disrupt the smoke. I left the cowling unglued so I can remove it and show the engine detail. The antenna wire is 0.11 mm fishing line painted with a black permanent marker.

The kit is painted in Model Master Acryl (Flat White and Insignia Blue) and Tamiya (Flat Red, NATO Black) acrylic paints, with Future before and after decal application. The engine has a mix of Alclad II Duraluminum and Steel with Polly Scale Dark Earth on the crank case. The exhaust pipe started with Alclad II Steel, then Model Master Rust enamel with Tamiya Smoke over it. 

Even though decals were provided for the red lightning I used one as a template and masked the fuselage before airbrushing the lightning shape. All the blue trim was also masked. These and all the canopy frames accounted for over 10 hours spent in masking alone.

The decals are typical first generation FCM and don’t settle well even with Micro Sol. With that in mind I trimmed the clear decal film as close as I could, used lots of Micro Set initially and, once they were dry, gently rubbed them down into the panel lines with my thumbnail. I also cut and trimmed the clear portions of the FAB lettering under the wing centre section as they silvered badly and didn’t adhere well. Overall the decals turned out better than I had expected. It’s too bad the stars were out of register.

The Ocidental kit is like a diamond in the rough. The extra work is worthwhile and overall this kit really looks the part. I can almost hear the propeller roar and smell the smoke.

Happy modeling.



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Photos and text © by Wlad Franco-Valias