1/72 Special Hobby Ryan PT-22 Recruit

Gallery Article by Stephen A. Carr on Feb 25 2019



The building of this model came about as the result of an experience I had in the Summer of 2016. I had taken my "Follow Me" Jeep to the annual Summer 1940's Fly/Drive-In at Breighton airfield in Yorkshire.

On Saturday evening, they hold a hangar party, with a live band, stand up comedian and a barbeque. My Jeep was on display outside the hangar, and a number of people there expressed an interest in having a drive or a ride. 13 miles later, having made numerous trips up and down the airfield, everyone who wanted to, had a go!

The following day, one of the museum guys said how much fun everyone had behind the wheel and in return for the Jeep rides, he offered me a flight in any of the collection aircraft that took my fancy!

In the collection was a 1942 Ryan PT-22 Recruit, and having long held an interest in the US 8th Air Force, it was a great opportunity to have a ride in this US primary trainer. The aircraft is still in the civil scheme it wore when imported. 500 ex-military PT-22's were released onto the civillian market as ST3KR's and this example is one of those.

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So late afternoon, I was strapped into the front seat of the Ryan in near perfect flying conditions. Visibility past the large cylinders was very limited, even when weaving down the taxiway, but I managed to shoot some video of the taxi and take off on my little compact camera.

Take off power was very loud! As Les throttled back to cruise power, we still had to shout down the intercom to be heard. We'd only been airborne for about four minutes when Les called if I was ready to take control. I wasn't expecting that!! So for the next 15 minutes, I flew the Ryan, getting a taste of being a raw cadet in basic pilot training; an amazing experience. Les directed me back towards the airfield, and told me I was going to do a run and break down the runway. He talked me through bringing the Ryan down over the strip, descending to about 30 feet AGL before putting on the power and breaking left into the circuit. That was a real thrill to buzz the strip like that and I waited for Les to call back that he had control; but he didn't.

He just kept talking me around onto the down wind leg of the circuit! He dropped the flaps before I turned onto base leg and then finals in one descending curve to keep the runway in view past that big nose. He told me to keep the speed at 75 knots. I was nicely lined up on the runway centre line, and just before Les called to flare, I was already easing the stick back to begin the hold off. The roll out speed continued to drop and Les called for a touch of brakes to slow in order to turn off to the refuelling point. An amazing experience - I had to have a model of one!

*The Build*
After an appeal for help on ARC to track down a kit, I received a Special Hobby Ryan PT-20, the inline engined aircraft and a resin conversion kit for the PT-22. Despite the conversion kit, other changes would be needed as the kit had unswept wings. I also wanted to mount the model in a picture frame along with some pictures of the fullsize aircraft, so needed to build in an M3 nut, which could be used to secure the aircraft at a later date. The build began on July 22nd 2017 by cutting the wing in half! Customer projects and my other hobbies (my 1/1 scale military vehicle collection and astronomy) slowed the build, but by November 2017, the main airframe was assembled and in its first coat of grey primer.

The project then stalled until I got an undercoat of yellow sprayed in June 2018. It was the middle of a very busy military vehicle show season and the project was left untouched until November.

This was partly due to not wanting to tackle the landing gear and rigging. The kit landing gear was fully faired where as I needed an open structure.

So during late November, the landing gear was soldered up from brass tube and by December, I was spraying and hand painting the top coats of paint. I was ill over Christmas, so got little done until January 2019, when the Future was sprayed and decalling began, only needing to inkjet print the two fuselage registrations. By the middle of January, I was applying the rigging and final small details. The model was completed on January 19th and a few days later, the picture frame arrived in the post, allowing the model to be framed.

Stephen A. Carr

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Photos and text by Stephen A. Carr