The KAI T-50 could be viewed as Korea’s answer to the MB346. It’s a modern jet trainer/lead-in-fighter trainer with light combat characteristics. It’s the first indigenous jet in Korea to be supersonic, and is being sold internationally – with the Philippines, Thailand, and Iraq having placed orders over the MB346 or BAe Hawk.
The aircraft is the mount of the Black Eagles – Korea’s national display team. Their precision and unique manoeuvres are famous across the world. Their aircraft have a black scheme which is broken up by beautiful markings including a golden eagle on the bottom (the name of the T-50).
Academy – being a Korean company – released the T-50. Originally it was as a 1/48 scale kit. The kit itself was well received, and featured markings for the aerobatics team. The company then released a 1/72 kit. The kit was very different though, being a snap together kit.
The kit contained few parts and fitted together easily. Make sure you paint parts before even attempting a dry fitting, however, as they are quite hard to separate without any damage. The detail is relatively good and shows through any paint with ease. This is a kit aimed at children more than the enthusiast, though one can adjust it to make it more detailed. Landing gear from a F-16 tends to be the most common mod. I chose not to do this preferring the included stand to preserve the lines of my chosen scheme.
Dek’ls sheets are beautifully presented. They feature the decals twice. Once as white ‘under’ decal (to help make the colours stand out over the dark base coat), and secondly in colour. They also apply slightly different to the usual slide method, being mirrored onto the model rather than sliding directly onto the model. The decals came off the backing paper very easily and they held their integrity better than some boxed decals (looking at you here Heller). The instructions also give you a 4 side view – fully labelled and easy to follow. It makes it rather hard to mess up placement (though I still somehow slightly did – but I don’t think it’s too noticeable). Some patience is needed to get alignment – but I don’t think it is anything too different if you’ve built any other display teams or unique schemes.
My build went together and was undercoated in about half an hour (if that). The white decals took a few hours so that they could all set properly before having their colour sets applied on top. I believe I did miss a white underlay on one of the white sections miss, but after glossing I don’t think it is all too visible.
Overall the T-50 kit by Academy is worth getting -but then again, it is the only T-50 kit available. It’s easy to build and if you’re feeling lazy you can just use the stickers included and have a plane made without any work. For what it is, it is really well detailed but it is worth considering this is like a Hobbyboss kit in the sense that you shouldn’t buy it for the joy of the build, but for the painting and finishing.
The decals from Dekls are really a definite buy. These were my first (but not last) from the company and I am over the moon with the result. In fact, I might even buy another set to do one with the landing gear down …that would look great.