by: Tim Hatton [ ]
Special Hobby has recently released the diminutive TT-1 Pinto this time in “Civilian Service”. This 1/72 kit has markings for three privately owned Pintos, two of them are in pseudo Navy markings.
The Temco Model 51 had been initially proposed to the US Air Force in response to an Air Force competition for a jet-powered primary trainer, which was won by the Cessna T-37 Tweet. The concept behind the Model 51 was an attempt to provide primary training in a jet-powered aircraft. The official name for the Model 51 was the Pinto. The Pinto was a mid-wing, tricycle landing gear trainer powered by a single Continental Motors J69-T-9 [license-built Turbomeca Marboré jet engine]. The aircraft carried no armament.
The TT-1s were equipped with many of the same features found in operational jets, including ejection seats, liquid oxygen equipment, speed brakes, along with typical flight controls and instrument panels. Although the flight characteristics were considered good, the "wave off" capability was rated marginal due to being slightly underpowered. As a result the Pinto acquired the nickname “Tinker Toy”. Range was also limited basically because of operational height restrictions imposed by the Navy as the Pinto was unpressurised.
The Air Force may have not been interested, but the Navy was. After its first flight in 1956, the prototype was sent to the Naval Air Test Centre (NATC) Patuxent to be evaluated alongside the Beech Model 73 Jet Mentor. Fourteen of the aircraft, designated TT-1, were produced between 1955 and 1957.
In 1959, these aircraft served in the Air Training Command at Pensacola, Florida, and used in a training program demonstration testing the feasibility of using a jet-powered trainer for primary flight training. In March 1959, Aviation Cadet E. R. Clark soloed in a TT-1, the first student in Naval Aviation history to solo a jet without previous experience in propeller aircraft. By the end of 1960, TT-1s were phased out of operations in the naval training command and sold as surplus. Many Pintos have subsequently ended up in private hands, three of which are the subjects of this release from Special Hobby.
The end opening box feels pretty sturdy and has the Pinto owned by Mike Dillon illustrated on the box cover. This is one of the marking options that come with the kit. All three marking options are illustrated on the back of the box. Inside all the contents are contained in a single bag. The clear plastic parts and the decals are wrapped separately. Contents include:
-2 x grey plastic sprues.
-1 x transparent plastic sprue.
-1 x small sheet of decals.
-1 x instruction booklet.
The cockpit has two bathtubs that need building up by attaching the rear bulkheads and forward foot walls. The side panels have faint low relief detail on them. The separate instrument panels have much more convincing detail on them and they look rather good. They will really test your painting and highlighting skills. The control sticks are way over scale but are nicely shaped. The rudder pedals or foot bars are also included. Once completed the two tubs are glued together and fitted into the cockpit. Although the instructions are a vague where exactly you glue the tub, there are marks on the inside of the fuselage that give a better indication of where it goes. The seats are not bad and are made up from two parts. On my sample the separate head rests have fairly deep sink marks on them. The back cushion also has an elongated sink mark running down the centre. The inside walls of the fuselage around the cockpit has some cleanly moulded framework detail. The cockpit is painted mainly white.
The canopy is one piece and pretty thin and clear. The shape looks very good indeed. Inspecting the surface very closely there are a few very small pin marks on the top of the outer surface. Dipping the canopy in some Kleer may reduce their appearance. The canopy framing is very well defined.
The fuselage takes in the whole length of the aircraft, the clear plastic landing light cover at the tip of the nose is a separate part. The shape of the fuselage looks good comparing it to photographs. There are not many panel lines on this small trainer, but they are recessed and delicately done. The access panels are also nicely done with finely done recessed fastener detail. The two small air intakes for the engine are separate parts. There is a locating pin attached to each air intake, which helps enormously in placing it accurately. The air intakes for the Super Pinto are included, but not used for this release. The jet pipe nozzle is separate; the inside is blanked off but the jet pipe is very shallow. The cockpit area looks enormous in relation to the length and width of the fuselage. It takes up almost one third of the length. There is no nose wheel bay, simply because the doors are only open when the gear is cycling. The prototype seems to have had the more traditional open doors. This being a limited run production there are no locating pins. There are a couple of raised ejector pin marks to remove on the inside of the vertical tail. The fuselage is finished off with the clear plastic landing light situated in the nose.
The wings are made up from four parts. The complete trailing edges are moulded onto the upper parts of the wings. The cut out for the wheel bay in the lower wing parts have a sprue gate spanning it, which needs removing. The recessed detail is nicely done. One major concern is attaching the wing to the fuselage. There is a very narrow tab on the lower wing that fits into a flashed off slot in the fuselage. The reason for the narrow tab is if it was longer it would protrude into the cockpit. The slot is flashed over on the inside of the rear cockpit wall. It might be an idea to run a spar through the fuselage and into the space between the upper and lower wings. There is just enough space behind the bulkhead of the rear cockpit to fit a spar. Otherwise it will be tricky trying to fix the wings firmly in place.
There are a couple of one piece smoke generators that you can fix under the wings, the pylons are separate. There are no pre drilled holes for the pylons although the instructions are clear on where to drill. There are also a couple of wing tip fuel tanks that you can fit if you are building option A or B. Each tank is made up from two parts. Oddly the wing tip tanks feature a winglet in the painting instructions, but the winglets doe not feature in the build guide.
Both the horizontal stabilisers are one piece. The locating stub for both stabilisers is very narrow.
The undercarriage The large door of the front undercarriage would appear to be only open when the gear is being cycled. The Pinto prototype did have split doors that remained open when the gear was down, but subsequent Pinto’s had the closed door. The undercarriage itself is one piece and includes a rather bulbous looking wheel. There are two types of forward undercarriage: one comes with a wheel spat and the other does not. Option [A] is the Pinto with the Spat fitted. The legs of the main undercarriage are made up of the oleo and a separate retracting jack and the torque links are separate too. The wheels are one piece and like the nose wheel the tyres look too bulbous. The detail in the main undercarriage bay is none existent.
Markings there are three options supplied with this kit, all of them in civilian service.
[A] 144226/N7752A owned and flown by Mike Dillon, Oshkosh 1988. It is painted white overall with Navy markings. Sylvester is painted over the orange band on the tail.
[B] 144229/NX4229 following restoration by Ezell Aviation, this Pinto was owned by C Hall. It is painted dark blue overall with Navy markings.
[C] 144235/N1110X owned by Steve Synder before his death flying a F-86 Sabre. It is painted white overall with flowing blue and red stripes.
Sylvester which was a Friz Freleng creation is painted on both sides of the tail of 144226/N7752A. Sylvester is in two poses: one illustrates him in the act of catching his adversary “Tweetie Pie” and the other is of Sylvester hiding “Tweetie Pie” behind his back. Although Sylvester is often portrayed as the loser in his confrontation with Tweetie, he looks like he has got the better of the little bird this time. 144229/NX4229 has wing tip tanks and smoke generators fitted under the wing. The deep blue overall colour has red lightning flashes on the nose and the wing tip fuel tanks. The decals are printed by Aviprint and look very good. All the stripes, lightning flashes, markings and numbers are included. Each decal is numbered so there should be no excuses for miss placing them.
The instructions look straightforward enough. The diagrams are well drawn and the painting instructions provide four view drawings.
This is a not a bad kit at all from Special Hobby. It captures the looks of the little Pinto very well. Some of the parts are very simplified, but there is the basis of a good kit here. It’s a great candidate for a weekend kit.