Testors’ “Ryan Aeronautical PT-20” Model Kit

The box for Testor's Ryan PT-20 Trainer model.

The box for Testors’ Ryan PT-20 Trainer model.

When I first saw photos of Harrison Ford’s crashed airplane in Los Angeles, I thought, “That plane looks familiar”. It turns out that Ford’s World War II-era Ryan ST3KR Trainer is a revision of the Ryan PT-20, which I made a model kit of when I was a teenager. The old Ryan Trainers are beautiful airplanes, with gently sloping lines that give it a wonderful, art-deco’esque, silhouette. When I was younger, this was one of my favorite builds, so I set out to see do it again.

The completed Ryan PT-22A Trainer.

The completed Ryan PT-22A Trainer.

The kit comes with the parts and decals to build either the standard U.S. Army Air Corp PT-20/22 Trainer, or as the Netherlands Navy ST-3S Seaplane Trainer. I remember being intimidated with the work needed to make a realistic-looking water display base for the seaplane version. After a little research, it turns out that the Netherlands order was cancelled, and the ST-3S’s were completed for the USAAC as the PT-22A. Given my experiences painting the Mr. Spock model, I decided to build this kit out as the PT-22A.

Top-front view of the Ryan PT-22S.

Top-front view of the Ryan PT-22S.

The kit itself is fairly simple, less than 50 pieces. It’s a 1:48 scale model. Some of the pieces are small, so you’ll need patience and tweezers. The plastic is molded nicely, without much excess to trim back. The decals are top notch and cut close to fit very well in most tight spots on the model. The only exception are the tail/rudder decals, which have to fit over curved surfaces and raised details. A little Decal Bonder helps, but it is difficult to get things aligned and setting perfectly right.

Right-front of the Ryan PT-22S.

Right-front of the Ryan PT-22S.

The pilot figures have nice detailing. The entire plane does, especially considering it is only about 7×5. Although the pieces are small, once you have it all together, the Ryan model is actually quite sturdy. Testors has done a really good job with this kit, kudos. Paints for the plane itself are pretty simple. I went with Testors basic Silver spray paint for the body and pontoons. For the wings and rudder, Tamiya’s Camel Yellow, followed by a couple of coatings of Testors Gloss Enamel.

Front view of the water base for the Ryan PT-22S model.

Front view of the water base for the Ryan PT-22S model.

The water base was certainly more difficult to paint than the plane was, but not nearly as hard as I worried it might be. The base coat is Tamiya’s Brilliant Blue. That gives it a nice, “hey, we’re here learning to fly in Hawaii, or Lake Tahoe… Lake Superior on a crystal-clear summer day!” look. Once that was dry, I picked up a paint brush and added Testors Gloss Dark Blue at the bottom of the troughs in the waves. Then, I added Testors Gloss Blue to the bottom half one of the wakes. Using a light amount of thinner, brush up-and-down where the base color and the Gloss Blue meet to blend them. For the top of the wake, I went with Testors Gloss Light Blue, and used the same thinner-technique to blend where the colors met. Repeat the process for each wake, and propeller-wash. Lastly, some Testors Gloss White at the tops of the wakes and propeller wash.

Rear view of the water base for the Ryan PT-22S model.

Rear view of the water base for the Ryan PT-22S model.

The last step was a couple of coats of Tamiya’s Semi-Gloss Enamel. With all of the gloss paints, the Semi-Gloss Enamel would maintain just enough ‘water shine’ effect. Going gloss-on-gloss, for water, always looks too waxy for me. Testors Ryan PT-20 model kit was a lot of fun to build, and I’m really happy with how it came out. It allowed me to continue to stretch my painting skills, while adding a beloved aircraft to my model collection.

Testors Ryan PT-20 Trainer Model Kit1

Pros:

  • Straight-forward built, that’s nicely detailed and well molded.
  • Extremely inexpensive. I got mine for $9 + shipping.
  • Great looking model.

Cons:

  • Tail decals are tough to get sit just right.

Verdict = Recommended.


References   [ + ]

1.Amazon Referral Link

Mike Knotts

Mike Knotts was born in 1968 in a small town in southern Indiana. Even when very young, Mike showed a love for all-things technical and sci-fi. Moving with his family to California in the early 80’s, he eventually graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in History. Rather than put that to good use, Mike continued to pursue his passion for technology by working for early, regional ISP’s in the mid 1990’s. He currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, where he works as a project manager for an Internet startup. Mike is a co-founder of Geekometry.

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