Back in the day, the late, great Aurora
kitted this TEMCO TT-1 Jet Trainer
model. It was Kit No. 139
. The "-98" after the kit number was the MSRP of 98¢, for which modelers got a vivid jet trainer that was easy to build.
This kit is an odd scale of 1/42. (Yes, I did choose 1/43 in the review format. 1/42 is not available.) Those of you familiar with Aurora models remember that while they scaled many of their Famous Fighters kits to 1/48, they also had scales all around the chart. While that was probably due to the "box scale" mentality of the day, this model's scale may be because it is not an Aurora original. It was designed and tooled by model pioneer Strombecker, whose molded Aurora bought.
"Temco" or "TEMCO"? I am using the acronym "TEMCO," as Texas Engineering and Manufacturing Company used in their company brochure, which you can view at Click here for additional images for this review
, at the end of this review. The TEMCO TT-1 Pinto started out as the TEMCO Model 51. They built 15 but the design lost out to another jet trainer. Even after its rejection by America, TT-1 became the basis of a COIN design sold to the Philippines, the T-610 "Super Pinto." Whether it was a T-610 or modified TT-1, there was a privately owned Pinto flying a few years ago; I added a link to it in the summary box, below.
I like Aurora's history of the jet:
Interesting Facts About The U. S. Navy TT-1
Primary Jet Trainer Temco TT-1
Purchased by the U. S. Navy, the Temco TT-1 primary jet trainer introduces a completely new trend in military aviation training. In order to acquaint the student with the problem of jet flying, the Temco combines an unusually high subsonic dive speed with a stall speed low enough for his first solo flight. This jet trainer is designed closely along the lines of high performance jet fighter aircraft so as to condition the student's reflexes with jet piloting from the very beginning of his training. Possession of an excellent rate-of-climb, high speed and service ceiling contribute to the TT-l's effectiveness in fulfilling the primary training mission.
The Temco Trainer's excellent directional stability during take-off and landing and response to controls in stalls, spins and formation flying, all aid the student to complete successfully his training in the shortest possible time.
The design and structural integrity of the jet trainer permit the student to make almost any type of flying error in regard to speed or attitude without risk of damaging the aircraft. Throughout the entire Temco TT-1, safety has been "built-in." Ruggedly built to withstand the rough treatment normally imposed on a primary trainer, the TT-l incorporates a widespread landing gear, powerful, yet sensitive brakes, instructor control override, ejection seats, an ultimate load factor of 11.25 g's and speed brake as some of the many "built-in" safety features. Should an accident occur, these features lessen its severity. The Temco TT-l was designed with prime consideration to the high safety standards required by military aviation.
Let's examine this venerable kit today.
In March, 1991, Fine Scale Modeler
featured this model as Number 11 in The Classic Kits
series. I can't say I wanted it ever since but I have looked for the kit now and then.
Opening the box is a treat was the bright yellow plastic excites the eyes. I am surprised by the quality of the molding. It is crisp with no flash, although there are mold seam lines and minor sinks that aren't as bad as contemporary Hasegawa, Monogram, or Revell kits. Ejector marks can be seen, too. Dry-fitting surprised me because the halves mate up tight and true. The clear parts are completely clear and distortion-free. Many parts are surprisingly thin.
Still my beating heart - for a kit tooled in the late 1950s, can you believe it has recessed panel lines! Perhaps understandable for the era, they are pretty wide, much like the Matchbox kits I have from the 1970s.) If I recall correctly, the Aurora 1/48 A-7 Corsair II had deep but wide recessed panel lines, too.) But typical of the state of the hobby, it also has raised rivets, too.
I noticed something interesting about the Aurora model compared to the Strombecker kit. The Strombecker molded the frame of the windscreen as part of the fuselage halves. Aurora's instruction sheet does not show that so I conclude that Aurora modified the molds, putting the frame onto a canopy piece.
There are no moving, a.k.a. "action," features typical of models of the era. Kits were widely considered as toys and for quick builds, rollicking play, and often quick destruction with fireworks.
One other feature of this kit is the clear plastic stand. They fell out of favor decades ago but they do have a certain appeal.
Want to build this kit? Rivet counters need not apply. I have not compared the surface detail nor the contours to a real TT-1. It looks nice enough for me. Not withstanding the previous praise of the surface detail, the cockpit is
what you would expect for the era - almost devoid of any detail. The instrument panel and control consoles jut out of the fuselage interior to be detailed with decals. The pilots are two-pieces each, a left side and a right half, not the front and rear design of Revell and other manufacturers. They are molded with oxygen masks and tubes. They have soft minor detail. They look awful. The two-piece ejection seats are a hair better. But the pilot-seat combos still leave plenty of vacant interior to see through that beautifully clear canopy.
The landing gear looks acceptable. Many parts are surprisingly thin. But like the cockpit, there is no internal detail. The wheels are just disappointing.
Instructions and Decals
Strombecker's decals featured an uncommon amount of stenciling and the Navy and national insignias. But which navy? The stars and bars are filled with red instead of white. Aurora's decal choice is basic. They are thick with excess carrier film, although surprisingly well registered. Too bad they yellowed. Maybe I can revive them by sunning them on a window?
The instruction sheet is well organized and clearly printed in line art and halftone. Typical of Aurora, it has their catalogue on the back. There is no painting guidance even though they hawk their own paints.
This old pony is a neat kit. The Big Bird yellow color is exciting and compliments the surprising surface detail. I am heartened by the good fit. I am disheartened by the dearth of interior detail and the poor representation of the pilots and boom buckets. The decals were lacking for the day. The instruction sheet is pleasing to my nostalgic eyes.
Taken for what this kit is - a late 1950s model - I am very happy to have it and look forward to building it. It was not expensive to acquire and I look forward to adding it to my flightline. Recommended, if you accept the model for what it is.
I don't know how many Pinto models were made other than these two. Both are 1/72.
OLIMP Temco T-610 "Super Pinto"
Special Hobby TT-1 Pinto