MPM Ryan PT-20 Trainer

1/72 scale

Decals: Three versions – One for U.S. Army Air Corps, and two for the Dutch East Indies

Cost: $22.00

 History

The PT-20 was one of a series of trainers produced by the Ryan Aeronautical Company under contract to the U.S. Army during the 1930’s.  The need for standard all-metal low wing monoplane trainers led the U.S. Government to contract out to several companies, including Ryan.

The PT-20 is one of many limited run injection molded kits produced by MPM that fills a missing niche in 1/72 scale offerings.  This kit is fairly detailed for its scale, featuring engraved panel lines, raised detail on the twin instrument panels, and a choice of floats or fixed landing gear.  There are no resin or photo-etched parts, so it appears the real time on this kit will be spent painting it and cementing on support wires, which are not included.

The engraved detail on the spats for the fixed landing gear is definitely part of the kit’s charm, and the decals provide a choice between U.S. Army Air Corps or Dutch East Indies Air Force.  MPM’s decals appear to be of high quality, having color that rings true and markings that are completely in register.  Best of all, they have not used the “crutch” of giving you a decal for the instrument panels in lieu of providing a measure of injection molded detail, which is often done in this scale.

This kit is a great offering of an important trainer, and the only one the author is aware of in 1/72 scale, the only other kit being the Testor’s (formerly Hawk) kit in 1/48 scale.  It is a bit pricey, but the cost is not unreasonable given that it is a limited run kit with sporadic availability.  My only critique of the kit is its propeller, which looks a bit wide for the scale.  It may be best to replace it with a comparable propeller for this type from Aeroclub.  Definitely recommended.

A “yellow wing” U.S. Army Air Corps version appears at left; at right are the paint scheme and markings for a wartime PT-20 belonging to the Air Force of the Dutch East Indies.

 

The third decal option is for a floatplane version, also in Dutch East Indies service, circa 1940.

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