1/72 Academy PBY-5 Catalina

by Alan Sannazzaro



Here is an aircraft that I have admired for some time. I have always wanted to have a Catalina in my collection, and with the Academy kit being such an attractive looking kit I just couldn't resist.

The Academy kitset was a real pleasure to put together, everything fitted perfectly, so minimal filling was required. The only let down of the whole build was inside the cockpit. The problem I found was the seats were so far from the instrument panel they looked completely unrealistic. A little shuffling around in the cockpit quickly fixed this problem. I guess the good thing about the Catalina is, once the canopy is on you can't see much in there. I did however make some seatbelts for the seats. I was surprised at how easily the wing was to attach, and get on straight. The wing struts were perfect length and fitted well. Rubber tires for the beaching gear were provided with the kitset which fit well.

Click on images below to see larger images




The markings I have chosen to use were selected from the Squadron book 'walkaround Catalina'. This book has some very good reference material which helped me throughout the build. In this book there is both a colour profile view and a very nice colour photograph of the aircraft I modeled parked on the hardstand along with a lot of other Catalinas. I did not use custom decals on the model, but instead  made my own masks and painted on the markings which came up to good effect. The American stars and bars were from my spare decals box and went on quite well.  

Weathering the Catalina was quite fun. After decaling the model I lightly sprayed the leading edges and all forward facing surfaces with a light grey colour. Some rust was applied to the model in suitable areas, and I sprayed the exhaust stains with enamels. A light grey wash was applied to the model, and  to finish off I added a waterline using pastels. Finally a clear varnish was applied to seal it all in.

This model was very enjoyable to build,  and I have bought another to build which I will do in RNZAF markings. I can recommend this kit as suitable for any skill level.


Hope you enjoy it.


Photos and text by Alan Sannazzaro