Pavla 1/72 Curtiss AT-9 'Jeep'

KIT #: ?
PRICE: $18.95
DECALS: Three Options
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Short run injected plastic kit with brass etch and resin detail parts

HISTORY

In 1940 the USAAC knew that it was essential to begin preparation for the very real possibility that the USA might become ‘involved’ in WWII. As a part of this general thinking the USAAC had already begun evaluation of the Cessna Model T-50 as an ‘off-the-shelf’ twin engined trainer. For the more specific transition to the high-performance type twin-engined bombers and for the advanced training of crews for the B-25 and B-26 bombers, the USAAC and its successor, the US Army Air Forces considered that something less stable than the AT-8 was needed and anticipated the request. So came the evolvement of the CW-25. This had the take-off and landing characteristics of a light bomber.

The C-25 was a cantilever low-wing monoplane with tail wheel landing gear, full metal construction, two-seater, and driven by two Lycoming R-680-9 radial engines. These had the metal two-blade automatically variable pitch Hamilton Standard propellers. The aircraft also had a retractable landing gear and wing flaps. A total of 491 pieces of the AT-9 with the name Jeep were built as well as the other 300 pieces of AT-9A with R-680-11 improved engines and revised landing gear retraction hydraulics.

The aircraft remained in use for comparatively short time, for the USA involvement in WWII resulted in the early development of a more effective training aircraft.

THE KIT

The Curtiss Jeep comes in a soft cardboard box with a side view colour painting on the top cover. Upon opening you will find a plastic fret of a short run material with 33 grey plastic pieces, two clearly moulded vac canopies with one being spare, resin detail parts for the 2 two- bladed propellers, two 9 cylinder radial engines and instrument panel. There is also a metal fret which contains tiny items like seat belts, instrument panel with cut dial gauges, two control steering wheels, antenna, foot step sticks, etc which will add a lot of authenticity to the cockpit interior that can be easily visible from the clear canopy.

The 8-page instruction sheet is clearly printed and very easy to follow. Apart from the aircraft history there are two pages dedicated to painting and decal emplacement. These cover two overall metal finish aircraft and another one in olive drab and neutral grey. Decals to propeller blades also included. In general this makes into a handsome kit and the only care needed is when separating the pieces from the runner as the attachment points are thick.

CONSTRUCTION

Once the parts are carefully separated from the sprue with an X-acto knife the attachment area is carefully shaped and smoothened with a smooth file. The undercarriage struts require opening by carefully sawing and then cleaning the slot like opening with a small flat narrow file. The kit provides resin single blades or plastic ones. The resin ones are more of the true shape. The metal etch parts decorate the cockpit interior nicely especially the delicately produced steering wheels, boarding steps, door handles. I noticed that the central console required to be fixed nearer to the two crew seats in order to allow the instrument panel to fit at its intended place. I also removed 1mm from the side of the cockpit floor and from the side of the rear bulk head in order to fit correctly inside the fuselage.

There are also navigation lights to fit under the fuselage. Other detail parts are added to the kit as the assembly goes on which includes control links for the ailerons, torsion links for the wheel legs and aerials for the cabin roof. There was little need for filler at the fuselage centreline and a small amount was needed at the roots of butt jointed wing and tail planes. When it came to fitting the engines, the engine cowling two peace fronts are first glued, then the trimmed resin radial engine is pushed through so that the prop shaft hole just protrudes from the cowling.

COLORS & MARKINGS

I painted my model in Tamiya enamel Olive drab top and neutral grey under surfaces. I gave this an overall coat of Johnson’s Klear and then placed the decals on. The complete model was allowed to set and afterwards was given an overall coat of semi matt Model Master clear Varnish.

CONCLUSIONS

This was a straight forward build and ideal for anyone who has never tried their hands on short run kits. I recommend this kit to those keen on WWII Allied aircraft as the Jeep was much in use to train twin engine bomber crew until more modern trainers came into service.

Carmel J. Attard

May 2009

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