Classic Airframes 1/48 Curtiss Hawk III






See review


Tom Cleaver






 Two VF-5B aircraft (BF2C-1); 
one Chinese, one Thai (Hawk III)

Between them, Curtiss and Boeing provided most of the fighters used by the U.S. Navy from the 1920s until the Grumman
F2F/F3F series appeared in 1935. The Curtiss "Hawk" series first began with the P-1 Hawk for the USAAC and the similar F6C-1 for the Navy; all subsequent aircraft shared similar wings and tail surfaces, with engine changes and landing gear changes between the various models.  

At the same time, Curtiss aggressively courted foreign customers, and became a major supplier of Hawks to South American Air Forces and later to China and Thailand.  The only significant combat  use of the Hawk III was in the Far East where  Hawks IIIs opposed the Japanese in the China war.

The final versions of the line of Curtiss Hawk biplane aircraft, ended with the BF2C-1 and the Hawk III.  These aircraft basically differed from the earlier Hawk II by having retractable landing gear and larger engines. The Hawk III (or Model 68) was quite successful for the time, 138 examples being sold. In addition to the countries mentioned above examples were sold to Argentina and Turkey. All these aircraft were sold between the years 1934 and 1936. One of the reasons for the success of the Hawk III was it's wooden wings which did not have the vibration problems associated with the Navy's BF2C-1s.


Both the Hawk IIl and BF2C are similar. The main differences being a two-bladed prop for the Navy fighter and a three-bladed prop for the export version. There were also different engines and cowlings that distinguished the two versions visually.

The injection molded parts are light grey, coming on two sprues - one for wings and tail, one for fuselage, landing gear
and engine. This bodes well that an entire series will show up eventually. The F-11C-2 (Hawk II) and BFC-2 are already
scheduled for release in the next few months, and it is entirely possible that if sales justify it, we will see the Army Hawks -
the P-1 and P-6E. Engine wheel wells and cockpit detail parts are resin, and the retractable landing gear is made of white
metal. The decals are printed by MicroScale, and a very good full color markings and painting guide is provided. There are two vacuformed canopies.

For once - finally!! - someone has gotten the wing shape right. The upper wing comes in two parts, while each lower wing
is one-piece of appropriate thinness, with the correct Clark "Y" airfoil section. The fabric effect is muted and realistic on
both wings and tail surfaces. 

Overall, I think the Hawk III to be one of the best kits yet released by Classic Airframes. It is a very welcome addition to
the ranks of Golden Age aircraft. 



Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947 by Peter M Bowers

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