KIT:

Special Hobby 1/72 A-35 Vengeance

KIT #

72040

PRICE:

$

DECALS:

Three aircraft

REVIEWER:

Scott Van Aken

NOTES:

Short run with resin, etched and vac bits

HISTORY

 

The Vultee A-35B was an improved version of the A-35A. While the A-35A's were being built, Vultee engineers continued refining the design and beginning with the 100th aircraft incorporated a few major changes. The Wright "Cyclone" radial engine was upgraded to a more powerful version resulting in a gain of 100 horsepower. The fixed machine gun armament in the wings was upgraded from four to six .50-cal. machine guns also.

The A-35 (both -A & -B models) had a modified wing incidence to improve visibility during takeoffs, landings and in normal cruise. The original design called for a 0 incidence to improve dive bombing performance at steep attacking angles. This however required the aircraft to be flown in a slightly nose high attitude during normal flight thus restricting the pilot's forward visibility. The Air Corps required a change to 4 incidence which eased the visibility problem, but created a problem with steep angle dive bombing attacks. This in turn meant the aircraft had to attack at shallower angles making the aircraft more vulnerable to antiaircraft fire in combat.

Because of production delays and the Army's resistance to dive bombers in general - the twin engine light attack bomber was the weapon of choice - the A-35 was relegated to secondary roles like training and target tug duty. Most of the A-35s were exported for use by British Commonwealth countries which used the Model 72, A-31 and A-35 "Vengeance" dive bombers with some success.

Thanks to the USAF Museum for the short history.

 

THE KIT

Slowly but surely, MPM is improving its kits. One of these days, they'll be able to match the works of the biggies such as Tamiya, Revell, et al. What that will mean to us is no more resin or etched metal or vac bits to build a kit. Meanwhile, we now have a really nice Vengeance kit so you can stash your Frog kit in the 'collectors' pile or put it on the sale table. This is actually the second boxing of this kit as Azur or MPM also did a Vengeance kit. What's the difference? Well, if you look at the sprues, you'll see two different cowling fronts as well as parts for a target tug (which is not an option in this kit). To my understanding, the other boxing includes British and Aussie aircraft.

Now as to the kit itself. It is your typical MPM product of late. Superb exterior engraving, little in the way of flash, sink areas or ejector pin marks. Two vac canopies are provided (thank you), as is a small etched metal fret (which consists of small metal vents to go on the outside of the cowling). There is quite a bit of resin and just about all of it is for the cockpit. There is a resin engine and some intakes and gear well fairings included as well. I didn't open mine for fear of losing the inevitable bits that may have come adrift in the bag. I should also point out that MPM continues to provide a resin prop hub and separate injected blades. I personally hate this and wish the prop was all one piece and either all resin or all injected plastic. Heck, if nothing else, contract to Aeroclub to make a metal one!

Instructions are typically superb with Humbrol color references given. Any modifications or options are provided where appropriate. I'd have to say that MPMs instructions are among the best there are. Decals are superbly printed and are undoubtedly by Propagteam. Three aircraft are provided. First is an A-35A from what seems to be a training squadron around 1943. It is the standard OD over Neutral Grey with Medium Green splotches along the edges of the flying surfaces. Next is a Brazilian A-35 based in Brazil during 1943. It is in "Green and Pale Stone over Light Gray". Sounds like one of the planes made for the UK that were not accepted and turned over to the Brazilians, so those would be RAF colors done with US equivalent paints. Finally, an A-35A used as a test aircraft at "Patterson Base". It is in a similar scheme to the first plane, but has a white forward cowling and a rather neat wheel cover design. The first and third plane are shown in the reference.

For those who have the decals and want to do an Aussie bird, the differences are the two small intake nose cowl, and shorter exhaust for the major external clues.

CONCLUSIONS

Here is yet another semi-obscure aircraft produced for us by the MPM folks. Personally, I'm grateful to them for having the foresight to produce these types. The kit shouldn't be that difficult to build, especially if you've just finished a French short run kit!

REFERENCE

Vultee Aircraft 1932-1947, by Jonathan Thompson, 1992 ISBN 0-913322-02-4

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