|KIT:||Sword 1/72 P-66 Vanguard|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run with etched metal, resin and vac parts.|
Developed in 1938 around the R-1830 twin row radial, the Vultee Vanguard was designed to be a relatively inexpensive fighter aircraft for export. Sweden ordered 143 aircraft, but the war embargo negated any delivery possibilities. This then earmarked the planes for delivery to Britain under Lend-Lease. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the USAAC took over the aircraft and designated them P-66. The vast majority of these planes (129) were then sent off to China. The aircraft were assembled in India and then flown over the 'hump' to China. However, things don't move quickly in this part of the world and by the end of 1944 only 82 had actually been delivered.
The CAF found them to be quite useful as interceptors as they were more than fast enough to catch Japanese bomber. However, they were not very good dog-fighters, which limited their use. By later in the war, the P-40 became available and they replaced what P-66s were still around. In the US, a few were used as fighter trainers and station hacks.
This is only the second kit produced by Sword and overall it is a good short run kit. Detail is engraved and rather well done. Resin supplies the cockpit and aft portion of the engine, while etched metal is used for the gear doors, instrument panel and a few other miscellaneous bits and pieces. Two nicely done vacuformed canopies are also provided. My kit was missing one of the resin interior side walls. I've requested a replacement, and much to my delight, Sword not only replaced the missing part, but sent me an entire new kit. Thanks very much for such sterling service.
The kit seems to be very straight-forward with few surprises in store for the builder. There are no optional parts, but the builder could easily cut one of the canopies into the open position. As with many short run kits, this one has a separate hub and prop blades. If I knew what kind of propeller it was, I'd look for a replacement. I searched my spares bin, but none of them were the right type or shape. Looks like a Hamilton Standard, judging from the hub design.
Instructions are well done with ten nicely drawn construction steps. No color information is provided for the build sequence so one has to guess at what the interior is painted. Markings are for three aircraft. One is a British version in US equivalent Dark Earth, Dark Green and Sky. Next is a US aircraft in Olive Drab over Neutral Grey. The Chinese plane is in Dark Green over Light Blue. For the camouflage colors, there are FS 595 references provided. Decals are by Propagteam and are superbly printed. They are also quite thin and much care needs to be taken when using them.
Overall, it looks like a nice kit. I've seen it built up and it does make into a super little model. Now, if only Sword will send my replacement interior bit, I can actually build this one!
Kit courtesy of me.
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