Azur/FRROM 1/72 PZL P.24B/E "Over Danube"
The PZL P.24 was developed as an export
version of the PZL P.11, a gull-wing all-metal fighter designed by Zygmunt
Puławski. The P.11 was powered with a license-built Bristol Mercury engine.
The license did not permit export sales, so the French Gnome-Rhône company
proposed using their engines in the P.11. The first
prototype, based on the P.11a and powered by a Gnome-Rhône 14Kds 760 hp
(570 kW) engine, was flown in May 1933. The second
prototype, named the "Super P.24", set a world speed record for radial
engine-powered fighters (414 km/h). The third
prototype was the "Super P.24bis" with a more powerful 14Kfs engine. The
type was shown at the Paris air show in 1934 attracting great interest from
The aircraft was conventional in layout, with
high wings. It was all-metal and metal-covered. The wings had a gull-wing
shape, with a thin profile close to the fuselage, to provide a good view for
the pilot. This configuration was developed by Zygmunt Pulawski and called
"the Polish wing". The canopy was closed (apart from prototypes). An
internal 360 liter fuel tank in the fuselage could be dropped in case of
fire emergency. It had conventional fixed landing gear, with a rear skid.
The armament was a combination of 20 mm Oerlikon
FF cannons and 7.92 mm Colt-Browning machine guns in the wings.
The Bulgarian Air Force ordered 14 PZL P.24Bs
in 1937–1938. It later ordered 26 PZL P.24Fs, 22 of which were delivered
from Poland in July 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II.
The remaining four, lacking propellers, were bombed in the Okecie factory in
September 1939 by the Germans.
- P.24A, P.24E and P.24F had two cannons and
two machine guns.
- P.24B, P.24C and P.24G had four machine
The Romanian Air Force already used PZL P.11Fs built under license in the
IAR factory, and decided to acquire the P.24 as well. Romania bought five
P.24Es and a production license, and built 25
aircraft at the IAR factory between 1937 and 1939. Some components of
the P.24E, mainly its tail section, were used in construction of the
Romanian low-wing fighter IAR 80. The fighters were used to guard Bucharest
and the Ploieşti oilfields from Soviet bombers at the start of Operation
Barbarossa. Flying from Otopeni military airbase, the PZL P.24 fighters
managed to shoot down 37 unescorted VVS bombers. The P.24E was also used for
ground attack missions until the end of 1941 and after 1942 it was relegated
to training duties because of its obsolescence.
have been several P.24 kits in 1/72 from a variety of manufacturers in both
injected plastic, resin and vacuformed plastic. Your editor built one of
20 or more years ago that was rather crude, to say the least.
This particular kit puts all previous efforts to shame. The kit is superbly
molded by our friends at MPM as part of their Azur series and allows the
builder to complete either a P.24B or a P.24E. The major difference in these
two is the shape of the cowling as both are powered by two row Gnome-Rhone
14 cylinder radials. This was an extremely
French engine of the time and powered a staggering number of aircraft,
including several wartime German planes such as the Hs-129.
The kit comes on two grey injected sprues with a clear sprue for the
one-piece canopy. There are also two vacuform canopies for those who want to
cut the canopy open. Several resin sprues contain exhaust, oil coolant
radiators, engine gearbox hub, machine guns, shell ejector chutes and some
other very small items. The etched fret includes the straps that go over the
radiators, trim tabs, control hinges, seat harness, rudder pedals, and
a few other detail items.
Since there are two variants offered in the kit, the differences between
those two have been taken into account. The B version will have the shorter,
more rounded cowling, wheel pants, three bladed prop and the added shields
to the back of the exhaust. For the spatted gear, only lower wheel bits are
provided and can be added late in the build if one wishes. There are
armament differences as well so you really need to choose the variant you
will be building early in the construction process.
A few things I noticed. One is that there are ejector towers on all the
large pieces. This means the inside of the fuselage and the inside of the
upper and lower wing halves so you will need to remove those. I was also
impressed at how well the corrugated surfaces were done. Thankfully,
do not extend over the wing leading edges. I also noticed that there are no
pushrods on the engine, nor do the instructions show these needing to be
added. It will add a lot to the engine if these are added; at least to the
front row, but it is your choice. This would have been a nice p.e. or resin
Instructions are very well done with several detail drawings to show
alignment. Any modification needed
is clearly shown as are any optional bits. The gear legs will require some
rigging so be aware of that need. The markings are provided for three
aircraft. One is a pre-war Bugarian AF version with a large red speed stripe
and cowling in Dark Green over Light Blue. The two Romanian versions are
quite similar in Dark Green and Dark Earth over Light Blue. These both carry
Eastern Front markings consisting of a yellow fuselage band, lower wing tips
and cowling. The big difference is the style of insignia. The decals are
superbly printed; very crisp and in register.
If you are a fan of these aircraft or just want a
nicely done kit of a semi-obscure central European air force, then I can easily
recommend this one to you.
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