KIT:

Accurate Miniatures 1/48 Gulfhawk II

KIT #

7800

PRICE:

$49.95

DECALS:

One aircraft: NR 1050

REVIEW &
PHOTOS :

Scott Van Aken

NOTES:

Multimedia kit

HISTORY

The Grumman G.22 is something of a hybrid aircraft. It looks very much like an F3F-2 , but isn't. It has the earlier wings of the F2F-1, the fuselage and engine of the XF3F-2 and the taller vertical tail of the F3F-2. Not being a Naval fighter, there is no additional fin area below the tail as on the F3F-2.

Why build such an aircraft? Well, in the 1930s, many of the major oil companies had special planes built. These companies then retained the services of well-known pilots to fly them around the country promoting their products. These planes and pilots would be at air shows and air races. The aircraft were often brightly painted and generally were near the cutting edge of technology. Gulf Oil purchased the only G.22 built and had famous pilot Al Williams fly the aircraft. This aircraft was named Gulfhawk II.  In 1948, twelve years after it first flew, it was donated to the Smithsonian and can be seen today at the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

There were follow-on Gulfhawks. The Gulfhawk III (a G.32A)was basically a two-seat F3F-3, and post war there was an F8F-1 Bearcat (actually a G.58A) that was named Gulfhawk IV. However the days of famous pilots and company-sponsored demonstration aircraft become passÚ and these colorful aircraft were no more.

THE KIT

It would have been unthinkable for Accurate Miniatures not to produce this kit. Especially since they had planned the F3F-1 and -2 kits. It fits very well into their overall scheme of Grumman biplane fighters, allowing them to use many of the parts from the first two kits to make this one. 

It has been marketed as a limited production kit and as such, each kit is serialized. There are only 5,000 copies of this kit being built for the world-wide market. I say only, though in reality, 5,000 kits like this are really quite a lot. Undoubtedly most of them will be grabbed by kit collectors, looking to have them escalate in price so they can later sell them off at a large profit. Perhaps.

So, what is in this kit that lets it command such a high price? I guess it would be the ingredients in the kit as much as anything else. In addition to some sprues from the F3F-1 and F3F-2 kits, it has decals by Aeromaster, acrylic paint by Humbrol, and a bunch of resin parts by Black Box. There is also a couple of frets of etched metal. One for engine ignition harness and a few other bits and one for the rigging (I just noticed this fret is missing from the image of the parts. Sorry. 

The kit is packaged like all AM kits with the decals, instructions, paint, clear bits, and etched metal under a cardboard tray. The rest of the kit is what you see when you open the box. Two of the sprues are from the F3F-1 kit as are the clear bits. The F3F-2 supplies the prop and engine.

You really get a lot of resin, and if you have priced Black box sets, you definitely get your money's worth. To whit: a new upper and lower wing, a new engine cowling, upper forward fuselage deck, lower engine plate and air scoop, forward wheel wells, wheels and a new tail cone. That is a lot of resin. These parts come in a zip lock bag.

The paint is from Humbrol and it really doesn't look like enough to do the plane, but I'm sure it is once you thin it and airbrush it on. For those of you who brush paint, you may not have enough. There is a note in the instructions saying you'll have to lighten it slightly by adding some white. The box does say that it is for experienced modelers only. Reading the box side, one not only realizes that it is multi-media, but multi-national as well!  "Plastic parts made in Korea/resin parts made in USA/decals made in Mexico/packaged in USA/paint made in England.." !

Speaking of decals, they are just what one expects from Aeromaster. Apparently there was a small glitch concerning the instrument panel decal so a new one was added in. It will be interesting to see how well these work over the orange paint scheme. Orange and red are colors that are very brilliant and most white decals cannot handle them without there being any bleed-through.

The instructions are just what one expects from Accurate Miniatures. They are excellent. In fact, what you get is the F3F-1 instruction sheet with a three page addendum. This additional sheet tells you what to add, delete or modify. It goes step by step and is to be read along with the normal building steps. It appears to be very straight-forward so there shouldn't be any problems at all. 

 

CONCLUSIONS

It looks like another superb Accurate Miniatures kit. Maybe a bit more difficult to build than the F3F-1/-2 kits, but that is because of the resin. Unlike several multi-media kits I have built in the past few years, this one looks well engineered and should present no surprises. So is it worth $50 bucks? This is a very subjective point. For many, $50 isn't that much; for me it is. In terms of what you get, it is not out of line with a lot of other kits in this category. True, it does cost nearly as much as the Academy 1/72 KC-97, but then again, it isn't imported by MRC! Fortunately, it is possible to get this kit for less than retail price from a number of places. Were I not able to get it for a healthy discount, I'd have thought twice about it. 

REFERENCES

Grumman Aircraft since 1929, by RenÚ J. Francillon, 1989

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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