Accurate Miniatures 1/72 P-6E & F4B-4
|KIT:||Accurate Miniatures 1/72 P-6E & F4B-4|
|PRICE:||$22.00 MSRP ($16.45 at GreatModels)|
|DECALS:||One option each|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Reboxed Monogram kits|
The 1920s and 1930s were slim times in the US for the armed services. The country was fed up with war after their short involvement in WWI and quickly disarmed down to a bare bones military. Few new weapons were purchased and both the Army and Navy were constantly vying for what little funding was available. Needless to say, aviation was not high on the 'must have' list, but it was realized that there had to be some growth to at least try to keep pace with the Europeans.
Most designs were little more than improved versions of what was used in WWI. Engine became more powerful and some metal was used in airframe construction, but any WWI veteran would immediately recognize and probably be able to fly the pursuit aircraft of the late 1920s.
Curtiss seemed to hold favor with the Army while Boeing was able to make major gains in Naval aircraft. The Curtiss P-6E Hawk was probably the most built Army fighter of its time with its Conqueror liquid cooled engine, the first decent power plant to be developed after years of Liberty engine use. It provided a nimble if under-gunned fighter that was able to put up a pretense of air defense. On the Navy side, the Boeing F4B-4, a basically navalized P-12E (another popular Army fighter of the time), kept its air cooled radial engine as most appropriate for use when flying over the seas. it was also nimble and under-gunned, but was adequate for the air defense of the fleet and allowed an experienced cadre of pilots who, like their Army compatriots, would develop tactics and provide leadership in the war to come.
Accurate Miniatures has been doing what it can to keep its brand alive and that seems to be reboxing kits from other companies. Currently AM has been working with older Monogram molds as these two kits have been around since the 1960s, along with several others that have been released. A wise choice on their part as these are in their 'EZ build' line of kits. Those old Monogram biplanes are easy to build. They are superbly engineered with cabane struts molded to the fuselage halves and though the cockpit is void of any detail, it is easily filled with the included pilot.
The two kits are molded in medium grey plastic and the molds have held up well. One can easily see the outline of the 'claws' molded on the spats of the P-6E and are great help when it comes to painting that area. The F4B-4 has more flash on it than the P-6E, but even it isn't a major deal and can be easily cleaned up. The kits even come with the small conical stands with 'Monogram' proudly printed on them.
Instructions are near copies of the originals with some updates such as including the word 'acrylic' when mentioning available paints. No rigging diagram is provided so you need to check reference books for that information. Fortunately, these single bay biplanes are fairly easy to rig. No FS numbers or paint references beyond 'brown', 'yellow', and so on are provided in the instructions. However, there are Model Master colors for some of the paints on the box side. The decals are printed by Cartograf and nicely done. My copy had two of the insignia centers off register and I'll have to say that I think the reds are too dark, but that is just me. These markings for the P-6E are the same as what Monogram provided 40 years or so back. The F4B-4, however, seems to have different markings from the original. Decals should work well, though Cartograf decals have a history of being pretty resistant to standard setting solutions and you'll need to have them snuggle down on the tail corrugations of the F4B-4. Fortunately for us, Starfighter decals has optional markings for these kits as well as a resin cockpit for the F4B-4.
As a final note, AM has included a nice cardboard base for the two. One flight deck for the Boeing and a PSP section for the Hawk. Of course, PSP wasn't around in the 20s, but so what. It also helps to fill what is a greatly oversized box for two very small kits.
So there you have it. What used to be $.85 each is now $22 for the pair. This isn't exactly cheap, but one does get fresh decals out of it. This set allows many enjoy some of the great kits many of us build when we were much younger. For those who don't want to fork out the funds, the Monogram boxings, old as they are, can still be found for $5 each or less at swap meets. Perhaps that is why I still see quite a few of these still on store shelves.
You can find this and other fine kits and accessories at www.greatmodels.com. Visit them today and get your kits on discount.
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