Matchbox 1/72 P-12E
I paid $3.00
Scott Van Aken
P-12s were flown by the 17th Pursuit Group
(34th, 73rd, and 95th Pursuit Squadrons) at March Field, California, and
the 20th Pursuit Group (55th, 77th and 79th Pursuit Squadrons) at
Barksdale Field, Louisiana. Older P-12s were used by groups overseas:
the 4th Composite Group (3rd Pursuit Squadron) in the Philippines, the
16th Pursuit Group (24th, 29th, 74th, and 79th Pursuit Squadrons) in the
Canal Zone, and the 18th Pursuit Group (6th and 19th Pursuit Squadrons)
The P-12 remained in service with first-line
pursuit groups until replaced by Boeing P-26s in 1934–1935. Survivors
were relegated to training duties until 1941, when most were grounded
and assigned to mechanic's schools. A total of 110 P-12Es were built.
when Matchbox was a going concern, they, along with Frog were one of my
favorite model companies. Not particularly because of their subjects, but
because they offered multiple markings options, sometimes with what I then
thought were 'exotic' air arms. Matchbox kits had an edge on Frog in that
their kits were generally very easy to build. The engineering was such that
parts lined up and while sometimes the bits were a touch flimsy (the Mirage
III landing gear come to mind), they were generally quite rugged.
The P-12 was the third kit produced by Matchbox after the Hawker Fury and
Supermarine Spitfire. The company went on to produce a number of most
welcome 1930's biplanes, some of which have never been reproduced by other
Typical of their kits, this one is in multiple colored plastic with
generally, the fuselage bits in brown and the wings in yellow. This is, of
course, to help in painting. The P-12 has no real cockpit as one is supposed
to firmly plant the pilot into the L shaped seat and that fills the cockpit
opening. There is a nicely molded engine and a two piece cowling to go
The flying surfaces are a single mold with the usual 'hills and valleys'
wing fabric. The tail sections were corrugated metal aside from the flight
control surfaces. The lower and upper wing are a single piece. Both of these
items have a gian sink mark in them. The lower one will be covered up and
you are not supposed to look at the underside of the upper wing so many will
want to break out the filler for this one.
Landing gear legs, interplane struts and wing struts are nice and beefy with
the interplane struts fitting snugly into the upper fuselage. About the only
'options', which aren't optional as the holes are already drilled for them,
are a pair of light bombs and racks for the underside of the wing and a long
range fuel tank for the fuselage center section.
also a somewhat thick windscreen.
Instructions are the usual fold out type used by Matchbox on their series 1
kits. All the color information is provided on the ends of the box bottom.
There are markings for two planes, both with OD fuselage and yellow flight
surfaces. One is from the 95th Attack Squadron based at March AFB and the
other is with the 27th Pursuit Squadron. The decal sheet does not include
all the various stripes and flashes, those needing painted in place, but
does include the rudder stripes for both options and the upper wing chevron
for the 27th PS aircraft. No rigging diagram is provided, but you can figure
is what from the nicely done box art. The decals are probably useless
after all these years, but Starfighter Decals has produced several sheets
for this kit so you have a lot of options.
Your editor built this kit back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and it still
looks nice after over 30 years on various shelves.
So it isn't a new kit and it isn't up to modern
standards. So what. The kit is accurate, if lacking in tiny detail parts, it is
easy to build and it is not difficult to find. It is also relatively inexpensive
so when you do find it, you won't have to take out a bank loan to buy it. If you
find one, pick it up and spend some quality time building what is still a very
nice little kit.
Copyright ModelingMadness.com October 2015
My thanks to me for the
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