|KIT:||Mirage 1/48 PZL P.24A/C|
|PRICE:||$24.98 (22.46 at Squadron)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Multi media kit with resin and photo-etched parts|
The PZL series of fighters was a huge success for the Polish aviation industry in the late 1930s. With the P.7a and P.11c in service with the Poles and the P.11 exported to some other countries, an improved version, the P.24 was developed with a more powerful engine and the ability to be armed with 20mm cannon, one of the earliest planes to be so equipped.
Several countries were quite impressed with this new fighter and in 1936, orders started coming in from countries like Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. Thanks to the similarity of this and the P.11 it was possible to start production immediately with the first production P.24 flying in August 1936, 5 months after the first order.
The P.24A/C were the first ordered with 40 going to Turkey. They differed only in wing armament with 14 A versions having 2 20mm cannon and the other 26 being C models with 4 machine guns. Turkey also purchased a license to build 20 additional aircraft. KTF in Turkey produced the license built planes during the period 1937 to 1939 with 6 P.24A, 11 P.24C and five P.24G being produced. In all, Turkey used a total of 64 aircraft, with some used in training schools between 1940-43. By 1945, the last had been withdrawn from service. Fortunately, at least one still survives in the Turkish museum in Istanbul. KTF built P.24s can be discerned from the PZL aircraft by having six openings in the engine cowling.
As the airframes are so similar, there is little real difference in the sprues for this aircraft as compared to the other boxings. The moldings are very well done and there are both resin (boxed in yellow in the image) and photoetch parts (to the right) included in the kit. Probably the largest difference would be in the cowling area as the Turkish P.24A/C did not use a spinner on the prop. There is also a lower carb intake to fit to the cowling.
Overall detailing is excellent with enough bits and pieces to do either the A or C version. As with the previous PZL aircraft, one has to do a bit of sprue stretching and a bit of carving to complete the kit. There are optional bits that allow the cannon or machine guns to be used for wing armament as well as different engine fronts as the kit instructions show different ones for the A or C model. I'm thinking it may be that this is actually the difference between PZL and KTF built planes. You can also choose to leave off the wheel pants if that is your desire. It also seems as if the canopy is a tad bit different in terms of being able to have side panels or not.
The instructions are very well done with 9 major construction steps, many having smaller addendum sections to help with some of the more intricate parts of the model. It very much seems to me that Mirage wants us to have the most accurate model available and goes to great lengths to help us. Color information is typical of Mirage sheets with generic, Humbrol and Vallejo references. I find it quite interesting to note that the instructions highly recommend using setting solutions to be sure that the decals snuggle down properly! Markings are for two similar aircraft in overall aluminum paint with red rudders. The A version has a black cowling. Decals are very well done and quite glossy. A separate placement guide is provided for the data markings for each aircraft.
As I have built the P.11c earlier, and from the comments of other modelers, you can be sure that this is a really fine kit. It is quite detailed and the requirement to make a few bits may put a some off, but careful construction will result in a superlative little model of one of the more interesting and important aircraft of the 1930's.
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