|KIT:||Pro Resin 1/72 Curtiss F6C-4 'Hawk'|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin with photo etch bits|
Probably one of the most widely developed designs in aviation history is the Curtiss Hawk biplane. When the Navy began to favor the new 400 hp+ air cooled radial engines for its fleet based aircraft, it sent the first F6C-1 back to Curtiss for installation of the Navy-sponsored Pratt and Whitney R-1340 Wasp engine. This was a nine-cylinder air-cooled engine that delivered 425 hp at 1,900 rpm. The aircraft was then designated the F6C-4.
Flight tests started in August of 1926 and after a satisfactory conclusion, an order for 31 production aircraft was placed. These aircraft were primarily used by the US Marines and operated with squadrons VF-1M, VF-9M and VF-10M. The aircraft were not fitted with Naval arresting gear as at this time, Marine squadrons did not serve aboard aircraft carriers.
Olimp kits come in rather sturdy boxes. Mine was even more protected by having Styrofoam sandwiched inside the box to keep the bits from moving around too much during shipment. Despite all this, a few bits came adrift from the resin pour stubs, but nothing was damaged. The parts are quite well molded and though I saw a few air pockets, they should be easy to fill. The wing leading edge is a bit ragged, but this is probably where it attached to the pour stub. The lower portion of both fuselage halves has a large lip that will need to be sanded down prior to construction. Some other clean-up will be needed as with all resin kits.
The level of detail is quite good as the interior has nicely molded framework. The fabric is also nicely done and if you think it is a bit too pronounced, a simple sanding will cut down on that. I have to say that I'm somewhat concerned that the scale thickness of some parts (like the tail skid) may make the parts a bit too thin to withstand any sort of weight, but we'll just have to see. The engine is made up of separate cylinders and needle-like exhaust. The instructions show this assembled as one of the last steps and that may not be a bad idea. The resin main gear seems as if it will be sturdy enough once it is complete, same with the wing and interplane struts. The lower wings have shallow pegs that fit into holes in the fuselage which should help alignment. Etched brass is used for the instrument panels, rudder pedals, seat belts and gun sight. Acetate is provided for the instruments and windscreen.
A single sheet of folded paper is provided for the instructions. It includes a history section, parts layout and four construction steps. In with these steps and smaller alignment drawings to help with construction. Color information is provided during construction. References for color are by Humbrol, Model Master, Revell and generic name. A rigging diagram is also provided.
The instructions show the interior as being Aircraft Grey, but I believe they were probably silver. Markings for one aircraft from VF-9M are provided. The decals are well printed and quite matte. The subject is basically silver with aluminum forward section. The sheet implies that the upper and lower surface for both wings was yellow, but I don't think this is correct. I'd go with silver for the underside and I'm not really sure just what color the upper side of the lower wing would be, but I'd bet on silver for that as well as silver was the standard airframe color until around 1931. The box art shows these as the colors. It also shows the upper surface of the horizontal stabs as yellow and I think this is correct as well.
I think it is great that Olimp/ProResin are covering these myriad types of Curtiss "Hawk" biplane. They were all an important part of the early years of both Navy and Army aviation and should make into some superb models when done. Because of the small parts, I'd recommend a few simpler resin kits before tackling one of these.
My thanks to for the review kit.
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