|KIT:||Pro Resin 1/72 Boeing F4B-2|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin with photo etch bits|
It may seem odd to some, but in the era between WWI and WWII, Boeing was actually known for producing fine pursuit aircraft. This was all done in-house, not by taking over other companies as is done today. While many of their (and others) projects never reached production status (as much by the lack of available funds as anything else), one that did was the P-12/F4B family.
The P-12 was Boeing's first successful fighter, though in the days of the Great Depression, even a small order for 90 aircraft must have been enough to help keep the company solvent. For power, the P-12B used the 450 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-7 Wasp
The F4B was the naval equivalent of the Army's P-12 and basically had some small modifications made to allow for use on aircraft carriers. The subject of this kit, the F4B-2, was roughly equivalent to the P-12C in terms of the airframe and engine. It had ailerons on the upper wing only and had a Townend Ring covering the outer cylinders. It also had a cross-axle landing gear and larger elevators. The F4B-2 had a tail wheel rather than the skid used by the Army. This was all pulled through the air by a 500 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340. Initially flown without the cowling ring, after a few years in service, this was added. Even later, the larger tail surfaces of the P-12E were retrofitted to extant aircraft. Those with sharp eyes will notice that the P-12 has a tail skid and not the wheel used by the Navy's F4B. From what I can see, the only difference between the P-12B and P-12 D is that the latter aircraft used the braced landing gear similar to the F4B series. The aircraft lasted until replaced by the P-26 and other monoplane fighters.
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. Some other clean-up will be needed as with all resin kits. For those with sharp eyes, I'll admit to using the F4B-2 parts layout. The only difference between the two is that the P-12 kit has the different gear bracing that is shown on the box art and does not have the bomb gear or the tail hook of the F4B-2. Aside from that, the resin is the same. The P-12D landing gear arrangement is also included.
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. As this is the Navy kit, there is a sprue for the arrestor hook, bomb racks and the bombs. Etched brass is used for the instrument panels, rudder pedals, seat belts and gun sight. Acetate (not shown) 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. One thing I wish would be changed is that a color chart in grey shades is provided on the painting diagram. I'd much rather have all the colors clearly identified as I have trouble differentiating between the different shades. Pro Resin does point out the smaller areas and their colors, but I'd like it all to be so identified.
The instructions show the interior as being Aircraft Grey, but I believe they were probably silver. Markings are for two aircraft. One is the box art plane, a P-12B from the 95th PS in 1931 with OD fuselage and yellow wings/tail section. The other is a P-12D from the 34th PS based at March Field in California during 1934. Decals are nicely printed and provide the fuselage stripe for the second option. The cowlings will have to be painted. Interestingly, both the 34th and 95th are still extant. The 34th flies the B-1B and I believe that the 95th is flying the F-15C/D, though they may have transitioned to the F-22.
This is another superb resin kit from ProResin. As the name suggests, there are not for beginners in the genre, but for those experienced, they should make excellent models. 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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