RS Models 1/72 NAA-64 P-2
|PRICE:||$25.00 or so|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The North American NA-64 (NA-64 P-2 or NAA-64 P-2 in French service, Yale in Canadian service) is a low-wing single piston engine monoplane advanced trainer aircraft that was built for the French Air Force and French Navy, served with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and with the Luftwaffe as a captured aircraft during World War II.
The NA-64 P-2 was built for the French Armée de l'Air and Aéronavale in 1939–1940, which ordered 200 and 30 respectively. Of these, 111 had been delivered before France surrendered to the Germans after the Battle of France. In France, the NA-64, like the NA-57 before it, was known as the North, and was designated as NAA-64 P-2 (abbreviated from North American Aviation modèle 64 perfectionnement, 2 places (North American Aviation model 64 advanced trainer, 2 seats)) but were sometimes attached to reconnaissance units. A small number escaped the Germans to be used by the Vichy French Air Force. Two examples in North Africa survived into the postwar years, having been operated alongside NA-57s, the last only being retired in 1949.
The NAA-64s captured from the French were used by the German Luftwaffe for all types of flight training, from basic flying to advanced fighter tactics. Dive bomber schools and target tug units and even combat squadrons all used the NAA-64, as they were designated by the Luftwaffe, from the tail markings of the French examples. At least one was used by the Zirkus Rosarius to familiarize German aircrew with the handling of American aircraft before they evaluated captured aircraft.
Prior to this kit, the very similar N.A. 57 was kitted by Azur. The main visual difference between this kit and the earlier Azur one is the shape of the rudder, which on the N.A. 64 is more like that on the later T-6/SNJ. The kit is molded in the sort of brownish plastic that seems to be typical of RS. You are provided with two different shape instrument panels and have the option of a decal if you want to use it. The rather complex interior framework is nicely done and into this one places the rudder pedals, seats and control sticks along with the aforementioned instrument panel assemblies. Once done, the interior and a forward bulkhead and attached to one fuselage half and the halves closed.
The next major work involves assembling the engine and cowling. Rather than a single piece cowling, it comes in two halves so there will be a somewhat difficult seam to remove. You are provided with two different exhausts. One is a straight stub while the other is a more elongated version. The latter requires some trimming of the standard exhaust. I'd check reference photos as I believe this longer one was used on Canadian Yales to provide cockpit heat.
Then we move to flight surfaces. The wing is a single lower piece with upper halves. Tail planes are a single piece and just plug in place. There are three different landing gear options depending on how much of the gear leg coverings you want to have in place from full to none. Once the wings and tailplanes are in place, then the single piece injected canopy can be installed along with the landing lights and ancillary fuselage/wing bits.
Instructions are well done but I have the feeling these are the same as with their 'Yale' boxing so keep that in mind. Generic color information is provided. I found the printing to be very small so those of us with less than eagle eyes will need some sort of magnification to properly read it. Markings are fairly extensive for a kit like this, providing six options. Two of them are French with one in camouflage and one overall silver. The other four are Luftwaffe of various schemes, all of which are actually quite nice. I note that one is listed as being overall RLM 63. Not sure how much of that paint would have been available in 1940/41 so you may want to go with RLM 02 on that one. Decals are very nicely done. For the French options you'll need to prepaint the rudders white and of course, all the yellow and yellow/red bits will need painted as well. There are red/white/blue Vichy wing stripes on the sheet, but the instructions do not show them being used.
This looks like it would be a very nice build and for those of us who have built the Azur kit, will look very nice sitting next to it. Don't kid yourself into thinking this will be a quick build as it is still a short run kit so will take some care in construction. However, it does provide some neat markings options and will be a nice addition to any 1/72 trainer collection.
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