|KIT:||Pro Resin 1/72 Curtiss P-1B 'Hawk'|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin with photo etch bits|
The Curtiss P-1 Hawk was the first US Army Air Service aircraft to be assigned the "P" (Pursuit) designation which replaced seven designations for pursuit aircraft, including "PW" ( for "Pursuit, Water-cooled engine"). The P-1 was the production version of the Curtiss XPW-8B, an improved variant of the PW-8, 25 of which were operational with the Air Service's 17th Pursuit Squadron.
The PW-8 (Curtiss Model 33) had been acquired by the Air Service in 1924 after a competition with the Boeing Model 15, designated the PW-9, to replace the existing Army fighter, the MB-3A. Although the PW-8 was faster than the PW-9, it was otherwise out-performed by the Boeing plane, and its cooling system appeared to be more difficult to maintain and vulnerable in combat. However Assistant Chief of the Air Service Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell agreed to purchase 25 PW-8s in return for assistance by Curtiss in making the "Dawn-to-dusk" transcontinental flight across the United States.
On June 23, 1924, taking off at 3:58 A.M., Army test pilot 1st Lt. Russell Maughan left Mitchel Field, New York, in PW-8 24-204, modified with additional fuel and oil tanks. Refueling five times, he landed at Crissy Field, San Francisco, California, at 9:46 p.m., one minute before dusk, covering 2,670 miles in 20 hours and 48 minutes. His flight time included four planned 30-minute stops at McCook Field, Ohio; Saint Joseph, Missouri; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Salduro Siding, Utah; and an unplanned stop in North Platte, Nebraska for additional fuel when a muddy field in Missouri did not permit him to take on a full load. He also lost an hour at McCook to repair a broken fuel valve after an over-eager mechanic had over-torqued a wrench capping the valve.
The XPW-8B came about when the Air Service, which had selected the Boeing PW-9 over the PW-8 as its main production fighter, asked Curtiss to modify one of its three original XPW-8 prototypes with wings resembling those of the PW-9. Curtiss designated the modified aircraft its Model 34A and returned it to the Air Service for evaluation, from which the service ordered it into production as the P-1. The first production P-1, serial number 25-410, was delivered on August 17, 1925, and was followed in successive years by the P-1B and P-1C variants with improved engines.
Thanks to Wikipedia for that background info.
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 kit comes with both wheels and skis, an interesting option. 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 are for a single aircraft of the 27 Pursuit Squadron during the winter of 1927. The external color is OD for the fuselage and insignia Yellow for the upper and lower surface of the wings and tail planes. I'm thinking this may be too bright, but I'm not positive. The front of the aircraft is in Insignia Red and it will be a bit tricky to mask this area. I'd recommend not attaching the upper wing until this is painted. The decal sheet provides the white trim for this area.
I think it is great that Olimp/ProResin are covering these myriad types of Curtiss "Hawk" biplane and that one of them is what I need in my "P-1 to F-117" collection. 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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