These two aircraft were designed, built and operated during the mid-1930s.
Many of these aircraft were in service during the opening days of World
War Two. What is especially interesting is that BOTH of these aircraft
were the basis of two of the most famous fighters from WW2.
Alexander de Seversky, a Russian immigrant to the US, formed an aircraft
company within four years of his arrival. One of his first US projects,
the Seversky P-35 first flew in 1935, and would serve in the peacetime
US Army Air Corps as well as being exported as the EP-1 to Sweden. In
fact, only 60 of Sweden's 120 ordered EP-1s were delivered, the rest were
pulled into US service when the possibility of war loomed on the horizon.
Two thirds of the USAAC's P-35/EP-1 fleet were lost during the Japanese
attacks on the Philippines in December 1941. In the interim, improvements
made to the P-35 led to the P-43 Lancer, and ultimately the P-47 Thunderbolt.
The Seversky Aircraft Company had become the Republic Aircraft Company.
Competing against the P-35 for a USAAC contract, the Curtiss Aircraft
Company entered the P-36 Hawk. Curtiss already possessed a respectable
history of aircraft production in the US, and the P-36 was the monoplane
development of the biplane Curtiss Hawk. The P-36 also flew for the first
time in 1935, and while unsuccessful in its competition against the P-35,
a re-engined P-36A was bought by the USAAC. In addition to the US, Curtiss
exported Hawk variants to France and the UK (designated the Mohawk). In
the opening days of WW2, the Mohawk proved equal to the Luftwaffe's Bf109D.
In the meantime, Curtiss continued development of an improved Hawk. By
mating the P-35 airframe with an Allison V1710 liquid-cooled engine, the
first P-40 was born. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Academy is releasing two new kits in their 'between the wars' series
- the Seversky P-35 and the Curtiss P-36 Hawk. Based on the Hobbycraft
kits released a number of years ago, these kits feature sharp molding
and recessed/scribed panel lines. Free of flash, the parts trees in both
kits are also free of sink marks and ejector pin marks in visible places.
The plastic is molded in light grey with very clear canopies/transparencies.
Like the Hobbycraft kits, these kits are rather spartan in the cockpit
detail department, but are laid out such that the scratchbuilder/superdetailer
will have a clean palette to work with. Details are limited to seat, seat
frame, floor, aft bulkhead, control stick, gear extension lever (P-36),
and instrument panel with rudder pedals. Aftermarket detail sets for the
Hobbycraft P-35 and P-36 should be adaptable to these kits as well.
The P-35 has that huge window on the right side of the fuselage, but
lacks any interior detailing to 'see' through thewindow. Again, a good
reference book and some Evergreen plastic strips will solve this problem
Conversely, the P-36 features the canvas barrier molded in the wheel
wells (used to keep the dust/debris out of the wing). Nice job of molding!
The engine detail is simple but effective. While the cooling vanes on
the radial engines are not represented, by the time you get some good
detail painting done on either engine and install it inside of those tight
cowls, you'll never notice the vanes.
The overall fit of both kits is very good. It doesn't look like seam
filler will be required if care is taken during assembly. The only potential
problem I foresee is the underside wing/fuselage joint on both kits, but
this will be little more than a touch of cyano gap filler and some sanding/polishing.
The plastic that Academy uses in their kits responds well to Tenax, so
a little care and patience will render a seamless flying machine.
The P-35 includes markings for a USAAC and a Swedish AF example. The
P-36 also has USAAC markings provided, as well as markings for a camouflaged
French AF machine as it appeared in the winter of 1939-40.
These kits are good additions to Academy's growing list of aircraft
subjects. The molding is nicely done and they will provide a nice kit
straight out of the box, or provide the advanced modeler with the basis
for a masterpiece. I recommend these kits to modelers of all skill levels.
My sincere thanks to MRC for
these review samples!