Alliance Models' 1/72

By Chris Banyai-Riepl


Curtiss mated several inline engines to the basic Hawk 75 airframe, ultimately resulting the P-40 series of fighters. The first example, though, was the XP-37, a very different-looking airplane from the final inline Hawk design.  The XP-37 was built off of the first Hawk 75 prototype, receiving extensive modifications to the fuselage. Most of these changes centered on the new contours of the nose, fitting around the Allison engine, but another big change was with the cockpit.  It was moved further aft to be behind the wing.  Interestingly, while the Allison engine put out less horsepower, the streamlining of the cowling resulted in a top speed nearly 30 miles an hour faster than the standard P-36C.  One XP-37 and 13 YP-37s (differing in the scoop arrangement on the nose) were built, but the project was cancelled in favor of more promising designs.

The Kit

Alliance Models has been putting out quite an impressive catalog of kits and the XP-37 is one of their most recent releases.  Molded in a tan resin, the detailing is fairly crisp throughout, with a nice decal sheet and a vacuformed canopy rounding things out.  The instructions are fairly simple (as is the construction) and this kit should prove to be a fairly fast build.

Starting with the innards, the cockpit is made up of one piece and has adequate detailing.  References are slim on the XP-37 so it's no wonder there isn't a super-detailed interior here.  That said, a couple wires and seatbelts will add a lot to the kit. The only other piece to fit into the fuselage is the underside of the engine/supercharger. Once you’re done with the interior, the problems crop up. This kit has one very large and difficult problem to take care of and that’s with the fuselage halves.  They’re of different lengths.  If you line up the fuselage halves at the nose, by the time you get to the tail you’re left with over a 1/4” gap, with all the openings misaligned. To make things even worse the wing root fairings on each side are different sizes, with the left one matching the wing and the right one being 1/4” or more off.  This could actually be a blessing in disguise, though, as the simplest solution would be to add a plug to the fuselage running right through the center of the wing.  You’ll have to do some careful shaping around the wing root but that will take care of both the too-small wing root fairing and the too-short fuselage half.  I’d line the fuselage halves up at the wing trailing edge, as that seems to give the best alignment with the least amount of extra work.  Dig out your panel line scriber, too, as you’ll likely have to rescribe the fuselage as well.

The fuselage is the main problem with this kit, with the rest being fairly straightforward.  The wings are molded in one piece for the right and left halves, and for the most part they’re quite nice.  There are some small differences with the location of the wheel well openings, but it’s nothing that will really be noticeable once the kit is together.  The flaps are molded down in this kit, and there is some detailing in the flap wells on the wings.  There’s a small section in the lower fuselage as well for the flaps so you’ll want to take some care to get those aligned as well as possible.  The tailplanes are well done, being very thin and having decent fabric texture on the control surfaces (as do all the kit parts).  The landing gear could be a weak spot in this kit mainly because it’s resin and if you have a spare P-40 or P-36 landing gear set lying around, replacing the struts would be a good idea.

There’s only one choice of markings for this kit (as it is the XP-37, rather than a YP-37) and it’s a natural metal one.  So break out your Alclad II for this kit.  The decals are printed by Propagteam and are up to their usual standard, being spot-on in registration and with excellent colors.  You get four roundels, the wing walkways, rudder markings in two pieces (the blue section and the red/white stripe section) that you have to trim to fit, and the Wright Field arrowhead emblem.  Just enough color to really make this plane stand out.


With the AML and Azur Hawk 75 kits, the recent LF Models XP-42 conversion, and now the Alliance XP-37 kit, there’s few Hawk family planes left unkitted.  You could just about build the complete lineage of fighters from the early Hawk 75 all the way through to the P-40Q and have quite a nice collection.  While this kit does require a lot more work than most, it is still probably easier than scratchbuilding one and if you really wanted to go all out I’m sure you could fit a P-40 resin interior inside and perhaps use an Eduard PE set for the P-40E and end up with a sharp-looking model when you’re done.

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