Xotic-72 1/72nd North American P-64/NA-68

By Matt Bittner

Last month I did a sneak-peak of the masters that were being cut for this kit of the P-64. This month I have the kit in hand.

Introduction

From the instruction sheet. "The NA-68 for Siam was initially designated NA-50A and was an extension of the NA-50 design produced for Peru, in 1938. Based on the BC-1 design, the NA-68 was longer, featured a larger engine in a revised cowl, and the BC-1 tail assembly. The first aircraft flew on September 1, 1940.

"The 6 aircraft were ready for shipment to Siam in December, 1940, when they were seized by the US Government. The aircraft were designated as P-64 and sent to Luke Field, Arizona, for use as fighter trainers. One passed into civilian hands in the postwar and, after numerous changes and refinements, now resides at the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin."

The Kit

The Xotic-72 P-64 consists of approximately 29 pieces. I say "approximately" because I wasn't going to remove the kit from its bubble packaging, since I'm not sure where this kit will end up. Also included is one vac canopy (not shown). Be careful with the canopy, though, because there is only one and there is not a spare.

The decals cover every scheme this aircraft flew under. First, as a prototype with some natural metal and overall gray. Follow that by the Siam (Thailand) version in Siamese markings. Naturally the next scheme is for the US version once the US siezed the aircraft. And finally, there are two marking choices for the civilian version sporting yellow wings, and two types of blue for the fuselage depending on the year being modeled. However, if you build this as the civilian version, you'll have to do your own striping on the fuselage sides.

One thing to keep in mind with the decals. They are ALPS printed, and while they have a layer of Microscale Liquid Decal over them, they're still more fragile than "regular" decals, so care must be taken. In fact, because they are ALPS-generated, there are separate white circles that are placed under the insignia so the colors don't "bleed" into the paint, resulting in insignia that's difficult to see.

Parts are decently cast, and I could only find a few airbubbles on this kit. Unfortunately one rudder-half and one horizontal tail piece has holes that go all the way through. You'll definitely want to fill these with round sprue and glue with CA. The tricky part will be to sand them flush without sanding through the rest of the surface (these are thin surfaces) as well as not sand away any of the nicely molded detail.

The kit couldn't be simpler. After clean up, you paint the engine (as well as the interior area of the fuselage where the engine goes) and glue it in. Once that is accomplished you glue the fuselage halves together. The cockpit pieces are added after the fuselage halves are assembled, through the large fuselage opening. Actually, the instructions have you add the cockpit pieces after the wings and horizontal tail pieces are glued on as well. However, I would do some preliminary painting in the cockpit prior to gluing the fuselage halves together. If the cockpit floor has any gaps to resolve, then you can do some touch up painting later.

After the cockpit is assembled, and you figure you want to - or not want to - add the gun pods and/or the gun tubes, then assembly is finished with the smaller details. Naturally saved until after painting is accomplished. Keep in mind you'll have to "build the prop", as the blades are separate from the hub.

Conclusion

I never knew before about the existence of the P-64, until I talked to the person running Xotic and he mentioned what was forthcoming. It's an interesting aircraft and one that will have people, as unfamiliar as I was, asking about what that aircraft type is. All in all the Xotic-72 P-64 is a relatively simple kit. In fact, I would recommend this kit as someone's first resin build, since the number of parts is small, and major assembly happens relatively quickly. Definitely recommended.

My thanks to Xotic-72 for the review sample.

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