The Curtiss Model 75 was the beginning to a long fighter lineage. This diminutive radial-engined fighter marked the beginnings of the classic P-40 design which went on to fight on just about every front of the Second World War. The Hawk 75 received mediocre attention at home under the designation of P-36 but abroad is where it really shone. British examples saw combat in South East Asia while those flown by Finnish pilots achieved great success against Russian planes.
AML's kit of the Hawk 75 is a great addition, as earlier kits of the Hawk 75 suffered in different areas. This kit looks to be quite accurate and includes two different cowls, although only one is outlined for use in the kit (and it looks like the cowling for a P-36, so keep an eye open for that one in the near future). The parts are all crisply molded in gray plastic that has a soft look to it. But the panel lines are sharp and nicely recessed.
The interior is made up of resin and brass, with sidewall detailing molded into the plastic fuselage halves. The detailing compared between the resin and plastic parts is quite good in both areas, and once painted it will be hard to tell what was resin and what wasn't. The instrument panel is the usual etched brass affair, with clear film instruments.
The engine is injection-molded and while it could stand some cleanup it should really look sharp, especially if you go the extra mile and add wiring to it. The cowling is in two pieces (with the alternate one being made up of three) and while there will likely be some clean up required, the fit to the forward fuselage looks to be pretty good in a dry run.
The wings are nicely done, with full wheel well detailing provided. The wheel holes have sides and the floor of the well is provided in resin as a thin insert of ribbing. The one-piece lower wing ensures that the dihedral will be just right, and the ailerons molded into the top half of the wing have thin trailing edges. I just wish they had done something similar with the flap section. Some thinning will be needed there to get the same look as the ailerons.
The rest of the assembly is straightforward, leaving you with little else other than to choose which marking option. AML sure didn't make this one easy, either, as they include decals for no less than four Hawk 75 A-4s. The first one is actually a P-36G of the USAAC, diverted from a shipment to Norway. Standard OD and gray scheme with yellow serials make this a somewhat bland looking plane, but sitting next to one of the fancy P-36s from before the war will leave people noticing the subtle differences between the two.
There are two choices from Southeast Asia, one of No 155 Squadron and the other as seen on the box top artwork. The one from No 155 Squadron is in dark earth and dark green, with the name "Joe Soap II" under the canopy. The box top one, oddly enough, is listed as being in dark green and ocean gray, contrary to the illustration on the box. Which one is correct, I don't know, but I would lean towards the box top illustration.
The final choice is a French example, flown by Commandant Tuslane. This one is finished in dark green and dark earth over medium sea gray and carries the cross of Lorraine in six positions. Tuslane borrowed this plane from the Kasfareet Air Depot on the Suez Canal and flew it in combat in Syria, before returning it to the SAAF..
This is a nicely done model of a little-known subject and AML should be commended for the excellent job they did on this one. While it won't exactly fall together, it will build up into a nice replica and with the large number of interesting schemes you could easily build half a dozen of these and not have any two in the same country's markings.