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P-6E Hawk

Classic Airframes 1/48 P-6E Hawk Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2008 Manufacturer Classic Airframes
Subject Curtiss P-6E Hawk Scale 1/48
Kit Number 444 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Nice detailing, especially with the resin castings Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

P-6E Hawk
P-6E Hawk
P-6E Hawk
P-6E Hawk
P-6E Hawk

The Curtiss Hawk series of biplane fighters were highly capable designs of the late 1920s. The prototype XP-6 took second place at the 1927 US National Air Races. The Army Air Corps acquired 46 of these aircraft, equipping the 17th, 33rd, and 94th Pursuit Squadrons with the type.

These aircraft served between 1932 and 1937, but high accident rates claimed at least 27 of the 46 aircraft on roster. In the end, the aircraft that survived were flown until they were worn out and replaced with newer aircraft.

In addition to the US Army, the Hawk was operated by the Republic of China, Cuba, the Dutch East Indies, and one known example in Japan. Only one example remains which is on display at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

Classic Airframes released this kit in 2001 and was the first contemporary styrene rendition of the Curtiss Hawk in 1/48 scale. Aurora and Lindberg had older toolings of the subject. Seven years later, Classic Airframes has re-released this interesting member of the Curtiss fighter family.

Classic Airframes released this kit in 2001 and was the first contemporary styrene rendition of the Curtiss Hawk in 1/48 scale. Aurora and Lindberg had older toolings of the subject. Seven years later, Classic Airframes has re-released this interesting member of the Curtiss fighter family.

This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees. In addition, resin details two vacuformed windscreens are also included in each kit, one to use and a spare in case of accident.

As with any limited production kit, the plastic will require a little fitting and trimming to get a smooth fit, but the work will be minimal. There are no ejector pin marks on any visible parts of the kit, and there is very little flash. All of the details are finely scribed, while the wings and tail surfaces are nicely molded to represent fabric over rib structures.

The resin parts are beautifully molded with most of them dedicated to replicate the detail inside that open cockpit. The intricate V12 exhaust stacks of the Curtiss Conqueror engine are also provided in resin as are the radiators needed to keep that motor cool.

An airframe jig will be handy to help align the lower wing onto the fuselage, then align the upper wing to the rest of the airframe. Care must be taken to keep everything aligned while retaining the angles of the wing struts. Ditto with the main landing gear struts.

Markings are provided for four examples:

  • P-6E, 40, 17th PS, 1932, as flown by the Group Commander
  • P-6E, 98, 94th PS, 1936
  • P-6E, 61, 36th PS, 1936
  • P-6E, 34, 17th PS, 1932

This kit will look great next to the other between-the-wars biplanes that Classic Airframes has produced. If you are a 1/48 scale post-WWI biplane builder, this is a great addition for you! If not, you might want to give one of these kits a try for a change of pace – you might become a convert!

My sincere thanks to Classic Airframes for this review sample!

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