Czech Model 1/48 XP-55 Ascender Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2005||Manufacturer||Czech Model|
|Subject||Curtiss XP-55 Ascender||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||4806||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin|
|Pros||Improved injection molding, nicely cast resin parts, great decal sheet||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
The Curtiss XP-55 Ascender was an attack monoplane prototype that first flew in the early 1930s. A total of 14 aircraft were developed for evaluation by the USAAC, but when one of them was fitted with a Pratt & Whitney Hornet radial engine in place of the standard Curtiss Conqueror inline engine that powered the XP-55, the USAAC cancelled any further XP-55 production. Instead, the XP-55 airframe was modified with a new upper deck fairing and powered with the Wright R1820 Cyclone to become the A-12 Ascender.
Now who would have ever guessed that we'd see an injection-molded 1/48 scale release of a limited production aircraft like the XP-55 Ascender? In fact, the only other kit I am aware of is the Beechnut Models 1/72 XP-55. But thanks to Czech Models and Squadron, this unique looking machine is now available for your quarter scale flightline!
Molded in light gray styrene, the kit comes on two parts trees plus a bag of resin parts, a set of vacuformed canopies and a nice set of decals. While the scans may not show it, there is a some very nicely scribed details on the surfaces of the fuselage, wings and remaining parts. The rib details on the fabric covered flight control surfaces are nicely executed and not overdone. The canopies (one needed, one spare) also feature very sharp detailing making the job of trimming and masking very easy.
While this is a limited production kit (no locator pins, ejector pin stubs, etc.), there are no ejector pin marks/stubs in any visible location. And in fact, unlike many limited run kits (and many production kits for that matter), care has been taken to provide thin trailing edges on the wings and rudder.
The resin parts make up the interior of the aircraft with all of the visible interior sidewalls, bulkheads, and floors cast in resin. In addition, you are provided with your choice of round styrene main gear wheels or 'weighted' resin wheels to install in the main gear wheel spats.
Markings are included for two of the evaluation aircraft - aircraft numbers 80 and 83. While the aircraft mostly appeared with the standard Olive Drab fuselage with yellow flying surfaces, this aircraft was also subject to some of the unique pre-war camouflage experiments that would also make for an interesting subject.
This is a nice-looking model that will add a unique subject to your scale flightline. I would recommend this kit to any modeler with experience with limited production/multimedia kits.
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!