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P-35 Kit

Hobbycraft 1/48 Seversky P-35 Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review October 2009 Manufacturer Hobbycraft
Subject Seversky P-35 Scale 1/48
Kit Number HC1552 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely detailed U.S. 1930’s era fighter Cons Control surfaces molded solid
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $24.00

First Look

P-35 Kit
P-35 Kit
P-35 Kit
P-35 Kit
P-35 Kit

The P-35  was a US single-seat fighter aircraft. The whole Seversky aircraft family stemmed from an experimental amphibian, the Sev-3. Other branches of the family included a two-seat, fixed-undercarriage trainer, the BT-8 (30 built) and another two-seater, the 2PA-L “Convoy Fighter” with a retractable undercarriage. Two of these were sold to the Soviet Union, and 20 to the Japanese Navy who designated them A8V1. The Japanese aircraft served only briefly and unsuccessfully as two-seat fighters, later being relegated to reconnaissance.

The Seversky P-35 had the distinction of being the first low-wing, retractable-undercarriage , enclosed-cockpit, single-seat fighter to go into service with U.S. forces. It was developed from the Seversky 2-XP, a two-seater with a fixed undercarriage enclosed in “trouser” fairings, which was to take art in the August 1935 pursuit competition organized by the USAAC. It was damaged on the way to Wright field, where the tests were being held. However, Seversky was given a year’s grace to resubmit their entry during which it was reworked.

The resulting 1-XP was a stubby low-wing, all-metal monoplane with an undercarriage which retracted backwards into deep “bathtub” fairings under the wings. The pilot’s cockpit was covered by a raised, glazed, carefully tapered canopy. Power was provided by a Wright Cyclone R-1820-G-5 radial engine of 850 hp. Development towards the production aircraft proceeded via the Seversky-7 (with a Pratt & Whitney engine) and the AP-1 (with a large nose spinner). An order for 77 P-35 production machines was received from USAAC. Further modifications introduced increased dihedral on the outer wing sections (to overcome a instability problem) and the main undercarriage legs which were only partially fared. Series aircraft had Pratt & Whitney R-1830-9 Twin Wasp 950 hp radials, driving three-blade Hamilton propellers.

The first P-35’s off the assembly line went to the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan during 1937. They equipped the 17th, 27th, and 94th Squadrons as well as the group’s Headquarters Unit. Though a considerable advance on the fixed-undercarriage, single-seaters that proceeded them, the P-35’s were certainly not an unqualified success. Their maximum speed was never reached, that was pledged by Alexander Seversky and Alexander Kartveli and certain maneuvers were prohibited to P-35 pilots so as not to hazard the aircraft.

The last of the production P-35’s was completed as the experimental XP-41, delivered in 1938 with a 1200 hp R-1830-19 Twin Wasp engine. In 1939, the company became the Republic Aviation Corporation, which developed the EP-106 export variant, with a 1050 hp R-1830-45 engine. The Royal Swedish Air Force ordered 100 machines in February 1940, 60 of which flew with the Flygflottilj 8 at Barkarby from the summer of 1940. In mid-1940, an export ban was imposed, and the remainder of the Swedish order went to the USAAC as the P-35A. They differed from the P-35 in having the original twin synchronized 0.30-in. (7.62-mm) cowling guns supplemented by a pair of 5-in. (12.7-mm) wing guns. The top speed was only marginally better than the P-35. Most of them had been sent to the Philippines by the time the Japanese attacked the U.S. on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. The majority were destroyed on the ground in surprise attacks, but a few took part in rather one-sided dogfights with the Mitsubishi A6M2 Type 0 Japanese Navy fighters (the Zero’s). They were all wiped out within a few days.

Hobbycraft of Canada is a model company based in Ontario, Canada. Their kits are molded in Korea.

The kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The boxart shows 2 P-35’s flying along. The one in the foreground is in the Squadron markings of the 94th Pursuit Squadron, 1938. It is in overall bare metal, with a red cowling. It has 2 red fuselage bands with the squadron’s Indian-chief’s head insignia forward of the bands. The rudder has a blue vertical stripe, followed by red and white horizontal stripes on it. The forward part of the tail has the black letters PA above a black 70. Early type U.S. roundels are above and below the wings with the red dot centers to the stars. There are black walkways on the wing roots of both wings. On the port upper wing is the black PA 70 repeated. Under the wings, the starboard wing has a black U.S. on it and the port wing has PA 70 above ARMY in black.

The second aircraft, in the background of the box art, is also overall bare metal. It has a white cowling and carries the squadron insignia of the 17th Pursuit Squadron of a white eagle on a black triangle. The rudder is decorated the same as the one from the 94th Squadron and the forward part of the tail has the black letters PA above the number 26 in black. The same roundels are carried above and below the wings, with PA 26 repeated in black above the port wing. Under the wings are U.S. under the starboard wing and PA 26 above ARMY in black. Both these schemes are on the decal sheet in the kit.

Inside the box are three medium gray parts trees and a clear parts tree in a sealed cello bag.

The decal sheet, instructions and a card to send to Hobbycraft, telling what you’d like to see them develop as a new kit (in French and English). The other side of this card is an order blank to purchase a catalog for 3 bucks.

The kit was first issued in 1992, according to what it says on the top of the decal sheet..

The instructions consist of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 6 pages of 8 ½” x 10 ½” format.

Page one begins with a black and white repeat of the box art, followed by the statement: “One of the most famous U.S. fighter of the 1930’s. Kit features: detailed cockpit. landing gear authentic markings.” (in 5 languages, including English)

The bottom of the page has international assembly symbol explanations and Hobbycraft’s address in Ontario.

Pages two through four give a total of 6 assembly steps. In step 5 you opt to make the cockpit open or closed. The canopy rear section is shown that it needs to have some plastic trimmed from it. In step 6 it is indicated that you must trim some of the length off the landing gear legs.

Page 5 has a 3-view for the 17th Pursuit Squadron scheme (already described above).

Page 6 has a 3-view for the 94th Pursuit Squadron scheme (already also described).

Colors are called out in FS numbers

There are no parts trees illustration in the instructions. However, part numbers are called out and molded next to the parts on the trees.

The first medium gray parts tree holds: the propeller, pilot seat, landing gear pants, main wheels, horizontal tail surfaces, landing gear legs, cockpit floor, instrument panel, engine cylinders and pushrods, tailwheel and it’s doors, joystick etc. (37 parts)

The second medium gray parts tree holds the upper and lower wing halves (4 parts) the bottom wing half is full span.

The third medium gray parts tree holds: the fuselage halves, the cowling, air intake scoops, cowl guns barrels etc. (9 parts).

The clear parts trees holds the windscreen, center and rear cockpit sections (3 parts) so the canopy can easily be posed open. I only wish that HobbyCraft had not put this tree in the same bag with the medium gray parts trees as it was a good way to get it scratched, rubbing up against them other trees. Thankfully, only the curved top of the rear section has suffered this slightly, and some Future will fix that.

The decal sheet, with the schemes of the two aircraft on the box art, completes the kit’s contents. They are in perfect register.

The detail is of the engraved variety. Control surfaces are molded solid and would need surgery to reposition. There is nice detail molded into the fuselage walls in the cockpit area. However, those of us with AMS will want to add seat belts and perhaps some other extras.

This kit is out of production.

Recommended to modeler’s of average skill.