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Academy P-36 Hawk

Academy 1/48 P-36 Hawk Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2005 Manufacturer Academy
Subject P-36 Hawk Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2181 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Very nicely tooled and detailed kit Cons Spartan cockpit
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $22.00

First Look

Academy P-36 Hawk
Academy P-36 Hawk
Academy P-36 Hawk
Academy P-36 Hawk

The Seversky P-35 and Curtiss P-36 were both designed, built and operated during the mid-1930s. Many of these aircraft were in service during the opening days of World War Two. What is especially interesting is that BOTH of these aircraft were the basis of two of the most famous fighters from WW2.

Competing against the P-35 for a USAAC contract, the Curtiss Aircraft Company entered the P-36 Hawk. Curtiss already possessed a respectable history of aircraft production in the US, and the P-36 was the monoplane development of the biplane Curtiss Hawk. The P-36 also flew for the first time in 1935, and while unsuccessful in its competition against the P-35, a re-engined P-36A was bought by the USAAC. In addition to the US, Curtiss exported Hawk variants to France and the UK (designated the Mohawk). In the opening days of WW2, the Mohawk proved equal to the Luftwaffe's Bf109D. In the meantime, Curtiss continued development of an improved Hawk. By mating the P-35 airframe with an Allison V1710 liquid-cooled engine, the first P-40 was born. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Academy released another installment in their 'between the wars' series - the Curtiss P-36 Hawk. Based on the Hobbycraft kit released a number of years ago, this kit features sharp molding and recessed/scribed panel lines. Free of flash, the parts trees in the kit are also free of sink marks and ejector pin marks in visible places. The plastic is molded in light grey with very clear canopies/transparencies.

Like the Hobbycraft kit, this kit is rather spartan in the cockpit detail department, but is laid out such that the scratchbuilder/superdetailer will have a clean palette to work with. Details are limited to seat, seat frame, floor, aft bulkhead, control stick, gear extension lever, and instrument panel with rudder pedals. Aftermarket detail sets for the Hobbycraft P-36 Hawk will be adaptable to this kit as well.

The P-36 features the canvas barrier molded in the wheel wells (used to keep the dust/debris out of the wing). Nice job of molding!

The engine detail is simple but effective. While the cooling vanes on the radial engines are not represented, by the time you get some good detail painting done on either engine and install it inside of those tight cowls, you'll never notice the vanes.

The overall fit of the kit is very good. It doesn't look like seam filler will be required if care is taken during assembly. The only potential problem I foresee is the underside wing/fuselage joint, but this will be little more than a touch of cyano gap filler and some sanding/polishing. The plastic that Academy uses in their kits responds well to Tenax, so a little care and patience will render a seamless flying machine.

The P-36 kit provides markgins for USAAC, as well as markings for a camouflaged French AF machine as it appeared in the winter of 1939-40.

This kit is a good addition to Academy's growing list of aircraft subjects. The molding is nicely done and it will provide a nice kit straight out of the box, or provide the advanced modeler with the basis for a masterpiece. I recommend this kit to modelers of all skill levels.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!