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Fine Molds 1/72 Curtiss R3C-0 Kit First Look

By Tom Grossman

Date of Review February 2007 Manufacturer Fine Molds
Subject Curtiss R3C-0 s/n A-7054 1929 Fighter Seaplane (Unauthorized Modification) Scale 1/72
Kit Number FJ-2 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautiful kit Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (Yen) ¥1600 (About $14.00)

First Look


How many kits are there of a fighter seaplane used by aerial pirates in the Adriatic in the late 1920s? The Curtiss R3C-0 is well known as a successful racing plane in the Golden Era” of aircraft racing during the late 1920s. This version comes from the animated feature, PORCO ROSSO”, by Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki.. This well made kit of one of the seaplanes form the movie combines the attraction of a piece of aviation history with creative adaptation, giving the modeler license to depart from the mainstream with unusual paint schemes.

The kit comes on two trees of styrene. The dark blue tree holds the fuselage, wings control surfaces, radiator, machine gun nacelles and floats. The grey tree holds the cockpit parts, machine gun cranks, the multi-option stand and part to the optional wheeled cart for land transport of the aircraft. Included in grey are an instrument panel with bezels, a nicely proportioned pilot figure and two masses of plastic shaped to fit inside the nose of each float.

In a separate bag are the clear tree with the windscreen and the two sheets of decals with marking for two versions of the pirate aircraft. One sheet has the white fuselage strip and yellow markings for wings, control surfaces, fuselage and floats. The other has the yellow float keel stripes, the skulls, snakes and other markings for each version.

The instructions are mostly in Japanese with English headings and numerals. The drawings with the large body of background information covering half of the pages of the booklet are in English. This sheds light into the contents. Paint references are in English for three manufacturers products including Tamiya.

A color chart appears on the page with the 3 views of each version for painting and decal placement. There are also numerous color references in each step. Diagrams are very well done and easily understood. Included are options for displaying the kit with its companion piece, the 1/72 Savoia S.21 Seaplane. No parts map or rigging diagrams were included. With only two trees, it hardly seems necessary. Enough drawings are included in the instructions to allow more adventurous modelers to rig this little plane.

FineMolds is known for just that. This kit is another example. The unauthorized version of the Curtiss R3C-0 depicted in this model is a product of the imagination of Hayao Miyazaki the Japanese filmmaker who made the animated movie, “PORCO ROSSO”.

This fun, easily assembled kit builds up into a detailed seaplane with a fun color scheme. The kit also opens the door for adventurous models to apply a little creative license to their own color schemes. At the price, it’s a great buy for fans of 1/72 aviation.

My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!