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Curtiss P-36A Hawk - 2/LT Phil Rasmussen - Pearl Harbor [1/32 SH]


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The fuselage halves are just out of square enough that I had to tape them all the way along the joins to more or less get them lined up.  Good news is that it will be possible to glue them like this with patience.

 

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Some of the panel line detail will require work...

 

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When I taped up the wing assembly and (with some preliminary filing and sanding) mated it up with the fuselage, the anticipated wing root misalignment appeared (albeit no where near what the Nate had):

 

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Port side was worse

 

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Fortunately the simple expedient of assembling the sides of the landing gear bays into the wings completely took care of that

 

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There's still a bit of a gap horizontally on both sides, but at least the section of the wing agrees nicely with the section of the wing root as molded into the fuselage.

 

I'm now starting to mess with the various bulkheads (engine "mount", firewall, bulkhead behind seat).  All are oversized and have to be filed/sanded down before the fuselage will close around them.  I guess if it had to be one way or the other, this is easier to work with than if they were too small...

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2 minutes ago, Out2gtcha said:

Great recovery! I always enjoy it when that kind of thing happens VS having to slather a gap w/filler

There's still going to be plenty of filler on this thing before I'm done.  I'm trying to learn to efficiently use CA glue for most such tasks, versus Squadron putty, because it is easier to get it to a really smooth state of polish.  Applying it so as to maximize "fill" and minimize sanding is still a work in progress.

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3 hours ago, LSP_Kevin said:

Nice progress, Alex. Despite the niggles with it that you're experiencing, you're making me want to build this kit now!

 

Kev

 

In addition to keeping me honest on pushing the boundaries of my modest skill set, a big reason that I like doing these WIP threads is to hopefully make committing to one of these kits easier for others because at least it's clear what you are getting into and how one person has tried to deal with it...

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It's not like I haven't been working on this one, but I've only had snatches of time so have not been able to focus on any detailing work.  Just been picking out sub-assemblies to complete and check fit on.  I built the horizontal stabilizers and control surfaces.  Fair amount of refining of the shapes required to get them nice.

 

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You can see some big things that look like scratches on the stabilizers, but they're actually raised strings of plastic that are just stuck on top of the pieces - looks like some bit of still-molten plastic that got stretched out and fused down when the mold halves were split.  Will need to be taken care of when I smooth the surfaces overall...

 

The most significant thing to be aware of is that if you glue up the stabilizers so that the outer edges of top and bottom pieces align (thus giving the correct shape etc), the root of the things is an issue.  You can do a little reshaping to get the topsides to line up pretty nicely:

 

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But the underside looks like this:

 

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That's more than I want to try and fix with putty - I'm going to need to get some very thin styrene sheet and shim it, then sand back to get a clean fit.  Makes me pine just a bit for that Tamiya kit...but like they say, it feels like real modeling.  

 

Another poor fit note for folks who aspire to this kit - the clear parts that fit on the sides of the fuselage behind the cockpit (those odd rear windows that Curtiss put on this plane and the P-40 to "improve rearward visibility" and which the pilots said did nothing useful at all) are much too thick at the edges relative to the recess in the fuselage that receives them.  I just shaved them down with a fresh scalpel blade until they sat in flush.  They also don't fit perfectly shape-wise, so more putty at some point.  Fortunately they have a generous metal frame so it won't be difficult to do and avoid marring the "glass" parts.

 

The kit seat is a thick and lumpy thing as it comes off the sprue - I spent quite a while sanding to get it to this somewhat improved state:

 

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Still needs some final polishing.

 

I also built up the prop, which comes in no fewer than seven flash-covered pieces, with a couple of sinks thrown in for fun.  I think I spent 2 hours getting it put together like this, and it's still far from perfect (but I think good enough).

 

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Instrument panel.  I bought a sheet of Airscale WW2 USAAF instrument decals, so I'll give those a whirl once this is painted.  

 

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Last thing that's done - I glued the cockpit side pieces into the fuselage halves.  Not a ton of detail, but they don't look terrible, and I think they are a decent starting point for some wire-and-card enhancements once I can find time to focus for several uninterrupted hours.  Plus they fit perfectly relative to the fore and aft bulkheads, and perfect is a bonus whenever we find it in Special Hobby land...

 

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Those ejector stubs will be hidden behind bulkheads so I'm not messing with them.

 

One good thing is that I've confirmed that the bulkheads, IP, floor, and seat can all be installed from below after the fuselage is closed up.  I'm happy about that because it minimizes the amount of fragile stuff I will have to install in there prior to the protracted period of whaling on the fuselage that will be required to get it joined up cleanly and seams/panel lines repaired. 

 

Speaking of surface detail, I found some fantastic technical drawings of this plane and the P-40 that a guy in Japan did.  The page is here: http://soyuyo.main.jp/p40b/p40be-1.html.  He gives all of the rivet locations, so I think I'm going to have to give my riveting wheel tool that I recently received a try.  Also very impressive is the work he's done skinning models with annealed 0.2mm aluminum sheet, for example: http://soyuyo.main.jp/f86/f86galle.html.

 

Since the plane I'm building is largely unpainted aluminum, it has me contemplating, not the over-the-top method he demonstrates, but possibly trying to surface it with Bare Metal Foil rather than painting with Alclad.  Thoughts on that?  I've never done it before.  While I'm experimenting, I think I will also try doing the cockpit with an aluminum (paint) undercoat beneath the green, so I can try to hairspray chip it.  There's some ambiguity about whether the cockpits of the P-36A's at Pearl would have been painted or left as bare aluminum.  The earliest P-36s delivered to the USAAC definitely had no interior paint, but it's also pretty clear that at some point Curtiss did start painting them.  Since this plane is one that was still in service at the end of 1941 it had to be amongst the last that the USAAC had received (Feb 1941 shipment to Pearl), since from March 1940 onward they were primarily getting P-40s from Curtiss.  So we're going with a painted interior.

 

 

 

 

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Seen on french hawk 75 A2(or A3)wreckage, the "cockpit green" over the Lionoil Prussian Blue shop coat.img_2410.jpg

 

h75a1_10.jpg

interior of fuselage,  right side , between firewall and frame 3,

the parts in stainless steel are plate of firewall and ammo chute

 

it seems there was no louvre on rear top cowling of US P36

 

Quote

The earliest P-36s delivered to the USAAC definitely had no interior paint

if there was not finish paint, is the Lionoil was removed? No sure, in this cas the color of cockpit  would be blue and not bare metal.

Edited by waroff
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1 hour ago, waroff said:

Seen on french hawk 75 A2(or A3)wreckage, the "cockpit green" over the Lionoil Prussian Blue shop coat.img_2410.jpg

 

h75a1_10.jpg

interior of fuselage,  right side , between firewall and frame 3,

the parts in stainless steel are plate of firewall and ammo chute

 

it seems there was no louvre on rear top cowling of US P36

 

if there was not finish paint, is the Lionoil was removed? No sure, in this cas the color of cockpit  would be blue and not bare metal.

Based on what I have read, that’s right.  But I haven’t seen any color photos directly supporting that.  My reading is consistent with your photos (thanks for posting them!) - all export Hawks had interior Green paint.

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Got some free time to start enhancing the cockpit area.  There are precious few photos online of P-36 cockpits, and those that exist are a gmish of American warbirds, export Hawks, early and late models, museum pieces, and mostly poorly or ambiguously labeled.  All that to say that I have been unable to find a comprehensive set of interior shots of one USAAC P-36A of the era I am building, and the location and shapes of interior components varies quite a bit amongst what photos are available.  So I'm mostly trying to hit the approximate right number of additional boxes and some logical-seeming conduit connections.  On the starboard side there's also a small cylinder (fire extinguisher?) that will be painted separately then installed.

 

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That's in-process - there are a few additional components to fabricate up near where the IP will be.  Anyone have a good source for placard decals?  I'd like to put some on those rectangles upper right (that's what they're meant to represent).

 

Port side also underway.

 

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Those not-so-well-aligned little holes in the central panel will get little pieces of 0.3mm solder after everything is painted, to simulate toggle switches.  There's additional stuff to add here too.  One piece that's missing from the kit entirely is a little assembly that sits to the left of the pilot's seat (on top of the white plastic rectangle to the left.  I'm honestly not sure what it controls, but the photo I found was clear enough to let me take a stab at reproducing it.

 

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One area where the kit also misses badly is the throttle quadrant.  The kit piece just has one lever emerging from it, whereas photos make it very clear that the thing should have three (to correspond to the three linkage rods running forward from it).  So I modified mine.

 

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I'll see how that looks painted.  If I hate it I may have a go at remaking it completely from scratch.  Down the rabbit hole.  I'm starting to accept that this may be the last model of 2020 (at least the last one completed) at the rate I'm going...

 

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Another conundrum found by reading ahead in the instructions.  SH would have the builder blank off the holes for the wing-mounted machine guns and fill in the panel lines for the ammo access hatches, fill the shell ejection chutes, etc.  Basically the wing-gun-delete model (plane also has two cowl-mounted machine guns that fire through the prop).  From my reading however, I can't find reference to any production P-36 variant that had no wing-mounted guns.  Some had two, some four, and different calibers were fitted to some prototypes, but never the cowl guns only.  Anyone have relevant knowledge here?

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7 minutes ago, Alex said:

Another conundrum found by reading ahead in the instructions.  SH would have the builder blank off the holes for the wing-mounted machine guns and fill in the panel lines for the ammo access hatches, fill the shell ejection chutes, etc.  Basically the wing-gun-delete model (plane also has two cowl-mounted machine guns that fire through the prop).  From my reading however, I can't find reference to any production P-36 variant that had no wing-mounted guns.  Some had two, some four, and different calibers were fitted to some prototypes, but never the cowl guns only.  Anyone have relevant knowledge here?

 

Actually digging further I find I was confused.  It looks like nearly all of the export models (Hawk 75's) had either two or four wing guns of various calibers, but those sold domestically to the USAAC as P-36As almost all had only the fuselage-mounted guns (which apparently started out as .30 cal but later were upgraded to .50s.  Only the last 30 planes produced for the USAAC had wing guns, and these were designated P-36A-3s.  But I have no evidence that it was one of these that Rasmussen flew at Pearl, so I'll likely go ahead and delete the wing armament on mine.

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Got one of these in the stash...apart from the old conversion set you used to be able to get from Meteor Productions for the Trumpeter P-40B, this is it for P-36s.

 

So far, amazing work!  Keep it coming.

 

Tim W.

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