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


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Continuing to plow away.  The clear parts on this kit are reasonably thin (the sliding part of the canopy will fit when slid back, unlike their Ki-27 kit) and clear-ish.  Greatly improved by a coat of Future.  I bought these masks for the canopy as they were the only ones I could find:

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They are cut in Oramask - it's OK but for canopy masks I prefer the ones that Eduard makes out of the yellow Tamiya-tape like stuff.  It's thinner, to a useful degree.  To make masks for the inside of the canopy, I just took the surrounding material and stuck it down to a pieces of wide tape, and traced with a scalpel blade.

 

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I've decided to try and "hairspray chip" the inside of the cockpit, so I've got a lengthy series of layers to spray (also doing some other stuff in parallel).  First hit everything with Alclad Gloss Black:

 

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The Alclad basic Aluminum (001).  Tried to get a good thick layer to avoid "chipping" through it later.

 

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I'll let that all dry until tomorrow and then hit it with hairspray and then acrylic cockpit green.

 

I made a little gooseneck lamp for the pilot to read his charts by:

 

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I'll hand-paint the junction box black later.

 

The prop actually turned out OK, especially thinking back to what a grotty heap of plastic the component parts were as they came off the sprues...

 

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I'm not entirely happy with the attempt at "hairspray chipping" the cockpit paint.  I tried using some AMMO "Heavy Chipping" fluid that I had picked up a while back, rather than actual hairspray.  First, I may have applied too much.  Then, I may have put the top coat of paint on too wet - I suspect it may have re-wetted the chipping layer, because then as the green paint dried it shrank and crazed in places, letting the aluminum paint below it show through.  I oversprayed with more green achieving only partial improvement.  Then, when i went to try and chip the green paint, in some places it seems like the whole chipping layer rapidly re-solubilized, causing the whole upper layer of green to come free, rather than just in small chunks.  Maybe I used too much water.  At any rate, I wound up with the "wear surfaces" in the cockpit (floor, seat) considerably more chipped than I had wanted.  I did a little bit of chipping on the sidewalls and cockpit sills just by scraping with a scalpel blade - no water.  At any rate, it's now about as done as I'm going to get it, and while I am not particularly happy with the final effect, it's also a fairly closed-off cockpit so it's not like it will be that visible.  Some of the extra widgets I scratch built may be a touch over-scale, too.  But I'm pretty sure it will all fit.  Below are the constituent pieces.  Next step is to glue up the fuselage halves.  I'm going to assemble the rest from below after that's done, so all these pieces won't actually come together until later.

 

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I've also pretty much finished cleaning up the wing section - it took a fair amount of re-shaping around the outer edges where the parts did not align perfectly.  I also finished filling in all the detail that's not correct for the P-36A machinegun-less wings.  Once I have the fuselage to this same level of finish (which is going to be a slog), I will rescribe all the panel lines that need it (there are many) and attempt to add all of the rivet detail that the kit does not have with my new rivet wheel.  After doing some more practice on sheet styrene first.

 

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The recesses ahead of the actual wheel wells, which the main gear legs would lay down into when retracted, are clearly not deep enough - a significant miss on the part of SH.  But I'm not going to even think about trying to rebuild them.  Too much work for something that you won't see when the model is sitting on the shelf.

Edited by Alex
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on P36A & C, the illuminator of N2A gunsight was hanged below the instrument panel and the rectangular glass was screwed  on the windscreen.

 

you put the stick in reverse position!

Edited by waroff
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I've been in "fixing lots of Special Hobby things" mode for a while on the project now, so it feels like I've spent a lot of time for not very much visible progress.  Hopefully it is worthwhile in the end.  I'm starting to think and research more about the next build, which is a bad sign - can't get distracted and not get this one over the finish line, and there's quite a bit of work yet to do.

 

But first, fixing a mistake I made, rather than Special Hobby.  As waroff noted, on the P-36 the gunsight illuminator is mounted low, not in the pilot's line of sight as the Hawks had it.  My error was focusing on kit instructions:

 

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Rather than on the reference photos I had accumulated, like:

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which clearly shows the illuminator, with an aluminum bezel/cap on the top, mounted below the IP.  So I changed mine.

 

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One of the special things about this kit is that the two sides of the fuselage are slightly different lengths.  If you choose to assemble yours with the front of the aircraft lined up square, this comes out at the back.

 

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Settling the insert that makes up the opening for the tailwheel in place shows that we'll need to shim to bring the short side up to length.

 

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If that was better focused you could see that I've thinned the walls of that piece from the inside so the edges of the tailwheel opening are at least closer to "scale-thin" versus the chunky way they were molded.

 

Here's the gap roughly shimmed

 

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That's going to get smoothed and thinned a touch before the fuselage piece is installed and then blended a bunch because it (the small piece) is also a bit too wide...

Edited by Alex
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Continuing with the rear of the plane, the two sides of the vertical stabilizer are also different:

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There was lots of mismatch around the leading edge of the fin too, but that's already been cleaned up.  Holding up the rudder makes it clear that the low side needs to be shimmed.

 

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I've also spent a ton of time cleaning up all of the panel lines on both the wing and fuselage.  They're almost done now but still need a quick treatment with extra-thin cement to smooth the rough spots that I always seem to get.  I didn't take comprehensive "before" photos, and those are pretty difficult fixes to see anyway, so not bothering with them here.  After I add all the missing rivets I will do a black enamel PLW "Chuck wash" (as it has apparently come to be known) to check all of it for problems before committing to painting.

 

I then turned to the front of the model.  The P-36 had these little bubble-shaped fairings around the exhausts.  In the photo below you can see one of these as it was molded and the other thinned out so the edges are not so chunky.  Rather than try to hollow out those exhaust stub moldings, I'm going to get some 2.75 mm aluminum or brass tubing and bend replacements that will look much better.

 

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The cowl mounted machine guns also had rounded fairings around them (the whole thing looks pretty Buck Rogers to me, which is I guess appropriate given the era).  This in one of them as molded - the gun barrel is just a cylindrical nub off the front.  Again better to replace than to try and make the plastic piece look realistic.  Here it's just sitting on the cowl, not attached.

 

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And both machine gun and exhaust fairings installed:

 

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Those still need some significant "fairing in" to the fuselage as the fit is far from flush.  Given the location of the gaps at those acute joins, I'll probably fill with water-based putty and then overspray with Mr Surfacer.

 

As I noted a while back, there was a need to shim the horizontal stabilizers too so that they would fit flush on the undersides as well as the tops.  Here's a shim being glued in place.

 

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And then trimmed and sanded to shape.

 

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Next up I will finally get going on adding all the missing small rivets to the stabilizers, wings, and fuselage.  I want to get that done and the surfaces polished before I join wings and stabs to fuselage.  If I've done everything right, I will hopefully only have to deal with the wing-to-fuselage join and then I'll be ready to paint.

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Started in on rivets.  I tried practicing on some sheet styrene and found that my standby guide for scoring panel lines, Dymo tape, doesn't really work as a guide for the rivet wheel - it's too easy for the toothed wheel to climb up the tape.  So for the horizontal stabilizers I just drew the rivet pattern on with pencil and then carefully followed it freehand.

 

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This was OK on these small pieces that could lay flat on the bench, but I'm feeling that it will be more difficult with the fuselage especially.

 

Maybe I need to look into a small flexible metal ruler that I can tape in place as a guide.  Or just freehand it all *carefully*...

 

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