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  1. This is the 48th scale Hobbycraft Hawk 75. I didn't add much inside other than seat belts. Outside I used a Masters P40 barrel set that came with barrels, pitot, ring and bead sight. The decals were from AML. I was afraid of them because I believe they're Eastern European and I've had mixed luck with Eastern European decals as a whole. Turns out they were excellent. The kit had some niggles like the warped wings, not enough dihedral and the engine sits too deep for the prop to clear the cowling. Some careful dry fitting and basic modeling skills took care of everything. Probably the biggest hiccup was the canopy came with a stress crack at the port side attachment point. That was filed out, filled with CA and polished out. Its not perfect but its passable. I wing dinged the colors from close enoughs already in stock. I didn't go nuts on the weathering because I'm a bit rusty and didn't want to ruin my first completed model in over a year. It's still not technically done as the Masters set was short the bead sight. Spruebrothers has a free replacement set on the way. Thank you SB. Well it isn't perfect but it was an enjoyable impromptu way to get back into building. I hope you like it. Thanks for looking. Ron
  2. By the kind indulgence of our hosts here, I am posting both these builds up in a single thread. The Wildcat will be finished as a machine of VF-41 off USS Ranger, The Hawk 75 will be finished as a machine of GCII/5 based at Casablanca. It is an odd little passage of arms. US Army and US Navy fighters of the same vintage faced off during 'Operation Torch', and for an extra twist, GCII/5 bore the emblem of the Lafayette Escadrille, a unit manned by American volunteers in the Great War. My intent is to keep both these at about the same stage, and make use of the raised surface detail. I have some of the decals I'll need for the Vichy, and expect I can improvise the Torch ring.
  3. The Curtiss Hawk 75 saw wider use than just about any other fighter in World War Two, various models of the Hawk 75 being flown in a dozen air forces, and employed on both sides of the conflict. The type was still in service with one squadron of England's Royal Air Force in Burma throughout 1943. During the 1930s the Curtiss company had sold many of its Hawk biplane fighters overseas, and managed to do the same with its new modern Hawk 75 all-metal monoplane fighter. When the U. S. Army Air Corps had taken up the Hawk 75 as the P-36 in 1937, the Army required Curtiss to deliver machines powered by fourteen cylinder Pratt-Whitney Twin Wasp radial engines. When France placed substantial contracts with Curtiss for the Hawk 75 in 1938, machines powered by the Twin-Wasp were delivered, though this engine, which seldom could be made to deliver its designed horsepower, had proved far from satisfactory in U.S.A.A.C. service. On later Hawk 75 export contracts, Curtiss replaced the Twin-Wasp with its own radial, the nine cylinder Curtiss-Wright Cyclone. While this engine had its own problems, mostly involving lubrication, it developed more horsepower than the Twin Wasp, and so offered improved performance. Hawk 75s with Cyclone engines built to fill later French orders were, after the fall of France in May, 1940, delivered to England and the Royal Air Force, along with some tag-end examples of the earlier Twin Wasp models. The Hawk 75 was dubbed 'Mohawk' in English service, and the Cyclone powered version was known as the Mohawk Mk IV. This was armed with six .30" machine-guns, two synchronized and four carried in the wings, in contrast to the original armament of the U.S. Army P-36, which mounted only two synchronized machine-guns, one .30" and one .50". The Royal Air Force considered its Mohawks unsuitable for first line squadrons, but soon decided they were adequate to replace or supplement obsolescent equipment overseas. In the summer of 1941, about 80 Mohawk IVs were sent to the South African Air Force, for use against Italian forces still in Ethiopia. With the growing possibility hostilities might break out in the Far East, a similar number of crated Mohawk IVs were shipped to India, where the RAF had practically no modern equipment at all. These arrived in October of 1941, and once the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor and Malaya, and invaded Burma, getting Mohawk IVs in India into service took on critical importance. No. 5 Squadron, an old 'India' unit that had operated biplanes on the Northwest Frontier since the end of World War One, became operational with the Mohawk IV in March of 1942, and was for some months the only squadron flying modern fighters in India. A new squadron, No. 155, was formed in April at Peshewar, but not until late July did this unit begin receiving the newly assembled Mohawk IVs it was to fly. No. 155 squadron was fully equipped and trained by October, and went into action at the end of that month, flying from Calcutta to attack a Japanese airfield at Shwebo, on the Irrawadi River in Burma. In November, both Mohawk squadrons were brigaded together in 167 Wing, based initially at Argatala in Bengal, to fly in support of Gen. Irwin's December offensive into the Arakan coastal region of Burma. By now the Hawker Hurricane had reached India in some quantity, and the two Mohawk squadrons were mostly employed as fighter bombers and bomber escorts, though on occassion they were pressed into service as interceptors to defend their own airfields, and sometimes even flew together as a Wing on offensive patrols. In the course of these duties, pilots found the Mohawk IV was able to match turns in a dogfight with the Japanese Army's especially nimble Type 1 'Oscar' fighter, something the Hurricane could not do. When employed as a fighter bomber to attack airfields and troops and transport, the Mohawk IV usually carried only a light fragmentation bombs beneath their wings. The Curtiss engineers had not anticipated the Hawk 75 being used on such duties, and the wings of the lightly constructed airframe were doing about all they could to bear the weight of their machine-guns and ammunition. At the end of January, 1943, the two Mohawk squadrons separated. No. 5 remained engaged over the Arakan, meeting little aerial opposition, and was re-equipped with the Hurricane Mk IID fighter-bomber in May. No. 155 was dispatched north to Imphal to support the first offensive of Gen. Wingate's 'Chindit' columns, which depended on air support for both 'artillery' and supplies. As the 'Chindit' columns began retiring in April, the squadron had to defend its airfield against heavy attack by Japanese Army twin-engined bombers. In June, No. 155 Sqdn, now the sole unit flying the Mohawk IV, returned to Argatala. The Arakan offensive had been repulsed by the Japanese, but a renewal was intended. 155 Sqdn frequently flew south to attack Japanese troops and transport on the Chindwin River, a major artery for Japanese supplies. In September, the squadron returned north to Imphal, where it was similarly employed against more northerly stretches of the Chindwin, while English preparations for the second drive into the Arakan region continued. 155 Sqdn met very little opposition in the air from the Japanese Army while conducting these operations. Early in January, 1944, 155 Squadron relenquished its Mohawk IVs, and was re-equipped with Mk VIII Spitfires. This model represents a late service Mohawk IV of 155 Squadron, serial BS798, with the identity letter 'B'. It was photographed in flight during August, 1943, while 155 Sqdn operated from Argatala. Very likely it remained in service with the squadron till the end of the Mohawk's service career. Mohawk IV BS798 'B' certainly was still in service with 155 Sqdn during November, for it took part in the last aerial engagement in which the Mohawk IV fought Japanese Army aircraft. When a Japanese Army Type 0 reconnaissance plane flew over the airstrip at Imphal on November 9, 1943, it was the first time in some weeks 155 Squadron pilots had seen Japanese aircraft aloft. Two Mohawks took off to engage, but were easily outpaced by the speedy twin-engine Japanese machine. Around noon, seventeen twin-engine Type 97 bombers, with a half dozen Type 1 fighters escorting, attacked the Imphal strip. Flying Officer Harry Bishop clambered into the cockpit of BS798 'B', and with several others took off in the wake of the destructive raid. The 155 Sqdn pilots caught up to the Japanese formation on its way back home. The escort, from 50th Sentai, held the Mohawks off from the bombers, and in the melee, a Type 1 fighter fastened onto Fl/Of Bishop's tail. Fl/Of Tony Dunford, in another Mohawk, saw Bishop's plight, and shot the Japanese fighter down. Bishop observed it to crash and explode, killing its pilot, Cpl Kitaoka. The Mohawk IV in India offers several choices of interest to a modeller. I was initially drawn to doing a Mohawk IV of No. 5 Squadron, because of its long association with India (among my 'get to it someday' projects is a No. 5 Sqdn Bristol Fighter operating in 1925 against the Mahsuds in 'Pink's War'). That the Mohawk IVs of 5 Sqdn were for a time the only modern fighters in India made an early service example an attractive prospect. Learning the Mohawk IV had soldiered on so long as it had, long enough to bear the 'no red' SEAC national markings, drew my interest to a later service example, and tipped the balance towards a 155 Squadron Mohawk IV for a subject. The photographic evidence for 155 Sqdn is better, and shows a photograph is necessary. The picture which shows BS798 'B' so clearly among several other Mohawks shows variation in their roundels and even in their camouflage patterns. An additional factor favoring 155 Sqdn over 5 Sqdn for a late service subject is that in the latter unit, personal markings were common, and not all are recorded usefully, while this does not seem the case in 155 Sqdn. So BS798 'B' of 155 Sqdn, circa August 1943, got the nod. The kit was the old Azur Hawk 75 plastic, boxed as a Cyclone powered Mohawk IV. While this boxing includes a nice resin nine-cylinder motor, the fuselage halves present the long-chord cowling of the twin-row Wasp. Even for this smaller diameter motor, the 'mouth' of the cowling is far too deep and oval, which seems to be a common failing in model kits of this Curtiss type. I am curious to get ahold of one of the newer AZ Models kits to see how they handled this. The cowling front on the Cyclone particularly should look round enough it takes a moment to see it isn't. I did not go whole hog to correct the cowling (it is still not wide enough) but by shimming a bit at top and bottom, and trimming at the sides, I got the opening to strike the eye well enough that it looks about right. Sanding away the surface detail for the 'long-chord' cowling allowed me to make the slope out from fuselage sides to cowling look a bit steeper, and I scribed and scored in the proper appearance for the short-chord Cyclone cowling. This is the only improvement I made, though since the vacu-form clear pieces had aged yellow, I used a Falcon canopy, and made my own side-panels from 10 thou clear sheet. In doing 'little bits' at the end, I made my own exhaust stubs and tailwheel doors. I had fumbled away one of the former, and the latter just were too thick for scale, and too tiny to thin down readily. The bomb load is four Cooper fragmentation bombs under each wing, and these come from spare Roden sprues for Great War subjects. I don't usually show machines 'loaded', but it was that or scratch a pair of light service carrier racks. RAF bombs were supposed to have been painted green well before this, but operations in India were under the India Office, a notoriously penurious officialdom. Even before I saw a picture of yellow bombs being loaded on a Mohawk there, I felt sure the India Office would see mere orders to do so as no reason to repaint bombs which already had a good coat of paint on them that had lasted for years, at a cost of lord knows how many shillings per bomb. Mohawk IVs of 155 Sqdn late in 1943 are often depicted in profiles with the Dark Green and Ocean Grey uppersurfaces of the Fighter Command scheme. I suspect it comes from some photographs which show great contrast in uppersurface grey tones. Others do not show such contrasts, however, and Mohawks were delivered in Temperate Land scheme, as close as Curtiss could match, anyway. One more reminder that, though we all do like to try our hand at it, estimating color from grey tones is a mug's game. As far as the undersurface color goes, I got it lodged in my head a while back Azure Blue, or something like it, was used, and though Medium Grey is often called out instead, the Osprey number on 'Hawk Aces' shows blue undersurfaces in its Burma Mohawk profiles. Which is good enough for me. The Sky band and yellow identifiers are not masked but done freehand, guided by a technique of use only when employing a brush. A very shallow line is scribed in on the color boundary. As long as you have your brush sufficiently loaded with paint that can flow a little, and move along the line at a little distance from it, the 'trench' will stop the paint, and once both sides of the boundary have been painted, they will have filled the guideline. A bit of a rub with a 3000 grit pad removes any trace of unevenness. Just as with masking, you might get a little bleed across the boundary, but these are easily touched up with a definite line established. A wide, flat edged brush touched towards the boundary does very well for this. National and identity markings were scrounged, contrived, or home-made. An old Revell Swordfish decal sheet provided the 'C' proportion roundel, sans red center (to be separately applied), and an old Airfix Spitfire kit provided a 'B' in Sky. Having these ready to hand helped me decide on my subject. The 'B' decal color providentially matched exactly the paint in an old PollyScale 'Sky Type S' bottle. Most of the roundels are doubled, either to cover a red center or get the proper proportions. The fin flash is put together from the rudder stripes on an Airfix R.E. 8 sheet. Wife made the serial number decals for me. A note to the eagle-eyed. Ye, there i something askew with the starboard landing gear 'doors'. I didn't notice till reviewing the picture, and the model is already packed for the move. I wasn't trying for any wear-and-tear effect.... By the way, the oft circulated photo three 155 Sqdn Mohawk IVs including BS798 'B' is a detail of a larger picture, showing other squadron machines in 'vic' array.
  4. French H75C-1, has been restored to flying condition by The Fighter Collection at Duxford, United Kingdom. It is flown in French camouflage with markings on either side, for the same example (n°82) at two different periods in its career. Pics by Mark Mills Pics by Martin Lawrence
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