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Another Dora Wings project is a family of Seversky P-35, in 1/48th, 1/144th and maybe 1/72nd. To be followed. For my part I would have preferred a Blackburn Firebrand. Source (see comments): https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2254229254807639&id=1929101897320378&__xts__=68.ARDHKzz_4aRzAKGMWKR3iyv6XxAHRGmxkgIGRdpZJqy27iFF2t-OShgbWaHrQK9dtWr1NaHpjOSK9g-S4uqhQtCXhdPnf5VmmckkS9l21rJ9RIvA60wKqoPrMz1v1p-wBtrTczo&__tn__=-R V.P.
I was reminded of this chubby little fighter, which had rested in my stash for 25 years, when @Duncan B presented his fine build here last October. Although a (possibly better) Dora Wings product is anticipated I decided to launch my Hobbycraft relic now. Classic kits are my passion, and I wanted to finish before I was tempted to buy the newer model. There are not many options if you want to build an aluminium P-35 because it only equipped the three squadrons of 1st Pursuit Group. I chose the personal aircraft of Major Harold H. George, commander of 94th Pursuit Squadron at Selfridge Field in 1937, thanks to Duncan who was so generous to send me his remaining decals. The P-35 was the first all-metal cantilever single-seater in the US Army Air Corps, a somewhat inconsistent design with a colourful history but a hapless career which may have been the fault of Alexander Seversky himself (or Curtiss-Wright's impertinent influence on Materiel Command). The bird was fast, manoeuverable, climbed well and offered great visibility. Pilots generally liked it except for its tendency to ground-loop. The kit, on the other hand, is not inconsistent - it's perfectly imperfect. This is my third Hobbycraft build and I was rather satisfied with the previous ones. All of them had some parts that failed in scale, but this model is to 1/49 scale throughout - that's 2 mm less all around - save for the width of the fuselage which appears accurate . Besides, it has an insufficient rudder shape and not much detail. (Should I have tempered my passion and waited for Dora Wings?). The parts, however, are nicely molded and most fit well, and the panel lines deserve applause. I was very lucky to get hold of a copy of the May 2003 Scale Aviation Modeller which offers an excellent scale plan and to have secured the Eduard PE set when it was still obtainable. Without these benefits improvement opportunities would have been limited. Going ahead I concluded that this should be done - - Increase dimensions; I hesitated whether extending the wings was worth the effort, but it also served to create a double panel line (not present on the kit) and to add dihedral (too shallow). - Adjust the rudder by means of a home-cut PE insert plus putty; it's interesting to note that the kit's original bar & stripes decal matches the revised shape very well whereas all aftermarket decals are tailored to the former outline - Hobbycraft's printer outsmarted their tool maker! - Replace the engine (Vector R-1830) and the prop (surplus part from a Monogram TBD with some refinements). - Re-model the cowling (scale extension, half-open flaps, deeper gun troughs, correct panels). - Modify wheel wells and gear covers, in particular the undercarriage strut mounting (from a simple hole to the original pivot bracket). I added home-made girders and braces to SAC white metal struts. It was an endless trial and error cutting the struts and covers to make the model 'sit' right. - Scratch-build the cockpit with parts from the Eduard PE set; the P-35 cockpit was very roomy but appears unorganised and unergonomic by later standards. and more - - Move the razorback 2 mm rearwards; replace windscreen and canopy with vacu parts (Falcon set No. 32). - Modify the tailwheel and tailwheel housing. - Add position lights and other small features. - Use decals from various sources (Hobbycraft, Yellow Wings 48-051 and scrap box). The Indian Head insignia from 48-051 was enlarged by 50% via scan & print to match the original size. This may still be too small depending on which photo and angle you consider. Was it a wise decision to rely on this kit, then? It definitely surprised with more weaknesses than expected and tested my patience, but it was exciting to overcome these obstacles. I hope you like the result and feel encouraged to domesticate this little beast if you have it in your stash. Cheers, Michael References Air Corps, J.V. Mizrahi, Northridge, 1970 Air Enthusiast No.10, William Green / Gordon Swanborough, London, 1979 P-35, Mini In Action No.1, Larry Davis, Carrollton, 1994 From Seversky To Victory - Republic's P-47 Thunderbolt, Warren M. Bodie, Hiawassee, 1994 The Official Monogram US Army Air Service & Air Corps Aircraft Color Guide Vol.1, Robert D. Archer, Sturbridge, 1995 Scale Aviation Modeller Volume 9 Issue 5, Bedford, 2003 Wings of Stars - US Army Air Corps 1919-1941, On Target Special No.6, Peter Freeman and Mike Starner, Ardington, 2009 From Silver Wings to Yellow Wings → follow this link
In February 2020 Wolfpack Design is to rebox the Academy/Hobbycraft 1/48th Seversky P-35A "USAAF" - ref. WP14808 Source: http://www.wolfpack-d.com/htm/kit.html V.P.
The Seversky P-35 has a solid claim to significance in aviation history as the first fully modern pursuit ordered for service by the Army Air Corps, and into the bargain is a machine with a definite 'look' about it. But I suspect that much of its popularity with modelers 'of a certain age' here in the States owes to youthful encounters with the literary effort of its manufacturer, Maj. de Seversky, 'Victory Through Air Power'. I found it in my grade-school library, and was allowed to check it out over the summer when I was ten... The book was a minor phenomenon in the middle years of WWII, beginning as a Book of the Month Club selection distributed to 'several hundred thousand opinion-making citizens' in the spring of 1942. A feature-length Disney production based on it, mixing animation with direct address by Maj. de Seversky appeared in 1943.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvvqZqsGrbQ So well known did it become that in a Bugs Bunny short that year it was taken for granted everyone in any audience would get the opening sight gag: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jljAMQNbl4Y The book is an odd mixture of trenchant comment on strategy and operations then current or very recent, and theorizings and prognostications so far off the mark one might justly suspect a deliberate program of disinformation (though in the matter of 'battle-planes of the future' it is more likely Maj. de Seversky simply subscribed to one of the older schools of thought on the matter, and substituted 'will' for 'should', as people do at times...). The 'Seversky Pursuit' is very much the star of the book, and it is hard to emerge from reading the thing without some affection for the machine, along with some strong distaste for the Curtiss Company and its products (it was years before I could look a P-40 in the eye...)... Maj. de Seversky accuses the Curtiss firm of much sharp practice in his book, but his winning the production contract for the P-35 owes to some sharp practice of his own. The U.S. Army Air Corps had announced a competition for a new pursuit plane to be begun in May, 1935. Seversky's intended entry was the SEV-2XP... Had the competition been held on schedule with the planned entries, this would certainly have come in a distant second to the Curtiss Hawk 75 prototype... En route to Wright Field for the competition, however, the SEV-2XP was damaged, and returned to the Seversky factory at Farminton, New York, where, over the next three weeks, it was repaired out of all recognition, being converted into a single-seat machine with a retracting landing gear. Curtiss cried foul at this point, and the competition was postponed till April of 1936, in which time Curtiss also improved its design somewhat. The Seversky entry was adjudged the winner of the competition, however, when it was finally held, and a contract for 77 examples of the P-35 awarded to Seversky. The first machine was delivered in June, 1937, and over the following year, squadrons of the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field outside Detroit, the Army's premier fighter group, came to be equipped with the type. Deliveries were slow, as the Seversky plant was small and unused to large orders, and there were problems particularly with the stowage of fuel in the wing structure, which was built to be a fuel tank --- the sealants proved unequal to the flexion of the wing in flight over time, and leaks became common, and could be very dangerous in flight if near the fuselage, where the vapor could meet hot exhaust. Curtiss was able to take advantage of this, and when the Army let its next large contract for modern pursuits, the order for 210 machines went to Curtiss, who could not only guarantee quick delivery from their extensive production facilities, but could do so at a cut-rate price, providing the P-36 at little more than cost of manufacture (and considering it worth even a loss to secure future contracts as national re-armament loomed). In the 1st Pursuit Group, the P-35 served for a time alongside the new Curtiss fighter, and then was shipped out to newly formed units, and soon after retired from front-line service. Seversky turned to the export market with an improved version of the P-35, featuring a more powerful motor and heavier armament, but the sale of twenty two-seat 'convoy fighters' to Japan in 1939 brought scandalous publicity, leading to Maj. de Seversky being forced out of his own firm, which became Republic Aviation. Some of the improved export models sold to Sweden were commandeered in 1940, and under the designation P-35A were used to equip fighter units in the Philippines; some were still in service when the Japanese attack came. This model represents a machine of the 94th Pursuit Squadron. It is the current Special Hobby 1/72 kit of the P-35, in the 'Silver Wings' boxing. It is built pretty much 'out of the box' (I tweaked the motor front a little, and used 0.25mm rod instead of the kit's photo-etch for some small landing gear elements). I could not get the leader stripe decals to work for the kit's 94th P.S. decal option, and so swapped numbers about to provide a subject in the squadron's allotted range. It is finished with foil, home-made: I am of the iew nothing looks quite so much like metal as metal. This kit is a great improvement on the old MPM offering, but does remain a limited run kit: it should be approached with some alertness, but there will not be any major difficulties. The single-piece lower wing and clear plastic piece for the cargo compartment door are much appreciated (though the latter is a bit tricky to fit, and in this option had no window). My daughter bought this for me for my birthday a while back (having asked if there was anything I particularly wanted), and now that I have finished it, I will be giving it to her for her birthday. She is great young woman, and we are very proud of her.