by: Daniel Dacey [ ]
HistoryThe Curtiss Hawk II was an interwar biplane that was an export version of the XF11C-2 Goshawk.
First made available for sale in 1932 it met with quick sales success for Curtiss with China being the biggest market with 50 aircraft sold.
Last deliveries of the aircraft were in 1935, by which time 127 aircraft had been sold.
The Hawk did see some combat with Bolivia, China and Thailand and possibly Peru and some examples were still flying until the very early 1940’s, but by this time it was effectively obsolete and had been replaced as a front line fighter by more modern monoplane designs.
The KitThe kit comes in a cardboard box that
opens with flaps from the sides. On the front of the box
is a nice painting, of the Curtiss Hawk II in the markings of the Chinese Airforce and is one of the options included in the kit.
On the box sides you get some history of the aircraft, a safety note and some other RS Models are also featured. Finally, on the back of the box are full colour illustrations from the side and top view of the four variants and markings included in the kit.
Typical of inter war year planes, some interesting and colourful paint schemes and markings can be found here.
The first three are for the land based version of the Hawk and include one for the Royal Thai air force in two tone green and brown camouflage with sky blue undersides, one for the Chinese Airforce in overall silver finish and another for the US Navy with silver fuselage and yellow wings. The fourth marking option is for a float plane equipped Hawk in the markings of Peru, which manages to just about combine all the other colour schemes with a green fuselage, yellow wings and tail and silver floats.
A basic paint callout is also included on the box top, however this simply describes colours like “brown” and does not include any further information, so you will need to do your own research on the appropriate shades of paint to use for your choice of aircraft.
The kit includes a large resealable plastic bag which contains all the parts for the kit, made up of two sprues of plastic parts, one clear canopy, a smaller bag with some resin parts, photo-etch, two decal sheets and instructions.
Most of the kit parts can be found on two sprues that are moulded in a grey mat finished plastic that feels and looks good quality.
The highlight of these parts is the finely engraved panel lines and the subtle, but very effective representation of the mix of fabric covered and metal surfaces of the real aircraft.
Ailerons and elevators are moulded as part of the wings, however the rudder can be posed as it’s a separate part and comes in two variants, however only one variant (A12) is actually used for any of the planes represented in the kit. All the smaller parts look to be to scale and a very good level of overall detail can be found here.
On the second sprue is the tail wheel and optional floats. Beautifully moulded, the floats really capture the look of the real aircraft and add a visually very interesting variant you can build.
I suspect a number of modellers will buy two of these kits, so they can do the land and sea versions.
Both of the sprues included in the review sample, had some fine flash present, so some clean-up of parts will be required.
No location pins are included for aligning parts like the two sides of the fuselage or the floats, so care will also be required in aligning parts during assembly.
Also included is a separate smaller bag which contains the detail parts for the kit.
Here you will find resin parts for one of two cowling options you can choose from, wheels for the land plane, fuel tank and a representation of the planes radial engine. The resin parts are fairly softly moulded and some fiddly clean-up will be required for the engine in particular. You will also need to carefully saw the excess resin off the cowling piece for your variant of the Hawk, to open up the front of the cowling so you can fit the engine.
Photo EtchThe photo etch includes fine parts for the seat belts, instrument panel and rudder pedals and plumbing for the radial engine.
A clear plastic sheet with the instruments printed on it is also included that is intended to be used as a backing for the photo etch instrument panel.
Decals Decals are printed on two sheets. The first and largest sheet includes the national markings for each of the four options given to the modeller. Colours appear bright and the decal film has a gloss finish to it. Carrier film is also kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, on the review sample, these decals were printed slightly out of register and this is most evident on the roundels. Some modellers could probably live with it in this scale, but for others it might require a search for third party alternatives or a request to the manufacturer for another sheet.
The second much smaller decal sheet contains some stencil information and also some representations of aircraft instruments. These are difficult to read, but in 1:72 are perfectly adequate and its commendable that they are included at all.
InstructionsThe instructions come printed on a folded A4 sheet in black and white and include some basic specifications of the real aircraft, a parts map and eight stages for assembly. The assembly sequence is fairly atypical for a biplane kit and where options are available, they are pointed out in the instructions. There are however, two anomalies in step 6 where call outs make reference to variants of the Hawk not included in the markings for this kit.
In the final step you do get a handy front and side profile of the aircraft to assist in the proper alignment of the wings. These illustrations also show the rigging for the wings, however no rigging material or further instructions on how to do this are included.
ConclusionThis is my first exposure to an RS Models kit and I have to say its a very positive first impression. The kit includes a commendable level of detail for 1:72 scale and with some patience in construction, the kit should build into a fine representation of one of the more successful and attractive interwar year biplanes.
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