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Smeg’s Curtiss P-36C Hawk (Mark I)

The two decades between the First and Second World Wars saw major advances in all areas of technology. In military and civil aviation, flimsy wood and canvas biplanes and triplanes gave way to sleek all-metal monoplanes. The lumbering "land ships" of WW1 were replaced by maneuverable tanks and armoured cars. In this GB, anything that was developed and operated between 1919 and 1939 (but not WW2) is fair game.
Runs from 10 August 2019 to 26 January 2020.
Ryan B.
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Re: Smeg’s Curtiss P-36C Hawk (Mark I)

#21

Post by Ryan B. »

I'm enjoying your build of this very attractive aircraft--and wondering if Mark 1 will ever put out a Wright Cyclone version of the Mohawk, as used by the Brits in Burma? Or does anyone specialize in resin or otherwise aftermarket adaptations. Say, a Packard nose for the P-40F, or canopy and radar for a P+38M, or....

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Re: Smeg’s Curtiss P-36C Hawk (Mark I)

#22

Post by smeg1959 »

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. I'm wading through a ton (or tonne) of student submissions at the moment as the semester winds towards its close, so I'm hoping for a little clear air in the not-too-distant to make a much bigger impression on this build and a number of backlogged Shelf of Shamers.

Ryan, I agree that a Hawk 75A-4/Mohawk IV would be a nice addition to the family (Mark I do include a RAF example, but it is the earlier Mohawk III). However, I reckon you won't see any more releases of the type by Mark I, so it would fall to a company like RetrokiT to issue a conversion set in resin. I've got a couple of their releases for the Me262 and they are very nicely cast and easy to work with.
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Re: Smeg’s Curtiss P-36C Hawk (Mark I)

#23

Post by ajmm »

Superb work Smeg. You made a much better job of those windows than I did. That’s looking really very hawk-like. Looking forward to seeing some paint on it.

Ryan - I think Retrokit were planning an XP-43 conversion for this kit. But I’m with you. I’d like a wright cyclone engine (and everything else you suggested).

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Re: Smeg’s Curtiss P-36C Hawk (Mark I)

#24

Post by cowleyi »

Yes, there is good progress. (more than what i have been able to achieve over the past few months)....

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smeg1959
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Re: Smeg’s Curtiss P-36C Hawk (Mark I)

#25

Post by smeg1959 »

Before providing a lack-of-progress report on this build, a tad more on the 1939 Cleveland Air Races, where the 27th Pursuit Squadron gained the honour of representing the entire USAAC at the meet. In a thread on Britmodeller, Dana Bell stated that, contrary to some reports, the bizarre schemes on most of the P-36s were not associated with the camouflage trials being undertaken by the USAAC around the time. The schemes were simply to impress the general public who, by the look of the car parks in this Youtube footage from 1939, turned up in droves. The water-based paint was supposedly temporary, to be washed off at the end of the meet. Unfortunately, Mr Karcher didn’t invent his high-pressure hose until 1950 and the damned stuff proved extremely difficult to remove. Incidentally, there’s a few brief seconds in the video showing the Hawks (starting at 3:50 and again at 4:35). How much of the footage is actual colour stock from the time and how much is colourised B&W, I have no idea.

OK, back to the build. There’s no doubt about my “alternative scheme” choices at times. I could have gone with “Black 69” supplied by Mark I, but no, methought the multi-hued “Black 67” would be far more interesting. With the oddball approach to “camo” on the latter extending to the undersides, I had to revisit my normal approach to profiles and do a complete lower view.
Curtiss P-36C Hawk - Black 67 Profile.jpg
No biggie there as I do find working with Illustrator therapeutic. The plan is the usual one … print the profiles out (they are already scaled to 1/144), cut out the various segments, trace them onto Tamiya tape, cut and apply. Torturous maybe, but not all that complex. What about the colours, I hear you ask? First can of worms. As I said originally, there’s plenty of conflicting info about the six colours used. Indeed, I just discovered a profile in a 2008 Fine Scale Modeler book that corroborates only two colours on my profiles, White 25 and Sea Green 28, substituting Sand 26, Neutral Gray 32, Black 33 and Rust Brown 34 for the other four. If you want to see what it looks like, there’s a build of the Hobbycraft 1/48 kit worth having a look at. And Merlin would be over the moon … the guy has used a hairy stick throughout! For the record, Sand 26 is nothing remotely like the sand or desert yellows used by the Allies or Axis powers, having a distinctive pinkish tinge. However, whilst the scheme perfectly feasible, I’m sticking to the combo I planned from the outset - Orange, Purple, White 25, Sea Green 28, Dark Green 30 and Dark Olive Drab 31 - based in part on Dana’s much more recent information. Hey, when else am I going to be able to combine orange and purple on the one model?

Second can of worms. Other than White 25 (duh!), what colour constitutes each of the remaining five tones and what ideally acrylic paints do I need to get the job done? After searching for an age online, I thought I’d hit the Mother Lode when I found a post in Britmodeller that attempted to assign FS595a colours to the USAAC pre-war collection. Yes, the author and I know FS595a didn’t exist at the time and mapping colours is a largely academic exercise, but when I visited the FS595a section of www.colorserver.net/ and saw that the suggested equivalent for the purple was, in fact, a light tan brown, my heart sank. True, the writer did say to add a “bit of red”, but that didn’t quite nail it for me. On the positive side, his suggestion of FS32544 for the orange does correlate with comments that the colour wasn’t the vivid tone of, say, Japanese prototype orange. Moreover, Vallejo 70.845 (ho hum!) and Lifecolor UA909 equate to this colour.

As for the others, here’s what I’ve come up with using the Web and Dana’s book:

Sea Green 28: Whilst online references quote FS34102, Dana states that this colour was closer to FS34128, if marginally greener. White Ensign recommend one of their colours, Nakajima Army Green, but the brand isn’t available Down Under so I’m going with either Lifecolor UA132, UA146 or Gunze H423 here. Incidentally, the colour is supposedly equivalent to RLM83 Lichtgrün.

Dark Green 30: There seems generally agreement here that the colour was close to FS34092, if not a tad blacker. If that number rings a bell for fellow Aussies, it is the most common equivalent given for Foliage Green, which I obviously have in the paint stash (Lifecolor UA514). Dana points out that the wartime Medium Green 42 is a very similar colour, if anything even closer to FS34092.

Dark Olive Drab 31: An excellent article on the IPMS Stockholm site titled “Interior Colours of US Aircraft, 1941-45” discusses the history of Olive Drab and mentions that pre-war Olive Drab 9 was replaced by the darker Olive Drab 41 in 1940, but adds that OD 41 and Dark OD 31 are, in fact, the same. Dana agrees for the most part, concluding that the later colour is marginally redder on the paint chips he saw. Wonderful, because I’ve got more bottles of OD 41 than the USAAC. Going with Lifecolor UA005 here.

Purple: Now this is an interesting one given the alternative interpretation of Neutral Gray 32 (which is said by Dana to be fractionally darker than the wartime colour we all know and love, Neutral Gray 43). The number of profiles I’ve seen that quote NG yet have a distinctive purplish tinge is quite staggering. Dana mentions the purple colour from 1932 and equates it to a bluish version of FS37144, calling it “Royal Purple”. However, it appears this was not the colour applied in 1939. Unless definitive info surfaces in coming weeks, I have resigned myself to taking Lifecolor’s UA046 NG 43 and tweaking it with some blue until I obtain something that might cut the mustard.

OK, Smeg, time to start masking that thing!
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Re: Smeg’s Curtiss P-36C Hawk (Mark I)

#26

Post by BigReg »

So, by the time you have painted it, adjusted for our small scale, photographed it (in what light?). Then adjusted the picture in software, loaded it onto this thread and we see it on our phones, tablets, screens, or 20 year old monitors........What will it look like?
Answer. Another very fine model in your collection!
PS. In over 60 years of modelling the Accuracy Police have never knocked at my door.

Great thread.
David

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smeg1959
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Re: Smeg’s Curtiss P-36C Hawk (Mark I)

#27

Post by smeg1959 »

All very true, David. Sorry, I appear to be channeling some of the more ardent members of the Britmodeller fraternity! :oops:
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Re: Smeg’s Curtiss P-36C Hawk (Mark I)

#28

Post by smeg1959 »

OK, after a little more research, a slight change of plan (David, stop sniggering). I am going with a purple I believe to be similar to that used around the time and, as I hope to do a few more of these US pre-war types (eyes firmly on Kampfflieger’s A-8 and A-12 Shrikes here, plus a fervent desire for someone to release an injection-moulded P-26 Peashooter), any paint purchase will see further action, not be left to harden over the ensuing centuries. Now as I reluctantly admitted in the Bf109B build, I’ve been left with little option but to give Vallejo a second chance. Local availability, avoidance of Tamiya’s clear coat, etc. And it so happens that the Model Air range has both the oddball colours I need; for the orange, 70.845 Sunny Skin Tone (I kid you not), for the purple, 70.959 Purple (seriously).

Also prior to masking for the second colour, I pondered the optimum sequence to minimise applying too many colours over other colours. I realised if I masked the white, airbrushed the orange, masked the orange, airbrushed the purple then masked the purple, the remaining three colours would each be separated by a previously applied mask. Carefully airbrushing into the non-masked zones should give the desired result with no further overcoating or masking. Moreover, the sequence roughly follows the “lightest to darkest” rule; the purple’s a bit darker but it is my experience that darker greens and olive drab cover well. Even over black.

I'll start posting progress pics soon ...
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Re: Smeg’s Curtiss P-36C Hawk (Mark I)

#29

Post by BigReg »

Sunny skin tone sounds very Australian to me.
David

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smeg1959
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Re: Smeg’s Curtiss P-36C Hawk (Mark I)

#30

Post by smeg1959 »

If it was based on my skin, the colour would be pillar box red! :oops:
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