by: Jean-Luc Formery [ ]
HistoryThe story of the CW-22 "Falcon" trainer is quite complex: the aircraft was a variation of the single-seat CW-21 "deamon" light fighter and first flew in 1940 (some sources say 1938). It was of all-metal construction, except for the fabric-covered ailerons. The landing gear retracted rearwards into fairings under the wings giving the plane a typical pre- World War Two look.
The CW-22 was sold to the Netherlands for use in the East Indies, Turkey and several Latin American countries. Several Dutch aircraft were used as reconnaissance planes and saw combat in the Java area in March 1942. Some of them were later captured and flown by the Japanese.
The CW-22 could be armed with two machine-guns of wich one was used as defensive armament on a flexible mount. The U.S. Navy purchased 305 CW-22s with the designation SNC-1 Falcon as an advanced trainer. They were fitted with a bigger canopy, an aerial mast as well as a circular radio antenna on the underside.
The KitThe resin kit comes in a small side opening box decorated with Planet Model's typical artwork: a simple color representation of the plane on a white background (picture 1). The packaging is very professional as you can see on picture 2. I found not a single damaged part in my sample despite the fact that some of them are very small and fragile.
The wings of the model are a single casting (picture 3). I found no warping on it and I only noticed a small amount of air bubbles in the leading and trailing edge areas. But the surface of the resin is smooth and the details, both engraved and in relief, are crisply done. In fact, such a superb job was done by Planet Model, that cleaning the wings is almost unnecessary! Fantastic!
The fuselage sides have been designed like regular injected parts (picture 4). They are hollow and won't require more work than those you can find in plastic kits. Here also I found no warping and a very small amount of air bubbles, but nothing to worry about. Surface is very nice and the engraved panel lines are of the same quality level you can find in "Tamigawa" kits.
Inside the fuselage halves, cockpit sidewalls details have been nicely represented and will look good after a good paintjob and a dark wash.
Within the main plastic bag, the rest of the kit's parts are protected... into two additional smaller bags! Once placed on the table (picture 5 and 6), you can see a total of about 80 resin pieces of various sizes and shapes:
- complete engine (crankcase, cylinders, frontal exhaust collector, engine back, etc...)
- complete cockpit interior (seats with seatbelts, cockpit floor, instrument panels, rudder pedals, control sticks, levers etc...)
- finely done propeller
- detailled landing gears (legs, wheels, retractation mechanism and gear doors)
- external details (aileron hinges, antenna mast, circular radio antenna, etc...)
- armament (rear machine gun)
The smaller parts will require much more care than the wings and fuselage halves. A lot of them are very small and their casting blocks are sometimes rather big.
The canopy frame is vacuformed (picture 7) and two sample are provided (always a good thing!). The plastic is very clear and without noticable distortions. The shape of it is typical of the first versions of CW-22's but more on that later.
A small decal sheet will allow you to depict the following aircraft:
1 - "CF-464", Dutch East Indies Air Force (ML-KNIL), Java 1941.
2 - "CF-465", Dutch East Indies Air Force (ML-KNIL), Java 1941-1942. This reconnaissance plane was rattached to the third Air Group (VLG III) and could have flown offensive missions against the Japanese.
3 - CW-22 captured by the Imperial Japanese Air Force and used by the 75th Sentai equipped with Ki-48 "Lily's".
Based on the references I have, the "CF-465" had his engine cowlings painted in black wich makes him look very much like a Japanese plane! This is not specified in the kit's painting guide. Otherwise the colors are Aluminium for the underside and Olive Drab/Dark Green for the upper surfaces.
The instructions are printed on two A4 sheets. The assembly steps are located on two sides (picture 9) and are easy to follow (but the kit is pretty simple). The part's layout and the painting instructions are located on the other sides of the sheets (picture 10). No color references are given apart from "Aluminium", Olive Drab" and "Dark Green".
AccuracyBased on the plans and pictures I have, the model looks very much like a "Falcon". It is written on the box it is a CW-22B version and in the History Notes, Planet Model uses the SNC-1 denomination. I think it would be more appropriate to write CW-22 without the letter "B".
The Curtiss Model 22 was an export version for the Dutch and the Turkish. Most noticable characteristic was a flatter rear canopy and the absence of aerial mast and circular radio antenna.
Later, Curtiss changed the shape of the canopy wich became larger. This "improved" version, the CW-22B, was exported to Turkey (2nd batch), Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia and Venezuela and were used until the 50'.
The SNC-1 US Navy denomination was used for the navalized version of the "Falcon" , the Model 22N. It was envisaged for the Commonwealth but the British preferred to order more "Harvards", so the planes remained in the U.S. mainland as trainers.
For the Dutch and Japanese planes, the kit is accurate as it provides the typical "early" canopy. But you must not follow the instructions and put the aerial mast and the circular radio antenna in the spare box. If you want to make an U.S. trainer, you will have to buy an other boxing (ref. 107) with U.S. markings and appropriate canopy with fuselage rails.
ConclusionThis is another fine kit by Planet Models! It is well engineered and will not represent an insurmountable challenge, even for someone not used to build full resin replicas. The quality of the surface details is such, that it will look good even aside the latest "state of the art" injected kits of Asian manufacturers.
I highly recommend this kit to modelers wanting to venture into the world of "alternative modelling".
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