by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Olimp Models' range of Curtiss Jennys will include the following kits:
P72-001 - Curtiss JN-4A/D (early)
P72-002 - Curtiss JN-4H / JNS-1
P72-003 - Curtiss JN-4D (late)
P72-004 - Curtiss JN-4HG (gunnery)
P72-005 - Curtiss N-9H Floatplane
Olimp Models has kindly supplied kits #001, #002 and #004 for review. Each version is based around a core set of parts on one sprue containing the fuselage and wings, with combinations of additional sprues to cater for the various engine and armament configurations as required.
I haven't had occasion to see any Olimp Models kits before and I must say I'm very impressed by the overall quality here. There's a very slight touch of flash here and there, but the parts are otherwise crisply moulded and there's no distortion or sink marks. There's quite a subtle representation of fabric surfaces and good detail on the smaller parts. The trailing edges of the flying surfaces are nice and sharp.
The parts breakdown is pretty conventional and assembly looks quite straightforward. The fuselage has alternative top deckings depending on the version to be modelled - with tandem cockpits or a rear gunner's mount - and there's a choice of noses. The forward sloping nose of the JN-4A/D is moulded integrally; this must be trimmed off to allow the flat-nosed for the other versions to be attached.
The lower wings consist of individual panels and the 3-piece top wing has separate ailerons. There are no locating pins, so a simple jig to set the correct dihedral will be a good idea.
The cockpit is well detailed for this scale, with 11 parts for the 2-seaters, including floors, interior frameworks, rudder pedals, joysticks and instrument panels with decals provided for the bezels. The inside of the fuselage halves includes some moulded details and the ejector-pins are kept well out of sight.
The engine has twin separate cylinder banks and cover, plus a choice of styles of radiators and exhausts. Smaller details like the propeller, struts and landing gear are neatly handled - and the guns and their mounts, where appropriate, are good for this small scale.
Painting & decalsEach kit is accompanied by a clearly drawn set of instructions with a colour key for Humbrol, ModelMaster and Revell paints. Sadly, there's no rigging diagram, but consulting a combination of the box art and the painting diagrams helps get you started.
The kits include the following colour schemes:
A. Curtiss "Jenny" JN-4D, SC4002, Primary Training School,Love Field, Dallas, Texas, 1918.
B. JN-4A, B1934, Royal Naval Air Service, 1918
Curtiss JN-4H / JNS-1:
A. JN-4H Jenny, Miami, U.S. Navy, 1922
B. JNS-1 Jenny, "White 6", U.S.A.A.C., 1927
A. JN-4HG, 41592, 1921
B. JN-4HG, "White 500", 1919
The decals are nicely printed, being quite thin, with minimal crystal-clear backing film and an overall silk finish. The register is very good - particularly noticeable on the small R.N.A.S. fuselage roundels, where the thin white outline is traditionally hard to get right. The red ink used is quite muted and seems slightly uneven density on the sheet, but this may even out when the decals are applied. I've never tried Olimp Models decals, so I can't advise on how they respond to setting solutions; as with any new decals. it's wisest to test with an unused item to check results.
ConclusionAt the time of writing, UK prices vary between £5.30 and £5.60, depending on the version, and at this price Olimp Models' Curtiss Jennys look to be excellent value. These delightful little kits fill a yawning gap in the ranks of 1/72 scale Golden Age aircraft models. Recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.