by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
The P.24 represented the final refinement of the series and incorporated an enclosed cockpit, heavier armament and a far more powerful engine which raised the maximum speed by about 30mph over earlier versions. Amazingly, the P.24 was only produced for export and, while the P.24 was sent abroad, the Polish Air Force was left to face the Luftwaffe with the less potent P.11.
The P.24 attracted interest from a number of foreign nations including Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, whose airforce received 12 P.24Fs and 24 P.24Gs. In 1940-41, Greek P.24s saw heavy action against invading Italian and German forces and were credited with 40 enemy aircraft destroyed.
The Kit - Main PartsMirage Hobby's 1/48 scale Greek P.24F is the first to appear of a range of P.24s. The kit's basic breakdown is, not surprisingly, very similar to the company's earlier P.11 series with over 70 plastic parts, backed up with resin and etched-metal details.
The main parts are cleanly moulded in pale-grey plastic with only the slightest trace of flash on some of the smaller items. Sprue attachment are mostly small, but a couple, such as at the base of the rudder, will need a quick extra clean-up. All panel lines are neatly engraved and the famous corrugations on the wings and tail are very delicately done. The parts have a slightly rough texture, but it's easy enough to polish smooth.
To keep costs down, Mirage Hobby have used parts from the earlier version where appropriate, so the stabilizers, lower wing-halves and a number of smaller parts are unchanged. All-new are the fuselage, engine and propeller, undercarriage spats and cannon pods, plus a modified top wing-half to allow for the enclosed cockpit..
A quick test-fit of the fuselage halves shows that everything lines up fine, with the exception of the fuel tank on the underside. This is no great problem; as the tank was separate on the real aircraft, the scribed line really needs emphasizing anyway. The wing/fuselage joint will need a little filler, but is good and solid to keep everything square and true.
Detail PartsAlong with the new engine come new resin parts for the radiators and exhausts. The parts are well cast, and the instructions show clearly how to add stretched sprue details to the radiators. The exhausts are a complex shape and will need to be cleaned up carefully to remove flash and to ensure they fit correctly.
The canopy is moulded in two parts and is quite thin. Nevertheless, the tiny windscreen shows some distortion, which is probably inevitable in this scale unless a vacuform canopy is used. The framework is crisply moulded, so painting should be no problem.
Unfortunately, my kit has a moulding flaw in the canopy. I've had the opportunity to check other samples, which were perfect, so I was just unlucky. I must make mention of the superb after-market service which Mirage Hobby provide; I e-mailed them to request a replacement and received an immediate reply with details of when the part would be dispatched - very impressive.
A very nice fret of photo-etched details is included. These include a seat harness and other cockpit parts, along with an instrument panel with a film backing. When I built Mirage Hobby's earlier P.11, the instrument panel wouldn't fit without drastic surgery. The new version has different detail but seems to be the same size as the original, so particular care will be needed to install it.
For the exterior, the etched fret suppllies a number of items, such as gun-sights and panels to replace detail moulded on the plastic parts.
Instructions, Painting & DecalsThe instructions are clearly drawn and well laid out in 8 stages, with a number of supplementary diagrams. Construction notes are written in Polish and English and are very helpful. Colours matches are indicated throughout for Humbrol and Vallejo paints. A real bonus is that Mirage provide a list of references - something I wish more manufacturers would do.
Markings are provided for two aircraft, both with a tan and green disruptive camouflage on the upper surfaces and pale-blue undersides. B&W 4-view drawings show the colour schemes clearly and one is also shown in colour on the back of the box. The diagrams and box-top show different sized underwing roundels, but both sizes are supplied as decals, so that list of references will prove useful....
The decals are printed in perfect register by Techmod. Past experience has shown that Techmod decals need care in application; they are very thin and have a tendency to stick very quickly. The instructions warn that decal softener will be necessary to ensure that the decals snuggle down over the corrugated surfaces - this is particularly true for the underside of the wings, where there are prominent ridges.
ConclusionIn conclusion, Mirage Hobby have provided an excellent model of an important inter-war fighter. With its combination of plastic, plus resin and metal parts, it's not a kit for total beginners but, with a little care, it will build into a very attractive model. Recommended.