historyThe Curtiss P-36 Hawk, also known as the Curtiss Hawk Model 75, was an American-designed and built fighter aircraft of the 1930s and 40s. A contemporary of both the Hawker Hurricane and Messerschmitt Bf 109, it was one of the first of a new generation of combat aircraft—a sleek monoplane design making extensive use of metal in its construction and powered by a powerful radial engine. Obsolete at the onset of World War II and best known as the predecessor of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, the P-36 saw only limited combat with the United States Army Air Forces.
The P-36 was used more extensively by the French Air Force, both during the Battle of France and by the Vichy French; and was used against French forces in the Franco-Thai War (October 1940–9 May 1941.) It was also used by the British Commonwealth (where it was known as the Mohawk), and by Chinese air units. Several dozen also fought in the Finnish Air Force against the Soviet Air Forces. With around 1,000 aircraft built, the P-36 was a major commercial success for Curtiss.
the kitBoth models have been built from the MustHave kit MH148001, reviewed here which is the old Hobbycraft/Academy plastic kit with new resin and photo etched parts plus a new decal sheet providing four marking options (two French, one Dutch and one British).
The variant proposed in the box is the "Export Version" which was fitted with a more powerful single-row 9-cylinder Wright R-1820 Cyclone engine than the two-row 14-cylinder Pratt&Whitney R-1830 of the USAAC P-36A version. The "Export Version" was called Hawk 75 A-4 by the French, Hawk A-7 by the Dutch and Mohawk IV by the British. They differed in details such as armament, cockpit and instrument features, etc…
building the modelThe MustHave kit has its pluses and minuses. The cockpit is a mix of resin and PE parts and looks very nice once completed. The engine is also nicely rendered though it won't fit into the plastic cowling of the kit (but more on that later). The PE parts for the flaps are difficult to put into place because they are slightly oversized. Some work is required here but as you can see on the pictures it is possible to use them. A corrected resin rudder is included as well as some hinges which were missing in the original kit. Finally, some weighted tyres have been put into the box for good measure.
The real downside of the kit is the fact that the excellent resin engine simply won't fit into the cowlings of the Hobbycraft/Academy kit. It is written in the instructions to thin down the plastic parts and trim down the cylinder heads but this would be a shame for the excellent resin castings. On further inspection, it appears that the fitting problem is due to the original kit being simply wrong in that area!? I will let the pictures accompanying this article speak for themselves. Fact is that the breakdown of the original parts, the length, the roundness of the cowling simply don't match the pictures and plans I have used for this project. Well, this is not really the fault of MustHave in the first place but if built from the box, the model's forward fuselage area will not look like what it is supposed to represent.
I decided that some major surgery was required and modified the original parts to match the references I had. Since I wanted to do two models, I made silicone molds of the master parts to be able to do my own resin castings. These were fitted to the original kit parts with the resin engine now entirely enclosed into the new cowling part without any need to trim it to fit.
The first model which represents a British Mohawk IV has the flaps down and the canopy and cowling flaps in the opened position. The Dutch Hawk 75 A-7 is "all buttoned up" for a change. Both differ slightly (armament, windscreen, interior colors, camouflage, etc…)
ConclusionWhile MustHave's "Mohawk IV" is probably the best option to do a detailed "Export Version" of the Curtiss P-36, it requires some additional surgery to make it really look like what it is supposed to look like. Having an old Hobbycraft Hawk 75 M/N/O boxing, I can also see an other possibility to use my corrected cowling parts since these variants were almost identical except for a fixed landing gear and the absence of engine cowling flaps.
Copyright ©2020 by Jean-Luc Formery. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of AeroScale, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2013-01-19 15:24:17