HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE
BOEING P-12E, 27th PURSUIT SQUADRON, SELFRIDGE FIELD, 1935
by George Grasse
CLASSIC AIRFRAMES 1:48 SCALE INJECTION KIT CA4041 OF THE BOEING P-12E FIGHTER
BOEING P-12E BOX ART
|This is the an image of the kit's "box art" showing a Boeing P-12E "black 44" of the 27th Pursuit Squadron, Selfridge Field, 1935. The E model was the first version of the P-12 series with an all-metal monocoque fuselage and was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1340-17 radial engine rated at 500 hp at the then combat altitude of 8,000 feet. Only 110 of 135 ordered were built, the remainder of the order being built as the P-12F model which was powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-1340-19 radial engine. The P-12 series was replaced as a frontline fighter by the single-wing, all metal Boeing P-26 "Peashooter".
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #1
24 October 2011
|Just getting started. The cockpit area is rather simplified and consists of two side panels, a floorboard, seat, control column, and small instrument panel. To this I added lap seat belts. Later, shoulder belts will be added. The main body and cylinders of the radial engine are cast in resin. The cover plate is plastic and the propeller is white metal. I added Hamilton decals from the previously built P-26 kit. Push rods (all eighteen of them) were cut from .020 piano wire. The lower holes into which the push rods fit were drilled deeper with a No. 76 hand twist drill. This allowed me to insert the rod, pull it up to its connection with the top of the cylinder and super glue it in place.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #2
28 October 2011
|This was a straight-forward, relatively easy step of gluing the fuselage halves together, binding with rubber bands to hold it, and allowing it to dry at least 24 hours.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTOS #3a & 3b
27 December 2011
|This right-rear view shows the brass Strutz horizontal stabilizer brace added in place of the kit's plastic part. The model was cleaned up and sanded lightly with 400 grit paper then primed overall with Tamiya Fine Gray Primer. The tail wheel has not been added at this stage. It is rather weak, fine for model display, but I'm afraid I might knock it off during construction and finishing. I may go ahead and drill a hole through it and fit a small brass rod for extra strength.
|This left-front view shows details of the landing gear. All struts were pinned with small brass rods for added strength. Wheels are just set in place - not glued. Before wings and tailplane were glued, they were sprayed with several light coats of Tamiya's "Camel Yellow". The vertical stabilizer was hand-painted with Andrea Golden Yellow and will be finished with Mister Kit's MKUS17 "US ANA 614 Orange Yellow", a close match to the Tamiya color.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #4
29 December 2011
|This is the first fuselage coat of Vallejo VC0873 US Field Drab which is a match to Fed Std 595b 30118, a shade referred to in Dana Bell's Air Force Colors Volume 1: 1926 - 1942. Note that the rudder has been painted white so as to provide a bright background for the rudder insignia decal.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #5
30 December 2011
The final coat of 30118 Field Drab has been
applied. The rudder decal is on. I painted all of the
panel lines in brown-black. I painted a few subtle white
instructional markings. The decal sheet was lacking in detail
of this sort and I did have problems with flaking and chipping all
of which had to be over-painted especially the trailing edge of the
This view shows the engine detail. It was completely built and fitted but not glued in place. I then painted the overall engine in Vallejo VC0863 Gun Metal Gray to which was added a little black. I then painted the exhaust pipes with a mix of Vallejo VC0999 Copper and VC0863 Gun Metal Gray. I highlighted the connecting rods (front) and intake pipes (rear of engine) using Vallejo VC0864 Natural Steel with some additional highlighting with Vallejo VC0997 Silver. The engine is not glued in this photo and can't be glued until all fuselage details are finished and over-sprayed with satin poly.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #6
31 December 2011
|This overhead view shows more details added. The wing-walk areas at the wing roots were painted with Vallejo VC0995 German Black. The underside of the top wing has the same black unit marking that will appear on its top surface. Two decals were used and joined at the centerline. These decals often separated and had fuzzy edges all of which meant that I had to over-paint them using my mix of semi-gloss black. You can see the brown-black highlighting the ailerons and elevators and outlining the small access panels to the wing strut roots. Everything in the photo was over-sprayed with poly satin.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #7
31 December 2011
|This view shows more of the engine detail and exhaust stubs. Note the panel line detail and some of my hand-painted white instruction markings. You can barely see the wing insignia on the underside of the bottom wing. The "U.S. ARMY" decal is not visible. Touch up for all red, white, and blue insignia colors was done with Vallejo VC0909 Vermillion (for red), Vallejo VC961 White, and Andrea ANAC22 Prussian Blue (for blue). Cockpit coaming and headrest were first painted in Andrea ANAC42 Brown Leather and washed lightly with a watered-down Andrea ANAC48 Red Leather.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #8
6 January 2012
|Left side view showing the burnt orange color of the squadron's fuselage stripe. The decals in the kit completely fell apart for all orange markings and cracked badly for the black wing markings which are shown in photo #10 below. The squadron insignia, however, was intact. My experience with the black wing markings made me realize that I should scan all of the remaining decals to preserve them. It's a good thing that I did. I made a copy of the fuselage stripe which I could not seem to get to the correct shade but I used it as a painting guide. So, I slide the decal off after soaking it and placed into position. I simply used Vallejo VC0829 Amaranth Red which to me matched the decal's original color. It appear more red in the photo above than on the actual model. The cowling still has to have its burnt orange color applied.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTOS #9a & 9b
6 January 2012
|The salvaged squadron insignia was applied over the my reproduced version which was off-color. The aircraft black "44" decal was applied to the "corrugated" vertical fin and brushed with a decal softener to get it to fit tighter. The gun sight was scratch-built from plastic rod and secured in place with two small diameter brass rods. The two wire reinforcement strands on either side of the vertical fin were made from .007 piano wire. At this point, only the flying wires have been installed. Note miscellaneous stenciling which I added at my discretion since the kit didn't have any.
|This right-front view shows engine detail added to include the exhaust stubs and the cowling. Interestingly, I cut a narrow piece of lead foil to fit the interior of the cowling all around. The cowling fit snugly in place and with a few drops of super glue it's now permanently fixed to the top edges of the cylinders. The resin tail wheel was reinforced by drilling through it and inserting a small diameter brass rod that would go up into the rear fuselage. Glue was applied to this rod and to the bottom of the tail wheel and it is firmly in place. The next step is to attach the top wing
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #10
6 January 2012
|Overhead view of the upper surface of the top wing and the undersurface of the aircraft. This shows the black markings including the "U. S. ARMY" with which I had a difficult time because they separated in many places during the decal application process. I got them lined up and dried; then I over-sprayed with satin poly and let everything dry. Not visible is the underside of the top wing which, curiously, had the same black markings but without the star insignia. When thoroughly dry, I over-painted with my mix of Vallejo "semi-gloss" black. This covered up all of the join lines on the decals. The top wing star insignia on the original decal sheet were destroyed during application. The bottom wing stars were okay. I had to "rob" one of my kits to find a close match in size to replace the top wing stars. Note that all panel and movable surface areas have been painted with my brown-black liner mix.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #11
11 January 2012
You would think that this P-12E project is
getting along just fine. It's obvious that this step has to do
with the attachment of the top wing to the struts. My first
attempt using the kit's plastic struts ended in disaster. From
the beginning, I usually determine in most cases that the struts for
any kit should be thrown away and new ones made from Strutz material
(if you have any left) or brass tube with a brass rod insert gently
pounded into shape. Well, I decided to use the kit's struts.
The attachment points for the struts were just slightly raised flat surfaces so I decided to pin all the struts. I had a difficult time doing this because the struts were quite thin in profile and I used a teeny-weeny number 78 drill bit and .009 piano wire. Finally, after a long session of drilling and pinning, I was ready. Well, it didn't work because the plastic was relatively soft and the struts buckled here and there. I originally thought that the flimsy struts could be supported with the rigging and aileron control rods but I never got to that point.
The solution was the construction of the struts using Strutz material (my last batch) for the cabane area and brass tubing reinforced with brass rod for the wing struts. I did not make complete "N" struts. First, I made the standard forward and rear struts for all positions (cabane and wing). After a little trimming and several trial fittings I was comfortable to start gluing them in place starting with the cabane struts. I used a small amount of super glue to tack down the struts so I could move them enough to get the alignment correct. Then I added more super glue for the final gluing. Each corresponding point on the fuselage and wings was drilled out with a number 61 drill bit and gently rocked forward and backward to create a hole with a profile that roughly matched the struts.
Now, with the top wing firmly positioned on the cabane struts, I could do the outer wings. I had previously glued one pair of flying wires from the fuselage to the outer wing struts. When fitting the wing struts, these buckled and had to be removed from their strut location to be re-glued later.
When all of the struts were firmly dried, I started sizing smaller lengths of brass to complete the "N" strut configuration. These took a while to cut, fit, and position several times as each piece had to be customized to fit. What you see in photo #11 above are the cabane struts in a white primer state and the wing struts still in their bare brass finish.
FINISHED MODEL PHOTOS PHOTOS #12a thru 12f
14 January 2012
FINISHED MODEL PHOTOS #13a & 13b
14 January 2012
Bell, Dana. Air Force Colors Volume 1: 1926-1942. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron Signal Publications, 1995.
Cleaver, Tom. Classic Airframes 1/48 P-12E. http://modelingmadness.com/reviews/preww2/cleaverp12.htm.
Davis, Larry. P-12/F4B in Action, No. 1141. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron Signal Publications, 1993.
Maloney, Edward T. Boeing P-12, F4B, Aero Series No. 5. Fallbrook: Aero Publishers, Inc., 1966.
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