HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE
CURTISS A-8 "SHRIKE", 37th ATTACK SQUADRON 1932
by George Grasse
CZECH MODEL 1:48 SCALE MIXED MEDIA KIT CR4811 OF THE CURTISS A-8 "SHRIKE"
CURTISS A-8 "SHRIKE"
This is an image of the kit's "box art" showing
"83" of the 37th Attack Squadron, 3rd Attack Group, Fort
Crockett, Texas, circa 1932. Only thirteen of the A-8
designation were built of which eleven joined the 3rd Attack Group.
The other two went on to become prototypes for an A-10 version and
A-12 version both with radial engines.
The A-8 was actually designated in two forms: the first five were known as the YA-8 with the V-1570C inline engine, serials 32-344 - 348. The rest of the batch were known as Y1A-8 with the V-1570F inline engine, serials 32-349 - 356.
The kit includes decals for two aircraft of the 37th Attack Squadron, serial 32-347 fin number "80" and serial 32-350 fin number "83". I have found one photo of serial 32-356 fin number "84". At this point I have not yet decided which fin number to make.1
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #1
27 December 2010
This photo shows the major components worked on
to date. All plastic and resin parts were cleaned and primed
with Tamiya's "Fine Surface
Primer Spray Light Gray".
Even though the photo makes the primer appear light blue-gray, it
really is light gray. The wing is not yet glued to the
fuselage. All cockpit components are built up into two major
cockpit sub-assemblies show on either side of the rear fuselage.
The sub-assembly on the left is the pilot's cockpit and the one on the right is the gunner's. Seats have yet to be added. These will fit into place when inserted through the bottom of the fuselage (that's why the wing is not glued in place).
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #2
9 January 2011
|Fuselage halves are glued but the seams need to be filled and sanded. The exhausts were pre-painted and glued from the inside. All of the windows behind the pilot's cockpit were cut out by drilling pilot holes and cutting with an X-Acto knife. The edges have to be trimmed and sanded. Clear plastic panels will be glued to the inside.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #3
4 April 2011
|Skipping a number of steps not shown, this photo shows wing assembly, painting, and an overspray of satin polyurethane. The latter was done before the wings were glued. All panel lines are painted a dark brown/black color. Cockpit interiors and finished in bare aluminum except for equipment boxes and wiring. The area behind the pilot's cockpit has all of the windows cut out using drills and then finished with a sharp #11 X-Acto blade. Thin clear plastic was glued to the interior to simulate Plexiglas. The white metal objects at the rear of the gunner's cockpit and dangling just off the port exhaust are hooks used to suspend the model for this shot.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTOS #4 and #5
7 April 2011
|Main and tail landing gear has been glued in place. The wings were reinforced with braces and steel cables. This photo shows the bracing on the topside in place and the pale gray objects just behind the pilot's cockpit are the hubs for the steel cables that will be attached to the outer wings. The aileron an dive brake hinges are now in place. I decided to go ahead with the placement of the wing insignia at this stage.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #6
7 April 2011
|This oblique photo shows all of the work described in the previous photo from a different perspective. Each of the large fixed landing gear sub-assemblies was molded in two halves into which the wheels were placed just before glue was applied. Two applications of filler putty were applied to close the gaps. The paint used to represent the particular "olive drab" used at this time is Model Master's ME1702 Enamel Field Drab FS 30118 which is noted in the publication Air Force Colors Volume 1 1926-1942 by Dana Bell. The yellow is Tamiya TM8034 Spray Camel Yellow and was the closest shade of Orange Yellow I could find.2
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #7
7 April 2011
|Overhead view of progress to date.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #8
7 April 2011
|Left side view of progress to date. Near the bottom of the landing gear housing can be seen four small holes drilled for the underside wing steel bracing cables.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #9
17 April 2011
|The .30 caliber machine gun was augmented with a front sight from Eduard's EU44151 German World War I Gun Sights, a scratch-built ammunition box, and brass rod elevation and mounting bracket (replacing the flimsy resin part). The underside bracing struts have been added and all struts were painted. The radio mast is made from a length of Strutz material ground down to a near point (replacing the flimsy resin part). The pilot's windscreen and gunner's canopy were painted inside and out and glued in place.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #10
20 April 2011
|Note the detail on the main landing gear and a good view of the twin .30 caliber machine guns near the top of the landing gear housing. Note also the three shell casing ejection openings tiered at top center. Number "84" is a decal from Aeromaster's AD4802 "Black US 45 Degree ID Numbers and Letters". The pilot's gun sight is from the kit.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #11
22 April 2011
|The model has all of the .007 piano wire wing braces glued in place. Each set of wires are reinforced with brass rod "separators". The windscreen and canopy were removed and the model was over-sprayed with satin polyurethane. All of the remaining decals were applied and, when dry, the model was once again over-sprayed.
1 The only source I have for the A-8 "Shrike" is Profile Publications 128, The Curtiss Shrike, published in 1966. I found the photo of fin number "84" on page 4 which was based at Langley Field, Virginia, at the time.
2 Air Force Colors Volume 1 on page 94 tabulates all of the colors used by the U.S. Army Air Corps with Dana Bell's "eyeball" notations comparing known samples with Federal Standard 595a. I used my "eyeball" approach in selecting the Tamiya "orange yellow". It seemed about right.
Bell, Dana. Air Force Colors Volume 1 1926-1942. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron Signal Publications, 1995.
Rust, Kenn C., Journal Editor and Walter M. Jeffries, Technical Editor. The Curtiss Shrike, Profile Publications Number 128. Compiled by The American Aviation Historical Society. Surrey, England UK: George Falkner & Sons, 1966.