HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE
CURTISS P-6E, 94th PURSUIT SQUADRON, 1933
by George Grasse
CLASSIC AIRFRAMES 1:48 SCALE INJECTION KIT OF THE CURTISS P-6E
CLASSIC AIRFRAMES CURTISS P-6E BOX ART
CURTISS P-6E THREE-VIEW PLAN
|Image credit: Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947 by Peter M. Bowers (see also bibliography). Only 46 production P-6E aircraft entered U. S. Army Air Corps Service with deliveries beginning in December of 1931. Serial numbers ran from 32-233 to 32-278.
MODEL TO BE BUILT - Curtiss P-6E, 94th Pursuit Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group, Selfridge Field, Michigan, 1938
|Photo credit: Wings of Stars, page 27 (see also bibliography).
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #1
|FUSELAGE GETTING STARTED: Side view showing completed cockpit build-up. The resin exhaust sprue is shown glued to the interior of this fuselage half. A corresponding sprue was glued to the other half.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #2
|FUSELAGE COCKPIT: Another view of the built-up cockpit (quite 'clunky' looking).
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #3
|LOWER WINGS AND RUDDER: All flying surfaces including the top wing and horizontal stabilizers/elevators were pre-painted. The first coat was Tamiya TM 85046 Light Sand and then two coats of Tamiya TM 85034 Camel Yellow. The lower wings were each pinned with a single brass rod and then glued to the fuselage. After joining the fuselage halves, the seams were filled with putty and sanded. Note the resin exhaust stack.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #4
decided to enclose the wheels in the "full-pants" mode and I'm glad
I did. It looks much more "racier" though most, if not all,
aircraft removed the outside cover to prevent mud and debris
build-up. The halves were glued together first then
filled with putty along the seam and sanded. A hole was
drilled on the inside top of each wheel cover into the pre-painted
wheels. Holes were drilled into the top and bottom of each
strut. A brass rod was glued into the holes at each end of the
struts. The strut was glued to the wheel cover. Another
hole was drilled into the fuselage and the undercarriage for each
side was glued in place as shown.
The underbelly tank (resin) was glued in place. A couple of small parts were glued to the underside of the fuselage at the rear of the tank. The resin fuel line was discarded and a substitute brass rod (barely visible) was used instead. The port and starboard .30 caliber machine guns were glued to the fuselage recess just under the exhaust stack.
The three-bladed propeller consists of three blades and the hub, all in resin. These were carefully cleaned up. Each blade was pinned with a small diameter brass rod. Corresponding holes were drilled into the hub and the blades glued in place. Note the small "chin" resin air intake just below the propeller.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #5
TAIL COMPLETION: The
tail wheel sub-assembly consists of a plastic fork and wheel.
The two were simply glued together and inserted (not glued) in
place. I may have to add some sort of reinforcing rod because
the sub-assembly is fragile.
The horizontal stabilizer/elevator parts were drilled out to take the upperside .005 monofilament thread and the underside brass support rod. Corresponding holes were drilled through the vertical stabilzer for the thread. The thread was glued first and, into the same hole on the underside, the rod was glued and connected into small holes at the lower rear of the fuselage.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #6
RIGGING, WING STRUTS, AND
WING ATTACHMENT: Before strut and wing attachment, I
decided to pre-rig the model with .005 monofilament thread.
Rigging is double line and runs from the top of the cabane struts to
the bottom of the wing struts and from the wing root to the top of
the wing struts. To tie off each line, I pre-drilled the
underside of the top wing at each rigging location. Next, I
glued a small eyelet to each one some of which can be seen.
That would be eight rigging lines for each half of the wing set, or
The kit's flimsy plastic struts were retained only as a reference. Each strut was was made from brass tubing (1.6mm OD). As you can see, each strut sub-assembly has a cross strut but these are just hollow tubes. The upright struts, all of them, have a solid brass rod the actually makes contact with the wing or fuselage and are the real strength holding the top wing in place.
Wing attachment began with taping down all of those wild rigging lines - get them out of the way. I also pre-painted the area around the wing root. The four outer wing struts started out as solid brass rods all of the exact same length. Brass tubing was cut and shaped then glued in place with super glue. While the glue was somewhat wet, the tube/rod struts were ben outward to conform with the corresponding holes in the upper wing. When thorougly dry, the top wing was glued to these struts. Some minor bending was required until alignment was correct.
The cabane struts was done with each one custom-made on the spot. After all vertical struts were in place, the cross members were custom-made for each but without brass rod.
Note the pre-painted rudder as prep for the red-white-blue rudder decal. The tail wheel is inserted (not glued) for looks. The exhaust stacks have been pre-painted with a mix of copper and black.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #7
|FUSELAGE PAINTING: This step is to get the fuselage painting and detailing out of the way before rigging is attached. It is the first coat of my pre-mix representing of U. S. Army No. 23 Light Blue made-up using Vallejo 963 Medium Blue, 904 Dark Blue Gray, and 906 Pale Blue (ratios have been lost).
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #8
RIGGED AND MORE: The
rigging is completed. These are all double .005 MFT material.
The aileron rods (vertical just behind the "N" struts) are piano
Decals were applied to the wings because the Tamiya yellow-orange spray paint had a nice semi-gloss finish which is best for decal application. However, the kit's decals were fragile and several separated when I tried to transfer them to the upper wing. Fortunately, I had Yellow Wings' decal set for the P-6E and, although not for the same squadron, I used the national stars and "U. S. ARMY" decals from that set. Note that the white "93" nose decal and the propeller decals came from the kit but there was some separation that had to be tended to during application. Fuselage and tail decals to be applied.
FINISHED PHOTO #9
|FINAL DECALS: The "PA 98" and "Indian Head" decals had to be made because the kit decals simply fell apart when applied. The "Indian Head" decal I made was an image taken from Archer's Official Monogram USAS & Air Corps Aircraft Color Guide, Vol. 1, 1908-1941, page 192. I flipped it in my photo software to create a left and right facing image then sized them down. I ended up having to hand paint all of the colors.
FINISHED PHOTO #10
FINAL ADDITIONS: The
gun sight was made from brass tubing and wrapped with thin strips of
lead sheet in two places. The kit-supplied windscreen was
pretty straight forward and was tacked down with tiny droplets of
super glue. The overall fit was pretty good.
FINISHED PHOTO #11
|LEFT FRONT VIEW
FINISHED PHOTO #12
|RIGHT FRONT VIEW
FINISHED PHOTO #13
|LEFT REAR VIEW
FINISHED PHOTO #14
|RIGHT REAR VIEW