This time it is Curtiss Hawk 81-A-2, white “77” (CAF serial number P-8173), assigned to the AVG Third Squadron Leader Robert T. Smith, Kunming, China, end of January 1942. At that time, the shark maw had a black border, white teeth, and red tongue, with the area inside painted a light gray color similar to the camouflage underneath – I used RLM78 from Vallejo, painted with a brush right on the Trumpeter’s decal, obviously incorrectly reproducing the original.
The inscription under the PILOT / R.T.SMITH. Chinese servicemen added a red-blue-white pattern on the wheel hubs. We also can see five white “meatballs”, and the figure of the “Hell’s Angel”.
The “77” was damaged due to engine failure, just after “Dick” Rossi took off from Magwe on February 23, 1942.
The Trumpeter’s model is full of errors, most of which remained untouched, except for the resin cockpit from Aires, QB exhaust pipes, a proper seat from Ultracast (Trumpeter and Aires give the one with a rounded back), and the Eduard seatbelts, turned barrels from Aber, as well as the proper British pitot tube, made from the turned metal and resin.
The antennas’ wires are from Uschi Van Der Rosten, 0.02 mm, insulators made from the stretched cotton stick. Paint at the bottom is Gunze H, at the top – great Mr Paint paints, with which I will stay for longer (the colors seem to be little too dark, but working with these paints is a pure pleasure).
The final outcome – as usual with me – leaves a lot to be desired, but I had a lot of fun with this kit, and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
Stay tuned, best