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Curtiss Sparrowhawk by jct - FINISHED - Williams Brothers - 1/32 - PLASTIC


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I was diggin' through my storage again...I don't recall what I was even searching for now, but came across this...the old Williams Brothers, Curtis Sparrowhawk in 1/32 scale.  These were cool little fighters meant to be deployed aboard the airships USS Akron and USS Macon in the early 30's. (and everyone thought Marvel had thunk up the flying aircraft carrier)


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I'm going to replicate BuNo 9058 as it would have served aboard the USS Akron in the early 30s for a couple reasons...first, everyone always seems to model 9056, the red one and second, by the mid 30s Washington demanded that the colorful paint jobs be eliminated, so the tails were all painted a blue-black and the flying trapeze insignia was removed.  A bird from the early 30s would carry all the color and markings.


 This will be a box stock build, with the exception of scratching the secondary gunsight,  which the kit instruction sheet calls for.


The decals have all the bureau numbers, allowing one to build of any of the six aircraft.  Each a/c was assigned a different color as well, 9056-Red, 9057-White, 9058-True Blue, 9059-Black, 9060-Willow Green, 9061-Lemon Yellow, the color was applied to the engine cowl, wheel pants, the upper wing chevron strip and the fuselage strip.


The carrier film was yellowed on these so they spent some time in the window before they were clear coated, turned out okIMG_9840.JPG.11ea6551aaefbfe1f31dee7df4f6634a.JPG

Started assembly by attaching the horizontal stabilizers, so I could get the gaps filled and sanded before the primer coatIMG_9837.JPG.cc17d7310f6732f732e41747323de531.JPGIMG_9841.JPG.29f882dfcb0d104c2d66b936b5edbd56.JPG

Then painted the interior with light sea gray...Testor Model Master color, a coat of gloss will be applied before the halves are joined togetherIMG_9842.JPG.db897b1fe99458e44e6013205e051d1c.JPG

the throttle quadrant needs to be detail painted 


seat assembly was painted natural metal


the engine assy was painted black and dry brushed with aluminum

That's it for today

Edited by jct
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Today's update...thanks for the likes and comments...a few of the parts have some sink that needed fillingIMG_9846.JPG.2084cfe43b656bc570b766a9295a511c.JPG

so it's fill sand repeat until they're ready for primer

like most older aircraft kits the fuselage is split vertically leaving seams that need attention


so it's the same routine here

Did get some assemble done...got the sky-hook and it's support structure assembled...I taped the legs to their respective mounting locations on the upper wing to get the alignment right then just used liquid cement on the joints


After reviewing my reference pics I decided to add the small tripods to the upper wing that serve as long wire antenna mounts, holes were drilled for plastic rod which will be feed through the holes and formed into the correct shape and glued IMG_9849.JPG.2a8d3128fa747f6ca924bc4b70d06b6d.JPG

Well that's all for today....more tomorrow

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the seams are my biggest peeve.........the older the molds,  the worse they are.   I'm going through a nasty bout with the train ;)   good to see the start of this fine model J.........I love the biplanes!   the truss wires can be tricky,  but when all is done,  they are worth the effort.  looks really good!

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3 hours ago, src said:

Nice progress J. I am out of touch with plastic kits, how are they split now?


Hi Sam...haven't done one in a while myself but some of the last kits I built, 1/48 Monogram, separates along the wing root, it allows a lot of the surface detail to remain intact...in some cases there is no need for fill at all with the separation following the panel lines


3 hours ago, popeye the sailor said:

the seams are my biggest peeve.........the older the molds,  the worse they are.   I'm going through a nasty bout with the train ;)   good to see the start of this fine model J.........I love the biplanes!   the truss wires can be tricky,  but when all is done,  they are worth the effort.  looks really good!

these haven't proven to be to bad...they've responded to fill very well, plus this will be a color paint, they are a real bear on an all metal finish, super pita


Thanks to all for the likes...today's addition

guns are mounted...these will hardly be visible as the gun barrels just clear the engine jugs


also test fit the cowling and discovered it was a bit to small, was split and a piece of rod glued in, will be sanded down and filled when dryIMG_9857.JPG.ead683be81185150f2fcb60f1e3e021a.JPG

here are shots of the long wire tripods...the space at the top will allow me to tie off the antenna wire


painted out the exhaust pipes...the instructions call for these to be bright metal...I think that is because its based on the last remaining sparrowhawk BuNo 9056...all pics of that bird show a pristine a/c as she would have rolled off the factory floor. I want to represent an a/c that has seen some flight time, so I chose to paint the exhaust a rust color with some interior staining...I'll carry that weathering over to the cowl as well


How best to approach the paint job on this build is something I've been mulling over for a few days, the more masking required the more chance that something is gonna go sideways...with that in mind i decided to paint all of the silver dope parts separately and then add them in during assy


this way I shouldn't have to mask any of the silver

the upper wing top was fitted to check the gaps...it has some so fill will be neededIMG_9854.JPG.feef035c5865af8d0afaae4f88fdc184.JPG 




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Thanks for the likes and comments...much appreciated...today's addition...

Got the  wheel struts on and aligned...the instruction sheet says this will be the most difficult aspect of the assembly...they were not lying, felt like I needed 3-4 extra hands, but they are on and solidIMG_9866.JPG.189d498465b68836b2541c7bb333b161.JPGIMG_9865.JPG.a7b350217bd0d62cc4d9af8fa9d67c30.JPG


I was going through my reference photos and came across the ones below of the sky hookIMG_9868.JPG.5cf2d625c899261f1cc31a2b7066ca3c.JPGskyhook2.jpg.c7a76fabbf9cc07c461472b9fdea3af9.jpg

the kit hook assembly has the bracketry attached for the rigging...so, I felt it would be a slight to the kit designers not to take advantage of their hard work.( I know, I know, I said it was gonna be box stock...but what ya gonna do!!)


  The shot below shows the parts made to represent the hook disengagement rigging, the vertical pieces are already attached to the sky hook, these are just thin slices of 0.10 styrene to represent the flat stock, the t-bar mounts horizontally through the hoop on top of the wing, that will be part of the final assembly





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...and the instructions started......"and now we come to the step that your not going to like!"   it would be interesting if they also came with a boring meter symbol beside each step.   you'd see it often with ship kits........especially when it comes to the ratlines and rope coils  :D  :D   I've never had a kit that had it's own disclaimer in it.


you know you have to add that bit of detail........why they'd strip you down to novice,  and you'll end up building snap tites ;)    can't let that get by you!

    still look'in good J........cleaned up and final paint,  the landing gear will look great!  oh and while your modding the trapeze,  what is that thing that's sticking through the canopy....a sight glass?  if it's not in your kit,  you may as well add that too.   very cool!  ;)  

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17 hours ago, popeye the sailor said:

  what is that thing that's sticking through the canopy....a sight glass?

That is the primary gun sight, it will get added in final assembly as well...I'm leaving off most of the sticky out stuff till the end...hoping to minimize the AW $--ts...I did manage to break the prop though, just to fat fingered anymore, its stripped back and on the mend


17 hours ago, popeye the sailor said:

 I've never had a kit that had it's own disclaimer in it.

First for me as well, this is an interesting kit all the way around, there are the instructions...which are all text, there are no locating pins on any of the parts, and the aforementioned heads up...quite different

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A few small things...gray is on the fuselage, it's baking as I type...


Finished prop and engine


added home-brew foil to the prop, as the 1:1 is highly polished


Added plug wires and a little weathering to the crankcase


the underwing compass


and the main wheelsIMG_9878.JPG.8e7c701136e9c42cd8759a9a8b311ef2.JPG


That's it for today, gonna watch the home opener...thanks for the likes and comments

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Thanks D...a change in plan, I always have a tendency to continue research while a build is in progress and in this case I've discovered that the Williams Brothers used the wrong shade of blue on the Sparrowhawks decals...they are done in true blue as opposed to insignia blue, which is darker.  My original plan was to model BuNo 9058...blue markings, but thought the markings matching the insignia would call attention to the off color decals, soooo, I'm switching up and doing BuNo 9060...willow green markings...plus it gives me a chance to mix paint:P



For those interested in pre-war navair color schemes here's a link to a good reference site

Yellow Wings


THX again

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Started applying decals today...no pics till the big reveal, but here's a teaser of the cowl and shutter plate, just so you can see the color I came up with for the markings...a little dark but I think it looks ok, the wheel pants, fuselage strip and wing chevron will match


Edited by jct
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