Published on
August 20, 2012
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/48
MSRP
$21.00
Base Kit
Lindberg 1/48 Curtiss Goshawk
Company: Modelshack - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Modelshack - Website: Visit Site

Initial Impressions

This upgrade and conversion set addresses inaccuracies in the venerable Lindberg kit No. 72544, the Curtiss Goshawk, and allows a conversion to a BFC-2 or a correction to the F11-C. The Lindberg kit is still widely available, although it is out of production.

The parts are cast in light gray resin and include a replacement engine, one-piece cowling, cockpit parts, wheels and wheel pants/spats, propeller, gun sight, fuel tank, and vacuformed clear plastic windscreens and canopy. An excellent set of instructions accompanies this set and includes references, decals sources, and online extras, such as decal artwork and a rigging diagram. Everything is contained in a plastic bag.

This set immediately got me fired up, unlike many conversion or update sets. The instructions and materials are well-presented. There was no sense of trepidation, dread, or self-coaching with this one!

Prep

All of the parts had minimal to no flash, and no bubbles. The texture of the resin is very nice, easily cleaning up, but still being somewhat flexible. I didn’t accidentally crush the smaller parts between my fingers, a common problem for me! There were no major fit issues anywhere. Mold release was negligible, and seam line cleanup on most parts was very minor.

Installation

There are several subassemblies represented in this upgrade/conversion set: an engine assembly, a cockpit assembly, the turtleback components and modifications to the kit parts, and miscellaneous small parts.

The engine assembly is a very pleasant and straightforward task. The cylinders are cast individually and fit into a solid crankcase. Push rods are not included, and 0.02 styrene rod is specified, also not included. I added the push rods, and the 0.02 rod fits very nicely in holes on the crankcase and on tabs on the cylinder heads. Pay attention to the instruction’s caution about sanding off a tab on the cylinder head. Those tabs help center the cowling, and fortunately there are extra cylinders! Make sure the small circle on the cylinder faces forward. There is also a small indentation showing the up-facing side of the crankcase, but if you lose the mark in glue or paint, the top cylinder is the one directly on the long axis of the rectangular cutout on the back of the engine. The other end (down side) goes between two cylinders. The hole for the prop shaft must be drilled out. I used a size 58 bit. The only negative I encountered was trying to figure out what to do with the exhaust pipes. There isn’t any really obvious attachment point, but installing the pipes as per the drawing seems to create a good representation. The cowling sanded up nicely and has excellent thinness, giving a great scale effect. Model Shack recommends making a bulkhead to mount the engine on and suggests installing the bulkhead after rigging is complete, a most excellent idea.

The cockpit assembly is also straightforward. The thin resin casting webs in undercuts were easy to remove. The solid cockpit tub fit well into the fuselage halve with very little cleanup. A nice instrument panel is included, along with a very nice joystick and thin-walled seat. I added a photo-etch lap belt to the seat from the spares box. The rudder pedals are very well formed, and the only trouble I had with the pedals was deciding which way they should face. I think I got the direction right. Since I elected to complete the BFC conversion, I cemented the aft seat bulkhead to the turtleback before installing the cockpit assembly in the fuselage. This variance on the recommended sequence allowed me to smooth the turtleback-bulkhead seam more effectively.

The turtleback modification required trimming out part of the kit fuselage. The cut lines mostly follow existing kit panel lines, a feature that I appreciate very much. Full-size drawings for modifying the tail surface cuts are also very nice! I added some thin strips to the inside of the turtleback plug to bring the kit fuselage surface flush with the exterior of the turtleback. I drilled holes for pinning the modified tail surfaces to make stronger joints.

The installation of the remaining conversion and correction parts is straightforward too. The only caution here is with the propeller shaft. I bent it over by accident, but was able to straighten it out.

The rigging plan in the online section is great! The rigging is not directly related to the conversion/upgrade, but in my opinion, including this plan shows Models Shack’s desire for the modeler to produce a good-looking model above and beyond what their product adds.

What’s next

Of course, completing the kit is next, but additional details to be added to the conversion set include ignition wires and such for the engine. These are not specified on the instruction sheet, but will add to the effect. This review is being completed before the model is done, so the reader can see the underlying components before everything vanishes beneath paint and Bare-Metal Foil.

References

The kit instructions recommend Curtiss Navy Hawks in Action by Squadron/Signal Publications (ISBN#0-89747-342-6). I also found the National Naval Aviation Museum website to have interesting and helpful materials; they do have a BFC on display, but I believe it is a later one with a different powerplant and a three-bladed prop.

Recommendation

The Lindberg kit has been in my collection for a while, languishing for the enthusiasm required to tackle big corrections. The Model Shack set for the Lindberg Goshawk provided more than enough enthusiasm. I also got an excellent opportunity to fill out the “yellow wings” in my collection. I highly recommend this set!

Thank you, Mark Büchler of Model Shack and the IPMS Reviewer Corps for allowing me to discover a really cool update/conversion set! I had a great time with this one and truly appreciate the chance to share my experiences with the greater scale modeling community. I hope you find this review helpful.

Photo captions

  1. Upgrade kit packaging.
  2. Parts included.
  3. Fuselage cut lines – pencil lines showing cuts.
  4. Turtleback in place in fuselage, with bulkhead; note plastic shims to improve fit.
  5. Turtleback fitted and in place.
  6. Cockpit details.
  7. Painted crankcase and cylinders before assembly.
  8. Completed engine with pushrods added.
  9. Upgrade prop – small diameter prop shaft show on cleanly cast prop

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