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Tom Cleaver
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“The Gold Bug” – P-36A of CO, 18th Pursuit Group – Special Hobby 1/32 kit

September 17, 2013 · in Aviation · · 10 · 1.8K

The is one of those under-rated airplanes. For some reason, it's seen as a failure, though the record indicates otherwise. The first modern fighter for the USAAC that was remotely competitive with European contemporaries, the P-36 in its Hawk 75 export versions ended up fighting on both sides during the Second World War and compiling a decent record. It was the most successful fighter used by the French during the 1940 Blitzkrieg, and later perfomed well against the F4F-4 Wildcat in North Africa. Kyosti Karhila, the top-scoring Finnish Hawk 75 pilot, said the only reason he liked the Bf-109G better was because it was faster, that the Hawk was far more a dogfighter. The British used it in Southeast Asia and it stood up well against the Ki.43 Hayabusa when it ran across them. Steve Hinton, who is the only contemporary pilot to have flown the Hawk 75, P-40B, P-40E, P-40F, and P-40N, says that the Hawk 75 has the best handling characteristics of any of the P-36/P-40 series, with finger-light controls and excellent maneuverability.

This P-36A is the airplane flown by the Group Commander of the 18th Pursuit Group in Hawaii in 1940-41. To me it symbolizes the last days of the "Golden Age."

The model was painted with Floquil Old Silver and Gunze "Mr. Color" Gold metalizer, and used Cutting Edge decals. The kit is the limited run model. Overall, the P-36/Hawk 75 is not an easy project, as the two photos of the assembled model show with the putty on all joints. The wheel well boots are done with facial tissue impregnated with white glue. The end result is worth the effort, I think.

I'll be posting the French Hawk 75, Finnish Hawk 75 and RAF Mohawk IV I've done from this later.

Reader reactions:
3  Awesome

18 additional images. Click to enlarge.

10 responses

  1. A timely post here Tom. I'm in the process of building the cold Monogram kit in 1/72nd scale.
    I have most of the panels rescribed but stopped when I saw some photos of the exhaust without shrouding that means more modification to my kit because they are shrouded. I notice your kit's are shrouded. Were the "A" models made both ways?
    If mine comes out looking as good as yours I will be more than satisfied.

  2. nice..just picked one up...i think the last one in the world...great timing

  3. Another beautifully finished and well researched model from you, Tom.

  4. No filler? Must not be Special Hobby... Great work, and I do mean work.

  5. Another "model of instruction" here at iModeler! I too thought the P-36 was a class of sub standard fighters of the WWII era. Your attractive model made me go into my aircraft library and do some reading. This plane was a successful design, I can't believe so many were built and so many countries flew them. Nice build as always and keep up the "descriptive narration" of the prototype, they make the model very interesting!

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