Profile Photo
Bill Koppos
116 articles

Boeing 281 (P-26) ROC Air Force 1/32 scale Hasegawa

September 21, 2022 · in Aviation · · 22 · 1.1K

Well the Koppos ROC Air Force has grown again. Yes, it is officially a Boeing 281, the export model , of which the Chinese Government got 10. There were 12 altogether, one crashed in China and the other went to Spain, fate unknown to moi. Actually, they first went to a provincial Air Force within China but somehow Chiang Kai Shek govt got a hold of them, Equipping the 17th Squadron in time (August 1937) to do nasty things to the first Japanese raids on Nanking, shooting down a number of unescorted G3M bombers. They even got a couple of the new A5M fighters too, before attrition whittled the force to Zero in October.

The ancient P-26 "" kit can still be made into a very nice replica. The Boeing 281 was pretty much exactly an early model P-26C, the first version to have flaps, which are correctly represented on the Hase kit. The engine is useable, the only bitchy part being that one must wrap 2 cowling halves around the cylinders, which I found rather tricky. Then the seams need filling. But the exhaust and other little bits on the engine area are quite well done. With those neat louvers, it's a very 30's looking thing.

Worst was the rigging of course. I used 0.15 wire for the main job,not so bad, but those Damnable spreader Bars! I have never been able to properly replicate those things in . I wanted them THROUGH the wires like they should be, not on top of them, so I lathed down some toothpicks (they were wood) and spent happy hours cutting little slots in them to match the wires. Only looks passable, the spreaders are still too thick. The little ones, I surrendered and just layed them on top. Fug. I'd rather have my chest waxed than do that again. If anybody has a method to do this accurately, I will pay for the information.

Whenever I see an ROC decal sheet I buys it. I found one on evilBay with some nice large National markings for ROC Mustangs, they are on here. Still need some Curtiss Electric prop decals. Tail stripes masked and sprayed as usual, also the large side numbers using stencils cut from Tamiya tape. Originally the 281's arrived in a light overall grey, but were repainted. I liked the dark one with the big numbers. Paint is Tamiya Olive Drab with some black. The ROC standard color is a very dark green, pictures show a high shine but Mine looked too glary so I semi-glossed it.

ICM just released a set of ROC pilots! How cool is that? They have the I-153 and I-16 now in Chinese livery and these guys are just the thing. There are 2 parachuted pilots and an Officer to teach dogfighting, like fighter pilots everywhere, using the hands. These I painted with Vallejo acrylics. The box art has them in greenish suits, my kid says they were more like Khaki, but pics show a great variety of styles and tones. As usual, don't look too hard at the faces.

I even tried some trick fotograffy, trying to antique a couple of the pics. See if you can tell which.

Well there is another ROC coming, an I-16 type 10, on the bench. Then I'm gonna need a CR-32. only Silver wings resin has that. Oh boy. If only I had a 1/32 Breda BA 27. No chance. Right? One nevah knows, do one?

Reader reactions:
18  Awesome

12 additional images. Click to enlarge.

22 responses

  1. Plane and photos look great, Bill (@billkoppos). It's cool to see it in some camo colors rather than the bright pre-war schemes. Well done.

  2. Great result!

    That's a Hamilton-Standard prop, not Curtiss-Electric, FYI.

  3. That’s really sharp, Bill. Nice work on a timeless kit.

  4. Wonderful result, Bill!

  5. Excellent Peashooter build.

  6. Another superb effort, and an interesting combat version of the P-26. Thanks for posting this.

  7. Excellent result - a stunning P-26

  8. Nice work Bill. I clicked on the "like" button too.

  9. That’s really cool, Bill, I really enjoyed reading your write-up as well as admiring your model and photography. Air raid sirens were heard across China last weekend in memory of the Japanese massacre in Nanking.

  10. Whoa, that's great Bill! 👍 I always have liked the P-26, and have the Hobbycraft kit in 1/48. I've always wanted to build it concurrent with my Eduard I-16. They've always had a similar look to me. I really like your choice of color here, looks quite authentic to me, a true "non-expert"! Well done sir, @billkoppos. 🍻

  11. Good looking Peashooter, Bill! Nice to see in in different markings.

    As for your spreader bars, you might try using a small diameter dowel, then drilling a hole through it with a pin vise and a micro drill bit, then passing your flying wires through them before you attach them to the model. Just my 2 cents...

    • Thanks. Yes that would be worth a try, problem is the angles. Trying to get all the angles AND hole spacing, is the Gordian knot here. Another issue is that the wires were actually airfoil shaped and kind of flat. The bars were in two halves that clamped around the wires and were slim things. The whole shebang is very hard to reproduce properly. Probably better off just glueing a skinny piece of wire on top, might stick out less. I want to do a Philippine peashooter so I'll try your idea. When I get my chest waxed.

  12. Another stunner, pops. The pilots look great, too.

    At the rate the market is growing, you'll get your 1/32 Cr.32

  13. Excellent result, Bill @billkoppos
    Very nice results on the photography as well.

  14. Looks great! I became quite interested in the Second Sino-Japanese war after reading 'Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan' by Herbert Bix. I'm currently working on the Merit 1/48 Gloster Gladiator, which I'm going to finish in the markings of Arthur Chin. I got the lovely SBS engine and wheels, and the Eduard cockpit set. And I'm adding Master brass Browning .30 barrels as the ROC had standardized on the .30-06 round. I plan to display it next to my Fine Molds Kawasaki Ki-10.

  15. Great work! The ROC scheme is definitely more "working man" than the typical early AAF circus-colored scheme!

  16. Really nice build, Bill. To me the P-26 really is classic symbol of early 1930's Modern Fighter/Pursuit aircraft. It has classic beautiful lines, the streamlining and lines of classic art deco and streamline modern design. It really is a beautiful plane and you did a wonderful job on this kit.

  17. Thankin' you all for the kind comments.

Leave a Reply