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Curtiss SO3C Seamew


Czech Model, 1/48 scale


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: CM4817 - Curtiss SO3C Seamew
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 28 parts in injected grey styrene; 13 parts in cream-coloured resin; 2 clear parts; markings for two aircraft.
Price: USD$44.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Fascinating but until now neglected subject; good quality plastic; good detail; recessed panel lines; excellent decals; effective use of multi-media; resin parts packed in separate zip-lock bag
Disadvantages: Some preparation required.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended to modellers who have built some limited run kits


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

Czech Model's 1/48 scale Curtiss SO3C Seamew is available online from Squadron.com




The Curtiss built SO3C Seamew was designed to be used as a ship-based, catapult-launched floatplane. When assigned to battleships it was to be used for gunfire observation and as a scout when assigned to cruisers.

The Seamew was meant to be a replacement for another Curtiss built machine, the SOC "Seagull". To say the least, the aircraft never lived up to expectations and was soon removed from front line service being found as totally unsuited for the role for which it was designed.

There was a time that the only kit you would ever have seen of this aircraft would have been a vacform one and it would have just been a couple of sheets of white plastic with minimal panel detail, fuzzy vacform canopies, no decals and absolutely no detail parts at all.

Thankfully, times have changed!





Czech Models 4817 is a limited run; mixed media 1/48 scale kit of the Curtiss SO3C "Seamew", which ironically was itself a "limited run" aircraft.

The kit comprises 28 injection moulded parts, injection moulded canopies, and 13 resin detail parts. The airframe itself is made up of injection moulded parts whilst the cockpit interior, engine front and exhausts are of resin. The supplied parts enable you to build a floatplane version only; no parts are provided to construct the land-based version of the machine that was also produced.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The injection moulded parts exhibit a combination of scribed panel line/rivet and raised detail. The plastic is, in the main, shiny but has a very, very fine grain to it that will benefit from a going over with fine wet and dry sandpaper. Flash is present but minimal and easily cleaned up but clean it up you must otherwise it just won't go together! Similarly, there are ejection pins present but thankfully they are not in areas that will be visible once the kit is assembled. Being a limited-run kit, there are no pins, grooves, sleeves, tabs or cut-out aids to assembly with the exception of raised ribs on the inside of the fuselage to positively butt the resin interior parts to. The trailing edges of the wings, horizontal stabilisers, wing float struts and propeller blades are very thin indeed for a limited run kit and rival those of the Tamiya and Hasegawa. The wing is in two parts per side and they are butt jointed to the fuselage. The fuselage has a small 'plinth' moulded onto it to represent the wing roots. The assembled wings are cemented to this and the dihedral is taken care of by the wing root end of the wings being moulded with the correct built-in dihedral. There is plenty of surface area to glue as the wing roots are solid once the upper and lower surfaces of the wings are assembled. The horizontal stabilisers are two-piece as well and slide over the rudder to affix to the fuselage. There is one sink mark present in my sample and that is on the inside of one of the beaching gear wheels, fortunately, this can be easily rectified by the addition of a plastic card cap.

Unfortunately, the canopies are all moulded in the closed position but can easily be separated to show off the resin detail cockpit interiors as the moulded-on framing is quite distinct (which will also make the task of masking a whole lot easier too). The clear parts are reasonably clear but will benefit from a dunk in Future or its equivalent in your corner of the world.

The resin parts are superb indeed. You get the left and right hand sides, floor, rudder pedals, control column, rear bulkhead and instrument panel for the front cockpit and front and rear bulkheads, floor, decking, seat/turret ring and .50cal machine gun for the rear one. No sidewalls are provided for the rear cockpit but some rib detail is moulded onto the insides of the fuselage halves. As expected, the resin parts are excellent and the only addition that you would need to make as far as I am concerned is a set of seat belts. The cast plugs are minimal and a dry fit of the parts into the fuselage halves reveals that you can leave most of on the parts (the bulkheads at least) as they don’t interfere with the fit at all, granted, you will need to give them some attention with a file and sandpaper but it will be minimal.


Accuracy? Ah this is the part I hate most when reviewing kits! I have compared the parts with pictures and drawings of the one-to-one-scale version that I have found on the net whilst researching this review and have to confess that just about all of them varied from one to the next! The fuselage length and the wingspan measurements varied in my references, as did the panel lines (those drawings that showed them at least! What I can say though is that the kit looks true to photographs. A cop out? No, an honest opinion as far as I am concerned.

The kit is packaged in one big cellophane-like plastic bag. The resin parts are in their own smaller plastic bag and this is placed into the larger bag. The bag is then heat crimped to separate the plastic parts from the clear parts – simple yet effective. The final packaging is a flimsy 'envelope' cardboard box (having stated that the box is flimsy though, I have to say that it serviced the trip from one side of this 'wide brown land' to the other without major damage).


Decals are provided for two machines:

  • Bureau number 4857 assigned to the light cruiser USS Denver in 1943. This option is in the early war scheme of blue grey upper surfaces over light grey undersides with white star on blue circle background national insignia.

  • “War Junk”. Aboard the light cruiser USS Biloxi in 1944. The correct Bureau number is not known, it was either 4231, 4234 or 4237 and a decal for each is provided. This option is in the mid to late war tri colour scheme of sea blue upper surfaces, intermediate blue sides of the fuselage/vertical stabiliser and white undersides. It wears red outlined national insignias and the (appropriate!) name “War Junk".


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The decals look to have been produced by Techmod. They are thin, in perfect register and have minimal carrier film. I have used Techmod decals before and they are every bit as good as Superscale ones, you do however need to use plenty of water to float them into place as they are very thin and easily torn.

The instruction sheet is A-3 in size and carries a potted history of the machine and a parts map on the front page, two pages of exploded-view drawings assembly guide in black and white with English language assembly and painting notes and colour notes and decal placement/painting illustrations on the back page. The illustrations on this page also appear on the back of the box, this time though in full colour.





To be truthful, I was expecting this kit to be a whole lot less that what it actually is. I would not recommend it for the beginner by any means but I can recommend it to those who enjoy a bit of filing, puttying and sanding. It is indeed an excellent kit by limited-run standards.

Czech Models have come a long, long way in a few short years and this new kit from them is evidence of that journey. I would say that quite a few of them will actually be finished and placed on display rather than being started with enthusiasm and left half finished and hidden at the back of the cupboard or hurled against brick number 47 on the wall of the modelling room through frustration with fit problems!


Thanks to Squadron for the review sample.

Review Text and Images Copyright © 2005 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 16 December, 2005
Last updated 16 December, 2005

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