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"Pearl Harbour Defender"

Special Hobby, 1/32 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Special Hobby kit no. 32003 - P-36A "Pearl Harbour Defender"
Scale: 1/32
Contents and Media: 114 parts in grey injection moulded plastic; 15 clear injection moulded parts; 8 parts in yellow resin, 1 x colour photo-etched fret; decals for two aircraft.
Price: Unknown at this time
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Important and attractive subject; crisp consistent surface detail (recessed panel lines, subtle fabric detail); nicely detailed cockpit and engine; thin trailing edges; no sink marks in visible locations; includes resin and coloured photo-etched parts; excellent thin and distortion free clear parts; optional spinner hub, windscreen styles, cockpit parts and machine guns (marked not for use in this variant); high quality decals; separate elevators and rudders; simple engineering.
Disadvantages: Half-hearted detail on main wheels; some flash to clean up; no locating pins means previous experience will be helpful.
Recommendation: Recommended.

Reviewed by Brett Green

 Special Hobby's 1/32 scale P-36A will be available online from Squadron.com



Large scale modellers are about to meet the new kid on the block - Special Hobby's 1/32 scale P-36A "Pearl Harbour Defender".

Special Hobby's 1/32 scale P-36A comprises 114 parts in grey styrene, 15 parts in clear injection moulded styrene, 8 parts in cream-coloured resin, two photo-etched frets - one in colour - and decals for two aircraft.

The surface features crisp and consistently recessed panel lines with convincingly subtle fabric texture on control surfaces. Shell ejection ports are cut all the way through the wing - a nice touch..

The big ejector pins that often plague the inner surfaces of limited-run kits are rare, and none will interfere with fit or be visible when the kit is assembled.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The forward fuselage and engine cowl is moulded as a separate assembly, suggesting that we will see the short-nosed P-36 / Hawk 75 variants from Special Hobby some time in the future. Cowl flaps are moulded shut.

There is a little flash to clean up on some of the parts, notably the undercarriage, but the story is otherwise very good. There are no sink marks or other imperfections anywhere on the visible exterior surfaces of the model. Trailing edges of the wings and tailplanes are sharp.

However, as good as the moulding is, there are no locating pins so extra time and care will be required to align the parts perfectly. That nose to fuselage to wing root join looks especially tricky. I would recommend gluing some tabs to the inside of the fuselage to assist alignment and reinforce the join with the nose.

Detail of the kit is very good. The engine features fine cooling fin detail on the cylinders and a separate ring of push rods. The only detail wanting is an ignition harness. In this large scale, the extra work will be well worthwhile. Engine assembly will be quite straightforward with only eight parts in total.

The cockpit is equally nice. For starters, it is the correct depth, and the basic shapes of the seat, sidewalls, instrument panel, rudder pedals and rear bulkhead look accurate. As a bonus, we are presented with a small colour photo etch fret. The highlight is the wonderful lap harness complete with printed stitching detail. This will look terrific on those big seats. The cockpit should look great straight from the box, but f you really want to go to town in this area, Cutting Edge offers a 1/32 scale resin P-40B cockpit that should be a good fit.

Rudder and elevators are supplied as separate parts, but dropped flaps are not an option.



The clear parts are very thin and totally free of distortion. Although they are not destined for this version, the clear sprue includes two alternative styles of windscreen. Navigation lights are also supplied.

The eight resin parts are destined for the main landing gear legs and retraction mechanism.



Markings are supplied for two aircraft, both in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The decals are clear, crisply printed and in perfect register.



If you can't wait for the inevitable alternate versions to appear, Cutting Edge also offers three sets of P-36 / Hawk 75 decals which include options for Dutch, Finnish, British, Norwegian and US Hawks, although take care when choosing your subjects because some of these are for the short-nose export variants.





This big P-36 is MPM's / Azur's / Special Hobby's most sophisticated 1/32 scale aircraft release to date.

It would seem that MPM has taken note of comments about earlier releases. There is more use made of conventional injection moulded parts, but this does not detract from the overall level of detail. Provision for an open canopy is welcome. More planning has obviously gone into the location of ejector pins. The outline and detail accuracy looks good too, which should give some larger manufacturers pause for thought.

Surface texture is a matter of personal preference, but I like Special Hobby's subtle presentation of panel lines and fabric, leaving any additional detailing decisions (such as rivets) to the individual modeller. The inclusion of a lovely colour photo-etched fret is the icing on the cake.

The lack of locating pins and the nature of the manufacturing process means that more care will be required to build this kit than, say, one of Tamiya's offerings. Some previous experience will certainly be helpful.

Even so, Special Hobby's 1/32 scale P-36A "Pearl Harbour Defender" is a classy package that just cries out to be built.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to MPM/Special Hobby for the review sample.

Review Text and Images Copyright 2005 by Brett Green
Page Created 08 December, 2005
Last updated 08 December, 2005

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