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AZ Model 1/72 scale Boeing P-26 Peashooter

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT
Kit:AZL7219 // Scale:1/72 // Price:$20.41
Manufacturer:
AZ Model, from UMM-USA, 847-537-0867
Pros:
Good exterior details; good cockpit detail; early and late tail-wheel types provided
Cons:
Small parts needed cleanup; imprecise fit; vague instructions
Comments:
Injection-molded, 46 parts (1 resin, 1 clear film), decals
AZ_Model_Peashooter01
AZ_Model_Peashooter03
AZ_Model_Peashooter04
AZ_Model_Peashooter05
AZ_Model_Peashooter06
AZ_Model_Peashooter07

Following its success with the P-12 army and F4B navy biplane fighters, Boeing developed the classic P-26 monoplane pursuit plane. For 1/72 scale model builders, this new kit from the Czech Republic’s AZ Model provides an alternative to the old Revell and limited-run Pavla P-26s.

AZ Model’s kit is molded in soft, gray styrene except for a resin engine and the windscreen printed on thin clear sheet. Decals provide markings for three Peashooters: one olive drab, one blue, and one in experimental camouflage.

As with many Czech kits, the parts show very nice exterior panel detail and adequate cockpit interior. The small parts molded on the sprues required a lot of cleanup along mold-parting lines and sprue-attachment stubs. Interestingly, the entire wing is one piece; no chance of assembling the wing with the wrong dihedral! A cutout in the top of the wing holds a place for the fuselage. I recommend careful cleanup of the fuselage halves and repeated dry-fitting of the fuselage to the wing to get good matches.

The instructions are a bit confusing as to the shapes and locations of many of the small parts. Tiny, individual plastic exhaust stacks have to be super glued to the resin engine cylinders and spaced properly to avoid the pair of even tinier “peashooter” gun barrels that project between the cylinders. Not shown in the instructions, the exhaust pipes from the cylinders at the 9- and 3-o’clock positions were routed back into ducts in the fuselage to heat the carburetors. The instructions do suggest that you supply “plastic rod” to make the outer ends of these two pipes, but they don’t show the proper locations.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the project was the rigging. The instructions feature an attempt at a rigging diagram, but they don’t show the doubled wires between the landing-gear spats or where they lead. I drilled holes through the fuselage, wings, and spats, then threaded monofilament and anchored each line with super glue. In this scale, it would be difficult to mold or create the fairings that covered the wire anchors on the spats. I studied photos in two references — P-26 Mini In-Action, by Larry Davis (Squadron/Signal, ISBN 978-0-89747-322-4), and Boeing P-26 Variants, by Peter Bowers (Aerofax Minigraph 8, ISBN 978-0-942548-13-6), to figure out the details.

I chose the blue-finished Peashooter, painting it with Testors Model Master enamels. The decals are well printed, although the red and blue are a bit pale. I cut gently curved arcs from gold solid-color trim film for the fuselage stripes (not provided on the kit’s decal sheet).

After 27 hours, my little P-26 looks the part. And I do mean little – with a fuselage less than 4" long, and a wingspan of less than 5", this Peashooter is a Lilliputian portrayal of pursuit pulchritude!

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2013 FineScale Modeler.

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