Kit: No. 72070
Manufacturer: MPM, available from Squadron Mail Order, 1115 Crowley Dr., Carrollton, TX 75011-5010, phone 972-242-8663
Comments: Injection molded, 57 parts (19 photoetched, 2 resin, 2 photo film), decals.
Seversky's P-35A was an accident of history. Its predecessor, the P-35, was a contemporary of the Curtiss P-36 Hawk, and only one Air Corps wing was issued the portly pursuit. While not a stellar performer, it was typical of prewar fighters. Engine problems and troubles with the "wet wing" fuel-storage system led to only 75 being built.
As World War II loomed, Sweden saw an immediate need for fighters to protect its neutrality. The result was Seversky's slightly enlarged EP-1 (for Export Pursuit), later redesignated J-9 by the Swedes. Half of the 120 EP-1s ordered were delivered, and the other half were pressed into U.S. Army Air Corps service as P-35As. Some fought valiantly against Japanese Zeros in the Philippines in December 1941.
MPM's tiny P-35A is molded in dark gray styrene and features a mostly photoetched-brass cockpit. I love the photo film instruments behind the brass panel, but some of the photoetched knobs and levers are too tiny to see. Folding the panels looks easy in the illustrations, but the brass parts are so small that they are nearly impossible to grip, let alone fold.
New for MPM is an injection-molded one-piece canopy. It was well molded, but a dip in Future floor polish made it even better.
Interior side detail is marred by uneven blobs. Fortunately, the exteriors of the parts are nearly flawless and feature fine recessed panel detail. Except for trying to position the tiny interior details, assembly of the rest of the kit is straightforward - once I had sanded down lumpy flash on the mating surfaces.
MPM molded the form-fitting main gear covers in polyurethane resin - probably to reduce edge thickness. The position of the main gear strut/cover/wheel is vague in the instruction illustrations. My sample's tail-wheel strut is too short. No wing gun barrels are provided, and the instructions tell you to cut them from rod or tubing. I used fine stainless-steel tubing for them, as well as for the long wing-mounted pitot tube that is not mentioned.
I needed gap-filling super glue to smooth out the wing/fuselage joints. The walkway strips on the wing roots are represented by a deep crosshatch pattern, so I filled them with super glue and sanded them smooth. I used black decal film for the walkways after painting.
The kit prop required cleanup, but the circular counterbalances are missing from the hub.
I painted the model with SnJ Spray Metal and polished it with SnJ's aluminum powder. The decals are beautiful, but thin and difficult to move once they touch the surface; try to position them before sliding them off the backing paper. No clear part or decal is given for the right-side passenger hatch window; I cut mine from black decal film. I used Bare-Metal Foil to frame the canopy, and made aerials from fine monofilament fishing line.
The finished model captures the pugnacious lines of Seversky's design. I plan to correct the tail-wheel strut and smooth out the juncture of the canopy and spine on the next one I build. It measures right on the money with the statistics in Squadron/Signal's P-35 Mini in Action, my main reference.
I spent 22 hours building MPM's P-35A. It demands experience, especially if you use the photoetched interior parts. It's a small model, only 41/4" long with a 6" span. It's fun to place it next to a model of its direct descendant, the Republic P-47. My, how you've grown!
- Paul Boyer