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Special Hobby 1/72 scale PV-2 Harpoon

Kit: No. 72093
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Special Hobby, from Squadron Mail Order, 877-414-0434,
Price: $39.50
Comments: Injection-molded, 129 parts (6 resin), decals
Pros: Fine exterior details; good decals; nice color profiles for paint and decal placement; good-looking model
Cons: Poor fit overall; confusing instructions
The Harpoon was the final development of Lockheed's Ventura twin-engine patrol bomber, which in turn descended from the early-war Hudson. With an enlarged bomb bay, new, longer wings, and revised vertical stabilizers, the Harpoon was potent, but slower and less maneuverable than its predecessors.

Special Hobby's kit may be welcomed by 1/72 scale model builders, but getting it together won't be a pleasant diversion for everyone. The plastic parts show fine exterior detail, and the clear parts are acceptably thin. The decals are well-printed. But fit problems start with the first step in the instructions. The cockpit floor and bulkheads are a bit too wide to allow the fuselage halves to close. A few minutes with a coarse sanding stick and repeated test-fitting got it together. For some reason the detail-free throttle quadrant, measuring about 1/4" square, is molded in halves.

In step No. 6, I found the dorsal gun-turret base caused the turret to sit too high off the fuselage. I removed the base's ring, glued the gun mount inside the clear bubble, then added the turret after painting.

Special Hobby provides both open and closed ventral gun tunnels, and an additional clear bubble is shown in the instructions floating inside the open hatch. It doesn't fit there or on the outside. I could make no sense of it, so left it out.

Assembly of the wings and nacelles was complicated by errors in the instructions. All the wing and nacelle parts, including the landing-gear struts and doors, are molded on the B and C sprues. But I found the upper bulkhead for the right nacelle was part No. C23, not No. B24. The forward nacelle bulkheads (Nos. B23 and C27) wouldn't fit and interfered with closure, so I left them out. Complicating this, the B nacelle and flap-hinge fairings fit onto the C wing parts. I filled gaps where the nacelle joins the upper wing half with .030" sheet styrene.

The engines and tiny intake details are well-molded in resin, but there's no positive way to attach and center the engines to the cowls or nacelles. I took a chance and dropped each engine inside a cowl, put a drop of super glue on the front of each nacelle, and just pushed the assembly together. They look OK, but I ain't gonna check 'em with a caliper.

The clear parts fit, but I found the upper-nose gun barrels about a third too long compared with photos in Scrivner and Scarborough's Lockheed PV-1 Ventura In Action (Squadron/Signal).

I chose a Naval Reserve aircraft from the decal sheet and painted the model Testors Model Master international orange and gloss sea blue. The decals went on fine but are a bit translucent; the orange reserve band shows through the insignia. Three other marking choices are given: another postwar reserve unit and two wartime Harpoons in tricolor camo.

I spent about 45 hours on my Harpoon - too many for a kit this size. Experienced modelers will plow through it, but the fit problems and confusing directions will frustrate beginners. The results, though, look good - a beefy, purposeful warplane in dress blues.

- Paul Boyer


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