Curtiss F11C-2 Goshawk

Kit: Monogram, 1/72 (1967 kit repackaged by Starfighter Decals); bought at my favorite hobby store Hobby Emporium for $15.29 in 2017. The model was completed over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday and finished on 2018-01-28.

Aircraft: Bu.No. 9268 of VF-1B, US Navy aboard USS Saratoga in 1933.

Construction Notes

Initial fuselage assembly

Engine and cowling were finished separately and installed fairly late in the process

Despite its age, this is an excellent kit and builds rather easily into a nice representation of a classic 1930s US Navy fighter. In addition to the kit, I used a resin cockpit interior from Starfighter Models as well as a comprehensive decal sheet for F11C-2s and BF2Cs from the same manufacturer.

The kit has its inner wing struts as part of the fuselage, this makes it easier to position the top wing correctly. Note that some putty was needed here and there to fill seams or otherwise mitigate less than perfect fit of parts. I painted the aircraft in stages, before final assembly. Tamiya Acrylics were used; the “silver dope” on fabric surfaces is a mixture of aluminum and light gray.

Initial test fitting of the top wing and the vertical tail

Masking tape is useful to keep wires in place before gluing

“Rigging” was by far the hardest part of the project, something that really teaches patience and humility. I used the thinnest monofilament nylon thread I could find. I drilled holes wherever the wires were to be attached, and superglued one end of each wire in place. Then, after threading the other ends through their specific holes, I – one by one – superglued them in place, applying considerable tension while waiting for the glue to cure. The rigging was finished by cutting off the excess, filling the hole, sanding and painting. The final assembly required me to apply decals to the vertical tail before attaching it and rigging the tail.

Various small details had to be scratch-built, such as the aileron actuating rods and the vertical tail struts.

The entire aircraft was airbrushed with Future floor wax, thinned with isopropyl alcohol. After the application of decals and an another coat of Future, the model was airbrushed with a 1:2 mixture of Testor’s Glosscote and Dullcote.

Aileron actuating rods were scratch-built

References Used

  • Air Enthusiast October 1972
  • Airpower September 1972
  • Avions Juillet 96
  • Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947 (Bowers); Naval Institute Press 1987
  • Curtiss Navy Hawks in action (Bowers); Aircraft in Action 156; Squadron/Signal Publications 1995
  • Fighter Squadron Fourteen “Tophatters” (Gates); Squadron/Signal Publications 1993
  • my own photographs of Ernst Udet’s Hawk II at the Polish Air Museum

Additional Information