Monogram Curtiss F11C-2 Goshawk Build in 1/72 Scale

The Monogram Curtiss F11C-2 Goshawk is certainly one of those kits which has earned the description of “classic”.  It was first released in 1968 and is still a good kit even by the standards of today.  I built one of these in my misspent youth and even have a few surviving parts in my spares bin to prove it, so for me this has the double benefit of being a nostalgia build and a good tool.
The kit features a low parts count but some really clever engineering.  The center struts and the landing gear legs are molded as part of the fuselage which ensures both strength and proper alignment.  Sadly this innovation was not widely copied in the decades which followed, an opportunity missed by multiple manufacturers to produce biplane kits which were easier and less frustrating to build.
The underside of the top wing reveals a problem which must be addressed – there are a dozen ejector pin marks which require filling on this piece alone.  This is not a deal-breaker but it does result in the loss of some of the fine surface texture which represents the fabric covering.  Here I have filled the offending depressions with Mr. Surfacer 500.
Starfighter has giving these old kits some welcome aftermarket support in the form of resin accessories and decals.  Here is the Starfighter cockpit set installed in the fuselage.  The kit is from the era when a pilot figure was all the interior you were expected to need so this set is most welcome.
A shot of paint and the interior is ready to go.  The missing cockpit interior is really the only thing which the kit lacks compared to a more recent tooling.
The lower wing is a single piece which incorporates the center section of the lower fuselage.  This results in a strong foundation and eliminates another potential alignment problem.  I sanded off the molded-in braces for the drop tank on the belly.  The seam at the lower wing was filled with Perfect Plastic Putty.
Here is a view in the middle of the masking marathon.  Often even the simplest schemes require several colors.
These are the decals I’ll be using, Starfighter sheet 72-107.  This set contains markings for two F11C-2 and four BFC-2.  The main difference between the two is the shape of the upper fuselage behind the cockpit.  Starfighter makes the resin conversion piece required to make the BFC-2, but for this build I stuck with the fighter version.  Starfighter Decals here:
Here are the markings on the model.  The decals went on without any drama and are a nice improvement over the kit decals.
The kit wheels feature a nice distinct groove which separates the wheel from the tire.  This is a prefect piece to demonstrate the benefits of using capillary action to paint wheels.  Just thin the tire color and let the thinner draw the paint around the groove.  Once the color separation has been established, fill in the tire with a thicker mix of paint and even out the appearance.  The paint will flow where you need it.
Rigging was done with 0.004” Nitenol wire glued in place with Micro Liquitape.  This view shows off the detail on the kit engine which is a fine piece, I washed it with Tamiya Panel Line Wash to bring out the detail.
Even though this kit is over fifty years old it goes together well and is an easy build by biplane standards.

More finished photographs here: