Pavla Curtiss AT-9 Jeep Build Part I

This is a relatively obscure subject, the Curtiss AT-9 Fledgling, better known as the Jeep. This is a limited run kit from Pavla, first released in 1999. Building this kit turned out to be a sacrifice to the modeling gods, as Dora Wings has just announced a new tool offering. I first saw this aircraft at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, and was attracted by its smooth aerodynamic lines.
There is a single injected sprue. All things are as one would expect for a limited run tool. There are flash, ejector pins, and seam lines, along with wide sprue gates. Detail is soft and there are no mounting pins. Actually, I don’t mind the lack of alignment pins in general, IMHO we modelers make too big a deal of this “limitation” of the limited run kits.
Pavla also supplies prop blades and engines in resin and a PE fret. The canopy is a provided as a vacuform part, and Pavla even includes a spare, which is a very considerate and welcome addition.
The best way to think of this kit is as a craftsman kit, the starter parts are there to provide the framework and the modeler has to take responsibility for the accuracy and details. The first example of this I ran in to was the wheel wells on the wing undersides. The slots for the landing gear are molded closed and need to be cut out if the landing gear legs are to be mounted.
One issue is the mounting of the scoop under the engine nacelles, which also doubles as a faring for the exhaust stubs, which are not provided. The scoop has a sink mark which I filled with superglue. The bigger challenge here is the scoop will drop right through the opening with no real way to mount it. I used plastic card to cover the opening from the inside and provide a way to mount the scoop.
The cockpit parts were relatively crude so I raided the spares box for replacements. The rear bulkhead and center console are kit parts and the instrument panel is from the PE fret. Seats and control yokes are from the spares box, the rest is from evergreen sheet. The throttles are from 1/700 scale ship railings which allows them to be mounted as a group.
Here is the cockpit and the engines painted up and ready to go. The yellow cushions are actually photographs of actual cushions reduced to the proper size and printed out on the home printer. The belts are from the kit PE fret. The engines have been given ignition wires.
The wheels were really thick and distorted, the mold has suffered a bit in this area and there would be a lot of clean up required. I substituted better wheels from the land-based option of the AZ Model Kingfisher kit which I did not intend to use.

Part II here: