Hasegawa Curtiss SOC Seagull Aboard USS Portland in 1/72 Scale

This SOC Seagull was assigned to VCS-5 and operated from the heavy cruiser USS Portland (CA-33) during the Battle of Midway in June, 1942.  The kit is the 1969 Hasegawa release with decals from Starfighter sheet 72-136.

Construction posts here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/03/18/hasegawa-curtiss-soc-seagull-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/

Hasegawa Curtiss SOC Seagull Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

This is the underside of the float version after checking seams with a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1500. The lower wing part is thick near the fuselage. This one had some sink marks, but the other one didn’t.
Here is the float resting on the cart. I have added several circular inspection covers which were missing from the mold. The kit parts include a flat raised portion along the upper surface of the float which actually had a corrugated appearance. I filed off the flat surface and replaced if with lengths of 0.030” Evergreen rod to better represent the actual appearance.
This is what “negative modeling” looks like. I attempted to paint the section markings on the upper wing, but the red paint infiltrated under my masking. Either the masking was not burnished down well enough or the thinner reacted with the adhesive, or maybe a little of both. In any case, I sanded off the offending red, repainted the Orange Yellow, and used decals instead.
The floatplane will be in the Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme, seen here under a layer of Glosscoat ready for decals.
Decals are from Starfighter sheet 72-135 USN at Midway and went on without any problems. These are the major components ready for assembly. The paint is still glossy at this point, I will apply the final flat finish after the rigging is done.
These are the major components for the wheeled version. Decals are from Yellow Wing Decals with the green tail stripes painted on. The red on the cowling was darkened a bit to match the red on the decals.
Rigging was done with 0.005” Nitinol wire, measured with dividers and secured in place with Micro Liquitape. The Liquitape never totally dries out but remains tacky which allows any wires which come loose to be simply re-applied. The radio antenna wires are 0.004” Nitinol.
The finished models. They need some extra added details but build up reasonably well for 53-year-old kits. They will have to do as they are the only 1/72 scale SOCs in town and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

List of improvements:

Landing light drilled out.

Elevator hinges replaced.

Molded-on streamed antenna on port side replaced.

Aileron linkages replaced with Evergreen rod.

Gun trough drilled out, gun from tubing.

Float access ports added, top surfaces replaced.

Hand grabs added on wingtip floats.

Cockpits replaced with Starfighter resin.

Engines replaced with RE&W resin, engine wired.

Pilot’s grab holes cut into upper wing.

Rigged with Nitinol wire.

Cart built for floatplane.

Mass balances added for ailerons.

Exhausts drilled out.

Propeller shaft is off center, replaced with rod. Steps added on float struts.

More finished photographs here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/05/hasegawa-curtiss-soc-seagull-aboard-uss-honolulu-in-1-72-scale/

Hasegawa Curtiss SOC Seagull Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

Hasegawa molds the struts with a “cap” on each end which is designed to fit into slots in the wings. Unfortunately this leaves seams between the struts which are difficult to fill, because the seams are between the struts. Duh. One imperfect solution is to cut out the “cap” portion and eliminate the seams, which is what I chose to do in this case.
These are the Starfighter resin interior bits painted and ready to go. The engine has been given ignition wires. Seatbelts are masking tape, which looks good through the canopy.
Here are the major components together, joined with MEK from the hardware store. Seams were visible around the tail planes and wing to fuselage joint. These were filled with Perfect Plastic Putty.
Joints on the underside fit somewhat better. This one will be the wheeled version, so attachment points for the floats have been filled with Evergreen stock and Mr. Surfacer.
No masking set for this kit, so masking was done the old-fashioned way. The canopy needed a little PPP to fill in the gaps. Sharp-eyed readers will notice the gun trough added to the forward fuselage.
Here the center struts have been added after the seams in the wings are sanded smooth. The wing was missing the pilot’s hand-holds, so these were drilled out. Also the attachment points for the rigging have been drilled.
Hasegawa provides a display stand for the floatplane but it is not intended to represent anything prototypical. I whipped this stand up from Evergreen stock based upon one of the photographs of a cart used on a Cruiser in the Ginter SOC book.

Part III here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/01/hasegawa-curtiss-soc-seagull-build-in-1-72-scale-part-iii/

Hasegawa Curtiss SOC Seagull Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

Hasegawa first released their SOC-3 Seagull kit all the way back in 1969. It has been periodically re-released since then with new decals, most recently again this year. Both of my boxings are from the early 1970’s, so I have no idea how the tool is holding up. While many modelers will only build newer kits (and for good reasons in many cases), the Hasegawa kit is the only game in town for 1/72 scale modelers and looks to remain so for the immediate future.
U.S. Navy observation aircraft of the era could be fitted with either floats or wheels as needed. In the case of the SOC, they could also be fitted with arresting gear and flown from aircraft carriers. Hasegawa has kits with either wheels or floats. For this project I will be building one of each.
Parts breakdown is what you would expect for the time. There is some molded-on detail which should be replaced to be more accurate, and several small details which have been omitted. Lots of areas which will need improvement but nothing fatal.
You get one sprue of “feet” for your SOC which determines the configuration of the build, but unfortunately not both. My floatplane kit was molded in white which doesn’t show up as well in the photographs.
Fortunately for modelers the aftermarket has not neglected these kits. Radial Engines & Wheels makes a beautiful Pratt & Whitney R-1340 which goes a long way towards dressing up the front. Mark comes through yet again with a cockpit set and several decal sheets. While I will be modeling the canopies closed using the kit parts, the interior is still quite visible and needs improvement.
What difference does half a century make? The kit supplied engine is on the left, the RE&W resin engine is on the right.
Here is the Starfighter interior built up and ready for paint. Installation was drama free, you just need to sand the instrument panel piece a little to get a tight fit.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/03/25/hasegawa-curtiss-soc-seagull-build-in-1-72-scale-part-ii/

Curtiss SC-1 Seahawk Color Photographs

The Curtiss SC-1 Seahawk was the last U.S. Navy floatplane designed for shipboard use. It entered service during the closing months of WWII, replacing the SO3C Seamew and OS2U Kingfisher. This Seahawk carries a surface-scan radar pod under the starboard wing.
The SC-1 was a single-seat monoplane, but there were accommodations for a passenger within the fuselage. The wings could be folded, hence the Intermediate Blue camouflage on the underside of the outer wing panels.
This photograph shows details of the accommodation ladder and beaching gear structure. The engine was a Wright R-1820-62 Cyclone rated at 1,350 hp, which gave the Seahawk a respectable 313 mph (504 km/h) maximum speed.
Here an SC-1 comes alongside the large cruiser USS Alaska (CB-1) for recovery. As is apparent this could result in a wild ride for the aircraft, and both the aircraft and parent ship were somewhat vulnerable while the aircraft was being hoisted aboard.
Alaska’s SC-1 on the recovery sled. The sled was constructed of canvas and netting, the floatplane was provided with a hook on the underside of the float which engaged the net and allowed the aircraft to be towed by the ship while the hoist was attached.
A Seahawk is being hoisted aboard the light cruiser USS Manchester (CL-83) in 1948. By this time the Navy was beginning to replace its catapult floatplanes with helicopters for shipboard use. Note the white horizontal tailplanes and “USS Manchester” carried above her fuselage insignia.