Pavla Curtiss AT-9 Jeep in 1/72 Scale

This is the Curtiss AT-9 Fledgling trainer, better known as the “Jeep” assigned to Mather Field near Sacramento, California in May 1942.  The model is built from the Pavla kit which is a limited run offering.  It requires some extra effort to assemble but the subject is unusual and has a pleasing shape.

Construction posts here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/02/04/pavla-curtiss-at-9-jeep-build-part-i/

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: inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/02/11/pavla-curtiss-at-9-jeep-build-part-ii/

Curtiss-Wright AT-9 Jeep Color Photographs

The Curtiss-Wright AT-9 was an advanced twin-engined trainer used by the USAAF during WWII. It was officially named the “Fledgling”, but was generally known as the “Jeep”.
The Jeep was powered by two Lycoming R-680-9 radial engines, each producing 295 hp (220 kW). 491 AT-9s were built. Production then shifted to the AT-9A, of which 300 were built. The main difference between the two variants was the introduction of the Lycoming R-680-11 engine, but the two were externally virtually indistinguishable. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
The Jeep was demanding to fly and was less stable than most trainers. The increased demands on the student pilots were intentional, to better prepare them for the higher-performance twin-engine types then in service such as the B-26 Marauder. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
The type was intended to transition student pilots from single-engine trainers to twins. Here is an AT-9 with T-6 Texans in the background.
While a sleek and attractive aircraft, the AT-9 was not offered for sale to civilians after the war due to the reduced stability margins compared to other trainers.
A successful design, the Jeep remains a relatively obscure type and is little known today.  One surviving example has been restored and is on display at the National Museum on the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.  Dora Wings produces an injection-molded kit in 1/48 scale, while Pavla produces one in 1/72.

Pavla Gloster Sea Gladiator in 1/72 Scale

This is the Pavla Sea Gladiator of Lt A. N. Young, 813 NAS Fighter Flight aboard HMS Eagle, Mediterranean Sea, Summer 1940. These are still nice kits, but with all the quirks you would expect from a limited run molding.  One big asset is the Pavla decal sheet provides six sets of markings. The Pavla fuselage is a little more bloated than the newer Airfix molding, but I don’t really notice it much on the finished model.  I had intended to model this one with a closed canopy, but the vacuformed kit canopy was far too small to fit properly and looked better open.

Gladiators_008

 

Gladiators_009

 

DSC_4721

 

DSC_4720

 

DSC_4719

 

DSC_4718