Pro Resin 1/72 Curtiss XF15 C-1 Stringaree (Late)
Review by Steve Jantscher
The US Navy was interested in mixed power plant designs during WWII. The long range endurance of a piston powered propeller airplane with the short run burst of speed and thrust to weight that came with the boost of a jet engine. It was thought that this might be the back-door to introducing the jet engine to the fleet. Perhaps the most famous of these designs, with around 100 being produced was the Ryan FR-1 Fireball. The XF15 C-1 was a result of a search for a more powerful take on this concept, and resulted in three prototypes being produced by Curtiss after receiving a contract in April 1944. The XF15 C-1 first flew in early 1945. The first prototype crashed early in the test program. Later aircraft had their lower mounted horizontal tails raised to a "T" tail design, which is how the aircraft ended their flight program in October of '46, with the Navy having lost interest in mixed power plant fighters. So ends the historical tale of this strange but interesting bird.
Pro Resin has produced both the early and late versions of this aircraft in 1/72nd scale resin. I had not previously seen any of their models, but if this is any indication of their casting quality, at least that is a factor in their favor. This company, based in the Ukraine, supplies the parts in a fairly sturdy box, with all the kit components (except the single vacuformed canopy) in bagged, or double bagged zip-lock type bags. As I said, the casting is first rate, with no obvious casting flaws such a pin holes, short shots, bubbles or surface blemishes. Either I picked a good one at random and got lucky, or this is indicative of first rate casting and quality control. The panel lines are very fine and recessed. As you can see from the photos provided below, most all the parts are cast in resin. The only exceptions being the aforementioned canopy, instrument film and a small fret of photoetch. I know that one must expect fit problems with resin from limited run style kits, and I'm sure this kit will be no different. I was surprised to see even such small parts as the landing gear legs cast in thin resin. I should think most modelers would want to substitute a wire or suitable plastic gear leg from another kit. I don't know how long resin gear legs would stand up to even a hollow cast fuselage and wing resin kit. There are some parts from the early version included too (the prop hub was larger and streamlined) but otherwise the builder is limited to the late version in this kit.
The only material quality I'm suspect of right now is with the decals. They are thin, and ought to go on well, but they are the flat (not glossy) type of decals, and I'm always somewhat leery about those types. The cockpit detail is quite nice, as is most all the other components of this kit. The instructions are for the most part on par with similar limited run kits, giving exploded diagrams.
In conclusion, this is a neat and very well made all resin kit that will make up into a unique and "one off" type of addition to any modeler's collection. As is always the case with limited run all resin kits, they're not for the beginner. Enjoy...
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