Major Alexander de Seversky, a Russian ace with 13 kills during WWI, defected to the U.S. in 1918, founding the Seversky Aviation Corp. in 1931 on Long Island, NY. Alexander Kartveli emigrated in 1928, joining Seversky as his Chief Engineer. The Seversky/Kartveli team would become the Republic Aviation Corp. which would gain fame with the P-47 Thunderbolt whose lineage was directly traced back to the P-35 as both a combat pursuit fighter and a racer, setting speed records and participating in the Bendix and Thompson Trophy races. If your model collection strives to include landmark or significant historical aircraft, then I would state that it is incomplete without a P-35. Without the powerful P-35 impressing the military and sustaining the Seversky Aviation Corp. through the turbulent 1930s, there never would have been the P-43, P-47, and subsequent series of jets that served lengthy careers destroying our enemies and saving our pilots’ lives.
Yellow-Wings Decals is dedicated to providing the finest quality decals of the colorful aircraft between the two World Wars. In this case, decals are provided for three natural metal P-35s of the 1st Pursuit Group stationed at Selfridge Field, Michigan, 1937-38. There are no Yellow Wings but there is plenty of color as these aircraft sport the red/white/blue rudders, the colorful squadron insignias, cowling squadron color(s), and fuselage command bands. Decals are provided for all this except the cowling squadron color(s). They are printed by Micro-Scale with minimal carrier film and some of the finest multi-color registration I’ve ever seen.
One of the first things that pleasantly pleased me was the fact that ALL the decals you need to complete all three P-35s are included, including the tiny (and very legible) stencils. This makes this an amazing value for your money. The only 1/32 scale P-35 model I’m aware of is the old Williams Brothers kit, which with a little bit of TLC and good paint job can look good as new. The original decal sheet by Scale Master that came in my kit is a bit out of register, has yellowed carrier film, and is not as crisply printed as is Yellow-Wings! It does include instrument panels as well as markings to complete Frank Fuller’s 1939 1st place Bendix winning racer.
The three P-35s that Yellow-Wings provide decals for are:
- Commander of the 94th Pursuit Squadron, #PA 70 with red fuselage command bands and forward cowling, Indian head insignia.
- Commander of the 17th Pursuit Squadron, #PA-13 with black fuselage bands and white forward cowling. Squadron insignia is a white owl over a black triangle. Change it to #17 ca. early 1941 to represent Boyd D. “Buzz” Wagner, who would become the U.S.'s first ace of the Pacific War in other aircraft.
- Headquarters Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group, #PA-2 with highly detailed Group shield insignia with spot-on registration. Forward cowling is painted in equal segments of yellow, red and white.
As already mentioned, complete markings – from tiny legible stencils to wing walks – are included to complete all three P-35s. The instructions indicate there should be a drawing showing placement of the stencils. I may have misplaced mine. Looking at in-service photos, I didn’t see stencils jumping out at me. The Williams Brothers kit instructions does point out where the stencils go.
As a matter of interest, the natural metal appears as if a mirror finish in some photos and worn finishes in others. Williams Brothers calls out FS color codes in Tamiya, Testors, and/or Polly Scale paint matches. A brief background or history explaining the color changes that took place during the 1930s is included. For example, the propeller blades weren’t always black with yellow tips. In fact Yellow-Wings state that these prop blades should be either natural metal or black. My reference suggests natural metal on both sides.
The kit decals rudder striping is out of register, leaving a white outline at the trailing edge. That would be troublesome to touch up. Yellow-Wings’ rudder stripe decal is spot-on. I put Future floor wax where the decal would go. It has a very thin clear carrier film edge. I trimmed it off along the blue edge. The decal came off the backing paper quickly, and slid into place and allowed me to move it around until I was happy with the positioning. I wanted a little of the stripes to hang off the edge of the rudder. I wasn’t too concerned to get a dead match for the knockouts for the rudder hinge points – I figured that would be easy to touch up later. I applied more Future over the decal. After it fully set (the Future also acts as a decal solvent and sucked it down into the recessed panel lines) and dried, I touched up as necessary. I took a fine sanding stick and carefully sanded the decal overhang so the decal was flush along the back edge of the rudder. I found Yellow-Wings’ decals not-too-thin and not-too-thick – just right! I had no problem with the decal tearing or disintegrating. It was easy to move around, even with Future. It matched up pretty well to the kit part and was opaque.
I can highly recommend Yellow-Wings Decals #32-015: Seversky Early P-35 Fighter to every modeler who wishes to add a 1/32 natural metal P-35 to his collection. Wayne Tevlin has really done his homework to provide ACCURATE markings, and has held Micro-Scale’s feet to the fire to produce amazingly spot-on color registration of the finest detail. Again, this set yields complete markings for three P-35s for fantastic value for your money.
My thanks to Wayne Tevlin and IPMS for the review sample and raising the bar for high quality decals.
- P-35 Mini In Action Number 1, by Larry Davis, Squadron/Signal Publications.
- Air Corps by J.V. Mizrahi, Sentry Books.
- The Official Monogram U.S. Army Air Service & Air Corps Aircraft Color Guide Vol. 1 1908-1941 by Robert D. Archer