Preview: Anigrand Craftworks Curtis XP-60C/E

I’ve been on an Anigrand Craftworks mailing list for a while, and though I’d never ordered from them, I did admire their willingness to produce some very unusual subjects in aviation history. I’d actually written about them a couple of times already, since they’re not one of the manufacturers you hear much about. After receiving one of their recent newsletters, I visited their site to check out what new kits they had to offer, and to take another look at the older ones.

Most of their kits are 1/72 scale, with some larger subjects done in 1/144 scale. I typically work in 1/48 scale, but when I spotted the Curtis XP-60, I decided to go ahead and make an order. Though the XP-60 was only a footnote in aviation history, it was produced by Curtis- who also made the P-40, my second favorite WWII aircraft. I liked it’s chunky look, and the option to build a version with contra-rotating propellors seemed cool. So faster than you can say PayPal, I was placing my order.

I placed my order on June 16th, and the kit arrived today, July 3rd. Not bad considering it traveled from Hong Kong to the piney woods of North Carolina! The price was a bit high for a 1/72 scale kit with only 31 parts- $38.00. Still, I’d read good stuff about Anigrand, and resin kits generally cost more anyway. Conveniently, they have a button to add extra decals and vac-form canopy to the kit. Having never used a vac-form canopy, I added one of those for $.80. Many resin kit makers ship two canopies standard, but for just a few cents, I didn’t argue. With shipping, total cost was $41.80.

The kit arrived in good shape, shipped in a small but sturdy box with some simple labeling added on. Opening the box, everything was neatly and snugly packed in. The two canopies and some of the decals were in a small bag, with the American star decals loose in the box, though with a protective sheet over them. The 31 resin parts were packed in a compartmented plastic bag. Each part had already been mostly…. mostly…. removed from it’s casting block- more on that later.

The instructions were simply but clearly printed in black and white on a single sheet of paper. One side had the same history for the plane that you can read on the website, with a basic but clear exploded diagram showing parts and assembly. The parts list also shows a count for each piece, so you can conveniently inventory multiple parts. The flip-side of the instruction sheet has a two-view painting diagram.

The paint scheme on this kit is basic- olive drab over gray, and the only decal options are for different serial numbers on the tail. Interestingly, the decals supplied for the serial number have two options for the last digit- the rest of the digits are the same. Made me chuckle a bit, but it certainly shows the efficiency used in a small production operation. This would be a great kit for a “what-if” build, if only to add some interest to the markings. I’ve already thought about a Lend-Lease bird in Chinese Air Force markings. The plain markings are not Anigrand’s fault…. they made it historically accurate…. so complain to the USAAF and Curtis. LOL

On examining the parts, I was a little disappointed. The wings, fuselage and all three stabilizer sections had some molding problems- lumps, bumps and imperfections that were more than just flash or left-overs from the casting blocks. A few parts had holes through them in the thinner edges. Most of the smaller parts had some flash, as well as several stubs from the casting blocks, as the wing section to the left shows. And the surface of the parts are a bit rough.

I have not built resin kits prior to this, so I don’t know if it’s par for the course or not. I have used resin aftermarket parts for styrene kits, though, and the quality is much higher on parts I’ve seen than on the Anigrand parts. Still- none of the parts I examined can’t be dealt with using a sanding stick and some Mr. Surfacer. For the money though, I would have liked to have seen far fewer casting imperfections, especially on the larger parts.

Having said all that- I’m looking forward to building this kit. It will take some sanding and filling, to be sure. And since the cockpit is only a seat and stick in a bare office, I’ll need to rummage through the spares box if I want something a little more detailed. Still, I appreciate the work that Anigrand has put into this kit of a very rare bird. If you want an XP-60, as far as I know, this is the only game in town.

I plan on building this kit before too much time goes by, so check back in a few weeks and see the verdict on the build.