The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corporation Model 64 (F11C) Goshawk was a development of the Curtiss F6C/P-1 Hawk. The inline engine of the F6C/P-1 was replaced with a radial engine, the distance between the upper and lower wings was increased, the fabric covered control surfaces were replaced with metal covered surfaces and a hard point was added under the fuselage to carry either a fuel tank or a 474 Lb. bomb. At a time when aviation design was progressing rapidly, the end result of these “upgrades” did not produce an aircraft that was any advancement over existing designs. The Goshawk would be the last Curtiss fighter aircraft accepted into an operational role by the US Navy. Later in its life, the F11C’s role was changed from fighter to bomber-fighter and it became the BFC-2. Only 28 examples of the type were built with only two squadrons operating the Goshawk during the period from 1932 to 1939. Onboard the Saratoga was the “High Hat” Squadron, VF-1B, and briefly aboard the Enterprise was VB-6.

       The subject of this build is Curtiss F11C-2 BuAer Number (First Series) 9265. This was the first production aircraft of the type. It was delivered to the Navy on 10/11/1931. 9265 served as a test aircraft and would not join the fleet as a part of a squadron until 1936. It was struck off charge on 04/29/1939.

       Except for the addition of the rigging wires I chose to build this kit right out of the box, including using the kit decals and suggested paint scheme. I cannot find any historical reference to back up the paint scheme in the kit instructions. The overall Light Aircraft Grey color with Chrome Yellow upper wing top is correct. However, at the time the Goshawk was in service, each carrier’s aircraft had their tail area painted a specific color. The only two air groups that actually had Goshawks on board were the Saratoga, whose color was white, and the Enterprise, whose color was blue. The USS Ranger’s color was green, but I can find no reference to Goshawks being part of the Ranger’s air group. The color of the engine cowling and fuselage band color of red would have denoted an aircraft of the first section of a carrier’s air group. The solid color cowling, as opposed to the lower or upper half, would signify the section leader.

      Despite the possible historical inaccuracies, I like the results. For a kit that was first released in 1955 it builds up into a fine representation 1930’s naval fighter.

Bibliography:

       Curtiss F11C/BFC &BF2C (Allied Wings) EBook By Phil Listemann, Artwork By Claveworks Graphic

             Printed in France ISBN 9782953254464

       Navy Air Colors Vol.1 1911-1945 By Thomas E. Doll, Berkley R. Jackson, William A. Riley

             Squadron/Signal Publications 1983 ISBN 0-89747-143-1

       Wikipedia Article on the Curtiss Goshawk

       Military History Encyclopedia on the Web article about the Curtss Goshawk

       Virtual Aircraft Museum article about the Curtss Goshawk

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