Author Topic: Inconsequential Curtiss Hawks of Vatican City's Guardian Angels  (Read 415 times)

Offline Brian da Basher

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These unique two-seat Curtiss Hawk-75 variants were originally conceived as P-36 conversion trainers.





Unwanted by the U.S. Army Air Corps, they were taken on by Vatican City's Angelus Custos or "Guardian Angels" air defense cadre.



Akin to Red Army political commissars, the occupant of the rear seat was a "Sky Pilot" or Vatican priest serving as combat chaplain and spiritual navigator.



It's a blessing indeed that the Guardian Angels were never called to fire a shot in anger. Even though the aircraft were well-armed for the time, the extra weight of the "Sky Pilot" hampered performance to the point that effective interdiction would've been impossible.



The Guardian Angels' Hawks would go on to serve throughout W.W. II, patrolling above the almost 1.7 tenth of a square mile Papal enclave.







After the Allied victory, Vatican City no longer needed defended in the temporal realm so the 2-seat fighters were quietly retired. The Angelus Custos transferred to duties better befitting the Holy See.



Nothing remains of this once religious two-seat Papal pursuit today except a rare 1/72 Catholic Charities conversion set used on this model which is unfortunately no longer in stock at the Sistine Chapel Catechism Connection Gift Shoppe.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 10:18:56 PM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Inconsequential Curtiss Hawks of Vatican City's Guardian Angels
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2019, 08:20:04 PM »
This all started so long ago I could've probably posted it in the Clear Your Workbench GB. A few years ago, I took a venerable 1/72 Revell Curtiss Hawk-75 and cut down the back to fit the rear glazing from a two-seat Johann Me-262. The front canopy/windscreen was from a P-40N. Here's the mock-up shots:





Then I put it all back in the box and forgot about it until a couple of days ago. When I started on it again, I realized that I'd also forgotten it was so poorly molded it should have its own Flashman book.



Undaunted, I got out my carving knife and belt sander and went to work. Once the parts were all cleaned up, it went together better than I expected.



Except for the canopy, the only other mod was using a two-bladed "rescue prop" cobbled together from what was left of an old 3-blader.



The Vatican City markings were all painted on, which certainly makes the decal phase easier. The model was brush-painted by hand in acrylics, a custom gray mix mostly. Poly Scale Reefer White was used on the cowling, prop spinner and markings which are bordered by Model Masters Insignia Yellow. The canopy was tinted on the inside with Model Masters Semi-Gloss Black.



The prop blades were done with Model Masters Aluminum and Jet Exhaust was used on the exhausts. The guns were given a custom mix.



Decals were mostly from a Penn Central railroad sheet and the codes were spares. The Angelus Custos insignia are Esci Fokker D.VII fuselage markings, slightly altered.

Before I forget, here's the "money shot", U.S. penny for scale.



It only took me a couple of days to put this together and despite the kit escaping Revell's quality control, it went smoothly. One thing I love about this particular Curtiss P-36/Hawk-75 kit is that it's designed to be built either gear-up (preferred) or down and the tires are separate little rings making them very simple to paint.



I was also able to use that wonderful vintage Airfix stand, to my great delight.





This was one of the most relaxing builds I've had in a while and makes for a nice weekend. Many thanks to Bill for his kindness in sending me the Johann Me-262 that gave up its rear canopy. I couldn't have done it without him!



I hope you enjoyed the Vatican City Guardian Angels' Hawk and reading a little more forgotten aircraft history even if the so-called "experts" think the whole thing is just some Papal bull without a prayer of being believed.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 09:26:23 PM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Inconsequential Curtiss Hawks of Vatican City's Guardian Angels
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2019, 10:30:52 PM »
 :icon_meditation: :icon_alabanza:
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Inconsequential Curtiss Hawks of Vatican City's Guardian Angels
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2019, 11:28:14 PM »
Beautiful model and back story!

I have to admit, though, that the thought of Flashman and the Vatican in any kind of positive interaction boggles the mind.

Offline Alvis 3.1

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Re: Inconsequential Curtiss Hawks of Vatican City's Guardian Angels
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2019, 12:36:24 AM »
Was there a small window with a sliding partition between the pilot and his spiritual advisor?


Awesome, as usual!

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Inconsequential Curtiss Hawks of Vatican City's Guardian Angels
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2019, 01:14:40 AM »
Was there a small window with a sliding partition between the pilot and his spiritual advisor?

Confessions at high altitude?  :smiley:
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Offline Retired In Kalifornia

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Uhh...
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2019, 04:56:16 AM »
...2019 Vatican City Air Defense:



Should be in RED flight suit though  ;D

Offline The Big Gimper

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Re: Inconsequential Curtiss Hawks of Vatican City's Guardian Angels
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2019, 05:09:03 AM »
I was hoping their flight-suit would look more like this:

Work in progress ::

I am giving up listing them. They all end up on the shelf of procrastination anyways.

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Offline The Big Gimper

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Re: Inconsequential Curtiss Hawks of Vatican City's Guardian Angels
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2019, 05:11:53 AM »
Was there a small window with a sliding partition between the pilot and his spiritual advisor?

Confessions at high altitude?  :smiley:

Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been 100 hours since my last confession. Last week I landed with the gear up ....
Work in progress ::

I am giving up listing them. They all end up on the shelf of procrastination anyways.

User and abuser of Bothans...

Offline apophenia

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Re: Inconsequential Curtiss Hawks of Vatican City's Guardian Angels
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2019, 04:36:00 AM »
Love it  :-*  And who needs nav aids when you've got a " combat chaplain and spiritual navigator" GIB?
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Offline Frank3k

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Re: Inconsequential Curtiss Hawks of Vatican City's Guardian Angels
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2019, 06:53:44 AM »
Looks good, Brian!
This must be the crew for the stealth vatican fighter:

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Inconsequential Curtiss Hawks of Vatican City's Guardian Angels
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2019, 01:51:57 AM »
This must be the crew for the stealth vatican fighter:

Yeah, but no-one expects them to turn up...
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Small brown dog

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Re: Inconsequential Curtiss Hawks of Vatican City's Guardian Angels
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2019, 05:30:07 PM »
I really got into that backstory :)
Great concept
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Offline kitnut617

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Re: Uhh...
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2019, 08:47:00 PM »




A bit of an aside and I'm not sure if this has been posted on the forum yet (not read anything) but that guy just became the first person to fly a "hoverboard" over the English Channel, on his second attempt.