Model Airplane News|
Republic (Seversky) P-35 "Guardsman"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for February, 1941
by Jo Kotula
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This plane was the eventual winner in the "Flyoff" contest held by the US Army Air Corps to select the country's first all-metal monoplane fighter. Part of this contest has already been described in our discussion of the Curtiss "Model 75" (P-36) on the cover of the May, 1937 issue and the Curtiss XP-42 on the cover of the March, 1940 issue of Model Airplane News.
Alexander Nikolaievich Prokofiev de Seversky was a Russian-American aviation pioneer, inventor, and influential advocate of strategic air power.
Introducing De Seversky
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Of noble Russian parentage, Seversky was born in Tiflis. He served as a Russian naval aviator in World War I, lost a leg in combat, and continued to fly, shooting down six German aircraft. In 1917 he was in the U.S. as a member of the naval aviation mission and decided to stay rather than return to a Russia torn apart by the Revolution. He worked as a test pilot and became an assistant to air power advocate General Billy Mitchell, aiding him in his push to prove airpower's ability to sink battleships. Seversky married New Orleans socialite and pilot Evelyn Oliphantin 1923; the two settled in New York City. In 1927, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He was the first to patent midair refueling and developed the P-35 fighter, the antecedent of most modern single wing fighters.
He founded the Seversky Aircraft Corporation in 1931 but, despite landing several government contracts (such as the P-35), the company was never able to turn a profit under his management. The Board of Directors voted him out and reorganized as the Republic Aviation Company, which was successful and produced many planes, including the famous Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. Republic was acquired by Fairchild in 1965. Often described as "flamboyant" and a "showman," Seversky was always good at capturing the public eye, and was considered a newsworthy celebrity. His book Victory Through Air Power was well received and even made into a film by Walt Disney
Alexander De Seversky Designs
Air to Air Refueling Patent No. 1,728,449
Design of the P-35 D-111,040
Click to Enlarge the Diagrams
Click here if you want to learn how to get Free Patent Drawings
The P-35 had a fairly inauspicious beginning as the SEV-X2P, an all metal monoplane with fixed undercarriage that grew out of the SEV 3-L featured on the cover of the October, 1934 issue of M.A.N. The plane was registered as X-18-L, crashed on the way to the "Flyoff". Some say that this was fortuitous because Seversky realized that his competition was offering retractable landing gear. The hiatus caused by the crash enabled Seversky to give his candidate up-to-date gear. The P-35 was the United States Army Air Corp's first, single-seat fighter to incorporate all-metal construction, a fully-enclosed cockpit, and retracting landing gear. However, they were fairly slow and only 214 were built.
Photos of the Republic Seversky SEV-2XP (X18y) and P-35 "Guardsman"
Left: The 1935 USAAC Flyoff results: (1) Republic Seversky P-35 (2) Curtiss Model 75 (3) Northrop 3A
Seversky made good use of the hiatus...
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Here is a video of the AT-12, the export version of the Republic (Seversky) P-35 "Guardsman" in action:
Click Here for more information about the Republic (Seversky) P-35 "Guardsman".
In 1937, Cleveland issued a very courant model of the P-35 -- when this plane was in its experimental stage as the "X-18-Y" pursuit plane -- ie. the designation before the flyoff! Inspection of the plans (below) will show you that the model has retractable gear, showing that Cleveland's designers kept up with fighter procurement on almost a daily basis. Today it would be virtually unthinkable for a kid to obtain a precise scale model of an experimental Air Force airplane. Back then, a kid, a German agent, or anyone with 20 cents could get a true and faithful model of the plane that was to become the P-35. In fact, a similar aircraft is reported to have been used operationally by the Japanese during World War II.
The Cleveland Model of the P-35 Fighter
Carving the pilot (bottom right) required the skills of Michaelangelo...
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You can buy the plans and patterns that will enable you to make this model right now. Click Here to go to the exact location on the Cleveland Website to get them.
Seversky P-35 Fighter on the Cleveland Site
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