Azur/FRROM 1/72 Northrop Gamma 2E
KIT #: FR0034
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken

The Gamma was a further development of the successful Northrop Alpha and shared its predecessor's aerodynamic innovations with wing fillets and multicellular stressed-skin wing construction. Like late Alphas, the fixed landing gear was covered in distinctive aerodynamic spats, and the aircraft introduced a fully enclosed cockpit.

Gamma 2C/YA-13 was a Northrop-proposed attack version to compete with Curtiss A-12 Shrike. It was armed with 4x 0.30 cal machine guns in the wings, 1x 0.30 cal machine gun on a flexible mount for rear defence, and up to 1,100 lb (500 kg) of bombs under the wings, evaluated by USAAC in 1933

The Gamma 2E, and subject of this kit was similar to the Gamma 2C in armament except for a 1,600 lb (727 kg) bomb load. It was used by the Republic of China Air Force as a light bomber until 1938 with a number of aircraft built in China. One,
K5053, used by the British Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment, and two supplied to the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service, as the Northrop BXN, for evaluation in 1933.


Following their very nice Northrop Deltas, it was only logical that they do this Gamma as the wings, undercarriage and some other parts are common to both types. For those interested, this is not the first Gamma kit to be produced as Williams Bros. did a very nice 2B some thirty or so years back.

What is new on this one is the fuselage and some empennage pieces to make the military attack plane version, as well as a new interior and bomb rack bits. These items comprise two new sprues. I should also mention that those really interested in Northrop planes should consider looking for the A-17 kits out there as that was pretty much the ultimate expression of the Gamma design.

Both the cockpit and gunner's station is nicely designed with all the required bits that include seats, photo etch belts, control stick and instrument panel. The rudder pedals are molded into the floor. There are also pieces that fit on the nicely detailed sidewalls. A well done rear machine gun with the typical 'hanging seat' of these older gun positions is included. There is also a ventral tunnel offered. In the end, there is a lot of detail to make the area under the greenhouse look properly busy.

The wing is a single lower section with two upper halves. Tailplanes are also in upper and lower halves for each side. The engine is trapped between two cowling halves so there will be a seam to deal with. The greenhouse is a single piece and is provided with a metal framed gun sight as part of the p.e. suite.

Under the plane are two options wheel/spat sets. One is the usual full spat and another is abbreviated. Check the painting instructions to see which is appropriate. Also supplied are five under-fuselage bomb racks for light bombs. One of the aileron hinges will need to be removed and a photo etch tie down is also to go there. The kit offers separate elevator hinges as well as the usual pitot tube and venturis. This variant uses the two blade propeller.

Instructions are quite well done, offering Gunze paint references. Markings options are given for four planes. Three are Chinese with two in overall dark green and one in unpainted metal. The British aircraft in overall unpainted metal is also included. I imagine you could do one of the Japanese planes as well by using the appropriate roundels from the spares box.  Decals are very nicely done and are quite thin.


I know a lot of modelers who like aircraft from this era will be very pleased with this kit. It is a short run, but like most of today's short run kits is very nicely done and should not be a problem for anyone with a modicum of experience. You'll like it.


July 2017

Thanks to Azur/FRROM  for the review kit. You can get yours at your local hobby shop or on-line retailer.

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