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Curtiss P-40E Warhawk

 

Hasegawa, 1/48 scale

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: JT86 - P-40E Warhawk
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 113 parts in grey styrene; 18 parts in clear.
Price: USD$26.96 available online from Squadron
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Excellent surface texture; high level of detail including several P-40 attributes not depicted on other kits; very good cockpit; accurate; optional bomb, drop tank and wheel hubs; hollow machine gun muzzles; thin and clear transparencies; two-part canopy.
Disadvantages: Gratuitous use of inserts to maximize variants from one set of moulds; inserts do not fall on natural panel lines (filling and sanding will be essential); some sink marks and moulding marks may be visible on outside surfaces; all grey parts packed into a single bag - some scuffing as a result
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Brett Green


Hasegawa's 1/48 scale P-40E Warhawk is available online from Squadron

 

Introduction

 

P-40 fanciers have been fairly well treated in the last 10 years or so.

In the mid 1990s, both Mauve and AMT released a series of 1/48 scale Warhawks and Kittyhawks. All these models were accurate in outline, featured finely recessed panel lines and were fairly well detailed. The Mauve kit was superior in terms of surface detail; while AMT offered a better cockpit. Mauve released the P-40M and P-40N, plus their RAF equivalents (Kittyhawk III and IV); with the P-40F, K and N coming from AMT.

Around the same time, Revell updated their 1970s vintage 1/48 scale P-40E with a new cockpit, undercarriage and detail parts. Although it is an older model with raised panel lines, I like the way this kit captures the rugged character of the real aircraft.

New player AMtech entered the market at the turn of the century to offer a number of previously unreleased variants based on the AMT kits. These were the P-40E, plus short and long tailed versions of the P-40F and P-40L. The Merlin powered variants were enhanced with a solid replacement nose. This new nose was much more accurate than AMT's forward fuselage. Eduard also got into the act, repackaging Mauve's P-40M and N kits with new markings plus resin and photo-etched detail parts.

All these 1/48 scale P-40s are quite acceptable and may be further improved with after-market parts, but none of the kits are quite up to the standard of the best models of other aircraft subjects available today.

It would seem that Hasegawa has now set a new benchmark for P-40 kits.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Hasegawa's brand-new 1/48 scale P-40E Warhawk comprises 113 parts in grey styrene, 18 parts in clear and four polythene caps.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Surface detail is by way of crisply engraved panel lines supplemented with selected rows of recessed rivets (notably on the wing root fairing, the wing tips and trim tabs), some raised rivets (behind the rear quarter windows) and raised fabric detail on control surfaces. The combined effect of these surface features is outstanding - the equal to some of Hasegawa's best work in this area to date.

 

 

The best detailed Hasegawa cockpits have generally been Japanese subjects, but the new P-40E is an exception. This is one of Hasegawa's finest front offices. The instrument panel, seat and rear bulkhead are especially worthy of mention. Sidewall detail is also very good, although slightly shallow. I was particularly pleased to see the oft neglected canopy rails moulded to the cockpit opening.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


The kit supplies the separate underwing gun camera fairing, lower fuselage fuel dump, the fin attachment plate for the aerial wire, spine navigation light, a mirror for the windscreen plus a ring and bead gunsight - all evidence of Hasegawa's careful attention to detail. Extra effort has also been applied to the design of the pitot tube.

The tubular exhausts are supplied in sections of two stubs each, which are simply glued on from the outside. Some P-40Es may have been retrofitted with the later fishtail exhausts (not supplied), so check your references carefully. The muzzles for the six .50 calibre machine guns are hollowed out - a nice touch.

Lower cowl flaps are moulded in the open position, and incorporate two tiny actuators. The radiator assembly includes rear face detail which will be visible beyond the open flaps.

The rudder is a separate part.

The undercarriage legs and wheels are very well done, but the wheel wells do not have the characteristic lightening holes in the spars. Optional wheel hubs are supplied - spoked and covered.

Navigation and formation lights are moulded onto the grey plastic, but alternative clear parts are supplied if the modeller prefers. If this option is chosen, the moulded lights will have to be carefully sliced off the fin and wings, and replaced with the tiny clear parts. The canopy is supplied in four thin, distortion free parts.

 

 

Apart from the optional wheel hubs, the kit also offers a drop tank, a 500lb bomb (both with their specific mounts and sway braces), two styles of antenna mast, a DF loop and a DF football.

Kit engineering is the only wrinkle in the ointment. Hasegawa clearly wants to release a large number of Warhawk/Kittyhawk variants, but they also want to maximize the use of a single set of moulds. They have achieved both of these objectives by the use of inserts. The kit fuselage, in particular, is broken up according to the features of other variants. For example, this P-40E kit has a blank rectangular insert on each side the forward fuselage to allow for a vent in the same position on P-40M and N aircraft. There is a large insert for the mid upper fuselage to permit a later release with the arched perspex rear canopy section. The entire tail is a separate sub-assembly to so that the filleted fin of late P-40Es and the P-40K may be offered in future. Similarly, each set of three wing machine guns are plugged into the front of the wing's leading edge.

Now, this is good news for later variants, but it does potentially compromise fit and complicate construction. The biggest complaint is that none of these inserts fall on natural panel lines, so filling and sanding of all the join lines will be mandatory for a completely accurate result.

Specifically, I would advise that the suggested construction sequence for the rectangular nose inserts (parts K3 and K4) is ignored, and that the parts should be glued in place, filled and blended in before the exhaust stubs are installed.

It is pleasing to see that the fuselage and wings are structurally reinforced in the areas where the inserts are to be installed, improving the chances for accurate alignment.

There are a few sink marks on the lower wing, and ejector pin marks may show through to the outer surface in places. It might be worth sanding and priming these spots just in case. My only other nitpick is that the spinner looks slightly too pointy. A light swipe with a sanding stick will improve the profile.

Markings are supplied for two US aircraft, both featuring shark's mouths:

  1. Major E.F Rector, 76th FS, 23rd FG, China, July 1942, and

  2. Lt. Robert H. Vaught, 9th FS, 49th FG, Australia, 1942

 

 

Conclusion

 

In my opinion, Hasegawa's new 1/48 scale Warhawk is the best P-40 kit so far released of any variant in any scale, even taking into account the gratuitous use of inserts. Surface features are well thought out, the cockpit is one of Hasegawa's best efforts, and the attention to detail is outstanding.

This is an excellent kit of an important subject.

Highly Recommended

Purchased with the reviewer's funds

Modelling the P-40
Hawk 81, Tomahawk, Warhawk and Kittyhawk
Osprey Modelling 15

Author: Brett Green
US Price:
$17.95
UK Price: 12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 January 10, 2004
Details: 80 pages; ISBN: 1841768235
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Buy it from Osprey Publishing

Review and Images Copyright 2005 by Brett Green
Page Created 17 February, 2005
Last updated 17 February, 2005

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