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Comparing Hasegawa's
P-40E Warhawks

by Burl Burlingame


Curtiss P-40E Warhawk


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




Invariably, one discovers in modeleering, a kit can sit for years in the garage, but the moment construction begins upon it, a new and improved kit is released.

This is the case with Hasegawa's editions of the famous P-40E. The original kit, released in the 1970s, featured Aleutian Tiger markings, as well as a display stand. I had just started the original boxing of the P-40E by Hasegawa.

But then Hasegawa released an updated model of the P-40E, one they claim is superior to previous releases. Not so fast! Just how "improved" is it?

Let's compare.





The original Hasegawa P-40E had green plastic. This is vastly superior to the newer kit, which features grey plastic. Most P-40s, after all, were green.

The newer model also lacks a display stand, making it difficult to attach the completed kit to the side of your computer monitor. What's more, the original kit had bonus decals of cartoon animals and flowers, but Hasegawa neglected this important accessory in the new edition.

The new kit does feature two different antennae pieces, presumably in case you lose one. The Dragon release also features a small etched-brass sheet, which provides the modeleer with impossibly fiddly microscopic under-the-seat gimcrackery, but doesn't provide the one piece of etched brass the model truly needs - the ring-and-bead gunsight.

The new kit has lots of pieces, which takes lots of glue, which requires lots of filling and sanding and priming. The original green kit had very few pieces, and required filling and sanding and priming only at every seam and join line, and there aren't too many of those!



The original P-40E kit had little in the way of surface detail other than a couple of raised seam lines that are easily disposed of with a few swipes of the sanding stick. The newer P-40E kit has gobs of surface detail and panel lines, all finely engraved. But one knows that such details aren't all that visible on a real aircraft unless one attempts to disassemble an aircraft on static display at an air show with a dzus tool and an air hammer. (Don't let the aircraft owner dissuade you! Such historical artifacts belong to the people, after all.)

The original model has a small error in the wing in that the flap hinge line is portrayed on both the upper and lower surfaces of the wing. For a truly accurate P-40E, one must fill the seam on the upper wing.

Moving to fidelity of scale, it's possible that Hasegawa has completely misunderstood the shape of the P-40E. The new kit is nothing like the original, being far too long and slim. The new model, however, measures fairly accurately at 1/48 scale. The original model scales somewhat smaller, possibly 1/50 scale, but most modeleers can live with such tiny interpretations.

The new model provides a cockpit, the original Hasegawa P-40E simply provides a bare tub, typical of that era of model production. One can't have everything, and true modeleers need to have something to scratchbuild. In the case of the original Hasegawa P-40E, a new cockpit must be constructed to create an accurate model.

In the new release, the cockpit is present, but the modeleer must shorten the wings and inflate the fuselage to an egg shape to create an accurate Hasegawa P-40E model. That may be too much work.





Weighing the pros and cons, pride of place still goes to the original green-plastic P-40E. Get one while you can.

I'm afraid Hasegawa has jumped the shark with the new kit - it's simply terrible.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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

Author: Brett Green
US Price:
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

Text and Images Copyright 2005 by Burl Burlingame
Page Created 10 April, 2005
Last Updated 09 April, 2005

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