by Burl Burlingame
Curtiss P-40E Warhawk
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"
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
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
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: $17.95
UK Price: £12.99
January 10, 2004
Details: 80 pages; ISBN: 1841768235
Text and Images Copyright ©
2005 by Burl
Page Created 10 April, 2005
09 April, 2005
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