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P-40E Warhawk

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Warhawk Build Review

By Kelly Jamison

Date of Review November 2005 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject P-40E Warhawk Scale 1/48
Kit Number 09086 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautiful detail Cons Gap filling and rescribing required
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $29.95

 

 

Background

The P-40E was the most produced of the P-40 series with over 2,300 total P-40E and P-40E-1’s being built.  Many P-40E-1’s were supplied under the Lend-Lease program to England. The -1 suffix signified that they were outfitted with some British equipment and were different from the USAAF Warhawks. The British called the P-40E-1 the Kittyhawk IA. Some of the Kittyhawks remaining in the China-Burma-India theater of operation stayed in the USAAF inventory and six were allocated to Brazils small force.

The Fabled Flying Tigers used a few of these airframes. The large radiator intake was a perfect canvas for the large sharks mouth meant to put fear into the hearts of their opponents. Even though the British started the tradition, the artwork quickly spread to the CBI Theater of operation from Africa.  Of the P-40’s absorbed into the 23rd Fighter Group when the AVG was dissolved, the older aircraft were replaced with the slightly more modern P-40E’s and went on to destroy over 229 enemy aircraft with another 69 ground kills with a loss of only 12 P-40’s in combat. The aircraft modeled is the shared mount of Major Ed Rector, Commanding Officer of the 76th FS/23rd FG, Kweilin, China on 4th of July 1942. He relinquished this aircraft with Major Bruce Holloway after Holloway took over command from Rector.

The Kit

P-40E Kit
P-40E Kit
P-40E Kit
P-40E Kit
P-40E Kit
P-40E Kit
P-40E Kit
P-40E Kit
P-40E Kit
P-40E Kit

Filling another huge gape in my collection, I needed a P-40. I wanted to do a quick build with the limited time I have on hand for modeling. First step is which kit. The new Hasegawa kit fit the bill. It comes molded in a light grey high quality plastic. Finely molded and well engineered in true Japanese model making fashion. Hasegawa has been making kits that can have many different versions made from the same mold lately and this kit is no exception. This is a bitter-sweet pill to swallow. It means we get a larger selection of type variants in the future but it also means lots of extra seams and parts to fit, file and sand. This added a lot more effort to the build than I realized.

The instructions are the usual industrial standard. Hasegawa lays out the different trees in a graphic on the front inside page. They grey out the parts you will not need. Don’t throw them away! They will make great additions to the parts bin. The colors are sub-noted with FS numbers to help in painting. A practice that I wish Tamiya would get into. Who among us hates seeing color XF-11 + XF23 + X-3 in 1:3 = dark blue? (I made it up so don’t try it)

You can see an in-box review of this kit here.

The Build

Like most builds, I started with the cockpit. You can waste your money if you want on an aftermarket set but I would rather spend that money on resin wheels or decals. It went together with no problem. I did not install the seat until later in the build so I could use a set of Eduard USAAF seat belts without loosing them in the sink during sanding. No special skills are needed building this area. Everything got a coat of Interior Green. I add a bit of white to a little batch of green and paint other components to give some disparity to the cockpit parts. Highlights and dark washes really make the detail pop out. I also held off on gluing the headrest on until after everything was painted near the end of the build. You can use a decal that covers the whole instrument panel, a decal that has just the instruments on a clear decal sheet or you can detail out the panel yourself. The cockpit fit to the left side with no problem.  The oil cooler assembly is well done and easy to put in place.

Now here is where I really deviate from the instructions. The fuselage is set up for different model of P-40’s (look out P-40K, here I come!).  The area right behind the pilot’s seat and the tail are the major assemblies that are interchangeable. I glued the tail and area behind the pilot’s seat to each fuselage halves before gluing the two fuselage halves together. You get a better alignment this way. The cockpit fit like a glove. I held off on the gunsight until later in the build, so as to keep from knocking it off while sanding.

There are small panels towards the nose that change for the P-40N model that is soon to be released. When I dropped these into place, they really didn’t align up too well. This should be smooth and match the panel lines of the cowl covers. Mr. Surfacer cleaned up this area and all I needed to do is re-scribe the panel lines.  The carburetor intake is another area that just didn’t match up too well but was easy to fill and sand to shape. The radiator intake front piece needs careful alignment to get it to fit right and even then it needed to be filled in and sanded along the seems. Hold off until after painting to install the exhaust stacks. It will save you a bit of work in the end.

The wings are built for different variants of P-40’s also. The gun ports, and shell ejection panels are the two big areas. I couldn’t believe how well the shell ejection panels fit to the bottom of the wing. I placed them into place and ran a bead of Tamiya liquid glue on the back side of the seam. They blended in perfectly. I then glued the bottom halve of the wing to the fuselage with superglue. Once the glue was dry, you can fit the top of the wings better to the wing root and set the dihedral. I use super glue to do this because liquid glues are too hot for the thin plastic of the trailing edge and will distort or melt through the very edges. I did not get the right wing root as tight as I would have liked.

The machine gun ports are a bit boxy and I could not get them to fit in very well so Mr. Surfacer comes to the rescue again. I smoothed out that area but wished that I would have put tape over the gun barrels themselves. By accident the barrels got hit by sandpaper while sanding and were no longer tube shape but more oval shape. A detail I will pay attention on my next build. Landing gear caps and oil cooler flaps finished off the airframe.

I glued the rudder on and got the plane ready to paint by airbrushing all seams and panel lines with Testors Acryl Aircraft Interior Black, then using a progressive finer grit of Tamiya sandpaper, polishing out the plastic. Bad areas showed up in black and were taken care of in short order. The fuselage seam for the tail piece became a bit of a problem. I had to scrape it smooth with a new #11 blade and re-sand the area and re-scribe the panel lines to get the seam to disappear. The same problem happened with the area behind the pilot’s headrest. This is a bit of a shame because I lost detail in this area.

After any touch ups were fixed I temp installed the glass using putty to hold it in place. Some basic masking was done and then it was finished off later.  I painted the tan basecoat down and used Cutting Edge Camouflage mask to mask off the plane. The masks are made for the P-40B\C but work well with the P-40E. You do have to take your time to get the wing roots right. When I peeled off the mask some of the tan came off with it. I am not totally sure if it was because I did not use a primer or I had polished out the plastic too much so the paint had nothing to adhere to or a combination of both. I usually do not have this problem with Model Masters Acryl. A bit more masking and some airbrush touch ups and I was back in business. While I had the airbrush out I painted the olive drab roundels on and the grey bottom which has a sharp edge. I did not install the tail planes for ease of painting and using the mask.

The landing gear and seat got a coat of Alclad Aluminum and the plane got a coat of future. Now comes my favorite part. Decals. This is when the plane comes to life. I used the decals that came with the kit. I was told not to use Solva-set but let the decals dry naturally. Well I don’t listen very well and used Solva-set anyway. The decals went down with no problem but Solva-set is a very hot emulsifier and I can see where it could lead to problems. This time everything worked out just fine.

At this time I put the landing gear on and sprayed the plane down with Model Master Flat. This took the sheen off the Alclad and gave the gear a bit of a duraluminum look. A small wrap of chrome foil finished off the struts. Prop and spinner are no problem and the landing gear doors and tail wheel are easy too. No tricks here.

Next come the drop tank and rigging. I choose to use the drop tank instead of the bomb. Great care should be taken in detaching the tank from the tree to keep from destroying the delicate bead that runs through the horizontal line of the tank. The different struts for hanging a bomb or gas tank are supplied but they come on two different trees so refer to the directions to which one goes where before cutting them off the tree. The prop is a nice rendering of the real deal and pushes into the nylon bushing with no problem. This is one of Hasegawa’s best ideas. The already painted tail planes go on next and the pitot tube finishes off all the major things.

Now for the glass pieces. I think it is well done. Very thin, clear and good detail makes no need to go vac-u-formed. I finished off the painting and added the small rear view mirror which is not installed on all aircraft so check your references. It all fit very well. I used a very thin bead of Testors crystal clear glue for all the glass. A dot of silver with a coat of Tamiya clear red and green toped off with future replicated all formation lights well. More little pieces like the ring and bead gun sight (from a True-details photo etch set), electric gun sight, rudder balancing horn, antenna and exhaust stacks finished off a very fun build. I did take a few minutes to drill out the exhaust. It is tricky but worth the effort. I really did not like the wheels. They look toy like to me so I got a set of Eduard wheels from a Profi-Pac P-40N and used them since they would not work for the N model anyway. The brick pattern looks really nice.

P-40E Kit P-40E Kit
P-40E Kit P-40E Kit
P-40E Kit P-40E Kit

Conclusion

This was a fun build that took me a whopping 10 days to complete. Almost shake and bake. The tail-to-fuselage seam fought me a bit, along with that area behind the pilots head and the paint peeling up slowed down progress but other than that this was a great build. I haven’t had this much fun putting a model together since my Tamiya Corsair. This kit is highly recommended to just about all level of builders. I know that the superdetailers could have a ball with this one.  I built it almost straight out of the box and had a blast.

Materials:

  • 1/48 Cutting Edge CEBM48154 P-40B/C RAF/AVG Camouflage Masks
  • 1/48 Cutting Edge UC48156 P-40 Wheels Block Tread (suitable sub for Eduard wheels)
  • 1/48 Eduard ED49001 Seatbelts USAF & USN WW II
  • 1/48 True Detail 48705 Ammo belts and ring and bead sights
  • Testors Clear Parts Cement & Window Maker
  • Tamiya Liquid Glue, Sandpaper and masking tape
  • Model Master Acryl Paints:
    • Interior Green FS 34151
    • RAF Dark Green FS 13625
    • Light Grey FS 36495
    • Dark Earth ANA 617
    • Olive Drab FS 34087

Books:

  • Modeling the P-40 by Brett Green
  • P-40 Warhawk by Fred A Johnsen
  • P-40 Warhawk Aces of the CBI #35 by Carl Molesworth
  • Walk Around P-40 Warhawk #8 by Lou Drendel

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