Eduard 1/48 P-40N/M Shark Mouths Over China Kit First Look
|Date of Review||November 2005||Manufacturer||Eduard|
|Subject||P-40N/M Shark Mouths Over China||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||1113||Primary Media||Styrene/Photo-Etch/Resin|
|Pros||Nicest P-40M or P-40N in any scale||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$49.98|
The P-40 was an evolutionary development from the Curtiss drawing boards which started with the Model 75. Curtiss' Model 75 created the basic wing and fuselage that would distinguish this unique family, but equipped with a radial engine, this prototype would lead to the earlier P-36 Hawk. As engine technology continued, an Allison V1710 liquid-cooled engine was mounted on the firewall, and the resulting streamlined cowling led to the now-familiar P-40 silhouette.
The P-40E was a further development based on combat experience and was the second most produced variant of the Curtiss P-40 family (with the P-40N taking top honors in this category). The P-40E incorporated six 50 caliber machine guns in the wings as well as the modified fuselage of the P-40D.
The P-40K was the next step in the line for the Allison-powered P-40 line featuring the same fuselage initially, but yaw instability led to the P-40K-5 with additional area added to the vertical stabilizer, but when this didn't solve the yaw problem, the fuselage was lengthened with the P-40K-15. This lengthened fuselage would be the key improvement that would remain with future Warhawks. The P-40L was the first attempt to create a lighter version of the P-40 by reducing the number of guns from six to four, and reducing internal fuel to 120 gallons.
The P-40M was the final step in this design track, featuring additional power and engineering improvements. The P-40N was the ultimate P-40 to enter service (the P-40Q was really the ultimate version, but this was never put into production). The P-40N was a development of the P-40L that retained most of the weight saving measures adopted in the P-40L, but added a more powerful engine (in later blocks) and a redesigned rear canopy and fuel tank cover to significantly improve rearward visibility.
Without a doubt, the Mauve P-40s including the P-40M and P-40N are the best P-40 kits currently available in any scale. While the recent Hasegawa offerings aren't bad, the modularity of the Hasegawa design can lead to some fit and filling chores. The Mauve kit is one of those where you can open the box, pour in some glue, close the lid, shake, and out comes a nice model. Okay, maybe not THAT easy, but it is a joy to build. The one problem with the Mauve kit, like most Hasegawa kits, is the spartan cockpit.
Enter Eduard. This kit seems to be a favorite of theirs too. This offering is one of their best yet. Not only does this kit have the parts for both the P-40M and P-40N, it also provides resin parts to dress up the cockpit, radiators, main wheel wells, wheels and even a bomb. Eduard also includes two frets of photo-etched details, one of which is out of their color series. The kit is rounded out with a nice sheet of decals, a set of their new line of masks, and even a styrene display base molded with PSP plating.
The Mauve kit is molded in olive drab styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. As you can see in the third and seventh photos, the canopies and cockpit details for the P-40M and P-40N are included.
The resin details are (of course) beautifully cast, with the molding block in the center containing the two sidewalls and rear armor plating all together on that block. Additional sidewalls and rear armor plating are also included, representing the resin replacements for the P-40M and P-40N parts. The set also includes a replacement cockpit floor and pilot's seat. A new radiator assembly is provided for the nose along with nicely detailed main wheel wells and weighted main gear wheels.
I look at these color photo-etched parts and am amazed at the brisk improvements in etching and printing technologies. Gone are the old photo-etched brass. Gone are the relief-etched metal parts. Gone are the acetate instrument faces that go behind the photo-etch. Now we have one part with the instrument faces printed directly to the metal, then a second part that overlays the first to provide the depth and detail relief. Look closer and you'll see the seat belts and harnesses, headrest, and other details also in color.
A second fret of parts contains the cowl flaps, the radiator grillework, a new windscreen frame, and other nice detailing.
I've picked up a few of these nice PSP plating bases in the past but it is a touch of class for Eduard to include one in the kit.
Markings are provided for four aircraft:
- P-40N-5, 13, 7 FS/3 FG, Lachokow, China, Jan 1945 as flown by Wang Kuang Fu with 6.5 kills
- P-40M, 25 FS/51 FG, Burma, 1945
- P-40N-20, 03, 8 FS/3 FG, Liangshan, China, Aug 1944, as flown by Capt Raymond Callaway with 6 kills
- P-40N-20, 7 FS/3 FG, Liangshan, China, Aug 1944, as flown by LtCol William Reed with 9 kills
This kit literally has everything you'd ever want for a P-40M or P-40N build all in this one box. Probably more than you'd normally buy, but this kit is an AMS modeler's dream. At an MSRP of just under $50.00, you figure the photo-etch would set you back $20.00, the resin cockpit another $15.00, the nice decals another $10.00, and you have a Mauve P-40M kit with N parts all for $5.00! In other words, this kit is a bargain!