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P-40K Kit

Hasegawa 1/32 P-40E/K Warhawk Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2012 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Curtiss P-40E/K Warhawk Scale 1/32
Kit Number 08226 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, nice details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $79.95

First Look

P-40K Kit
P-40K Kit
P-40K Kit
P-40K Kit
P-40K Kit

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.

Powered by the 1,000 horsepower Allison V-1710 engine, the early P-40s were underpowered and combat experience had shown that the twin .303 and twin .50 caliber machine guns of these early variants lacked sufficient firepower. Despite this, the aircraft was so ruggedly designed that in capable hands, the P-40 could hold its own against the enemy aircraft fielded in the early stages of World War II.

The P-40K was an evolutionary step in the design of the Warhawk. Where the P-40E was powered an 1150 horsepower engine, Curtiss sought to improve the types performance at all altitudes. This let to the P-40F powered by the 1300 horsepower Merlin engine, and then the P-40K with an improved V1710-73 engine, still rated at 1150 horsepower, but with an improved supercharger. As the P-40 gained greater horsepower, the aircraft needed more yaw authority to counter the increased engine torque. Later P-40Es were given a filet at the base of the vertical stabilizer to improve lateral stability. The P-40K introduced the 'round tail' which increased the vertical stabilizer and rudder area. While this provided a marginal improvement, the final solution was to lengthen the fuselage between the wing and tail in later P-40s to make the existing tail area more effective.

The famous Flying Tigers made the P-40 famous with its signature sharkmouth surrounding the chin radiator scoop. This 'private' air force was drafted into the US Army Air Corps after the attack on Pearl Harbor and became the core of the 23rd Fighter Group. Their aircraft were the early Curtiss P-40 export models, but these were replaced with the P-40E as the 23rd FG settled in to push back on the Japanese forces in China.

Four years ago, Hasegawa began releasing the first new-tooled P-40 Warhawks in 1/32 scale. In that time, they've provided a number of variants from the P-40E to the P-40N though they have yet to address the early P-40s or the Merlin-powered Warhawks (P-40F/L). Nevertheless, one of the most iconic aircraft was the sharkmouthed P-40E. Originally developed by the RAF in North Africa, it was the Flying Tigers in China that made that design famous.

In this release, Hasegawa has combined the parts to render either the P-40E or P-40K, both in 23rd Fighter Group (Flying Tigers) colors. The kit, molded in light gray styrene, is presented on ten parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. You can see by the layout of some of these trees that these are really subsets of a larger set of tooling that get gated to mold only those parts needed for a particular variant.

The tail section is rendered separately from the main fuselage to facilitate the swept-tail P-40E or the round-tail P-40K. The gaps in the wing leading edges are for fillets that have different numbers of holes for the in-wing machine guns, with the number of holes corresponding to the variant.

The cockpit is nicely laid out with details molded into the floor and sidewalls and additional detail parts to complete the busy look of the front office. Even the hydraulic hand pump handle is there.

I'm really pleased with the detail in the wheel wells. Eduard had produced a beautiful photo-etch set for the Revell kit to represent the stiffeners inside the wheel well that were absent in the stock Revell kit, but they are done nicely here.

The kit does have some really nice details in here including correct open dove-tailed cowl flaps, separately molded tires and wheel hubs to make painting much easier, and very nice main landing gear struts. External stores include a centerline drop tank or a single bomb suspended on the centerline.

Stepping up this nice offering is a very impressive pilot figure seated in the cockpit. This isn't your usual two or three-piece figure, this one is eight pieces and the detailing here is also very nicely rendered.

The windscreen is molded with the forward deck to eliminate the usual gap under the windscreen. Any filling or sanding is done on the portion of the deck that gets painted anyway. The kit also comes with two canopy sections, each with a slightly different width. One is tailored to drop onto the canopy rails for a closed cockpit. The other is designed to properly straddle the dorsal spine for an open canopy.

Among the features and options of this kit:

  • Detailed cockpit
  • Optional pilot figure
  • Positionable canopy
  • Detailed chin radiator system
  • Exhaust parts for E or K variants
  • Detailed main wheel wells
  • Choice of E or K tails
  • Positionable rudder
  • Choice of centerline bomb or fuel tank

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • P-40E, 7, 23 FG, Commander's aircraft, as flown by Colonel Robert Scott, China, 1942
  • P-40K, 111, 76 FS/23 FG, Commander's aircraft, as flown by Major Grant Mahoney, China, 1943

The decal sheet also provides a complete array of maintenance stenciling for the aircraft as well as for the single bomb. Nice!

This popular tooling from Hasegawa continues to please modelers with the variety of colorful nose art from the Flying Tigers in China (as depicted in this release) to the parrot's head and other distinctive nose art designs from other theaters of operations. This kit is still definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!

If you'd like to see just how well this tooling does go together, check out our build of this kit.