Hasegawa 1/48 P-40N Warhawk Kit First Look
|Date of Review||May 2007||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||Curtiss P-40N Warhawk||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||09740||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Very nice detailing||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$35.95|
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.
Hasegawa continues to show their stuff with this P-40 tooling as they've done an interesting job in making the mold modular enough to render so many different variants with a sprue swap. We looked at their P-40E release last year (look here) and this was a welcome sight as the only alternatives for this version were the nice-but dated Monogram/Pro-Modeler tooling or the dated AMT/ERTL tooling. The only downside to Hasegawa's approach was the potential for more gaps which Kelly Jamison ran into in his build here.
Here we have the P-40 in its final production variant - the N. All of the proper parts for this variant are in the box and with the advent of the long tail tooling, we're surely not done yet.
As with the other releases, this kit is molded in light gray styrene and rendered on seven parts trees plus a single tree of clear parts. Like their P-39 releases, Hasegawa has stepped up the detailing in their cockpits and this one is no exception. The error that many P-40 kit makers make in their tooling is not replicating the fact that the cockpit floor is actually the top of the aircraft's wing. Hasegawa definitely did not make this mistake! Kudos to Hasegawa on this!
When we talk about the modularity of the Hasegawa P-40, here's what I mean:
- Cockpit sidewalls molded separately (this is not a bad thing)
- Rear fuselage molded separately (this isn't so bad either)
- Deck behind pilot molded separately (ditto)
- Wing leading edges around guns molded separately (now we're getting into some areas to be filled)
- Wing underside inserts for gun ejector ports (ditto above)
- Air vent inserts ahead of the exhaust stacks (double ditto)
The markings included in this kit are for :
- P-40N, 15,000th fighter aircraft produced by Curtiss Aircraft Company
Take a look at that decal sheet. Curtiss had a lot of customers for its series of fighters, though the P-40 would be the last major type to roll off their production lines by the time the P-40 ended its run in 1944.
If you were a bit of a cynic (like I am) you could replace a few of those duplicate roundels and replace them with Luftwaffe, Japanese, and other markings to reflect those aircraft captured and flown by the axis powers during the war. You'd definitely get a few double-takes at the contest table from the more observant modelers.
This is a nice model straight out of the box and will build into a nice rendition of the P-40N. I had to buy one of these to get these decals, but I am still fond of the Mauve 1/40 P-40N kit. That one has no fit or filler problems and I've enjoyed building a few of them. Eduard reissued this kit a few years ago with their additional photo-etch details and goodies (look here).