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P-40 Kit

Mauve 1/48 P-40M Warhawk Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2015 Manufacturer Mauve
Subject P-40M Warhawk Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4803 Primary Media Styrene
Pros One of the nicest P-40M kits 1/48 Cons Out of production
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of production

First Look

P-40 Kit
P-40 Kit
P-40 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. 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.

A little over 20 years ago, a new model company opened in Japan with the brand name of Mauve. Their first kits were the P-40M and P-40N Warhawks in 1/48 scale and based upon my experience with these kits, I was really looking forward to seeing what else these folks were going to produce. Unfortunately, this would never happed as the factory was destroyed in January 1995 when a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck the Kobe region (Mauve was based in Kobe). Even though the factory was destroyed, Mauve evidently had a supply of kits remaining which were acquired by Eduard for their Limited Edition Profipack kit in 2005.

The Mauve kit is molded in olive drab styrene and presented on three parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. The kit is a very simple build with a basic Hasegawa-like cockpit and finely scribed surface details. For me, this was one of those kits where you could almost pour glue in the box, close the lid, shake the box, and the kit would fall together. The P-40M and P-40N kits used the same tooling with the exception of the armor-plate behind the pilot, rear deck behind the cockpit and the canopy parts. After building both kits 20 years ago, I stocked up on the Eduard releases to produce new kits after the two Mauve kits were destroyed in the move out to the mid-west.

Decals are provided for two examples:

  • P-40M, 129, 44 FS/18 FG, New Guinea, 1943, 'Princess Pat II', as flown by LTC R.B. Westbrook
  • P-40M, 111, 44 FS/18 FG, New Guinea, 1943, 'Reckless Prostitute', as flown by Capt J.A. Bade

So why are we looking at the Mauve kit here when I've got the Eduard Profipacks? I happened to find this never-opened P-40M kit on eBay for about $20 USD and thought it would be worth a look. You can still find these kits at kit swaps and eBay for reasonable prices and as I said, the model goes together without any problems. If you want to super-detail this kit, find the Eduard Profipack instead. But if you're looking for a relaxing build that allows you to produce a stunning model without lots of work, grab one (or more) of these kits for your stash.

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