Eduard 1/48 P-40N/M Shark Mouths Over China Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||November 2005
Updated June 2015
|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 1/48||Cons||Out of production|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||Out of production|
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.
Without a doubt, the Mauve P-40s including the P-40M and P-40N are the best P-40 kits currently available in 1/48 scale. 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. The Mauve 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-printed series. The kit is rounded out with a nice sheet of decals, a set of their yellow-tape 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. 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.
The first fret of photo-etched parts are color-printed with sharp details that look better than anything you can do with decals. The set includes the two-layer instrument panels for P-40M, early and late P-40N variants. Also included are control heads, side consoles, pilot restraints, and other nice details. The second fret of parts contains the cowl flaps, the radiator grillework, a new windscreen frame, brake lines, centerline rack, etc.
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 five 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, 'Marcie'
- P-40N-20, 03, 8 FS/3 FG, Liangshan, China, Aug 1944, 'Shirley II', as flown by Capt Raymond Callaway with 6 kills
- P-40N-20, 7 FS/3 FG, Liangshan, China, Aug 1944, 'Boss's Hoss/Jug's Plug', as flown by LtCol William Reed with 9 kills
- P-40N, 18 FS/51 FG, China, 1944, 'Klawin Kitten', as flown by 1Lt Carl E. Hardy
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 original 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 was a bargain! You can still find this kit at swaps and online at places like eBay, or you can acquire the Mauve kit instead and add the Eduard detail sets that are still available.