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P-40K Kit

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

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2008 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Curtiss P-40K Warhawk Scale 1/32
Kit Number 08188 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, nice details Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $72.95

First Look

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

Until now, the only real kit options for a round-tail P-40K were the AMtech 1/48 kit ( reviewed here) that is long out of production, and Hasegawa's 1/48 version released a few years ago. When Hasegawa released their new-tool P-40E kit in 1/32 scale ( reviewed here), they designed the kit to be modular like their earlier 1/48 scale versions. Like the 1/48 scale kit, Hasegawa has released the parts to render its big brother into the round-tail P-40K as well.

This 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.

Like their 1/48 scale tooling, the tail section is rendered separately from the main fuselage to facilitate the short-tail version in their previous release, the round-tail in this release, and the long-tail replacement for later versions of the aircraft. 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.

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • P-40K, 255, 26 FS/51 FG, China, 1943
  • P-40K, 10, 78 FS/18 FG, Hawaii, 1942-43, 'Hydes Harlot'

The decal sheet also provides a complete array of maintenance stenciling for the aircraft as well as for the single bomb. Nice! Also note that the 18 FG example replaces the classic sharkmouth with a snake's head. This is definitely distinctive and different.

This popular tooling from Hasegawa opens up an array of colorful subjects and aftermarket possibilities. While I wish the tooling wasn't so modular, with a little patience and skill, the completed model should show no hint of the tooling strategy. In the meantime, I do hope there is a Merlin-powered fuselage section coming as the P-40F/L would also be very welcome in addition to the M/N versions that are in the future.

If you'd like to see just how well this tooling does go together, check out an earlier build of the 1/32 P-40E Warhawk.

My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!