Hasegawa 1/32 P-40M Warhawk Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||May 2010||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Kit Number||08199||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, nice details||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$79.95|
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.
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-40M was the next to the last production version of the Warhawk powered by the later 1,200 horsepower version of the V-1710. The P-40M was distinquishable with the intake vents ahead of the exhaust stacks and the longer tail of the later P-40L. The P-40M was widely distributed to allied air arms including the USSR and UK Commonwealth.
Hasegawa continues to turn out different variants of the Curtiss P-40 family. We've previously examined the P-40E, P-40K, and P-40N kits, and this P-40M is the latest out of the chocks from Hasegawa.
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on eight 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 and round-tail versions from the previous releases, and the long-tail replacement for this kit. 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 jury is out for now on how well these various modules and inserts are all going to fit together and how much putty will be required to make the aircraft look as if it were a whole airframe and not a jigsaw puzzle.
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-40M, 44 FS/18 FG, USAAF, Munda, New Georgia Island, 1943
- Kittyhawk Mk.III, NZ3072, 14 Sqn, RNZAF, 1943
The decal sheet has a nice selection of airframe maintenance stencils as well.
This popular tooling from Hasegawa opens up more options for colorful subjects and aftermarket possibilities. While I wish the tooling wasn't so modular, but with a little patience and skill the completed model should show no hint of the tooling strategy.