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Pegasus 1/72 scale Curtiss XP-40Q

Kit: No. 2016
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Pegasus, Lancaster House, P.O. Box 50, Whitstable, Kent CT5 2UX, England, phone 44-1227-277569. Available from Squadron Mail Order, 1115 Crowley Dr., Carrollton, TX 75011-5010, phone 972-242-8663.
Price: £11.99 (about $20 plus shipping)
Comments: Injection molded, 35 parts (9 white metal), decals.

Neat! A Mustang with a shark mouth. No, it's an American bubble-top clipped-wing Spitfire. No, it's a . . . .

The final version of Curtiss' venerable Warhawk family looked unlike any P-40 before it. The cut-down fuselage and bubble canopy were the most radical changes, and the huge nose radiator was replaced with small wing radiators. Despite the streamlining the proposed design resulted in only one prototype, and the Army Air Forces decided to produce more Mustangs and Thunderbolts instead.

Pegasus' limited-run injection-molded kit features soft gray plastic parts with beautiful recessed panel lines. The canopy (which at first looks too bulbous, but isn't) is clear and fits well to the fuselage. Interior detail includes a basic floor, seat, instrument panel, and stick. If you want more interior detail, True Details' P-40 cockpit set will fit with a little trimming to the floor.

The propeller, two-part spinner, main gear struts, radiator intake faces, and pitot tube are well molded in white metal. Pegasus provides a well-printed decal sheet that includes markings for the XP-40Q in two guises: shark-mouth camouflage or natural-metal schemes.

Clean up all the edges to each part. The fit of the parts is good until you mount the wing to the fuselage. Fortunately, the plastic is soft and easy to carve. I had to use filler at the leading and trailing edges of the wing/fuselage joint. If you clip off the front end of the propeller hub, it will fit better into the spinner. Paint the propeller and spinner separately, then assemble them.

The horizontal stabilizers fit perfectly to the fuselage, but fitting the metal radiator scoops and machine-gun fairings to the leading edges of the wing require filling and sanding.

I painted the camouflaged version with Polly Scale acrylics. To create the oversprayed white spinner, I temporarily attached it to a toothpick, then chucked it into a motor tool and spun it at a slow speed while I airbrushed the olive drab.

Micro Sol softened the decals adequately, but they curled up at the edges. I ended up mixing white glue with water to make an adhesive solution, then coaxed the edges back down with a brush.

When finished, Pegasus' little bubble-top Warhawk looks the part, except for insufficient dihedral. I compared the model to photos in Squadron/Signal's P-40 Warhawk in Action.

I spent 10 hours on my model. You won't need a lot of experience to build the XP-40Q, and it'll keep 'em scratching their heads at your next model meet.

Paul Boyer

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