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Hasegawa 1/48 scale P-40E Warhawk

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT | MILITARY
Kit: No. 09086
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Hasegawa, imported by Dragon Models USA, 626-968- 0322, www.dragonmodelsusa.com
Price: $29.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 131 parts (4 vinyl), decals
Pros: Accurate shapes and detail, good cockpit, landing-gear, and gear-well detail, handy cockpit and instrument panel installation
Cons: Modular design adds to building time, no means of attaching canopy hood in open position, gunsight incompletely molded
Although the market has several 1/48 scale late-P-40 kits, Hasegawa has found a place for at least one more. Its first is the P-40E Warhawk, and a P-40N has been released as well. It's easy to see from the modular parts breakdown that Ds, Ms, and Ks are also possible. More drastic changes would be needed to mold the Merlin-powered F and L, so we'll have to wait and see if Hasegawa goes that route.

In typical Hasegawa fashion, there is little to fault in the quality of the moldings. You'll find finely recessed panel lines and near-perfect fit. Features include an optional drop tank or bomb (each with its own sway bars), disc and spoked main-wheel hubs, and clear formation lights that can be substituted for the ones molded in the gray-plastic wings.

The modular design means that the spine behind the canopy (sprue D), the rear fuselage and fin (sprue G), and the machine-gun muzzles and shell ejectors (sprue M) are molded separately. These items will be replaced in subsequent issues of the P-40 family.

The instructions are well done and the color chart is matched to Gunze Sangyo paints. The decals are well printed and include markings for former Flying Tiger and Australian-based USAAF machines.

The 12-part cockpit fits perfectly and is complete except for seat harness. You can either paint the relief instrument panel or use the provided decals.

After a little research on the Australian- based P-40, I found that it was originally painted in the export scheme of dark earth and dark green topsides over sky gray bottom, just like the Flying Tiger machine, but was roughly overpainted with olive drab and neutral gray. That's the way I painted my model, with the original colors showing through a little.

I loosely placed the cockpit parts in one fuselage half then test fitted the other half. The locating tabs and pins on the rudder-pedal bar and floor allow perfect alignment. The seams created by the separate spine and empennage do not fall on natural panel lines, so they must be filled and sanded smooth. These were the only places I needed filler.

I like the way the main landing-gear struts fit into the wings; the keyed strut mounts ensure no twisting or odd angles. The tail wheel includes the strut and door retractors seldom seen in P-40 kits. The machine-gun muzzles are "dimpled" and look good. Hasegawa's standard vinyl prop-keeper grommet is always a handy feature; you can install the assembled prop and spinner last without broken blades, and you can remove it any time.

With all the great molded detail, I was surprised to find the plastic external ring-and-crosshair gunsight incompletely molded.

Hasegawa's decals fit surprisingly well, considering the complex shark-mouth design on the nose. The key here is to position the decals, bathe them in Solvaset, then walk away for a few hours. When they're dry, they fit perfectly.

The separately molded canopy hood can be posed opened or closed, but there are no rails for the open position. Next time, I'll fabricate tiny strips to represent the guide rails.

Any modeler who can paint, follow assembly drawings, and has worked with tiny parts can assemble this kit. The 29 hours spent on my model were mostly dedicated to painting the model like the original. Hasegawa's kit is now my favorite 1/48 scale P-40. Can't wait to see more.

- Allan F. Jones

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