by: Pedro Matos [ ]
The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk is an American single-engined, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground-attack aircraft that first flew in 1938. The P-40 design was a modification of the previous Curtiss P-36 Hawk which reduced development time and enabled a rapid entry into production and operational service. The Warhawk was used by most Allied powers during World War II, and remained in frontline service until the end of the war. It was the third most-produced American fighter, after the P-51 and P-47; by November 1944, when production of the P-40 ceased, 13,738 had been built, all at Curtiss-Wright Corporation's main production facilities at Buffalo, New York.
P-40 Warhawk was the name the United States Army Air Corps and after June 1941, USAAF-adopted name for all models, making it the official name in the U.S. for all P-40s. The British Commonwealth and Soviet air forces used the name Tomahawk for models equivalent to the P-40B and P-40C, and the name Kittyhawk for models equivalent to the P-40D and all later variants.
P-40s first saw combat with the British Commonwealth squadrons of the Desert Air Force in the Middle East and North African campaigns, during June 1941. No. 112 Squadron Royal Air Force, was among the first to operate Tomahawks in North Africa and the unit was the first Allied military aviation unit to feature the "shark mouth" logo, copying similar markings on some Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf 110 twin-engine fighters.
The P-40's lack of a two-speed supercharger made it inferior to Luftwaffe fighters such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 or the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in high-altitude combat and it was rarely used in operations in Northwest Europe. However, between 1941 and 1944, the P-40 played a critical role with Allied air forces in three major theaters: North Africa, the Southwest Pacific, and China. It also had a significant role in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Alaska and Italy. The P-40's performance at high altitudes was not as important in those theaters, where it served as an air superiority fighter, bomber escort and fighter-bomber. Although it gained a postwar reputation as a mediocre design, suitable only for close air support, recent research including scrutiny of the records of individual Allied squadrons indicates that this was not the case: the P-40 performed surprisingly well as an air superiority fighter, at times suffering severe losses but also taking a very heavy toll of enemy aircraft.
The P-40 offered the additional advantage of low cost, which kept it in production as a ground-attack aircraft long after it was obsolete as a fighter.
The box looks robust with a nice painting of a duel between a Tomahawk and a Me-109 in the North African theatre.
The kit has 172 parts and the parts breakdown is the following:
1 Instructions Sheet.
1 Clear sprue.
4 Grey Sprues.
1 Little Photo-etched Sheet.
1 Decal Sheet with 6 Different Markings.
1 Bonus Pilot Resin Figure.
Starting with the instructions they are very well printed in colour, with colour paint key for 4 different paint manufacturers which is always good. The drawings are very clear with a few zoom ins on important steps of the build.
After examining the kit the things that I liked were the surface detail of the kit, with good, crisp engraved panel lines, very fine rivets, full engine detail. The complete machine guns on the wings and hood, Bronco supplied clear side covers on the engine sides if you want to show all the engine detail, you also get workable flaps and rudders.
The problems that I encountered on this kit were not many but some of them will give you some work to resolve. The kit has some ejector pin marks most of them you will not see because they are on hidden areas of the kits. But on the internal structure of the flaps, if you want to leave the flaps dropped down you have to take care of the ejector pin marks.
You also have to remove the ejector pins on the cockpit sidewalls otherwise it will not fit into the kits fuselage.
The canopy shape in my opinion is too rounded I saw some plans and it doesnít look correct to me. The canopy of the P-40 is more squared than the one that comes with the kit this can be solved with an aftermarket canopy.
The cockpit detail is ok, but I think that an aftermarket one will make for a better looking cockpit. The tires are not weighted and I found some depressions on the plastic on the left and right horizontal rudders and also in the wheel wells sidewalls. Some minor flash on a few parts but nothing to worry very much about.
The Clear parts looked good to me with no seams, no distortion the only problem is the shape of the canopy that I mentioned above.
The photo-etch is a little square with six parts, where you have the gun eye sight, one antenna, two parts for the main wheel wells, one for the back wheel well and one part for the engine. The photo-etched looked good to me not being to thick, but I think that the kit would have been so much better with some photo included for the cockpit instrument dials.
As for the decals, you get 6 aircraft options to make, 5 desert scheme versions and one with the European Camouflage. The colors look a little bright to me and I found that the yellow circle insignia markings were a little bit off centre and some of the lettering was not perfectly printed with some misaligned numbers, but itís not a major issue, the decals have a matt finish.
The Bonus Resin Figure looks very good with no air bubbles on it and with good detail for this scale and in case you build the first or the third option you can put the figure displayed close to the aircraft.
I think Bronco are on the right track, they only need to sort out the small issues I mentioned above.
If you take care of the canopy issue I think you will have a great Tomahawk in your collection.
For the level of detail shown and I recommend this kit, and Iím looking forward to see what Bronco has planed to release next.