by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
The first thing that strikes you with Eduard’s new limited edition re-release of Hasegawa’s 1:32 P-40N is the simply enormous box! For a single-seat fighter, this box really is massive, but when you lift the lid you see there’s not a lot of wasted space. Hasegawa seem to have supplied Eduard with every sprue for their extended family of P-40s, so you get some sprues that aren’t even shown in the instructions. In addition to the plethora of sprues, you’ll find a selection of etched and Brassin parts, plus other accessories.
The “EduArt” aspect of the kit is the striking graphic novel-style artwork by Romain Hugault that not only adorns the boxtop, but is also supplied as a poster and a high quality semi-3D embossed metal plaque. It’s big enough to use as a base - but, of course, that would only make sense if you opt for the colour scheme depicted. I’ve got to say the inclusion of both a poster and a plaque seems a bit like overkill, and I’d have preferred to have some extra etched or Brassin parts rather than a repeat of the artwork. But the contents are certainly impressive and likely to become sought after among collectors.
So, referring to the parts chart, Eduard’s boxing comprises:
110 x grey styrene parts (plus 69 unused)
22 x clear styrene parts
13 x Brassin parts
158 x photoetched parts on 2 frets, plus an etched film
Kabuki tape painting masks
Decals for 5 x colour schemes
The moulding throughout is excellent, with really crisp detail and a very precise fit for the main parts. It’s hard to believe the core parts of the kit are nine years old now (where does time go?!), but they can still easily hold up against the latest releases. Despite the moulds being in regular use through the years, there’s no sign of wear and just the faintest whisper of flash here and there. Hasegawa’s designers did a good job keeping ejection pin marks out of sight for the most part, and those few which they couldn’t hide are light and shouldn’t be hard to tackle.
The exterior surfaces are nicely polished, although this does highlight a couple of spots where there’s thicker moulding on the reverse of the parts, resulting in faint sinkage. It’s so light, however, it may disappear after a quick pass with a levelling sander.
The exterior detail comprises neatly engraved panel lines and fasteners, with a few raised panels and a limited number of embossed rivets (I’m sure there were many more on the actual aircraft, but it would be a bit overpowering if they were all depicted) and Hasegawa’s approach certainly portrays the “muscular” quality of the P-40 nicely. The fabric-covered control surfaces are tackled with quite subtle ribs and tapes - strictly speaking a bit heavy compared with real life, but still much better than many kits these days.
Something I couldn't help but notice was a bit of scuffing on some of the parts. This must have happened in transit, and was partly due to the way Hasegawa have sealed several sprues in each bag rather than individually. I say "partly", because I rather suspect the weight of the metal "EduArt" plaque pressing the sprues together harder than they otherwise would be was also a factor.
Test FitJust like their excellent 1:48 P-40, Hasegawa designed its big brother in a modular way to allow a series of different versions to be built from the same core set of parts. So, the fuselage is moulded without a tail or top-decking behind the cockpit, these being separate units to cater for short- and long-tailed variants, and the classic "razorback" and later clear "clear-view" canopies. That's all very well, but the crucial thing with this approach is that the sub-assemblies must actually fit.
Thankfully, in this instance, the designers have done a good job and the fit is good. The tail slots in with a very solid supporting plug and lines up precisely but, inevitably, you will have to fill the seam which doesn’t follow a real panel line. The cross-section of the two assemblies matches perfectly (not always the case in kits) so, if you’re careful, you should be able to hide the joint without much trouble.
The fit at the wing roots is excellent, and stabilisers slot in perfectly with clever interlocking tabs that keep everything lined up and true. The fit of the tailplanes is so firm, you could install the parts without cement.
A Few DetailsI have to admit the principle thing I like about Eduard’s reboxing of Hasegawa’s P-40 isn’t actually the “EduArt” aspect - it’s the inclusion of a very useful selection of upgrade sets that would otherwise be aftermarket extras. These add to an already nicely detailed kit and should look very effective.
Starting in the cockpit, you get a choice of two styles of seat and instrument panel. Eduard supply an excellent pre-coloured etched harness that has a slightly “shaded” effect to it, so it’s already part way towards a convincingly worn look. It’ll need bending careful to lose its rather rigid appearance, but the final effect should be great. The original styrene instrument panels certainly aren’t bad – and the decals include beautifully sharp overlays - but Eduard’s etched replacements will look superb with their finely detailed bezels and fascias.
There are two styles of gunsight, both now detailed with etched frames for clear film reflector glasses, and you get a choice of a decal or etched replacement for the fuel gauge on the floor.
The sidewalls are augmented with a mass of etched extras - levers, knobs and fascias - plus a new document holder which must be folded to shape. Installing the latter will require a slightly tricky bit of surgery to carve away the original styrene version, so I’ll double-check it’s definitely going to cover the scar before diving in with a scalpel.
In terms of a parts count - if you build the cockpit as supplied by Hasegawa, you’ll be looking at around about 15 parts (depending on which version seat etc. you opt for). If you use all the extras that Eduard provide, the tally shoots up to 75, which should result in a satisfyingly busy “office”.
Something not shown in the instructions is a very well sculpted multi-part pilot figure. Obviously, you’ll need to do away with the etched harness if you install the figure, but if you’ve got the skills to paint it well, the result should be excellent.
Moving up front, the way Hasegawa designed the ducting for the interior of nose intake is an impressive piece of moulding, and Eduard provide etched grills for both the front and back of the radiator cores and the oil cooler.
Hasegawa slide-moulded the exhausts and the result is very good - but Eduard go one better with a set of superb Bassin stacks that even include the interior spacers.
The propeller and spinner look very straightforward and are held in place with a poly-cap. One point to watch - like so many kits, the designers added light raised guidelines to help beginners paint the tips of the blades yellow. A quick swipe with a sander will get rid of the offending items.
Turning to the wings, the mainwheel wells are boxed in neatly, and the kit includes a partial wing spar to help set the dihedral correctly. On the wingtips and fin, Hasegawa give the option of clear parts for the navigation lamps (you need to trim off the integral solid-moulded alternatives to use them), and Eduard have added neat little etched frames if you want to go this route.
The guns are separate drop-in parts for the wings’ leading edges, and use of a slide-mould means the barrels are hollowed out. Detail & Scale Vol. 62 notes that early P-40Ns were fitted with only 4 x .50 calibre guns, so check your references to see if you need to remove a couple of guns for any particular subject you’re building. Apparently, the underwing panels with chutes for spent shell-cases were unchanged on the 4-gun machines- the redundant openings simply being taped over.
The undercarriage looks good and sturdy and boasts some crisp detail. Eduard replace the original styrene wheels with Brassin parts and these really are beautiful, with some exquisite detail and weighted tyres. You have a choice of open spokes or etched hub covers. Really the only things left to add are brake lines for a very convincing landing gear.
The kit includes a nicely moulded drop tank and bomb for the centre-line rack for which Eduard supply an etched replacement. Eduard also provide etched underwing racks for three of the markings options, but rather frustratingly don’t include any bombs for them. Instead, these are available separately and I have to say I’d have far rather seen them included in the kit at the expense of the poster.
Rounding everything off are a beautifully moulded set of transparencies. These are crystal clear and free of distortion, with crisply defined frames for which the kit includes painting masks. I really like the way Hasegawa’s designers placed the joints well away from the actual clear areas, so you shouldn’t risk getting glue or filler on the canopy parts. Of course, the downside of this approach is having a to disguise the seams where they don’t fall on real life panel lines, but you can’t have everything.
Instructions & DecalsEduard provide a very classy 16-page glossy instruction guide, printed with colour highlighting throughout. The assembly sequence looks logical and the diagrams are very clear, so this should be a pretty straightforward build, even if you’re new to using etched and resin parts. Colour matches are provided throughout for Gunze Sangyo paints.
A massive decal sheet provides markings for five colour schemes:
A. P-40N-1 flown by Lt. G. L. Walston, 16th FS, 51st FG, Kunming, China, 1944
B. Kittyhawk IV (P-40N-20), NZ3220, No. 18 Squadron RNZAF, Bougainville, 1944
C. P-40N, 7th FS, 49th FG, Cyclops Airfield, Hollandia, New Guinea, May 1944
D. P-40N-5 s/n 42-105128 flown by Lt. P. S. Adair, 89th FS, 80th FG, Nagaghuli, India, February 1944
E. Kittyhawk IV (P-40N-1), NZ3148, No. 18 Squadron RNZAF, Ondonga, New Georgia, November 1943
The decals are custom-printed by Cartograf to their usual superb standard, with pin-sharp registration and minimal carrier film on the thin and glossy items.
ConclusionEduard’s P-40N is undeniably a very impressive kit. The inclusion of the high quality upgrade parts and artwork inevitably adds a fair bit to the cost of the standard styrene kit, and I can foresee this limited edition boxing becoming something of a collectors’ item in years to come. It would be a shame if too many of the kits end up being stored as future investments, because it really begs to be built, so the sample model is heading straight to the workbench and will be the subject of a Blog in the weeks ahead.
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