by: Hermon [ ]
IntroductionThe P-40N was the last mass produced model in the famous P-40 series of fighter planes produced by Curtis from late 1939 to the end of 1944. The P-40 was the 3rd most produced fighter of WWII behind only the P-47 and P-51. The P-40 was and has been criticized for not being able to out maneuver the Japanese Zero however historians usually fail to mention that most other allied aircraft including the Spitfire, Thunderbolt, Hurricane, Lightning, Corsair, Mustang and Wildcat couldn’t maneuver with the Zero either.
The P-40 series of fighter planes varied little from the B to the M. The N series had two main modifications that helped the performance of both the aircraft and the pilot. The first mod was increasing the Allison engines output to 1,325 horsepower. The second and most important modification was to cut down the top of the fuselage just behind the cockpit and replacing this area with a fixed glass canopy which greatly improved pilot visibility in the 6’oclock position. All the great characteristics that made the P-40 a potent advisory were retained on the N model including the six wing mounted .50 cal machine guns, ultra rugged frame, thick armor plating, sturdy and rugged landing gear and dependable (bullet proof) Allison engine. All these things resulted in the demand for building 15,000 P-40’s.
The kitThis is the Hasegawa P-40N Warhawk kit in 1/32 scale with special markings for the 15,000th Anniversary. Opening the box the modeler is presented with sealed bags containing 9 sprues molded in light grey and 1 sprue bagged separately in clear plastic. Examining each sprue closely I could find no major flaws. One thing that was apparent is that this is a well engineered kit with plenty of great detail straight out of the box. If you’ve built the superb Hasegawa P-40 in 1/48 scale then you won’t find any big surprises with the 1/32 scale version as both kits share many characteristics. The now famous “tail section insert” is retained in the 1/32 scale kit which is nice.
The cockpit is so well built up that the only thing I could honestly recommend to anyone wanting to build this kit for competition would be some PE or an aftermarket resin seat. The instrument panel features raised detail and decals are provided which will cover every gauge, switch and light but in this scale most modelers will probably prefer to hand paint everything and add a wash and some dry brushing. A one piece wing spar is included as part of the wheel well assembly which fits into the one piece lower wing. The rear wheel insert and doors are a one piece affair which is a very nice touch since this area (for me) is usually a place for glue globs to collect and ruin a nice paint job.
My favorite surprise in this kit is the fact that the front windscreen is combined with a portion of the fuselage as one piece. This being my first 1/32 scale Hasegawa kit I don’t know if this is something that the Hasegawa engineers do on a regular basis or not. Either way, who ever came up with this idea is my new best friend. This simple step solves two nasty problems at one time. No more ugly glue filled seam line between the canopy and fuselage………and…….no more heating, stretching, bending, filling, and sanding canopies that are either a tad too wide or narrow for the fuselage. Thank you Hasegawa for answering at least one of my prayers. Also note worthy is the fact that all the glass on the clear sprue is of the highest quality. Crystal clear and free of flash and no apparent warping. Two canopies are included for open or closed cockpit.
Another nice feature was the exhaust. These include 12 individual stacks of the correct flared or (fish tail) design. Again, no flash and nicely sculpted. Resin sets will undoubtedly be on the market soon to replace the kit pieces but IMHO a bit of handy work with a drill bit and sculpting knife will really bring the kit pieces to life.
After spending an honest hour inspecting each and every part of this kit I could only find a few barely noticeable sink marks. Very minimal flash on half a dozen part are scattered about. The biggest flaw I could find was the noticeable ejector pin mark inside the bottom wing section. These marks protrude on the outside of the wing bottom causing very small humps. I’m guessing 20 minutes of work with a couple of different grades of sanding sticks will alleviate this problem altogether so this should be no great concern to the average modeler.
InstructionsThe instruction manual is typical top notch Hasegawa. Ten pages including sprue/parts location guide, paint chart, 16 step building guide, and a two page spread showing proper decal placement. The only fault I could find here is in step #6 of the build guide which shows the two halves of the tail section being glued together and then the completed piece being joined to the fuselage. This is a judgment call on my part but I have found by personal experience that the easiest way to perform this part of the build is to glue each piece of the tail section insert into its corresponding fuselage half, then glue the two fuselage sections together much like a normal airplane build. Again, this is a judgment call or personal preference.
DecalsThe decal sheet is the most colorful and outrageous I have ever seen for a WWII aircraft. Containing nearly 100 decals of excellent quality and color, there decals to represent every country that flew the P-40 in any of its variants.
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