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First Look Review
148
Curtiss P-40B Warhawk
Curtiss P-40B Warhawk
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Airfix's keenly anticipated P-40B was released last week. To preceed a build at a later date, here's a First Look overview of the kit.

Initial impressions are very good, with the kit being cleanly moulded in grey styrene (an improvement over the very pale blue-grey that Airfix have been using recently) and a satin external finish.

Panel lines are scribed in two depths, and there's a mix of raised and embossed fasteners. There's no attempt to depict the overall riveting, but the kit features quite a nice subtle fabric effect for the control surfaces.

I found a sink mark on the rudder of my kit, which will need filling. The interior of the rear fuselage has neatly moulded ribs and stringers (there's a reconnaissance camera to fit in a future boxing), but the area is festooned with ejector pin marks.

The cockpit is correctly depicted with the upper surface of the wing forming the floor and a nice level of detail, including two styles of seat. The sidewalls are moulded separately (presumably to avoid any sinkage due to the thickness of the parts, as often happens), but the frames were overstressed on the sprues and will need a quick fix in my kit. Decals are provided for the well moulded instrument panel, but there's no seat harness included. The kit does contain a pilot figure if you wish to pose it "in flight", but you'll need to buy a stand separately.

The wheel well insert cleverly doubles as a spar to ensure the correct dihedral, and has a well done fabric effect, but Airfix have irritatingly placed prominent ejector pin marks right in the middle of the well where they'll be most visible. The undercarriage can be modelled raised or lowered, with weighted wheels for the latter. This does look a bit overdone for my taste.

The transparencies parts are crystal clear, and the canopy appears to have the correct profile.

A test fit of the main parts is encouraging. The unusual separate wing roots work well and line up neatly, and the stabilisers slot in precisely. The fuselage/wing joint is good (this is without the wheel wells "spar" fitted), and the only point that looks likely to need attention is thinning down inside the wings' tailing edges to avoid a slight gap as moulded.

Decals are included for two aircraft:
A. Curtiss P-40B flown by 2nd Lt. George Welch, 47th Pursuit Sqn., 15th Pursui Group, Wheeler Field, Oahu, Hawaii, December 7, 1941
B. Curtiss Hawk 81-A-2 flown by Flight Leader Robert Smith, 3rd Squadron, Kunming, China, June 1942

The decals are printed in perfect register with a matt finish.

Edit: Aeroscale member Maciej Marciniak has pointed out that Airfix have printed the CAF insignia as an 11-pointed sun. Certainly, checking numerous reference photos, the insignia has 12-points in each case.

Conclusion
I haven't had a chance to compare the kit closely against references, but Airfix look to have done a good job overall, and the kit will make a useful alternative to the Bronco model that has received such a mixed reception. It looks a very straightforward build that will be suitable for modellers of all abilities.

Sadly, the price has risen since the kit was first announced (perhaps as a result of the low value of Sterling), but Airfix's kit still represents pretty good value for money.
SUMMARY
Highs: Well moulded and nicely detailed. Well printed decals.
Lows: Some annoying ejector pin marks and one spot of sinkage in my kit. The CAF insignia are printed as 11-pointed sun disks.
Verdict: Aifix's new P-40B looks like an enjoyable and straightforward build. Based on a quick look, it appears to score well on the accuracy issues that have marred the recent Bronco kit.
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: A05130
  Suggested Retail: 20.99
  PUBLISHED: Oct 30, 2016
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.66%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 79.09%

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)
FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2017 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Reader Reviews
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Comments

Hi again Although I'm not going to build the kit for a little while, I couldn't resist doing a test fit of the main parts and updating the Review: The only problem area I found is the trailing edges of the wings that don't quite close up. Thinning down the inner surfaces should sort that out easily enough though. All the best Rowan
NOV 01, 2016 - 04:54 AM
Always had a soft spot for the P-40 and this looks like a great kit. Shame about the injector pin marks, but the rest of the kit really looks the part. Great read too Rowan.Thanks for the write up. Dan
NOV 01, 2016 - 06:31 PM
Good choice of subject by Airfix. They should be on a winner as this kit looks a step up from others. Simon
NOV 02, 2016 - 07:21 PM
Hi Simon You're right there - by accounts I've read, the first run has already sold-out from some sources. I hope anyone who didn't get an order in early doesn't have to wait as long as I did for the Defiant - but I imagine worldwide demand for the P-40 will be much greater, so Airfix will make it more of a priority to keep in stock in LHSs. All the best Rowan
NOV 03, 2016 - 09:21 AM
Thanks for the review, Rowan, Sure will order one kit soon as I always wanted to have a Warhawk flown by Welch to place beside my Pearl D3A flown by Tamotsu Ema. Price should be fine over here in the EU ( ) thanks to the falling GBP. Torsten
NOV 04, 2016 - 08:07 AM
I have it and am very pleased with it. I haven't compared it to the Trumpeter kit, which I also have.
NOV 10, 2016 - 02:07 PM
I am a new one here, but I wonder if I am the only one who thinks that there is something wrong with Chinese national insignia on decal sheet? Should the sun have eleven beams or twelve? I can be wrong and any suggestions are welcome.
NOV 15, 2016 - 07:02 AM
Hi Maciej Welcome to Aeroscale - and good catch! The CAF insignia was a 12-pointed sun. I'd love to say "I was waiting for someone to spot that"... but I must admit I completely missed it. I'll make a note in the review. All the best Rowan
NOV 15, 2016 - 07:55 AM
What a strange oversight considering all the time and man hours were put into this project. Joel
NOV 15, 2016 - 08:13 AM
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