1:32 Hasegawa Curtis P-40K: 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 of World War II, 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 gave the plane, and after June 1941, the USAAF adopted the 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 original P-40, P-40B, and P-40C, and the name Kittyhawk for models equivalent to the P-40D and all later variants.
The P-40 saw the most front-line use in Soviet hands in 1942 and early 1943. Deliveries over the Alaska-Siberia ALSIB ferry route began in October 1942. It was used in the northern sectors and played a significant role in the defense of Leningrad. The most numerically important types were P-40B/C, P-40E, and P-40K/M.
The P-40K was an Allison-engined P-40L, with the nose-top scoop retained and the Allison-configured nose radiators scoop, cowl flaps, and vertical-stabilizer-to-fuselage fillet. Supplied to the Commonwealth air forces as the Kittyhawk Mk III, it was widely used by US units in the CBI. This beautiful model was the work of master modeler Steve Evans.
Steve Evans: The P-40 is one of the true unsung heroes of WWII being constantly overlooked for its more glamorous stablemates. This particular version, the short-tailed ‘K’ is almost universally disliked but for some reason, it’s my favorite of them all. With that big nose and stubby tail, it’s a bit of a joker but all the more beautiful for it.
The Hasegawa kit is a wonderful bit of plastic molding, with neat detailing and sharp panel lines. It builds easily enough and in this scale is also easy to add lots more detail.
Hasegawa, as always, gets the maximum usage from their molds, with multiple versions created by clever use of additional separate parts. In this case, it’s the fat tail but if you don’t like it, then other versions are available, although increasingly at premium prices these days as they become hard to find.
The markings in the box for this one are not what I had in mind, as I really wanted an RAF desert scheme, with the iconic 112 Sqn shark-mouth. Luckily Montex does a full stencil set for this one, with complete markings, including the roundels, codes, and of course, the toothy grin itself.
Spraying these markings wasn’t the easiest thing to do because the masks are tricky to use, especially around the multi-curved contours of the nose but once done they do look good.
The RAF Desert colors of Azure Blue, Dark Earth, and Mid-Stone have the uncanny knack of making any aircraft look good and they didn’t disappoint with this P-40K (called the Kittyhawk Mk.III by us Brits.)
With some additional bits such as undercarriage door linkages, brake lines, and aerial wires, not to mention a set of Eduard etched flaps in place, this kit really comes to life and is a very imposing site parked on the display shelf.
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