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1/72 Hasegawa Curtiss P-40N Warhawk

by Igor Svetlov (IS)

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Curtiss P-40N-5-CU
89th FS, 80th FG, 10th AF, USAAF,
Naggaghuli, Assam Valley, India, 1944


*Kit: 1/72 Hasegawa P-40N

Afermarket sets:   

  • True Details P-40E-N resin cockpit set

  • Equipage wheels with rubber tires

Subject

This model represents the P-40N-5 named "Joanne" operated in CBI theater in 1944. A photo of this particular aircraft was published in "Curtiss P-40 in Action" No. 26 by Squadron/Signal (p. 49).

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Construction

The main problem with the Hasegawa 1/72 P-40 kits is wrong wing location resulting in the forward wing section positioned too high while the trailing edge is located where it should be. To correct this error the entire lower part of the wing was extensively modified by replacing the wrong areas with the parts cut out from the Novo P-40E kit (well, with respect to required reshaping, I would say, almost any other kit, at least a WWII fighter, or even a plastic sheet would go too! ;-) ...) and then reshaped and adjusted as required. Some pieces of plastic in the belly area were cut out and then repositioned onto the correct place. 

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After that the fuselage had to be adjusted to fit the corrected wing by replacing the entire wing root area of the fuselage with scratch-built insertions.
Another major form correction was modifying the fin to be off-set instead of being 100% symmetrical as the kit parts were. 

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Further corrections/additions included:

  • wheel well interiors (totally scratch-built),

  • correct instrument panel covering (scratch-built part added),

  • correcting/adding panel lines,

  • simulation overlapped panels where needed,

  • extra detailing of the landing gear and drop tank mounting,

  • landing, navigation and formation lights,

  • antenna

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The True Details resin set was used for the cockpit and the kit wheels were replaced with ones with rubber tires by Equipage.

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Camouflage and Markings

The model was painted with Model Master enamel paints A mechanical lead pencil was used for the panel lines highlightening and also for shading the lower rsurfaces while the upper surfaces were weathered with pastel chalks. Exhaust stains were applied using natural candle soot.

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Kit decals (with completely trimmed clear film) were used for major markings and the stencils were taken from the Travers P-40E sheet. The visible fragments of black serial number on the starboard side of the fin & rudder not overpainted with the "white "49" (absent for some reason on the decal sheet) were cut out from a solid black piece of decal.

The final clear coat was done with Future mixed with Tamiya Flat Base.

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Conclusion

Well, as this model was build 9 years ago, I would certainly do the same things quite another way. First of all, instead of troublesome correcting the wing location, it would be much easier just to take a wing from one of the recently released P-40B/C or at least P-36/Hawk-75 kits by AML, Pavla or Special Hobby modifying it to the P-40N standards.
However, I don’t believe, it would be much easier to get a correct wing doing kit-bashing with a Tomahawk by Novo or Academy available at that time. The Academy P-40E/N is unfortunately no improvement compared with Hasegawa regarding the wrong wing-to-fuselage joint and should be therefore corrected the same way to obtain the correct appearence. By the way, the same can unfortunately be applied also to the P-40F/L by MPM...

In addition, I am not sure, I would still use kit decals now, as some really good aftermarket decals with similar markings became available in the meantime, and, of course, displaying the canopy in open position using vacuform replacement items just couldn’t be wrong, since the cockpit was already extensively detailed...

However, all in all, I still hope, this one is not the worst replica of the final Warhawk version ...

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References

1. MBI Curtiss P-40
2. Squadron/Signal # 1026 Curtiss P-40 in Action
3. Squadron/Signal # 8262 Curtiss P-40 Detail & Scale Vol.2
4. Squadron/Signal # 5508 Curtiss P-40 Walk Around Vol.8
5. AJ-Press Curtiss P-40 Monografie Lotnicze Part 1-3 #64-66
6. Histoire & Collections Curtiss P-40 Planes and Pilots 1939-1945 #3
7. Osprey Curtiss P-40D-N Warhawk in USAAF, French and Foreign Service –
Aircam Aviation Series #7

Igor

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Photos and text © by Igor Svetlov(IS)

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