Short Tails Over Africa
Special Hobby, 1/72 scale
S u m m a r y
||Special Hobby 72155 P-40F Warhawk
||41 light grey plastic parts on three sprues, 6 clear injection moulded plastic parts on one sprue, 36 PE parts on one fret plus a 8 page A5 sized instruction booklet with history, parts plan, 6 build drawings, 3 pages of paint/decal instructions and a 1 page stencil placement guide.
USD$26.37 available online from Squadron
From GBP£11.36 available online
model retailers worldwide
||Very clean distortion free mouldings with fine engraved panel detail, highly detailed interior, deep wheel wells and a multi piece canopy. Excellent decals and PE. Decals include a full set of stencils.
||Canopy may be a bit thick to model open
||Generally over-looked by the mainstream manufacturers in this scale, the P-40F with its RR Merlin engine was an important spoke in the P-40 wheel. Ta Dah! MPM/Special Hobby to the rescue!
Reviewed by Glen Porter
Special Hobby's 1/72 scale
P-40F Warhawk is available online from Squadron.com
A Brief History
The Curtiss P-40 series of aircraft were never front runners among fighters but due to their Allison engines had good low level performance which petered out at altitude. Because the Roll Royce Merlin was being license built in the US by Packard, Curtiss decided to fit this engine to try to fix this problem. While the high altitude performance did improve, it was nothing like the improvement in the P-51 with a similar modification.
From the P-40F-5 onwards, the tail was lengthened by 48cms to improve a stability problem. This kit from Special Hobby is the early short tailed version.
This is the third P-40F put out by the MPM Group. The first two, 72122 and 72073, were under the MPM label whereas this is Special Hobby. I haven't seen the two earlier kits so I can't confirm if it is the same moulding but I do know when a kit changes from MPM to Special Hobby I sometimes notice an improvement in detail.
The yardsticks for 1/72nd scale P-40s have, for a long time, been the offerings from Hasegawa (good shape but lacking detail) and Academy (good detail but some shape problems). This kit from Special Hobby will, I believe, eclipse both, having good shape and detail. The Hasegawa and Academy kits would be easier to put together, as this Special Hobby kit is still short run technology with its associated challenges. However, with a little care and patience, the result will be a much more detailed and accurate model.
The first thing you will notice is the new colour scheme for 1/72nd scale Special Hobby kits and a new sturdier top opening box. The box is especially welcome and I hope Mr Revell and Mr Italeri are reading this as they too could improve their smaller models by adopting a similar box.
The “A” sprue has only the fuselage halves on it and I think this may be significant as the clear sprue has an extra windscreen with the strengthening brace on the left hand side that was only used on the later long tailed Fs and later models. So, perhaps there is a long tailed P-40F in the offing or may-be a complete range of P-40s.
“B” carries the wings, wheels, cockpit floor, spinner and intake interior all nice moulded and detailed but a note of caution here, as there are no alignment pins on either the fuselage or wings.
The “C” sprue has the rest of the plastic parts such as prop, 10 piece cockpit, gear legs and doors, exhausts and drop tank. The multi-piece interior is quite well detailed OTB although perhaps not quite as good as a resin set. There is an optional plastic or PE instrument panel and of course the harness is also PE. The intake insert has the correct detail for the Merlin engined variety with a rectangular radiator matrix in PE.
The “CP” clear sprue has two windscreens as mentioned above, a canopy and two rear view windows. The canopy may be a little thick to pose open in which case a vac-form item will have to be substituted.
The photo-etched fret contains the harness, optional instrument panel, radiator matrix, optional undercarriage scissors, undercarriage braces (which I'd be inclined to replace with plastic rod), external ring and bead gun sight and tailplane tab adjusters.
Decals by Aviprint, as usual are well printed with good register and minimum carrier film. They have markings for three USAAF P-40Fs based in north Africa.
The first is P-40F-1, 7-8 of the 66 FS “Exterminators”, 57 FG , mid 1942. Its in Sand upper surfaces, Neutral Grey lowers with OD patches on the lower rudder. Blue and white US national markings in six places, a British fin flash and nose art.
Next is P-40F-1 “JO”, 64th FS, 57th FG on board USS Ranger, June 1942. It has the same colour scheme as above plus OD on the lower rudder and under the tailplane. There is a red 12 on either side of the nose, “JO” just below the exhausts and two black and white dice on the rudder.
Lastly, we have P-40F-1, S/N 4114216, X6-O of the 86th FS, 79th FG, North Africa, 1942. This one is in the new colour scheme of Light Desert Sand and Dark Earth uppers and Light Blue below. Like the first aircraft, it has the British fin flash and all three have a red spinner.
The decals also have a complete set of stencils with a separate full page guide for them.
This is, with out a doubt, the best P-40 I have seen in 1/72nd scale.
Special Hobby’s P-40 is leaps and bounds ahead of the Hasegawa and Academy kits and although it's short run technology it doesn't look like there will be any problem areas for anyone used to short run kits.
I just hope MPM/Special Hobby follow it up with other marks in the future.
Thanks to MPM/Special Hobby for the review sample.
Review Text Copyright © 2008 by Glen Porter
Images Copyright © 2008 by Brett Green
Page Created 5 October, 2008
Last updated 5 October, 2008
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