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Curtiss P-40B
“Pearl Harbor"

Great Wall Hobby, 1/32 scale

S u m m a r y :

Description and Item No.:

Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor"

Contents and Media:

328 parts in grey injection moulded plastic; 15 parts in clear; 3 flexible vinyl tyres; 3 magnets; 80 photo-etched parts on two brass plated frets; self-adhesive die-cut canopy masks; decals for three marking options.

Price:

AUD$219.95 plus shipping purchased online from BNA Model World

Scale:

1/32

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

Beautifully detailed; fine and subtle surface textures including recessed panel lines and rivets; clever engineering including closed cowl and open engine nose options that may be swapped using magnets; lots of options including raised or lowered undercrriage, raised or lowered flaps, poseable canopy, engine may be displayed on a stand (supplied); control surfaces and trim tabs are separate parts; optional plastic harness straps; electrical and hydraulic cables supplied in fine injection moulded plastic.

Disadvantages:

Vinyl tyres for main and tail wheels (plastic half-wheels for raised undercarriage option only); numerous decal errors, omissions and innacuracies.

Recommendation:

This is a very impressive model.

Detail is outstanding, parts breakdown is innovative and surface textures are world class but what I really appreciate is that GWH has given the lazy modeller (like me) the option to simply close up the engine bay and flaps, thus avoiding nearly 80 plastic parts for the built-up engine and 44 fiddly photo-etched parts for the flaps.

Just about my only complaint is the flexible vinyl tyres. Fortunately, Barracuda Studios offers a set of smooth P-40B wheels that will address this issue.

At last we have a worthy Hawk 81 / P-40B/C in 1/32 scale.

Reviewed by Brett Green

Introduction

 

The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was 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 front line service until the end of the war.

 

 

It was the third most-produced American fighter, 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 and after June 1941, USAAF-adopted name for all models, making it the official name in the United States for all P-40s. 

The British Commonwealth and Soviet air forces used the name Tomahawk for models equivalent to the P-40B and P-40C, and the name Kittyhawk for models equivalent to the P-40D and all later variants.*


 

Previous 1/32 scale P-40B/C Kits

We have only had one 1/32 scale mainstream plastic model kit of the Hawk 81 / P-40B/C - first released in 2003.

This kit had a number of glaring errors including a very shallow cockpit with a flat floor, poor decals, incorrect elevators and other issues.

It is not a terrible kit though, and it can be improved, but we are long overdue for a superior offering.

 

 

FirstLook

 

I wasn't going to buy this kit. I have a large queue of models for the workbench and the last thing I really needed was another one.

However, my resolve weakened when I saw the photos of the sprues and a built model online. I ordered the kit locally and it arrived today.

GWH's 1/32 scale P-40B "Pearl Harbor" is the second in their Tomahawk family, following last year's Flying Tigers Hawk 81.

The parts are substantially the same, with only the Hawk 81-style seat being removed from Sprue A of the new kit. Decals and bonus bits also differ.

The P-40B is the equivalent to the RAF's Tomahawk Mk.IIA. The inclusion of a drop tank and mounts means that you can build this as a P-40C / Tomahawk IIB too.

GWH's 1/32 scale P-40B "Pearl Harbor" comprises 328 parts in grey injection moulded plastic, 15 parts in clear, 3 flexible vinyl tyres, 3 magnets, 80 photo-etched parts on two brass plated frets,s self-adhesive die-cut canopy masks and decals for three marking options.

 

  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Great Wall Hobby Kit No. L3201 - Curtiss P-40B "Pearl Harbor" Review by Brett Green: Image
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The kit is beautifully detailed throughout.

It also features fine and subtle surface textures including recessed panel lines and rivets. This is very nice indeed.

 

 

Detail is supplied for the rear fuselage interior behind the pilot and raised ribs and stringers are moulded to the inside of the fuselage. If you are not planning to open the radio hatch or the wider fuselage, you could probably dispense with the interior detail here.

 

 

The scalloped fabric effect looks okay, if perhaps a tiny bit overdone.

 

 

The fuselage halves are presented from empennage to the engine firewall. The tail planes, nose and wing root fillets are all separate assemblies.

 

 

The cockpit is thoroughly fitted out from its floor - correctly curved in line with the contours of the upper wing - to its separate sidewall frames, controls, seat and the plastic instrument panel. The cockpit is the correct depth too, something that seems to have eluded some manufacturers for two decades.

 

 

The panel features raised detail for the instrument bezels, fittings and switches. Each of the domed instrument lenses matches up with a numbered dial decal.

 

 

The seat offers the option of a plastic set of harness straps (I'm looking forward to seeing how they look when they are assembled and painted), a basic set of photo-etched straps or a very nice seated pilot figure.

 

 

Control surfaces and trim tabs are all separate parts and may be posed to taste.

The flaps may be dropped too, with 44 fine photo-etched parts representing ribs inside the flaps and wells.

Radiator and oil cooler mesh is provided as photo-etched parts too.

 

 

Wings are moulded full span in upper and lower halves. This should guarantee the correct dihedral.

 

 

The wheel wells look terrific.

 

 

The round wheel sections are moulded with canvas covers.

 

 

The engine is a work of art, being made up from around 80 plastic parts plus photo-etch.

 

 

The larger plastic parts are supplemented with an intricate web of hydraulic, electrical and fuel lines, also from injection moulded plastic. Although you'll have to take great care when cutting these pieces from the sprue, they will be easy and accurate to install.

 

 

Cleverly, there are two separate nose sections. The first is the closed engine cowling. This will be fast and easy to build.

 

 

Exhaust stacks are moulded with weld beads and hollowed out at the ends.

 

 

The second nose section displays the fully detailed engine.

Magnets are used to allow you to swap the front ends whenever you like.

When the engine is not fitted to the front of your Tomahawk, it may be displayed on a plastic rack, also supplied in the kit.

The clear parts are beautifully thin and free from distortion.

 

 

The canopy may be posed open or closed.

 

 

The main wheels and tail wheels are, regrettably, flexible vinyl.

 

 

Fortunately, Barracuda Studios already has us covered with a set of resin smooth tread P-40B wheels.

If you are planning to build your model with the undercarriage retracted, GWH has provided a pair of half-wheels in injection moulded plastic. They even supply different brake lines for the retracted undercarriage legs. Now that is what I call attention to detail.

 

 

Self-adhesive die-cut canopy masks are included too.

 

 

 


 

Markings

All three subjects are finished in the standard scheme of Olive Drab upper surfaces and Neutral Grey below.

The decals are made in China and designed by Galaxy Model.

They are simple US Army markings as worn during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.

They are satin in finish and registration looks good.

 

 

Stencils, wing walks, yellow propeller tips, instrument dials and miscellaneous markings are also included.

Fundekals has conducted extensive research into the markings of these Pearl Harbor P-40Bs, and Jennings Heilig has added this analysis of the kit decals:

  1. US Insignia are incorrect.  Besides the white looking very transparent (possibly an artifact of the scan), the red dots are far too bright and much too large.  

  2. The style of the “U.S. ARMY” lettering doesn’t match photos of P-40Bs and Cs

  3. The style of the “155” and “160” doesn’t match photos of other 15th FG aircraft of the period.  We’ve never found any photos of either Welch’s or Taylor’s specific aircraft (none are likely to exist), but other period photos of 15th FG show a more or less standard 1:4:6 proportioned, 45 degree corner, *not* stencil style numbers.  

  4. The “15P” and “18P” for the tail are only half right.  Both groups carried the plane in group number in addition to the group ID.  We haven’t figured out what the three-digit numbers on the fuselages meant, since they appear to have no relationship to the plane in group number on the tail.

  5. They provide yellow tips for the prop blades.  That might be correct for the 18th FG aircraft (I’m really not sure), but not for Welch’s or Taylor’s aircraft, both of which had the aluminum prop with a maroon back and no yellow tip.  Also doesn’t appear they’ve provided a Curtiss Electric logo for the prop blades

I’ve never seen any official reference for P-40 stencils.  We searched high and low and couldn’t find one, so I’m not sure how accurate or inaccurate their stencils may be.  Hopefully they found an official reference we didn’t.

The kit really is magnificent though.

 

 

Conclusion

 

This is a very impressive model.

Detail is outstanding, parts breakdown is innovative and surface textures are world class but what I really appreciate is that GWH has given the lazy modeller (like me) the option to simply close up the engine bay and flaps, thus avoiding nearly 80 extra plastic parts for the built-up engine and 44 fiddly photo-etched parts for the flaps.

Just about my only complaint is the flexible vinyl tyres. Fortunately, Barracuda Studios offers a set of smoothP-40B wheels with covered hubs that will address this issue.

At last we have a worthy Hawk 81 / P-40B/C in 1/32 scale.

Purchased by the reviewer


Review Text and Images Copyright 2023 by Brett Green
Page Created 6 March, 2023
Last updated 7 March, 2023

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