Hasegawa 1/72 P-40N Warhawk '15,000 Anniversary'
|NOTES:||Cartograf decals used|
P-40 with its shark teeth markings is probably the most recognizable allied airplane from WWII because of its service with the AVG Flying Tigers in China against the Japanese. It is ironic that although we associate the shark mouth with the AVG, it was actually the RAF desert air force that painted their Kittyhawks with the shark teeth first. P-40N is the final version of this famous aircraft. Although by the end of the war P-40s were outclassed by the latest German fighters, they soldiered on in areas where the opposition did not include first-line fighters such as the Southwest Pacific and China-Burma-India theaters of operation. For me P-40 holds a special place as it was one of the first planes that I recall building by myself. As always, the shark teeth decals looked very cool.
This is a reboxing of the Hasegawas P-40N with Cartograf decals for the 15000th Warhawk markings. The kit is typical Hasegawa 1/72 warbird: sparse cockpit consisting of a basic seat, the control stick, a cockpit floor with pedals built in and an instrument panel with a decal for the instruments; no sidewall or wheel well details; nicely done landing gears and finely engraved panel lines. The kit comes in typical Hasegawa gray plastic. The kit is engineered with modern building techniques in mind in that the propeller can be attached after the fuselage is assembled thus making the job of painting the aircraft much easier. My sample has pronounced sink marks on some of the thicker parts including on the ramp behind the cockpit (which I caught during the construction) and the lower port wings trailing edge (which I did not notice until the aircraft was finished).
Construction started with test fitting the fuselage and the wings to see how much putty would be needed. To my surprise the fit was excellent; however, one of the fuselage halves (or perhaps both as I could not tell which one) was slightly bent in that when the nose of the halves were joined together the tail ends of the halves were apart and vice-versa. Next I assembled the wings: this is a three piece affair with a single piece for the lower wings and part of the lower fuselage and two upper wings. The fit was excellent as expected and only light sanding was applied to the leading edges to get rid of the seam.
Next attention was paid to the
cockpit. The seat and the control stick were attached to the cockpit floor.
Then it was time for a little painting: the cockpit and the fuselage
sidewalls were painted Gunze interior green; the propeller and the
instrument panel were painted Tamiya gloss black; the radiator interior
framing along with the sidewalls of the radiator intake were painted Model
Master insignia red to match the red shark teeth decals that were to be
applied later. The radiator was painted Gunze metalizer steel.
After the cockpit paint dried, I painted the handle on the control stick Tamiya flat black and the pedals Tamiya chrome silver. I also applied the instrument panel decal. I then glued the interior framing of the radiator to the radiator and glued the assembly to the right fuselage half. I then
glued the fuselage halves together. As mentioned before, the fuselage halves were slightly bent so I first cemented the front portion of the fuselage and after it was dried I glued the rear of the fuselage. I should mention that as much as I tried I was left with a gap between the radiator interior framing and the front of the fuselage. Knowing my ability to fill gaps and the fact that this gap is quite obscure, I decided to let the gap be as I just couldn't see myself filling that gap without major loss of detail around the nose.
After the fuselage halves were assembled together, I attached the instrument panel and the cockpit. Next I sanded the fuselage seams and filled the sink marks on the ramp behind the cockpit with superglue and sanded them flush. Next I assemble the wings to the fuselage. Again the fit was excellent with a touch of filler needed at front of the port wing root. I also painted the instrument panel shroud Tamiya flat black and the very basic gun sight Tamiya chrome silver. As said before, this kit could use an after-market interior.
As I was going to paint the ramp behind the cockpit interior green along with the canopy framing, I dipped the canopy in Future and after it was dried I masked it with Bare Metal Foil. I then airbrushed the canopy and the ramp behind the cockpit Gunze interior green. After the paint was dried I attached the canopy to the fuselage with Model Master clear parts glue. The fit was excellent except for the fact that in the process of sanding the filler for the ramp sink holes I had inadvertently sanded away a bit of the fuselage beneath the canopy. That meant that I had to fill this slight gap with some Model Master clear parts glue. I also attached the flaps behind the radiator intake and the tail planes.
Next I separated the landing gear door covers as they were molded in one piece. I cut them as best as I could; however, since there is no guide grooves for where to cut the main gear doors I think I cut one of them too much. Next I detached the landing gears and struts and cleaned them up along with the wheels. I then assembled the bomb and its braces and sanded the seam. I also detached the spinner and its back plate and cleaned them up. It was now time to paint the aircraft.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
I started by painting the bomb, the spinner, the landing gears, the wheels, the rudder and the tips of the wings with Tamiya gloss white. The spinner, the wheels and the bomb were painted white as to provide opacity for the red and blue colors that would cover them. The wing tips and the rudder where painted white because I did not know how opaque the decals that would cover them would be.
After the paint was dry I masked the wing tips and the rudder with Tamiya masking tape. I also masked the portion of the bomb that was to stay white. Even though a decal is provide for the white portion of the bomb, I thought that painting the white portion would actually be better. I also stuffed the radiator opening with wet tissue paper. Now it was time to paint the wheel wells and the insides of the landing gear doors. For that I used Tamiya yellow green which according to Tom Cleaver is an excellent match for yellow zinc chromate. I also painted the spinner, the spinner back plate and the front of the bomb Tamiya gloss red with my airbrush. In addition, I airbrushed the main wheels and the rear of the bomb Gunze bright blue. I also hand painted the rear wheel hub and lower portions of the landing gears this color. The upper part of the main landing gears as well as the tail wheel was hand painted Tamiya gloss red.
After these were dry, I masked the wheel wells and the bomb except for its fin section. I then painted the underside of the aircraft as well as the fins on the bomb and the outside of the landing gear doors Gunze neutral gray. I also hand painted the braces on the bomb that color. I then airbrushed the topside of the aircraft Gunze olive drab II as per instructions. I also painted the tips of the propeller Tamiya flat yellow. I painted the tires Gunze tire black, sprayed the exhaust stacks with Model Master burnt iron metallizer and painted the fuse on the bomb Tamiya chrome silver.
After letting the paint cure for a couple of days, I removed the masks on the wing tips and the rudder and applied a coat of Future to the model and let it dry for a day. Now it was time for decaling. Although I had read good things about Cartograf decals, I must say that I was not impressed with the decals on this kit. First of all some of the reds were slightly off-register (something that is not immediately obvious but I found on closer inspection). More importantly, although the decals were thin and opaque, they were very, very, very stiff to the point that they stood proud of the surface. This was not helped by the fact in order to make the decaling of this aircraft easier, all the insignias on top each wing consisted of a single decal, the ones on the bottom of the wings consist of two decals for each wing and there is a single decal for the insignias on each side of the fuselage. These decals did not react to Micro Set and Micro Sol gave them a bad case of wrinkle which had to be smoothed out with a Micro Sol dipped Q-tip. I tried to help the adhesion of some of the decals by cutting slits on the decal carrier film between the insignia before applying them. I hoped that the slits would accommodate absorption of the Micro Sol by the decals but to no avail. Overall I was left with some tiny bubbles which I could not detect until after I had applied the flat top coat at which time it was too late to do anything about them. Anyway, I think the correct way of applying these decals is to cut each individual insignia with very little carrier film and apply them separately. I also had some problems with the shark teeth decals as they were very stiff and had hard time conforming to the fuselage especially behind the spinner, in front of the radiator intake.
After the decaling was done I sprayed the model with Micro flat. I also spray Micro Flat onto the propeller which caused its decals to fly away. This made me even less impressed by the decals as this was the first time that something like this had happened to me. After the flat coat was dry I painted the guns on each wing red, white and blue according to the instructions using Tamiya paint for the red and the white and Gunze bright blue for the blue. I also painted the tip of the pitot tube Tamiya chrome silver. I touched-up some areas around the wing tip and rudder decals with the appropriate colors (either red or blue) in order fill any gaps that were left between the decals. It was here that painting the wing tips white really paid off since if the area beneath the decals were painted olive drab the touch-up colors would not have matched the decal colors. Now it was time to add the final bits and pieces.
Final construction consisted of attaching the wheels to the landing gears and attaching them to fuselage as well as attaching the landing gear doors with superglue after removing the wheel well masks. I also attached the propeller and the spinner. I then removed the canopy masking and noticed that the Future on one of the rear most panes on the canopy had been marred. I did not know how to deal with it so I left it as it is for now trying to figure out how to remove it. I also made an aerial from stretched sprue and connected it between the antenna and the tail using superglue. I then painted the aerial black. I also painted the wing lights on the starboard and port wing Tamiya clear blue and Humbrol clear red respectively after I had painted them with Tamiya chrome silver. I then attached the exhaust stacks. The model was now finished.
On the plus side this kit had excellent fit and from a construction point of view was well-engineered. On the minus side, the bare cockpit and the lack wheel well details certainly were disappointments. Also the decals were hard to handle although I think some of my troubles came from me being too lazy to detach each individual insignia and apply them separately. The sink marks were also a disappointment. Asides from these, while I am not completely happy with the end results, I think the aircraft is attractive. Overall grade: B.
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