Hobbycraft 1/48 P-40B/C Tomahawk

KIT #: 1450
PRICE: $9.90
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Pablo Calcaterra

Starfighter Decals 4807


Much has been said about Pearl Harbor, the lack of preparedness of the defenses, Roosevelt’s knowledge of what was coming, the perfect Japanese attack that only achieved tactical success but woke up the giant. I won’t be speaking about these even more when you consider that this is a US based website! (Not that it should make a difference. Ed)

Anyway my admiration for Welch and Taylor emanates from the movie made in the 60s when they single handily took off to face the onslaught (at least that is the way it is presented but we know there were more pilots that managed to take off and shot down some attackers)

They managed to take off and dogfight even against the famous Zero until they were caught while taking off and damaged, Taylor returning to earth injuring in one arm and Welch still managing to shoot down another one…and that was the end of their involvement on December 7th 1941. The plane I have built is Taylor's who is credited with 4 kills on this day and 2 more in later years. He went to the Philippines towards the end of the war as leader of a P-38 squadron.

Most of the times siding with the underdogs I had to build one of these famous planes, flown when everything was going wrong for the Allies. 


Tackling again another one of the maligned Hobbycraft Curtiss fighters in which many P-40 and export versions are based. Many parts are not needed for this reason. Putty is not needed at all in this kit because there are no inserts to be used on the fuselage (like on the radial versions). This makes the process much easier. Decals supplied are for three Pearl Harbor planes and one from the Philippines


All the interior (seats, cockpit, wheel wells, air intake) were painted Zinc Chromate (a mix of Interior Green and Yellow in my case). Stick, panel, consoles in black. PE seatbelts were painted in beige and added to the seat. With all the details added (including drops of Future to represent the glass of the dials) the fuselage halves were closed and a very good fit was achieved. Some sanding was required to merge the union of both halves.

The propeller blades were left aside (painted in black with yellow tips). The wings and fuselage to wings unions posed no problems. Just a little bit of white acrylic base here and there to cover some tiny gaps. The horizontal tail surfaces don’t have the panel lines so these were very easily engraved and then glued in place. Landing gear was glued in place (minus the wheels). Very fast and with no fuss the plane was ready for the painting booth.


Check your references as there are many pictures of the P-40s around December 7th and they show that there were some with aluminum propellers, others had the demarcation lines higher or lower…so I used my best guess for this plane.

With all openings masked the entire plane received a coat of xxx gray to check for imperfections and if they were non-existent then proceeded with the top colour. Nothing was found so after masking the undersides with paper, tape and worms of blue tac the propeller hub, top and sides of the plane were painted Olive Drab. Part of wings and fuselage were masked and the antislipping panels were painted in matt black at the root of the wings.

A nice coat of Future was used to achieve a smooth surface for the decals. These came for the set Starfighter Decals 4807 “Pearl Harbor Defenders” . References for the stencils are a little bit vague in the instructions (the ones in the Hobbycraft kit were U/S being too old and cracked plus not having the numbers for either Welch or Taylor’s planes) so I had to resort to the Airfix directions found in Internet.

Decals had absolutely no problem following the panel lines and were a pleasure to use. They were sealed with a coat of matt varnish and no silvering was found.


I glued the wheels, propeller blades and hub, tail wheel, pitot tube and machine guns. The exhausts were painted in black (openings) and rust and then glued in place. A couple of small landing gear doors were attached as the bead and ring gunsight (oversized Hobbycraft!). Navigation lights were painted in green, red (wings) and white (tail). Finally the windshield was attached along with the two windows behind the sliding canopy which was sat in place.


The easiest Hobbycraft kit I have ever built. It goes together very fast and with no fuss. I have read that it is not accurate with panel lines wrong or the wings being positioned to tall on the fuselage. I am not a P-40 expert but the final product has the nice aggressive look of the in-line version of the famous Curtiss fighter.

Let this be my tribute to Welch, Taylor and all the other brave pilots who took off to face the Japanese in Pearl and the Philippines in a desperate situation and against overwhelming odds.

Pablo Calcaterra

July 2014

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