Hasegawa 1/72 Kittyhawk Mk1a "RNZAF"
|KIT:||Hasegawa 1/72 Kittyhawk Mk1a "RNZAF"|
|PRICE:||$14.75 at GreatModels|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The British had their Hurricane and the US had the P-40. It was an aircraft that was on the brink of obsolescence, but was what the USAAC had when war started in late 1941. Despite it being heavier and less maneuverable than the aircraft it was up against, it did have a rugged construction, decent firepower, and could dive out of any battle it found itself involved in.
Using the planes superior diving speed and good armament, the P-40 was able to hold its own against the best that the Japanese had, as long as the pilot used diving attacks and refused to get into dogfights. Thanks to its use with the RAF in North Africa, the P-40E variant was equipped with the sort of things that help pilots survive in combat; self sealing fuel tanks and armor plating. In fact, the P-40 excelled as a ground attack aircraft, despite having a liquid cooled engine and at low level was a fair combat aircraft. It was enough to keep the plane in production until near the end of the war and ensured its use with a number of Allied air forces.
When Hasegawa started with the engraved panel line thing in the late 1970s or early 1980s, the P-40E was one of those aircraft in the initial offering. They provided a good shape, crisp detailing and an excellent starting place for additional detailing. It also allowed Hasegawa to produce the two major variants (the P-40E and P-40N) using most of the same sprues. That in turn allowed a multiplicity of different boxings with little different from them aside from decals.
This is one of those kits.
Over the decades the molds have held up well. There is a tiny bit of flash, but not that much. Detailing is still very good with crisply engraved panel lines and a good fabric representation on the control surfaces. We still have a rather generic cockpit, with but a decal for the instrument panel, but there are oodles of aftermarket bits for this one, including a very nice and inexpensive cockpit set. The only things offered for options are the choice between a bomb and a drop tank for under the fuselage.
We all know that Hasegawa instructions are great and have Gunze paint references. Markings are for two planes, both of them in standard RAF colors of Dark Green/Dark Earth over Sky. One is the box art plane from 15 Squadron during 1942 with pretty much RAF roundels. The other is from 16 Squadron about the same time, but this one has modified fuselage and upper wing roundels more like what the RNZAF flew with later in the war. Decals are well printed and the codes actually look to be Sky or a Light Grey.
Yes, this is the same kit you spent $5 on when it was new, only now it is around $15; or more if you pay retail. Still, it is an excellent build and has few, if any vices. It really does need a resin cockpit and another $6 or so on top of your purchase price will get you a real jewel when you are done.
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