Monogram 1/48 P-40B Tomahawk






three options


Scott Van Aken


1973 boxing


Probably one of the ten most well known aircraft in history and also the first US aircraft that went into really large scale production. The P-40 was basically a mating of a P-36 airframe with an Allison in-line, liquid cooled engine. While the engine gave good performance at low level, at altitudes above 20,000 feet it was not exactly a sterling performer. This rugged airframe was used in all theaters of war during WWII and by many Allied air forces. It gained its greatest fame from its use by the American Volunteer Group (AVG), better known as the Flying Tigers. When the unit's brief 6 month history came to an end in July of 1942, it was incorporated into the USAAF as the 23rd FG. Even today, the 23rd continues operations from bases in the East Coast of the US.



Initially molded in 1964(!), the Monogram P-40 is still considered by many to be the most accurate early P-40 kit around. In fact, compared to the much newer Hobbycraft kit, it only really suffers in terms of method of panel lines and in a slightly lower level of overall detail in terms of cockpit and wheel wells. The Monogram kit is, of course, a child of its age with raised detailing and the ever-present mass of rivets, considered so essential in the 1950s and 60s. My example is molded in a relatively flash-free olive drab plastic. There are some areas of sinkage near alignment pins and on the pilot figure. Ejector pin marks are found in many places like the inside of gear doors, the inside of flaps on one side of the horizontal stabs and so on. This is typical for the era when we didn't care about such things.

The cockpit is fairly well appointed with a floor (incorporating rudder pedals), separate seat (with a slot in it for the pilot), control stick and instrument panels. There are also some side bits for the interior framework. The flaps are a 'working' feature with small tabs on the lower wings. There is no upper flap (or actually underside of the upper wing) detail and you can easily see into the cockpit. No wheel well detail is provided wither and the wheels are designed to roll. Both open and closed gear doors are provided should you wish an in-flight model. Two canopies are provided; one fully closed and one open. The clear bits are thick and distorted. Only a drop tank is provided for under the fuselage and no braces are given.

In the age this kit was developed, photos of the construction sequences were the norm and this has those. There are 17 of these sequences, each accompanied by a written sequence. An exploded view of the kits parts is also provided which is a nice addition. Painting information is provided in a separate section, giving generic names to all the colors used. There are three markings options: the box art plane from the AVG, an OD/Neutral Grey USArmy plane from what seems to be the 8th Pursuit Squadron, and a British Tomahawk in what seems to be desert camouflage. I'm assuming it is 112 Sq as it retains a shark mouth.  Decals are well printed, glossy and a touch thick. I'd also bet that the white and yellow are a bit transparent as they tend to blend in with the light blue background. However, they have not yellowed after 30 years and probably will still work quite well.


Despite the age of the kit, this can be built into a very nice model, especially if you sink some aftermarket bits into it and do a bit of extra work with card stock to take care of the wheel wells and flap area. There is an excellent review of a kit to which this was done in the Review Archives. If you have no fear of a bit of extra work, then I'd recommend picking one of these up. You can find them for under $10 at swap meets.

Kit courtesy of me and my constant digging through the vendor's tables at swap meets!

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