Price: $18.95

Decals: Edward Nollmeyer's P-40K

Accuracy: Acceptable

Overall: B+

Reviewed By: Thomas McKelvey Cleaver (THE AERONUT)

Date of Review: 13 October 1997

The Curtiss P-40K is AMT/ERTL's second go at the P-40 series (and if it's true they're going to stick to car models from now on, it may be their last). The K was essentially a P-40E that was the first attempt to cure the swing on takeoff that characterized the Warhawk by enlarging the rudder; this was ultimately solved by lengthening the fuselage.

The kit has the same problems the earlier P-40N had if compared to the Mauve P-40 series: overall, it's clunky. I would really only recommend these kits over the Mauve kits if price is the sole factor. The tail section is separate from the main fuselage, which shows AMT/ERTL had plans to do others in the series, as was apparent in the engineering of the P-40N kit. The exhaust stacks are not correct for this version; they should be "fishtail" exhausts. Fortunately, I had once done a conversion of an Accurate Miniatures P-51A to a P-51B before the Tamiya kit came out, and kept those fishtail exhausts, knowing they'd come in handy some day.

The clunkiness shows in many ways: fabric detail on the control surfaces is limited to raised lines with no other attempt to simulate the fabric covering, as should now be de rigeur on state-of-the-art kits, and the cockpit detail leaves more than a bit to complain about; the problem is best solved with a True Details cockpit, which was what I did. I also used Squadron's P-40M vacform canopy, inasmuch as the canopy is way too thick.

The decals are unacceptable to anyone but a beginner who doesn't know any better. If you want to do Nollmeyer's airplane, Micro Scale had it on their P-40 sheet, and the sheet has been re-released by SuperScale. I chose to use the new Monogram ProModeller P-40 decals, which had just arrived at the local hobby shop when I got this kit. Col. Robert L. Scott's P-40K when he was C.O. of the 23rd Fighter Group is among its choices. This is the aircraft he named "Old Eliminator" and mentions in his famous book, "God Is My Co-Pilot."

If I was doing this aircraft again, I would get a Mauve P-40M/Kittyhawk III and modify it. I believe Aeromaster has a P-40K rudder among their cast-resin aftermarket sets. Once you have spent the money necessary to get the various aftermarket parts to bring this kit up to snuff, you're not that far off the price for the Mauve kit with a True Details cockpit, and it will be by far the better-looking model.

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