Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Warhawk

KIT #: 09635
PRICE: CDN $32.48
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Pablo Calcaterra
NOTES: Superscale 48-492 Decals used


                                     George Preddy’s first (airplane)

I am not going to dwell into lots of details about George Preddy’s story with the P-40. Tom Cleaver’s article (kit 09086) in Modeling Madness retells the actions in which the 49th Group was involved in Australia during the dark months after the beginning of war in the Pacific. The only thing that I want to add is that there was a high amount of over-claiming on both sides.

George Preddy later became the third highest scoring American ace in the ETO, the seventh highest scoring American ace, and is the top P-51 Mustang ace.

But let me share with you the story BEFORE Australia.

George Preddy was born in Greensboro, NC on February 5, 1919. He work in a cotton mill for a year after he graduated from High School. George was an intellectual and had innate athletic abilities, though he was small. He always wanted to compete and build his body and therefore he played sports that did not need a considerable size (in those years) like tennis and basket. He played at the YMCA. His nickname was Mouse, which depicted him as he was small and had large ears (during the war his friends turned his nickname into Ratsy!)

An example of his good heart is that when he learnt that one of his new friends at the YMCA had lost his mother some years ago, he offered him to live with the Preddy family, which “Bozo” Boaz happily accepted.

George worked at the cotton mill to save money for his College studies. He was president of a social club while in high school. It was called the GUB Club. And here were some of his great friends: Bozo, Clyde “Otto” Gaskins, Arnold “Goat” Matthews and many others.

George and Otto built a tree house and hung ropes from trees. They moved from tree to tree like monkeys. They were also always fighting, most of the times George losing to the larger football player Otto. But George never gave up!

College was a means for George to learn to fly. Three years after he graduated from high school he was able to fly for the first time. Hal Foster, a friend of the family took him on a ride to Virginia. That was 1933. George knew at that moment that the he “…must become an aviator”

His instructor was Bill Teague, who owned a Waco. They invested in a second Waco once George soloed. He started to build hours and practice for barnstorming tours. George had learnt to fly in early 1939.

His father granted him permission to try to enter the Navy and became an aviator (Pensacola, Fl) but he failed the physicals: he was considered too small, had a curvature on the spine and had high blood pressure.

He decided to improve his body by strict exercise and his height by getting Bill and Bozo to pull from him! During the summer of 1940 they finally went on the barnstorm tour. One incident that happened during the trips around the mountains is that they found that a little girl was very ill with pneumonia. At no cost, they flew her to the closest airport. Later on they learnt that the girl had fully recovered.

Decided that he was going to fly in fast planes, he passed the exams at the Army Air Corps. He enlisted as a cadet in the National Guard. Immediately he asked to be transferred to the Air Corps, but weeks passed before they answered. Just before his unit was going to be transferred to Puerto Rico, his commanding officer transferred him to a battery that was not being shipped out yet. Before the orders to march for the new battery were received, he was called to join the Army Air Corps in Darr Aero Tech, in Albany, GA (I have been to that airport many times and there is a small exhibition about the service that this base gave during WWII).

Slowly and steadily he made progress, flying ever-faster planes. Just 5 days after the Japanese attack to Pearl Harbor, George and his friends received their wings and he was transferred to the 49th Pursuit Group, 9th Pursuit Squadron (with P-39 Aircobras).

From this point onwards, you can read Preddy’s story in Australia by reading Tom’s very complete article.

After the accident and his recovery, his was sent to rest to the States. On November 1st, 1942 he was reunited with his family and shortly afterwards with Otto and his wife in Charlotte. Ten days latter he was back at an Air Force base and he started to fly P-47 Thunderbolts.

In those monsters he flew in the ETO during 1943, obtaining his first confirmed kill and being shot down into the English Channel when flack hit his razorback.

After his exploits as fighter pilot flying Mustangs, he was licensed for some weeks and returned to the US in September 1944. He received a hero’s welcome in this native Greensboro and gave several speeches. At that time he had scored 22 ½ victories.

When he went back to the ETO, he became Leader of the 328th Squadron. Flying one the Mustangs and after achieving 4 more victories, he was shot down and killed by friendly anti aircraft batteries while chasing a FW190 low over the Ardennes on December 24th, 1944.

Now, you may wonder what is my personal relation with George Preddy?

Well, in 2007 I had to travel from Canada to North Carolina on a business trip. I had NEVER heard about George Preddy before. Yes, about German and British aces, the top scoring American aces like Bong and McGuire, but not Preddy. I arrived at the airport and was surprised to find several large scale blue nosed Mustangs from the ceiling. After wandering around a little bit more, I found a display with models, pictures and text that described the exploits of the Preddy Brothers (George and Bill, also a Mustang pilot shot down and killed shortly after George). While reading the information, an elder gentleman approached me and explained me a little bit more about George Preddy. He was very kind and suggested me buying a copy of George Preddy’s biography at the bookstore located at the airport. I did so and in fact bought the last hard cover copy left!

So back to work, then to Canada and used the flying time to read the book. An excellent book, full of details (highly recommended) and pictures. Upon arriving back home, I sent an email to the members of the Preddy Memorial Foundation. I commented about the senior whom I had talked to, and to my surprise, I leant that he was no other than Otto Gaskins, George’s childhood best friend! He used to go every day to take care of the stand since he retired in 1984 and in 2007 he was 92 years old!!!!

I decided to build George’s last Mustang (published elsewhere with support from the PMF).

Last year (2009) I had to repeat the same trip to Greensboro. I contacted the PMF because I was wondering if I could meet Otto again to have him signing me my copy of my book. Due to the fact that Otto was 94 years old (yes, you’ve read right, 94!) he was not going every day to the airport but I called him and we made arrangements to meet upon my arrival. Yes, there was Otto waiting for me! He led me to an area at the Airport that has several paintings remembering George’s adventures in the war, I purchased two prints of the beautiful artwork called White Flight (which describes the moments prior to George’s record 5 kills in one combat) that Otto graciously signed for me, and also got a PMF pin! But it did not finish there. He led me to his house where he was living with his wife and showed me pictures, books and other things from his times as a pilot in the Amazons in the ‘50s in Brazil. What a gentleman!

After the passing of Otto’s second wife some months ago, he moved to a house close to his daughters in Chapel Hill, NC and is not able to take care of the Preddy’s display at the airport anymore.

I have framed on the prints, gave the second one to one of my Argentina’s Air Force veteran friend and decided to make a little memorial at home to remember George Preddy. So I printed George’s picture that Otto likes the most, framed it and placed it along Cripes A’Mighty 3rd, the pin and now…Tarheel.

This article is dedicated to Otto Gaskins, who is a shinning example of loyalty and friendship. After all those years, Otto is still helping to keep his best friends’ memory alive.

Thanks, Otto!


Hasegawa’s Kittyhawk has decals to build 2 of Neville Duke’s North Africa planes. I searched for a P-40 that would allow me to build George first fighter…and my friends from Hornet Hobbies in Toronto found the Hase Kittyhawk. Wrong decals, but every single part that allows you to make the correct P-40…and many more! Two different types of rudder are supplied, along with different intakes and bits that allow you to build several configurations. From my point of view, good to have those options but the problem is that it is over engineered and therefore there are several unions of parts that need to be sanded out. More below…


Like always, I pre painted all the interiors (cockpit, wheel wells, air intakes) in US Interior Green. Everything fits really well. I added some PE seat belts from the spares. Instrument panel was painted in black, dry brushed in silver and drops of Future were added to replicate the face of the gauges.

I put together the fuselage halves and added the back part of the fuselage (there is a small gap that I filled with Putty). In this picture you can also appreciate the amount of filler used to cover the gaps between fuselage and supplied headrest area.

Then I continued with the wings. Nothing special except some heavy use of Putty again, this time around the machine guns inserts.

There was a tiny gap in the top union of the wings and fuselage that I corrected using Acrylic base, a brush and a damp cloth.

Construction moved ahead pretty fast with no other problem found except the ordinary sanding here and there.

The plane was ready to be painted.


After masking the cockpit and areas to be protected, I tried to pre shade all the panel lines. Something I had not tried in many years. It was not that bad!

Then I gave the undersides a coat in Neutral Gray (MM Acrylic 4757), taking care to leave the black lines somehow visible (but I was not very successful on this side of the plane)

I masked the undersides and moved to the topside. Here Olive Drab (MM Acrylic 4728) worked much better and managed to get a decent, though subtle, pre shade.

Using sanded black and rust pastels and a brush I dirtied the plane here and there (exhausts, machine guns, moveable surfaces, etc).

I added the wheels and gave the kit a coat of Future. After the application of Future I added some “chipping” with a silver pen.

I stated in the initial information, I used Superscale decals. The Superscale set represents the first version of George’s Tarheel, before the puffing dragon was added to the right side of the nose.

They adhere very well, have good registry but…the white has lots of “pixels” and it does not back the blue color completely (national insignias) so you end up with two shades of blue…a lighter in the center and a darker “rim”.

They went very well with Set and Sol and conformed very well to the panels.

One thing missing in the SuperScale set (probably because they assume you’ve bought an American kit and not a British one…ahem!) is the “U.S. Army” lettering for the undersides.

As I had built the Otaki P-40 many years ago, I was able to retrieve these decals. But they were yellowed. So I had to trim all the clear carrier film, one by one, and put them in place. Instead of putting 2 decals, I had to apply 8! But they withstood very well my treatment.


The standard steps to finish the plane took place:

Propeller, propeller hub, wheels, wheels doors, antenna, gunsight, canopy and details here and there.

I painted the formation lights and the plane was finished when I glued the windshield.


An excellent kit, easy to assemble as any Tamigawa one!


George Preddy, Top Mustang Ace (Joe Noah and Samuel L. Sox, Jr)

Preddy Memorial Foundation website

Conversations with Otto Gaskins and his daughter Twink Lester

Pablo Calcaterra

September 2010

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