Hasegawa 1/48 Kittyhawk Mk.IV
|PRICE:||2400 yen when new|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
2007 Limited Edition
The P-40 built in the greatest numbers was the P-40N. It was originally developed to be a lighter version of the previous models, which had gained significant weight due to added systems. The first P-40N-1 aircraft had the longer fuselage, only two guns per wing and smaller wheels among some of the more major weight saving reductions. As production increased, a new rear canopy section was added to improve rearward visibility. Most units were willing to sacrifice a bit of speed for the return to the six-gun set up.
By the time these planes entered service, they were operating in areas where enemy air opposition was fairly minimal so the additional weight wasn't a major issue. The aircraft were issued to a lot of allied nations where they proved to be fairly good fighter-bombers, with most of their missions being ground attack rather than air superiority. Several countries continued operating the type after the end of the war.
This is one of Hasegawa's better selling kit lines. They have developed tooling that allows a variety of the Allison engine types to be kitted from a base of standard sprues. It is also helpful that the P-40 airframe changed very little from the P-40D until the end of production. This means inserts, which are pretty much the norm any more. It also means that the P-40 fuselage comes in a front and rear section to take into account the shorter and longer tails. Most modelers have found it wise to glue the front and rear sides together first before joining the halves.
The kit has a very nice cockpit and offers decals for the instruments if you so wish to go this route. About the only thing I'd consider adding to the cockpit would be a seat harness. Once the cockpit and forward radiator inlet assembly are build up, you can join the halves. Hasegawa has provided paired exhaust (three per side) and there is some sort of light on the fuselage side that is not required for the N so that can be filled/sanded down.
Wings are single lower section with two upper halves. There are inserts in the lower wing for the shell ejection chutes and you also have an insert for the wing guns. An option for clear formation lights is provided, though you have to cut away the ones molded in place. The only separate contro surface is the rudder, but that will make some decal options easier to deal with.
For under the wings you have the option of a drop tank or a 500 lb bomb. Landing gear are well done and you can have either spoked or covered wheels. In truth, these are the standard wheels and not the smaller ones developed for the N. I should mention that in the field, it was not unusual for the larger ones to be substituted, so the choice is yours. For the smaller wheels, you'll have to deal with aftermarket.
There is a light in the 'knuckle' for the landing gear that gets painted over or you can fill it in. I find this the be the worst fitting part on the kit. The windscreen, canopy and rear section are all separate and while you can pose the canopy open, it is a bit too thick to do it properly.
Instructions are standard fare for current Hasegawa kits with Gunze paint references. Two options are provided. One is the box art plane with the RAAF's 78 wing in 1945. This is in OD over neutral grey with white ID markings on the wings and tail section. The other is a 'sand and stone' aircraft with azure blue undersides when with 112 squadron in Italy during 1944. The decals are the new style where the whites are actually white so quite usable.
Many of us have built a Hasegawa P-40 in this scale so we know what to expect. The fit is generally quite good and it will leave you with an excellent model for your shelf right out of the box. Those who wish to pour money into aftermarket have the opportunity to do so as there is a lot on the market for this kit.
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