Revell/Monogram 1/48 P-40B Tigershark
$14.99 SRP, but you can find it for less
Scott Van Aken
The early P-40 was basically an attempt to take a known
quality, the P-36, and make it faster. To do so, they used the same flight
surfaces as the earlier plane and modified the fuselage to accept the Alison
V-1710 twelve cylinder water cooled engine. The displacement of this power
plant was actually less than the P-36s R-1830, however, it was generally
easier to extract more horsepower from a liquid cooled in-line engine and
this engine lowered the frontal area of the plane increasing its ability to
slip through the air.
Curtiss had been in cahoots with the US Army Air Corps
for years so it was not surprising that the type found favor with the brass
and was soon put into production. It was considered to be a 'hot ship' by
many of the pilots who flew it and so for a period of time, was the darling
of the Air Corps. However, when compared to what was fighting in the skies
above Europe at the time, it was not all that great. The plane was pretty
much an average performance in all flight regimes except for the dive where
its weight and strong construction allowed it to excel.
Such was the strength of the type, that the British (who
were really rather desperate for anything bordering on a modern aircraft)
bought a number of them and used them in North Africa where the general
quality of the opposition was lower. They were also exported to China who
were also rather desperate for modern fighters in their war against China.
China also needed quality pilots as they simply did not have all that many.
It was into this atmosphere that the Flying Tigers were borne and while they
saw no actual combat until after the war started, they were flown with skill
by seconded US military pilots against seasoned Japanese opponents.
Though the Flying Tigers get most of the press for the
early P-40, it was the British in North Africa nearly a year earlier who
first took the Curtiss fighter into combat. The P-40 was able to keep up
with Italian and German fighters when flown by skilled pilots, who
appreciated it heavy firepower and strong construction. The P-40 was always
a low altitude fighter thanks to its un-turbocharged engine, so it was used
as much for ground attack as it was for offensive fighter operations. Such
was the pace of the war that the P-40B/C was considered obsolete by late
1942 and relegated to training or other secondary roles.
is surprising to the many fans of the early P-40, that despite
numerous attempts in this scale to produce a definitive kit of this
plane, so far the Monogram version from the Jurassic is still the
most accurate around. Even the two new 2016 releases by Airfix and
Bronco apparently have their issues. According to the embossing on
the inside of the wing, this is a 1964 initial release so you have
an idea of how long other companies have been trying to beat it.
Despite its age, this particular release is still very nicely
molded. There is not the mass of flash one would expect from a
tooling this old, making one wonder if Revell cut replacement
tooling using the old molds. Unlike some older Monogram kits, this
one has an interior of sorts with some detail on the inside of the
fuselage halves. There is a seat to which one attaches the control
stick and the pilot. This and the flap handle attach to a floor
piece. An instrument panel attaches to the inside of the fuselage
and pins on the floor fit into sockets on the right fuselage half.
After one glues the fuselage halves together, there is a nose piece
that includes the radiator intake and the front of the gun fairings.
The aft fairings are then attached. The last time I built this kit
(which was the 1980s), I recall this nose piece not fitting all that
well. There is a prop shaft that attaches to the back half of the
spinner that should be assembled prior to adding the nose.
Tailplanes are single pieces and each side has three large ejector
pin marks on the underside. There is a tail gear housing that
incorporates the doors into which a swivelable tail gear is
attached. The kit has separate flaps that can be posed lowered,
though there is nothing in the upper wing to prevent you looking all
the way through the cockpit! There are hinge pieces that attach to
the lower wing to hold these in place.
gear consist of a strut and four piece wheel assembly. There are two
tire pieces that are then trapped between wheel halves. This is to
allow the wheels to roll. THe kit offers both single piece closed
clear bits and four piece open clear bits. On the bottom of the
fuselage fits a drop tank which is held to the bottom of the wing by
a large pin.
Instructions are well done and the current style with generic and
FS595 color info. Markings are unchanged over the decades and offer
an 8th PG plane which is really rather boring. Then a 403 Squadron
RCAF plane coded KH*R in RAF colors. Finally he box art flying tiger
which apparently has the wrong aircraft number for 'Hell's Angels',
the 3rd squadron of the AVG. The decal sheet is well printed and
there have been a lot of aftermarket sheets printed over the years
that will fit this kit. As a note, I'm pretty sure the fuselage band
and letters for the RCAF option should not be white.
It never ceases to amaze me that a kit of this vintage is still
the most accurate in outline over anything yet produced. It can
be found on the cheap, is fairly easy to build and thanks to
Starfighter Decals, a Medallion Models cockpit set is available
to help what is the weakest part of the kit. Now, Revell needs
to toughen up their boxes. I ordered this from Amazon who
promptly put it in the bottom of the shipping box, piling other
heavier things atop it. Results: several holes punched in the
box and a rather wrinkled presentation!
My thanks to me for picking this one up.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page
Back to the Review