Hasegawa 1/72 KittyHawk Mk.1A
KIT #: B9
PRICE: 350 yen SRP back in 1977 (which was about $1.25 at the then-current exchange rate.)
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Initial boxing


The P-40 was a development of the P-36 that utilized a liquid-cooled V-12 engine to provide a higher speed than what was available with the radial engine P-36. In that means it was successful and when the US entered WWII, it was the most widely used aircraft in the USAAC. It was not the 'dog' that many consider it to be. At low and medium altitude it was able to hold its own against German and Italian aircraft. This was proven in North Africa while in the hands of the RAF and Commonwealth air forces prior to America's entry into the war. It was also useful in the SWPA and CBI where its fairly long range and rugged construction was effective against Japanese rifle calibre machine guns.

The Warhawk/Kittyhawk really made its mark in the ground attack role. Despite its liquid cooled engine, which made it susceptible to ground fire, the P-40 was widely used in this role in areas with limited enemy air interference until the end of the war.


The P-40E was the first really combat ready variant and as mentioned, saw action with the RAF and Commonwealth forces where it was called the Kittyhawk. Hasegawa's kit dates from 1977 and has been reissued numerous times, often with a change in decals and box art. The last time it was released was as a double kit in 1944.

My copy is one of the early boxings and is molded in tan plastic. There is a touch of flash on a few parts and mine had a little warping on the wings and fuselage, but this did not turn out to be of any consequence once the parts were glued and clamped. The cockpit is Spartan at the best with a shape for a seat, a floor, control stick and pilot figure. The instrument panel takes a decal and is not prototypical at all.

There is a nice intake piece and the interior fits from the underside so you can glue the cockpit halves together before installing it. Wings are single lower piece with upper halves. Tailplanes are single piece and slot into the tail. Landing gear are well formed, but fairly simplistic without the small struts. Gear doors are molded closed and need to be cut unless doing the model in flight. For things under the fuselage you have a drop tank or bomb. Prop and spinner combo is three pieces. Windscreen and canopy are a single piece with separate quarter windows.

Markings are provided for two aircraft. One is the box art plane with 112 Squadron in the Western Desert during August 1942. The other is a plane in RAF camouflage with the 49th FG at Port Darwin in the spring of 1942. Decals are pretty old so would best be replaced with aftermarket. 

I first did a bit of painting. The interior bits, inside of the cockpit walls were painted interior green. Gear wells and inside of the gear doors were painted chromate green. I used Mission Models paint for these and brushed them on. It took three coats to properly cover as it is really too thin for brush painting.

Once the interior was painted and dry, I used tape to simulate belts. The kit decals supplied the instrument panel decal. This was far too large, but better large than small in this case. After building up the radiator assembly, this and the instrument panel were glued into one side of the fuselage. When dry, the halves were cemented together. As mentioned earlier, the halves were warped and so needed clamps and tape to hold them together until dry.

Meanwhile, I built up the wings. No surprises there, though there was some warping that required clamps as well until it was dry. Note also that the 'knuckles' are not well shaped and will require a bit of filler to deal with the seam that is there. I used super glue, but in retrospect, feel that using epoxy filler would have been a better way to go. Fit of the wing to the fuselage is fair, but not great. Note that there will generally be gaps just inboard of the gear knuckles where the wing joins the fuselage. Once all that was dealt with, I attached the tailplanes. These are keyed so you can't accidentally put the left one on the right side.

I then masked the clear parts. If you don't use clear tape, it can be pretty much impossible to see the frame lines on many Hasegawa kits as they are not raised so cast little shadow when doing the usual method for me of using Tamiya's tape. I don't like using clear tape as it leaves a residue as do some other thin tapes. So I used Eduard CX099, a canopy and wheel mask set designed for the Hasegawa P-40E. These older sets can be difficult to find, but some good searching will generally locate a set. A nice thing about this set is that the wheel masks can either mask the tire or the hub. I usually pick the hub set.

This aircraft would be fairly easy to paint. I used up the last of my Model Master neutral grey for all the undersides, the belly tank, the outside of the wheels, and the outside of the gear doors. This area was then masked to some extent and the upper surfaces were painted with Mr.Color olive drab (1), which is fairly dark. Landing gear was then painted aluminum.

When that was done, the prop (which was painted black with yellow tips) was attached to the front of the kit. Main landing gear was then glued in place. It was then time for adding the decals. I chose Aeromaster 72-022 which included markings for the 343rd FG based at Kiska in1942. I picked this scheme as it was pretty much the same as the first aftermarket decals I ever used on a kit. Then it was the Microscale sheet and used on a Revell P-40E.

The decals were not a good choice. First of all, the tiger head did not have an opening for the exhaust and was a real pain to get into place. Secondly, the markings were oversize. I discovered the same issue with the off register insignia. The sheet also did not include the white stripes. I junked the insignia and took those and the stripes from a decal sheet provided in the Academy kit. Stripes were too short and Academy decals are rather stiff so that even setting solution is not very useful in getting them to snuggle down. I did use the Aeromaster tail numbers as the Academy ones were too large and broke apart.

After all that drama, I finished things up by attaching the prop, wheels and the landing gear door covers. Then the fuel tank was glued in place and the model given a coat of Tamiya flat clear. Some final painting of exhaust, guns and position lights was done followed by some pastels for exhaust stains.


In case you haven't figured it out, this is not the best 1/72 P-40 on the market. However, it can be found for very little money on the second hand market and unless you drop the nearly completed kit, will be fairly fuss free. A nice one for the shelf. Save the Academy and Special Hobby kits for the contest room.  

I should also mention that after finishing the kit, I discovered that the fuselage stripe should be slanted forward at the bottom. In my defense, every aftermarket sheet and drawing I've seen of this plane shows the bottom portion slanted aft. I should have paid attention to TC's build of many years ago as he got it right.

July 2020

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