Hasegawa 1/48 scale P-40N
I decided to write this one a little more in-depth than my previous posts. Not a full-blown review by any means, but just a little more “color.” I hope this is an improvement over my previous few posts!
Here is Hasegawa's 1/48 P-40N. This project had its roots established back in the 1970s or early 80s. I was building another Hasegawa kit back then – their newly-released 1/72 P-40N. After pouring over my (then) meager reference library, I came across a profile in “Aces of the Southwest Pacific” of a P-40N with a flower painted on the nose. I had been pondering doing my first ‘custom'-marked aircraft (ie not using the kit decals or other, commercially available ones). I thought I could do a decent freehand paint job on the flower, and could cobble together the serial number from a MicroScale sheet, so away I went. I was very pleased with the outcome, and that model held a place of pride for many years on my shelves.
Fast forward to just a few years ago, and I am once again gawking at another Hasegawa P-40N, only this time it's in “my” 1/48 scale and it has all the refinements of a modern kit. While surfing the net looking at various decal sheets, I spotted the Zotz “P-40N Warhawks” release, and there before my eyes was the scheme I did those many years ago! My plan came together quickly, and said kit and decal sheet were obtained.
This particular P-40 was flown by Capt. Robert DeHaven, who later flew P-38s and ended the war with 10 victories. He survived the war to eventually become (among other things) Howard Hughes' personal pilot, as well as chief test pilot with Hughes. Sadly, I found out after the fact that he passed away in 2008.
The Hasegawa 1/48 kit is about as good as it gets – highly detailed cockpit, beautiful engraved details, and a nice fit just about everywhere. Unfortunately, Hasegawa uses cockpit area inserts to allow the same set of molds to create fuselages for the P-40E as well as the N, and these inserts don't exactly line up perfectly. Using the guidance of several reviews on the web, I attached each insert to its respective fuselage half, thus lining up panel lines as best possible, and then joined the halves. The stellar fit everywhere else was a little absent in this area. Nothing some putty, sanding, and a scriber can't fix!
The kit is OOB with the exception of Eduard pre-painted seatbelts and some wire for brake lines. I used Tamiya paints throughout. Antenna is stretched sprue with a small section of polyamide tubing used to simulate the tension spring near the tail. I also substituted the sliding canopy section from an old Eduard kit as it was slightly larger and fit down over the rear canopy in the open position much better than the Hasegawa one.
The Zotz decals went on beautifully. My build of decades ago was missing the ‘Rita' marking on the right side (I only had a left side profile then!), but Zotz came to the rescue there. And the iris flower on this sheet is an artistic masterpiece compared to my original attempt way back when.
So, after a very pleasurable build (with time out to grumble about the inserts), I had in my hands a scaled-up, much improved, much more detailed, and much more accurately-marked duplicate of that old “first try” P-40N of mine from many years ago. Despite all that, I'm still proud of the old build that (in a roundabout way) inspired this one! Now if only I could find some pictures of that old 72nd scale job…