Review: Airfix 1/48th P-40B Warhawk Build Review, Part 2
This article is part of a series:
After having had a look at what is in the box in part 1 (http://imodeler.com/2017/03/airfix-148th-p-40b-warhawk-build-review-part-1/), it is time to actually start building this thing. And we all know how this goes, right?
Construction starts with the cockpit…
You don't say. Anyway, the cockpit goes together quite well, if you keep in mind to first check for flash on all mating surfaces. With the side structure, seat, instrument panel, and guns it is all a very tight fit, so you will want to avoid any unnecessary plastic interfering with the fit.
The cockpit was first given a primer coat with Tamiya Flat Black, then sprayed with GCS (Gunze, that is) US Interior Green, mixed with a bit of light grey to achieve the right colour for Curtiss aircraft. Small details were painted with Life Color Acrylics, my favourite brand when it comes to brush painting.
After a gloss coat of Tamiya X-22 the decals were applied. This can be a bit tricky because of the raised rivet detail interfering with the small placards – keep your setting solution at hand!
Weathering was done using MIG panel line washes, pastels, and a soft pencil.
In the pictures you can see small sink marks on the gun receivers. As they will be buried inside the cockpit, I did not bother filling them.
Not to be nosey, but…
Yeah, it's cheap pun season where I live. Which brings us to the nose section, an area somewhat disputed on the internet because of its shape. Depending on who you ask, it is either spot on, or having too much of a bend. To me, it looks ok, comparing well to the line drawings in the Detail&Scale and Tornado publications.
Building it, however, is a bit of a handful. The nose section is made up of six parts, including the fuselage halves, inserts for the gun mounts, and inserts for the spinner and air scoop. Getting all of this to align properly can be tricky if you rush it. And even if you take your time, as I did, you most probably will end up with a gap on the underside which will need to be filled with sheet styrene and filler.
After everything is cobbled together, you might want to give the front face a sanding to make sure it is flat, otherwise you will end up with gaps around the spinner.
Everyone's favourite thing when building planes are the wing joints. Not. Airfix has taken an interesting approach to this area, providing you with separate parts to go between the fuselage and the actual wings. These parts come with beautifully raised rivet detail, something you will want to preserve during the installation process.
The fit in general is ok-ish. I would suggest attaching the wing roots to the fuselage first, making sure everything lines up without the need for filling and sanding (remember those rivets!). After this is done, attaching the wings is again a matter of taking your time, test-fitting and removing flash where necessary. You will, however, end up with seams that need filler work.
The wing's trailing edges are another topic of discussion. It has been mentioned somewhere else that there should be a gap between upper and lower wing, replicating the separation between wing and flaps. One can argue, however, that this gap is too big or not sharp enough. As I was not able to find useful pictures of that area, I really can't tell.
What I can tell is that the leading edge fairing for the wheel bays is an eyesore if not corrected. These parts just do not fit the way they should, making necessary some filling and reshaping work.
Other bits and bobs
The rest of the build is quite uneventful, with all the parts behaving as they should. Airfix did a good job providing you with a strong joint for the main undercarriage, something not to be taken for granted given the flimsy character of the real thing.
The spinner assembly needs care, otherwise you will end up with some ugly seams around the prop blades. The propeller comes all three blades molded into one part, which should be mounted into the spinner assembly. I cut off the blades before gluing the spinner together, thereby giving me easy access to the gap areas.
So, what's with the second impression?
I like this kit. It is as simple as that. Sure, it has its share of small issues. Sure, having to deal with ejector pin marks is just sooo 80s. Sure, you might want to replace the seat and the wheels with resin aftermarket. But so you might with every kit there is.
What Airfix has given us is a detailed and modern offering of an aircraft that really needed some love. It seems they are set on fighting their way back to being a manufacturer that can be taken seriously, and the P-40B is definitely a big step in that direction. Combine that with a retail price bordering on crazy cheap, and it will be hard to not recommend this kit. So there you go.
I will leave you with some pictures of the finished build, so you can see what it looks like once finished.. Painted with Life Color Acrylics over a flat black base, Mig Panel Line Washes, oils and pigments.
Boris, your "singing to the choir" on this one. Excellent photos of the model as built. While the specific areas to be address with TLC are well photographed. Everything is in a plain logical order. The article looks easy but, the work involved in making it look easy and professionalism took sometime and thought as most magicians well tell you. This two part article is a strong candidate for model of the month. This is something that Martin was writing about earlier when it comes to recognizing articles for excellence. It has all the elements excellent photography, a well written article that is helpful to the modeling community and a educational review that addresses the problems of correcting a kits weaker points. Its a positive take on building kits as opposed to pointing out the fatal flaws. Two thumbs up
Again my editor has fallen down on the job while jazzed up on coffee, "easy and professionalism" should read easy and professional.
Boris, thank you for pointing out the glitches, none of which seem earth shattering. Well done! What Stephen said!
In a word: stunning..!
Very smart. Good article. Good kit.
Excellent article and build. Very informative.
Since it wasn't mentioned, guessing Airfix added scribing for the rudder trim tab on the left side. Way to go Airfix! Wonder why the left wing root fuel filler access wasn't added while they were fixing the rudder trim tab? Anyway, a sharp No. 11 blade can rectify both in several minutes.
Have you seen the Bronco kit after it was reworked? I'm awaiting delivery of mine. From preliminary reviews, Airfix will still be 'head and shoulders' better.
Again, excellent review and build.
Thanks Bowman! It seems Airfix and I have something in common - we both missed the fuel filler access :-))) In regards to the Bronco kit, the cockpit still looks off to me, just too shallow.
CAD does show the pilot's seat pan right on the floor! Kit designers never considered how uncomfortable it would be to sit that way for 3 or 4 hrs and fly an aircraft! It'd be nice if kit designers knew SOMETHING about the subject, huh? Bronco's fuselage is gentle oval instead of the complex X-section shape that ONLY Monogram and Airfix captured.
Beautifully built, painted, and written, Boris!
Great article(s) Boris! How do you think the shape compares with the ancient Monogram P-40B, long considered the most accurate in 1/48?
Your model looks fantastic! 🙂
Thank you Gary! I must admit I have not seen the Monogram kit in the flesh, so I cannot comment on its accuracy. But from what I have seen online it looks pretty good.
Although this is not even close to the quality of your fine build, it will give you a look at the Monogram's shape.
Pretty darn good looking shape to this subject, especially for this OLD kit!
They took drawings from old Model Airplane News magazine and didn't even have real/rebuilt P-40B/C to go see. They DID compare kit to period photos. A good practice to confirm that the 'look' is right!
Wish Revell would re-tool this subject to today's standards! Tamiya? Pegasus?
That is actually a very nice build, Gary - thanks for sharing!
Bowman, the idea of re-tooling some of the old Monogram kits is very intriguing. There are some subjects which would be better served by a Mono retool than they are by the newer releases from other companies (cough F9F Panther cough). With the P-40B, however, I feel Airfix has done quite a good job. Instead of putting time and money into another P-40, manufacturers could look at what is still missing (cough SBC Helldiver cough). Geez, what's wrong with my throat tonight...
Thanks Bowman and Boris. I like the looks of this AIrfix P-40, close enough for this old man. 🙂
Boris, you are so correct about kits that still need releasing. I hope for a mainstream model of the Grumman F-11 Tiger before I expire, lol. Tamiya? Are you even listening? 🙂
Yeah, if they can't beat the competition then why bother. How many M'schitts kits are there? LOL!
I think maybe ya got a Tomahawk caught in ur throat! LOL!
Boris, Bowman, a lot of us were hoping that Monogram would redo some of their kits, recess the panel lines, for instance. The only one I know they did was the P-51B, and I don't know if that was a sales success, or not. It's competition was the Tamiya and the Accurate Miniatures kits.
I would like an F-11-F and an SBC-3 and 4.
Thanks for your article Boris. Very timely as I bought mine only last week. Looks like there's not too much to worry about here. As a veteran of two Monogram P-40Bs, a Trumpeter kit & an Academy one as well, I have been keen to see the Airfix offering. Actually I feel the Trumpeter kit has some merit if you fill all the rivets & fix the cockpit. Your build looks the best I've seen so far & now I know what to look out for, so thanks again.
First post here: fine board.
Boris, splendid article. I'm building the same kit, although it's going to the desert and become a Tomahawk. Your tips will come in handy. So far, I've found the build much as you describe: not Tamiya, but pretty good with some care.
I think your weathering is a splendid rendition of black basing. That's a very good evocation of what a faded OD/Gray plane would look like.
Thanks Eric - and welcome to iModeler! One thing that bothers me with this kit is the wide panel lines - the more often I look at the pics, the more they stick out. And short of filling and rescribing there is no way of getting rid of them. So whatever one's preferred method of painting is, I would definitely not recommend classic pre-shading of the panel lines to emphasize them even more 😀