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.