North American B-25 Mitchell Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part IV

This is the Hasegawa B-25J with the canopy and nose pieces in place. My B-25J will be a strafer with the nose glazing painted over which allowed me to add weight in the nose. This view also gives an impression of what will be visible through the canopy.
This is one of the Airfix B-25C, this one will also be a strafer. The canopy masks are from ASK. The resin gun pack on the fuselage side is from Quickboost, it is a style not included in either kit but is needed for certain aircraft. The Evergreen panels represent the extra armor applied to this particular aircraft.
As things move along various sub-assemblies are painted so they will be available at the end of the build. I generally tape the smaller bits to cards for painting and to ease handling.
Here is a comparison of the main gear doors, The Hasegawa doors on top are just slabs but the Airfix doors are thinner and better detailed. I’ll make some replacements for the Hasegawa doors from sheet plastic. The main landing gear bay doors on the B-25 were normally closed, they only opened when the gear was actually cycling, so no need to add any detail to the bays.
I checked the Seamwork with Mr. Surfacer 1000, corrected any flaws and re-primed. This is the Hasegawa B-25H. I noticed some flow lines in the plastic on the Hasegawa kits. This is not an issue on a camouflaged model, but on a Natural Metal Finish the flow lines can show through if you don’t use a good primer.
Three of my subjects will be strafers from the 345th Bomb Group. These are beautiful aircraft with interesting combat records, but the intricate nose art makes them difficult to model. I’ll be using the DK Decal sheet for the markings. On DK’s web page they provide a PDF file so modelers have some chance to mask off the underlying colors correctly. Here I have printed out the PDF and laid Tamiya tape over the patterns to cut out the masks.
Here are the masks after some careful cutting.
The masks applied to the model for “Dirty Dora”. Even with the masking templates there are half a dozen ways this can still go sideways and ruin the models.

North American B-25 Mitchell Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

Mitchells! This is a small batch of Mitchells, the 2018 Airfix C/D and the 2008 Hasegawa B-25H and J. These are both nice kits, but Mitchells came in a variety of variants and were subject to conversions and modification in the field. The Pacific Mitchells also present some painting challenges, but the artwork is irresistible.
Here are the main sprues from the Hasegawa kits. Parts breakdown is conventional, and these are molded in the typical Hasegawa hard plastic with finely engraved panel lines.
Sprue “C” has the tail assembly and various interior and detail parts. The fuselage gun packs are optional, not all Mitchells carried them. Locating holes for the gun packs are to be drilled out from the inside to accommodate aircraft with them. The kit provides only one style, so some subjects will need some help from the aftermarket.
Sprue “E” has the engine and other details, sprue “D” is interior parts. The engine is basic, but what is there is good and will look the part with a little added detail. The included bomb load is two 1,000-pound bombs. The interior bulkheads include sections of the main spars to help get the dihedral right.
The Hasegawa business model is to release several versions of the same basic kit with different detail parts and decals. On the top are the unique sprues for the B-25H, on the bottom sprue “M” and “J” are for the B-25J.
The Airfix B-25C/D is a quality kit, but the plastic is much softer the Hasegawa’s. The kit features finely engraved panel lines. Airfix has fired their trench digger, the panel lines on their more recent kits look just right. There is also subtle rivet and fastener detail in some areas which sets of the panel lines nicely. Note the bombay doors are molded into the interior detail – no broken doors on this model.
Sprue “C” has the engines, which are pretty well rendered. The kit provides optional flaps to represent both raised and lowered positions, but the raised option has a sink line through the middle which will require filling. The bomb load here is four 500-pound bombs.
The tail surfaces are all positionable. Also included are two options for the cowlings, one with the single exhaust port and the other with the individual ports.
There’s lots of aftermarket for the B-25, here is a sample. I am really impressed with the Master gun barrels, they are incredibly detailed and really draw the eye.
I began with the engines, Airfix is the lighter plastic, Hasegawa is darker. The top row is stock kit parts, the bottom row is dressed up a bit. For the Airfix engines I added ignition wires to the back row. For the Hasegawa engines I added wires and push rods.
Here are the main wheels with resin aftermarket – Airfix, Hasegawa, Eduard, and Quickboost. The Quickboost is the smallest of the group. From my perspective none of these are so bad they will detract from the finished model, your mileage may vary.
A comparison of the engine cowls, Quickboost on the left, Hasegawa on top, and Airfix below. The cowling opening is 36” in real life, which is 0.5” in 1/72 scale. I measured the openings, Quickboost came in at 0.508”, and went egg-shaped when I removed the casting block. Hasegawa was too small at 0.466”, which doesn’t sound like much but is noticeable. Airfix came in at 0.492″ but went to a perfect 0.500” after the interior mold seam was removed. I expanded the openings with a 0.5” drill bit from the garage, the widened kit parts are on the left, uncorrected parts on the right.

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part IV

Japanese aircraft often sported multiple painted bands and panels, and many of their squadron markings are geometric shapes which are relatively simple to mask off. On the down side I have come to the realization that the Mr. Hobby thinner reacts to the adhesive in the generic masking tape I have been using, causing some colors to seep underneath. On this batch I’m using Tamiya Tape for the hard edges, which appears to have solved the seepage problem.
A few of the Hayate production run came from the factory uncamouflaged, some during the pre-production series and another run supposedly due to a shortage of paint. Photographs show a few of these received mottled camo in the field, but the field-applied mottling on a Hayate is rare compared to other JAAF types. One of the builds in this batch will be in an Alclad Aluminum NMF. On the NMF aircraft I paint the markings after laying down the Alclad, otherwise the textures and tones can show through the finish. All the builds got Mr. Color 58 Orange Yellow wing ID panels and Mr. Color 137 Tire Black anti-glare panels.
The initial factory applied camo was either Olive Drab over Gray Green or Dark Green over Gray Green. Good luck differentiating between the two in black and white photos, and you can find little agreement between profile artists. On this example I went with Arma’s color call outs using Mr. Color 304 over 128. The white bands were used by some units on home defense duties.
Late in 1944 paint shortages resulted in Nakajima switching to dark brown as an upper surface camo on some production runs. According to Ian Baker there were three browns used, and variations within those. The brown on this model is a mix of Mr. Color 42 Mahogany and 22 Dark Earth, with a few drops of Red added for good measure. Mixes with 131 Propeller Color or 520 Lederbraun would result in a similar tone. 128 Gray Green was used on the undersides, and Baker indicates that the browns lightened with white were also used on the undersides. The unit markings on the tail were masked off, and the chipping is a base coat of Alclad with stippling of a liquid mask, then the finish paint layer was pulled off with masking tape.
I used the kit decals for the Hinomarus and stencils, and some of the unit markings. There are ample stencils in both red and yellow options. All the decals performed flawlessly, but several are long and thin so they take some fiddling to get them straight.
The underwing stores were secured directly to the wing and steadied with a series of sway braces. The larger braces are provided in the kit and were used on the drop tanks. The smaller braces were used with bombs, and are missing from the kit. Mine are made from wire, and while not perfect they will look the part over the bombs and drop tanks.
The models were given an acrylic wash using Tamiya German Gray over Testors Glosscote, and sealed with Dullcote. I had issues with the Glosscoat pulling off the paint if I masked over it, the Glosscote didn’t bond well to the Mr. Color paint. I’ll likely shift to a different gloss next build.
The Hayate had an unusual radio antenna arrangement, which I replicated with my standard go to 0.005” Nitenol wire. Resistors are gray paint. Photos show this particular aircraft had lost all the paint off the upper fuselage. Chipping was done by stripping the camo off of an undercoat of Alclad, supplemented with sponge and brush chips.
Here are all six finished models together. IJAAF aircraft are one of my first modeling fixations, so this build had some strong nostalgic elements. If the aftermarket blesses us with some interesting decal sheets I could see myself building more!

SUMMARY

This is another strong release from Arma, coming close on the heels of their P-51B/C Mustangs.  The fit is excellent, and the surface details are finely engraved and look just right.  Many of the parts go together with that satisfying “click” which I just love.  The decals performed flawlessly, and there are enough stencils on each sheet to do two aircraft which supplies spares and insurance against mishaps.  There are six marking options provided, all are attractive aircraft.  The geometric nature of IJAAF unit markings makes masking certain tail markings an option – two of my builds feature painted unit markings.  For those planning to build this kit, here are some construction notes:

  1.  The cockpit tub and engine can be inserted after the fuselage halves are joined.  Doing it this way will allow the fuselage to be glued from the inside and ensure the cockpit is seated properly.
  2. The forward fuselage has two tabs which must be removed for the wings to seat.  Easy to fix, but this is not noted in the instructions.  Also, the PE wiring harness will show its raised detail if it is installed opposite from the way shown.
  3. Missing are the carburetor splitter plate and bomb shackles.  Making these are not difficult but they are unexpected omissions given the level of detail of the kit.
  4. The engine cowling is effectively four panels and a front ring.  These are a little tricky to align so plan on taking your time here.
  5. The rearmost section of the canopy does not fit into the slots in the fuselage.  Carefully cut the tabs off the bottom of the clear piece.
  6. The pilot’s seat needs some help.  I drilled holes in mine which improved the looks substantially but it still has some shape issues.  Eduard has already announced a 3D printed replacement which should be coming along soon.
  7. If I were recommending references my first choice would be Aero Detail 24 with Kagero Monograph 18 following close behind.  There are also a number of Japanese language references which are useful, but you will soon begin seeing the same material again and again.
  8. The Kabuki tape masks worked great, they definitely made construction easier.

Part I of the construction here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=21008&action=edit&calypsoify=1

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

With the cockpit and engine assemblies in place it is time to cut off the tabs behind the engine so the wing piece will seat properly. The tabs are not shown in the instructions and I don’t see why they were added as the engine limits the spread of the forward fuselage.
Even with the wings on there are still several components to add to the construction. There are two sizes of oil coolers to choose from, and both have the radiator inside represented with PE. In this case the PE will be visible on the completed model, although the radiator texture could have just as easily been represented in plastic.
I found the cowling pieces a bit fiddly and had to sand them in most cases to get them smooth. The cowl flaps and exhausts are separate pieces and really look the part when in place. I plan on leaving the horizontal stabilizers off for now on most of these to ease painting. Fit was excellent overall using MEK, the main component in most “thin” glues. I had several seams which did not need filling or sanding, but I have never had a build which didn’t need a seam or two addressed somewhere.
The kabuki tape masks went on without a hitch. The fit of the clear parts left something to be desired. The rear section is designed with a tab which is to fit into a slot in the fuselage, but the tab is bigger than the slot. I shaved mine off with a hobby knife, and used Perfect Plastic Putty to address any remaining seam. This particular build will be in an overall NMF so I attached the horizontal stabilizers.
The finish was checked with Mr. Surfacer 1000. Any seams which still remained were sanded back and panel lines and rivets were re-scribed, then primed again to be sure.
The fiddly bits were cut off the sprues at the same time as the cockpit components, allowing them to be worked on in parallel with the primary assembly path. The bronze rod “handles” on the drop tanks will be the main anchor points when it comes time to mount them to the model. The rods are placed so they can also represent the fuel lines from the tanks.
Wheels and props were also cut from the sprues and cleaned up on the first day of construction, allowing them to be painted and decaled while other assemblies were drying.
This is the nose after any needed cowling panels have been rescribed and rivets replaced with a needle. At this point I noticed that the splitter plate in the carburetor intake was missing. This is an easy fix with a piece of plastic card.

Part IV here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/08/05/arma-hobby-nakajima-ki-84-hayate-frank-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-iv/

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

Construction starts with the cockpit! Or in my case, the cockpit, stores, engines, wheels, and props. Here are the cockpit tubs all built up and painted Mr. Color 126, cleverly named Cockpit Green. The cockpits were given a black wash and drybrushed with silver. The instrument panels are decals, and look convincing.
There is molded-on sidewall detail, dressed up with a throttle and some parts from the PE fret. The cockpit opening is narrow which will hide much of this, so I decided what Arma provided would be enough for these builds.
The engines were primed and then shot with Alclad Aluminum. The gearboxes are painted Blue Gray, and then the engines are washed with black and brown to bring out the details.
A little test fitting revealed that both the engine and cockpit assemblies could be inserted after the fuselage sides are joined. This allows better access to glue the fuselage from the inside and makes aligning everything easier.
At this point in construction you have to decide whether the canopy will be displayed in the open or closed position as the cockpit opening pieces are different. I’m going with open canopies on mine so that there is more opportunity to see the cockpit detail. I would recommend inserting the cockpit assembly at the same time as the fuselage opening piece. The top of the instrument panel should touch the underside of the fuselage when seated properly and it’s easy to mount it too low.

Part III here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/07/29/arma-hobby-nakajima-ki-84-hayate-frank-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-iii/

Arma Hobby North American P-51 B/C Mustang Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part IV

Painting has begun! Many of the Mustangs in this batch will be in an overall Natural Metal Finish (NMF) or a variant. This is a misnomer in the case of the Mustang, as the wings were painted in an Aluminum lacquer to help preserve laminar flow over the wings after the panel lines had been puttied. I didn’t fill the panel lines, but the Aluminum lacquer was simulated by adding a bit of Alclad white primer to their aluminum. The fuselage, tail surfaces, ailerons, and flaps were Aluminum. The panels behind the exhausts were sprayed with Stainless Steel, cut with a few drops of Aluminum.
This is why I hate vinyl masks. The vinyl doesn’t like curved surfaces, here they have pulled up allowing the Interior Green paint underneath. Fortunately the kits provide both this type of canopy and the Malcolm hood, so there were spares to replace the worst of these. I used the vinyl masks as templates to lay out masking tape replacements, cleaned up the parts, and tried again. Hopefully Arma replaces these masks with Kabuki tape in future releases.
Loads of masking tape was used on these builds. First the camo, then the stripes, then antiglare panels and/or unit markings. Most of the models wound up getting three applications of tape before all the colors were on.
One aircraft wore a field-applied scheme using RAF Dark Green over Medium Sea Gray. The Dark Green is a mix of Mr. Color 340 Field Green and 123 RLM Dark Green, the Medium Sea Gray is 306. Something a little different from the rest of the herd!
The standard USAAF finish for the first few years of the war was Olive Drab over Neutral Gray. Sounds simple, but Olive Drab faded to a wide range of shades, and didn’t start out as a uniform color anyway. I filled the airbrush cup with mixes as I went down the line. In extreme cases the O.D. could fade to a shade close to the tan I used here but I didn’t go past a 50/50 mix.
Only rarely should something be truly black in scale, most black paint looks better if it’s lightened a little. The black on this model is a mix of Mr. Color Black and Tire Black. The base color here is Alclad Aluminum, with a lightened mix on the wings to simulate the Aluminum Lacquer. Stainless Steel was used for the exhaust panels, and the Bright Silver Candy Base was applied to the leading edges of the flaps.

Part V here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/05/20/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51-b-c-mustang-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-v/

Arma Hobby North American P-51 B/C Mustang Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

This is a test fit of the major components with the cockpit assembly in place, no glue used at this stage. Arma did a great job with the engineering. Tolerances are tight but show no need for trimming to get a good fit. The one area where you could get into trouble here is if the cockpit components do not seat properly and spread the fuselage, the wing joints are a tight fit so there is no margin for error.
Everything is glued in place here using MEK from the hardware store. The thin glue works great if the fit is good, and careful alignment of the parts means there will be no wing root seem to fill later.
Arma’s wheel wells extend all the way back to the main spar, just like they’re supposed to. The panel with all the rivets directly aft of the well displays a subtle “oil canning” effect, as do the flaps. I have not seen this attempted before in 1/72 scale, it is difficult to see but a nice touch! I went ahead and mounted the landing gear legs in order to support the model while the paint dries. The legs will need masked and care must be taken in handling to prevent breakage, but I thought the trade-off was worth it.
The flaps and inner wheel well doors on the Mustang were held in place by hydraulic pressure, and drooped down when the engine was not running as the pressure bled off. When parked, the flaps on Mustangs are normally down, Arma has molded them as separate pieces with tabs to show them dropped. If you want to show them raised, just cut off the tabs and they’ll fit just fine. Here I have sprayed the leading edge of the flaps with Alclad Bright Candy Apple Base to represent the polished Aluminum surface and taped them to a card for further painting.
Here the transparencies are in place with the vinyl masks applied. These worked fine on the relatively flat panels, but the compound curves on the top of the windscreens and the landing lights were hopeless so they were replaced with masking tape. The windscreen sits a little proud of the fuselage and sanding the base of the part did not remedy this, so there will be a step to fill and reduce at the forward edge.
A problem with mounting the gear legs early is masking can be difficult to remove without damaging the delicate legs. I have tried to keep the tape loose around the legs while still shielding them from overspray.
A general view of the workbench. All the kits have been given a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000 to check for flaws. Small parts are taped to cards for painting. The landing gear leg covers showed some sink marks, these were filled, sanded smooth, and re-primed. There is also a small sink on starboard side of the fuselage which needs filled.

Part IV here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/05/13/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51-b-c-mustang-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-iv/

Arma Hobby North American P-51 B/C Mustang Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

The first fourteen steps in the instructions are building the cockpit and other interior features. That’s half the steps! The radiator under the fuselage is well represented, but I seriously doubt the photoetch parts will be visible on the finished model. The bottom part of the assembly (part A30) has two ejection pin towers which almost look like they might belong there, but they must be removed for the part to fit.
The fuselage sides have a lot of detail right out of the box. There are several decals for each side to enhance the look, which is great because the sidewalls are more visible than the instrument panels on most aircraft. Kudos to Arma for including all the placards!
The kit provides a choice of seats, the Schick-Johnson seat is on the left and the Warren McArthur type is on the right. I had to look them up, the Schick-Johnson was introduced first, but either type could be used as they were installed as they arrived at the factories. Some sources indicate they could also be swapped out in the field during maintenance. Honestly, I’ll be guessing in many cases as to which seat will go into which model. Seatbelts are from the kit PE fret, and look the part after paint and a wash.
Arma provides parts to build three different configurations for the equipment behind the seats. According to Detail & Scale Vol. 50, the 85-gallon fuel tank was fitted on the production lines beginning with P-51B-10-NA and P-51C-5-NT but could also be refitted to earlier Mustangs. The tanks adversely affected the aircraft’s center of gravity, and so were only filled to 65 gallons in service. At some point a “+” sign was added near the data block to remind everyone of the fuselage tank, but I couldn’t pin down just when that happened.
All twelve cockpit assemblies together. Whew! One thing to watch out for is the instructions in step 1 show the brace behind the seat to be mounted in the holes seen here in front of the seat. The brace should actually mount to the step in the cockpit floor.
The instrument panel takes four decals and a piece of PE. I left the PE off as it really didn’t add anything other than texture under one of the decals which would be almost impossible to see even if you knew to look for it.
Everything has a groove, slot, and/or pin to fit into and aligns well. Don’t forget the tailwheel! As you can see here, much of the equipment behind the seat will be invisible once the fuselage is closed up. By this point you have to open up the two indicated recesses if you are modeling one of the F-6 photo-reconnaissance aircraft, or the recess for the HF/DF loop if you’re modeling one of the CBI birds. The instructions don’t mention opening the HF/DF loop hole but show the base going into it later so plan ahead if your subject needs the loop!
In step fifteen of the instructions you finally close up the fuselage. Fit is great. I was a little worried about getting all the cockpit assemblies to line up right, pay particular attention that the cockpit floor fits into the slots on both sides and that the instrument panel sits right. Other than that, flexing the fuselage sides a bit while gluing seemed to seat everything correctly.

Part III here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/05/06/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51-b-c-mustang-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-iii/

Arma Hobby North American P-51 B/C Mustang Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

An inexplicable gap in the line-up of 1/72 scale kits was the high-backed Mustang. Sure, there were kits, but all had fatal shape issues of the “once it has been seen, it cannot be unseen” variety which required heroic efforts to correct. Modelers have been bemoaning the lack of an accurate P-51B/C on the forums ever since there have been forums. Arma Hobbies from Poland has finally answered the call. Having agitated for an accurate B/C myself, I ordered enough through the LHS for a long-anticipated batch build.
The main parts are on sprue “B”. The kit is molded in a hard, gray plastic and features finely engraved panel lines and a satin finish. My examples had a little flash around the canopy rails, but otherwise the molding is crisp and clean. Sprue attachment points are heavy on the large parts and require care to separate. The kit offers the choice of tails with or without the fillet, a nice touch.
Sprue “A” has the smaller parts common to most of the Mustang family. Flaps are intended to be assembled in their typical “drooped” position when the aircraft is on the ground, but can be mounted up by cutting off the mounting tabs. Three types of ordinance are included, 250 pound bombs plus 75-gallon metal and 108-gallon paper drop tanks. The modeler has the choice of two types of seats and three radio configurations for the cockpit. For the nose one can choose between three different vent panels and two types of exhausts. With the expert set a small PE fret and vinyl masks are included.
The decal sheet provides markings for seven schemes (Evalina is represented twice, in both US and captured Japanese markings). You are provided enough stencils to build two models. Where Arma has gone the extra mile here is with the cockpit markings, which represent every dial and information placard. Depending on the particular equipment configuration, approximately 30 decals will be needed to dress up the interior. The one criticism I would offer here is the seatbelt decals are printed in yellow, not tan.
Here is a close up showing the finely recessed detail on the upper wing panel. While this is spectacular, it is also incorrect. The Mustang featured laminar-flow wings, to keep the airflow smooth the wing joints were filled with putty and the surfaces were painted with Aluminum dope. The gun and ammo bays should be represented, but almost all the other panel lines should not be seen. This is overlooked by almost every Mustang kit in any scale, but is incorrect. Having said all that, I have decided to leave the wings in my kits as they are rather than bother to fill them.
While the end-opening boxes will be of no help on the workbench, Arma’s sprues have a neat pin-and-socket feature molded in which allows for easy stacking. This helps keep things organized and saves room on the bench.
On a recent Plastic Model Mojo podcast Mike and Dave discussed the virtues of finishing the ordinance at the beginning of a build to avoid burn-out or being distracted by the next shiny new kit. I extended that concept to a variety of smaller assemblies and “bust offables” which normally come after major assembly. This is the general chaos on the bench with many smaller parts cleaned up and taped to cards for painting. Plastic Model Mojo here: https://www.plasticmodelmojo.com/
I thought the kit’s 250-pound bombs looked a little anemic so I replaced them with spare 500-pounders from a Monogram B-29 kit. The standard underwing shackles on the P-51 were rated at 550 pounds, although there are photos of Mustangs carrying 1,000-pounders. The rest of the builds will get drop tanks. The bar stock is inserted into holes drilled at the fuel line positions, the tanks will need to be fitted with the external plumbing when they are mounted.
The mask set provides masks for the main wheels. Reportedly the supply of the expected yellow Kabuki tape was interrupted by Covid supply chain issues, so Arma used the translucent green vinyl masks for their Expert Set. I always have problems with the vinyl masks, some of these wheels will need to be repainted. We’ll see if I can get them to work on the canopies!
Painting propellers is a chore so it was good to knock these out early. Each prop had to have the tips painted and masked and was provided with eight decals. I cheated a little by showing the paint of the backs of the blades worn off which was a common occurrence.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/29/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51-b-c-mustang-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-ii/

Special Hobby Curtiss P-40 Warhawk Batch Build Part IV

P40_SpecialHobby_31
After a second coat of Future (Klear) to seal the decals I washed the panel lines with the black Tamiya wash.  If you remove the excess wash from the surface in the direction of airflow it accentuates the weathered look.  After that I began experimenting a bit.  The wing root joints were chipped with the silver Revlon Modeling Silver Chipping Medium and the area dirtied up with a slightly darker shade of Tan applied with a small piece of sponge.
P40_SpecialHobby_32
Here is the P-40E showing the extreme of wing root chipping.  The Olive Drab camo has some toning applied with the airbrush.  Over that are slightly different shades of Olive Drab stippled on lightly with sponge held in tweezers.
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The Neutral Gray undersides received the same treatment.  I like the effect so I’ll likely continue to try to refine the technique.
P40_SpecialHobby_34
Here is the 343rd Fighter Group “Aleutian Tiger” using DK Decals.  I tried brushing on the Medium Green spots on the wings and the tail surfaces, the Mr. Color paint looks good under the clear coats.  I will admit to an error here – 0610 was one of the Aleutian Warhawks which did not have the Medium Green spots over the Olive Drab.  That’s what I get for having the wrong picture on the bench on painting day!
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This P-40K of the 26th Fighter Squadron / 51st Fighter Group was built using the kit decals.  These are printed by Cartograph and performed flawlessly.  You do need to pay attention to the exact period you want to represent with this aircraft’s markings though, they changed over time.  I chose to show my model in later markings with five victories, shark’s teeth, blue outlined insignia, and Olive Drab areas on the tail and carburetor intake.
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All five together for a group picture!  Now that these are done, I’ll be needing some more!

 

SUMMARY

The Special Hobby P-40 family are great kits.  The fuselages and wings are separate tools where required to represent the different sub-types, and alternate detail parts are provided to accommodate the more subtle differences.  Two different styles of drop tanks and a 500-pound bomb allow for the most common stores load outs.  The kit decals are excellent and the marking choices are good ones and there is no end to alternate schemes available from the aftermarket.  The kits have good cockpit detail and build up well straight from the box which will make them a perfect choice for contest modelers looking for an OOB entry.

The only real fit issue is at the instrument panel cover and windscreen joint (parts B14 and G1).  I recommend attaching the cover to the instrument panel first and then inserting the assembly into the fuselage rather than waiting until the end of the build to fit the cover.  You will still need to remove some material to get the front windscreen to seat properly so don’t skip the test-fitting here.

The wing / fuselage joint is a tight fit and can be easily thrown off by mold seams.  This is one joint which should be glued with MEK-based “thin” cement as this will dissolve any minor imperfections and result in a good seamless fit.

If you follow the kit instructions the radiator assembly will sit too far back in the nose, it needs to be move forward a bit.

The kit tires are smooth treads, most P-40s had variations of diamond or block treads so check your references.  If such things are worth your money there are resin replacements available in several different styles.

If I could change one thing it would be for Special Hobby to include Kabuki tape canopy masks.  Eduard makes some for these kits, but they are $7 – $10 per set, which is roughly three times what Eduard charges for their P-40 mask sets meant for kits from other manufacturers.  Not sure what the problem here is but I hope it doesn’t become a trend.

Sell your 1/72 scale Hasegawa P-40 kits.  The leading edge of the Hasegawa wing sits 2-3 mm too high up on the fuselage on these kits and there is no way to “unsee” this once you figure it out, and no practical way to fix it.

Bottom line is these are great kits and fun builds.  And who doesn’t like the P-40?

More completed P-40 kits here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/06/25/special-hobby-curtiss-p-40e-warhawk-343rd-fighter-group-aleutian-tigers-in-1-72-scale/