Every modeler has their own way to rate the quality of a kit. To some, a low price point trumps all other considerations. To others, ease of build or out-of-box detail might be the defining factors. To me, I prefer a good mix of out of box detail without unnecessary over-engineering, and I want it to go together in a way that is more akin to building a plastic model than carving a model out of plastic. I’m willing to pay for those considerations, although there is definitely an upper limit to my generosity.
Eduard’s limited Edition boxing of Hasegawa’s P-40N pushed the envelope of my desire to pay for a kit. But, as I have come to expect from Eduard’s “profipack” boxings of other kits, everything one needs for an exceptional build is in the box. This is no exception. Ease of build, engineering, and detail all sit right in the “Goldilocks Zone”. The end result is a truly enjoyable build without many head-scratching engineering choices, and extra detail (including some attractive marking options) that elevate the stock Hasegawa kit into rarefied air.
There isn’t much to say about this build that can’t be said about every other build: follow the instructions, and test fit often. There are only a few areas where any modeler might need to take more time.
- The .50 cal barrels are molded into their own insert that fits into the leading edge of the wing. The barrels are very nice (and hollowed out) but this joint will need some extra attention, as well as some putty, to seamlessly transition to the wing.
- As the P-40N had a longer fuselage, Hasegawa elected to use the same forward fuselage from other marks, and a new longer tail section for the N version. In order to minimize the joint between the forward and aft fuselage sections, I elected to attach each tail half to its corresponding fuselage half first. I did this to make sure there wasn’t a step in the fuselage and that the panel lines and riveting matched up.
- If you elect to use the canopy provided to be shown in the open position, it has no positive location points. In other words, without carefully gluing the canopy to the fuselage, the sliding canopy will not stay put. This took some super thin CA glue, a glue looper, and a bit of time to assure I didn’t fog any of the clear plastic.
- The navigation lights will just take patience, and time. The kit instructions ask the modeler to remove the lights molded into the wing tips and vertical tail, to then replace them with a photo-etch ring, and then install clear lights. This was probably more effort than it was worth. If I had to build this model again, I would simply paint the molded on kit lights with Model Master chrome, and then cover that with translucent Tamiya red and green.
Beyond that, there are many areas where this kit shines. The general fit was exceptional. Even the fuselage to wing root gap was minimal, although it did require some corrective dihedral. The provided photo-etch for the cockpit really amps up the detail and realism. The clear parts included in the kit are wonderfully clear and required no Future or polishing to get a great result. The windscreen to fuselage engineering is masterful and Eduard’s pre cut masks fit perfectly. The landing gear were incredibly easy to install and provide one of the more solid gear attachment points I’ve ever encountered. Eduard’s resin exhaust and wheels are truly works of art. I could go on, but I won’t.
The bottom line is if you want a late war P-40 in 1/32 to add to your collection, this is a must-have. The stock kit is suitable for all but the most green of builders. Anyone with a pocket full of cash, and a little experience using resin and photo-etch, will find this kit enjoyable and the end result suitable for display.