United States of America


Curtiss P-36


Ignoring the older releases from Monogram and Revell, there are two modern short run kits of the P-36 Hawk 75 family, one from AML the other from the MPM group (Azur, Special Hobby). They are very close in size but details differ widely.


P-36 Pearl Harbor Defender (Special Hobby)

The MPM P-36 with P&W Twin Wasp engines is sold in three boxings , one as the Hawk 75 export model, another as Pearl Harbor P-36s of the USAAC, the last one as the fixed landing gear export Hawk 75 M/N/O models.
The kit itself is best used as a Hawk 75 A2 or A3 as it has some features specific to that model, namely 2 guns in each wing and the relevant wing panels and louvres on the cowl sides, just fore of the cockpit. The P-36A has smooth wings without armament and no louvres. Markings for the Pearl harbor kit are for an all metal P-36A as flown by 2nd Lieutenant Philip Rasmussen and an Olive Drab and Neutral Gray machine flown by 2nd Lieutenant Harry Brown. Rasmussen shot down one Nate and Brown claimed two victories. Rasmussen was clad in striped pajamas as noted in the Osprey Aircraft of Aces book on P-36 Aces and depicted in this
exhibit of the National USAF Museum. Here is a preview of this kit.

Hawk 75 A-3 European War (Special Hobby)

This is the same kit as above with Vichy French and Finnish markings. Regrettably no 1940 French decals are included but can be obtained from aftermarket vendors such as Colorado (ex-Carpena) and AML.

Hawk 75A-4/Mohawk IV (Azur)

This is the same kit as the two above with the Wright Cyclone engine and cowling substituted for the Twin Wasp. Here is a preview of
this kit.

Hawk 75 M/N/O (Special Hobby)

Same basic kit with fixed landing gear and different detail parts. Internet Modeler has a preview of
this kit.

Hawk 75 A1, A2, A3, A6(AML)

AML's P-36/Hawk 75 is a multimedia kit with the plastic bits for a smooth wing P-36A. Brass photoetch inserts are used to represent additional wing panels and fuselage louvres for later versions. The kit comes with both Twin Wasp and Cyclone engines and cowlings allowing it also to be built as an A7 or Mohawk IV as well. I will use this kit to build Rasmussen's P-36A and use the Special Hobby bits to build French ace Marin La Meslee's Hawk 75 A3. HyperScale has a review of
this kit.

Hawk 75 A4 with Wright Cyclone engine(AML)

Same kit as above with only one engine and cowling. SMAKR has a review of
this kit.

Curtiss P-40


P-40B/C (Academy)

Cheap and inaccurate. Direct to the spares box.


P-40B/C (Pavla)

Detailed interior. Typical short run kit. Lots of work ahead. I have not checked accuracy. The side windows are not provided, you are expected to cut them out of a piece of clear plastic. This is bad since that window is curved not flat. I plan to do an AVG plane with this model.


P-40C (AML)

This kit comes in multiple flavors. This kit represents the -C version used by the RAF in the desert. I have not studied the kit in detail but it should be interesting compared to the Pavla model. The side windows are correct on this one. This one is marked to be RAF in the desert.


P-40E (Academy)

Pros

Cons

In hindsight, if you're willing to add an aftermarket interior, the Hasegawa P-40's look to be more accurate.

Click here for the SMAKR review of this kit


P-40E (Airfix)

Pros

The kit is completely outclassed by more modern offerings. I bought it for the pilot and the desert sharkmouth RAF markings. GA-Y was flown by Clive Caldwell. (You can also build his P-40C, Spitfire Vc, and Spitfire VIII). The accurate canopy was a pleasant surprise when I encountered issues with the Academy kit.

The RAAF 77 Squadron machine flown by Dick Cresswell is also depicted by Academy. It sports a beautiful 4 flag marking on the port side of the nose, which is poorly rendered in decal form (kit decals have hard colors and fall down on shaded markings). Follow this link for an analysis of the markings of this plane on Hyperscale. Both Airfix and Academy have missed the squadron leader flag on the starboard side. I sure hope PynUp do a 1/72 version of their 1/48 sheet.

Click here for a more complete SMAKR review of this kit


P-40F/L (MPM)

This is an early MPM production. I stumbled upon it by chance in a local hobby store. I didn't even know they had one. The kit is typical short run with thick details, tree-sized sprues ,barely noticeably engraved panel lines and a vacform canopy (just one, no backup). On the other hand it does come with a beautiful resin interior, a photo-etch fret and a printed film instrument panel backing for the dials. Markings are provided for "Dammit" a US P-40F-5 in Operation Torch with yellow-bordered stars and US flags and a US P-40L (4 guns) from 316 Squadron in Foggia, 1943. The L version is a 4 gun machine. According to Details and Scale only the 2 inboard guns need to be sanded off, the wing panels remaining the same as for the 6-gun version. It looks pretty accurate. This link shows that you could easily marry the typical Merlin engine front to a standard P-40N from Academy or Hasegawa. Marking are for an F during Operation Torch and a L in 1943.
Click here for kit instructions.


P-40F-1 (short tail) (Special Hobby)

I need to verify if this is a reboxing of the older MPM production. This is a new molding. It has nothing in common with the MPM kit. It is made entirely from injected plastic, including the canopy. HyperScale have an online review of this kit.


P-40F/L (short and long tail versions) dual kit (Special Hobby)

This kit definitely supersedes the early MPM release. It includes both the long and short fuselages and holds enough parts for two models (one long, one short). Is it a great value for money as it is about 150% of the price of the single kits. I have not yet checked the kit for accuracy. Aeroscale has a review of this kit.


P-40F Guadalcanal (long tail)(Special Hobby)

Same basic P-40F kit with long fuselage and USAAC Guadalcanal markings. Will look good next to a Marine Wildcat.


P-40N (Hasegawa)

Despite the bare interior I find the Hasegawa P-40's more accurate than the more recent Academy models. My main gripe with this kit is the cream colored US markings. I suppose Hasegawa's way to prevent decal yellowing is to provide them already yellowed. There are several previews and build reviews online:

  • Aircraft Resource Center build review
  • Modeling Madness build review
  • Modeling Madness preview
  • Youtube review


    P-40M/N (Academy)

    This kit is more recent and better detailed than Hasegawa's offering. It also allows the M version to be built. Like the Academy P-40E, the windscreen's angle is too vertical and the rear spine too high. Hasegawa wins out in accuracy. SMAKR has a review of this kit and here is a Youtube video.


    Bell P-39 Airacobra


    P-39N/Q (Academy)

    The Airacobra model is is as popular as its original. The Academy P-39 is pretty much the only one on the market in this scale. I haven't examined it much. There is a throttle on each door, another case of “what were they thinking?”. Decals are provided for a white-tailed P-39Q from a USAAF TRS unit in New Guinea in 1944 (did the US still use P-39's that late!!) and a Soviet P-39N with overpainted US markings. The Russians did well with the Airacobra as its heavy armament and low altitude capabilities were well suited to that theater. Academy released the same kit with Russian Aces markings in 2005. I used some of the stars on my La-5FN. They are very thick and do not stick well. When I removed the very visible carrier film between the stars, these started falling off!

    Here are some cool reviews of this model:





    Republic P-47 Thunderbolt


    P-47D Razorback (Academy)

    Very good level of detail but some major shape flaws. Not worth the price/effort of correcting (wings, tail, engine...)

    Pros

    Cons


    P-47D-27 Bubbletop (Academy)

    Same as above with new fuselage. The transparent canopy has incorrect framing. It should be deeper around the middle part of the canopy.

    Superseded by Tamiya kits


    P-47D-30 Bubbletop (Revell)

    This kit has received rave reviews but I find it as bad or worse than the Academy kits.

    Pros

    Cons


    P-47D-27 Bubbletop (Tamiya)

    I couldn't resist buying the Tamiya Thunderbolt to act as judge between Revell and Academy. The verdict is in: if Tamiya is reckoned to be accurate, then Academy is a close second. The two kits match well, wing and fuselage, with Tamiya having a better larger rudder.


    P-47D Razorbackp (Tamiya)

    I couldn't resist buying the Tamiya Thunderbolt to act as judge between Revell and Academy. The verdict is in: if Tamiya is reckoned to be accurate, then Academy is a close second. The two kits match well, wing and fuselage, with Tamiya having a better larger rudder.


    P-47M (Revell)

    I couldn't resist buying the Tamiya Thunderbolt to act as judge between Revell and Academy. The verdict is in: if Tamiya is reckoned to be accurate, then Academy is a close second. The two kits match well, wing and fuselage, with Tamiya having a better larger rudder.


    P-47N (Heller)

    This is a complete dog of a kit completed with inverted profile wing. It's probably a leading contender for worst kit ever.SMAKR and Modeling Madness both have hilarious online reviews trashing the kit.


    P-47N (Italeri)

    This kit is better than Heller's but still has enough issues to make most modelers take a pass. The three reviews below give you a good idea of what to expect:
  • Modeling Madness build review 1
  • Modeling Madness build review 2
  • Aircraft Resource Center build review


    P-47N (Sword)

    This 2011 kit is the definitive P-47N. Modeling Madness has a preview of this kit. This Finescale review warns you about the wing fuselage join.



    North American P-51 Mustang


    P-51A (Italeri)


    P-51A (Academy)


    P-51B/C (Academy)


    P-51D (Tamiya)



    Grumman F4F Wildcat


    F4F-4 (Academy)

    This kit is in the same vein as the P-40B/C. It sells for under $5.00 and delivers comparable value. It is wildly inaccurate. If you map it to a drawing only the starting reference point will match. Panel lines are pure fantasy. The interior is a black hole. Yet when built, it looks like a Wildcat. This was my first attempt at airbrushing and I have kept it in my collection despite all its flaws.


    F4F-3, F4F-4, FM-1/Wildcat V, Martlet III (Hasegawa)

    If you exclude the preceding toy, Hasegawa Wildcats are the only game in town. The same kit comes in multiple flavors, with different props and cowls. Overall the kit is accurate with the usual Hasegawa quality. The interior could be beefed up with the True Details resin interior, which also include the wheel wells. The one major issue is that the wings are only for a -4. You need to fill the wing fold line for a - 3 and remove the outboard guns and related panel lines. For the FM-1/Wildcat V just remove the guns. The kit also comes as a Royal Navy Martlet III F4F3A used over the Lybian desert. The cowl flaps need to be rescribed for this version, and it is explained in the instructions. Quickboost sell a replacement fixed wing for the F4F-3.


    FM-2 (Sword)

    This kit broke a record when it came out in 2005: the first 1/72 single seat fighter to sell for more than 42 US dollars!!! I got it on sale online for less than 20. I have not opened it yet. It is not high on my list.



    Grumman F6F Hellcat


    F6F-5 (Revell)

    VF-17 on the USS Hornet

    This is a pretty good kit of the Hellcat with some correctable flaws.

    Pros

    Cons



    Vought F4U Corsair


    F4U-4b (Italeri), F4U-5 (Revell), F4U-5N (Italeri), F4U-7/AU-1 (Italeri)

    The 4 kits have obviously been designed together as a lot of the sprues are shared. Unfortunately Italeri has made a mess of it as indicated in the table below:

    Model

    Features

    1/72 Model

    Correction

    F4U-4b

    chin jowl under cowling

    OK

    F4U-4 model fuselage is good

    4 staggered stub rocket launchers under each wing

    wings with 5 launchers

    use F4U-5 model wings if you don't care about the fabric ridge pattern on the outer panels. Otherwise build as F4U-4 with 6 .50 MGs using wings from a F4U-1d (Tamiya ?)

    fabric wing (same as F4U-1s) with 2 20mm cannon

    metal wing

    elevators with round access panels, asymmetrical panels top on left, bottom on right

    OK

    F4U-5

    2 cheek jowls under cowling

    OK

    lengthened fuselage with raised cockpit

    fuselage too short by 1/8in just fore of the wing

    use longer fuselage from F4U-7 box and modify exhaust (should be 1 frame higher)or scratch : no easy choices

    higher canopy with a sill

    OK

    4 staggered stub rocket launchers under each wing

    OK

    all metal wings

    OK

    elevators without access panels, redesigned actuators

    F4U-4 elevators

    fill in round panels

    redesigned tail gear doors (flush with fuselage when closed, no opening, goes all the way to tail cone)

    wrong F4U-1 type tail gear doors

    modify tail gear doors

    F4U-5N

    same as F4U-5 plus radome on right wing, shielded cannon, exhaust shields

    same as F4U-5

    same as F4U-5

    F4U-6 (AU-1)

    2 closed cheek jowls under cowling

    OK

    lengthened fuselage with raised cockpit

    OK

    higher canopy with a sill

    OK

    5 full length rocket launchers under each wing

    OK

    all metal wings

    OK

    elevators without access panels, redesigned actuators

    F4U-4 elevators

    fill in round panels

    redesigned tail gear doors (flush with fuselage when closed, no opening, goes all the way to tail cone)

    wrong F4U-1 type tail gear doors

    modify tail gear doors

    F4U-7

    chin jowl under cowling (F4U-4 engine)

    OK

    lengthened fuselage with raised cockpit

    OK

    higher canopy with a sill

    OK

    5 full length rocket launchers under each wing

    OK

    all metal wings

    OK

    elevators without access panels, redesigned actuators

    F4U-4 elevators

    fill in round panels

    redesigned tail gear doors (flush with fuselage when closed, no opening, goes all the way to tail cone)

    wrong F4U-1 type tail gear doors

    modify tail gear doors


    Other comments

    References