Curtiss P-40E Warhawk (kit 4664) - part 2
Text and photos Rogerio "Rato" Marczak
In part one we saw that, like
many other Revell kits of this vintage, this one is accurate
in shape and dimensions. On the other side of the coin are the
detail parts, which leave a lot to be desired. This is probably
not new for you who experienced an old Revell kit before. Let's
Just like other old kits, the
cockpit is unusable for a serious modeler. The kit brings the
floor, side walls, control panel, seat and strut, pedals and
control stick. Interestingly, in the instructions the cockpit
is installed later in the assembly sequence, being inserted
through the bottom fuselage opening.
Cockpit details (control panel, pilot's stick
The left and the right cockpit side walls. Very crude...
| The control panel has some resemblance
with the actual part. It is always a good idea to provide the
side wall details as separated parts, but those of the kit are
not good at all, with many important items missing. The stick
can be used with modifications, because the elevators rod should
be linked with the stick by the right side.
The seat is over thick, and
its shape would be appropriate for a dash-N, not an E. In some
P-40s, the seat was made from wood to save metal (after the
Parts Manual), then check your references. I'm currently working
on a conversion of this same kit to the B/C version, and the
correct shape of the seat can be seen in one
of our articles. I included below a drawing of my interpretation
of the seat, based on photos and drawings. You can print it
and make personal use as a template (because the bitmap is out
of scale, scale it to approximately match the noted dimension).
An approximate drawing of the pilot's seat. Reduce
the picture 27% to get it in true dimensions.
| We also included some pictures
of the cockpit from the E&M manual. I don't know why, but
some instruments are missing from the right side wall. These pictures
are not much clear, so we also added some drawings. It's worth
to note that the transmitter, the receiver and the filter were
replaced by a single 274-N (or BC-450-A) control unit (the one
represented by the kit part) in later production P-40E's. You
should find some photographic evidence to know which one to use
for any particular bird, if you care.
(P-40 E&M Manual).
Right side wall (P-40
Right side wall layout.
Left side wall (P-40
Left side wall layout. Note the correct configuration of the
we are just exercising our appetite for details here. If you want
a handy shortcut, go for the excellent Jerry
Rutman's P-40E detail set reviewed here at LSP by Mark
Proulx. This set is very detailed, includes photoetched buckles,
and will save you many hours of scratchbuilding. Not only with
cockpit, but also with the landing gear. Another option is the
Eduard set #32017, designed for this kit. However, many details
in this fret are hopelessly wrong, and I don't think it is worth
The kit comes with a fairly
decent representation of the Allison V1710-39, to be installed
in the nose. It lacks details like ignition wires and plumbing,
which I think is a good idea, as we can add them in a more realistic
way without having to scrap molded on details. The engine mounts
are reasonable, but the firewall is only symbolic.
The kit's engine halves.
The front and the rear parts of the engine mount.
Engine mount and glycol/oil radiators.
| The glycol/oil radiators are
a single piece (part #10) to be installed under the engine block.
The mentioned Eduard set provides replacement PE screens to be
added to that part. Although the part is not bad when viewed from
the front, there is nothing when looking from the radiator flaps.
Yes, you can see a lot from that angle. Alas, the flaps also deserve
some attention. There are a couple of actuating rods and hinges
quite visible with the flaps open. Furthermore, the FO manual
states that the radiator shutters must be open while the aircraft
is landed. The Eduard set mentioned above brings replacement radiator
flaps, but they lack some "three dimensionality". I have no doubts
that the scratchbuilders will test their skills here (see photo
The propeller seems good, except
for the fact that our sample suffered from "mold shifting",
leaving a "stepped seam" difficult to correct around the hub.
Not a serious problem, because most of it will be hidden inside
the spinner. Sorry, but I forgot to measure the prop diameter.
Radiator flaps in the P-40E preserved at
British Columbia Aviation Museum. Note the visible back of the
A view of the engine test fitted.
If you think the cockpit is
marginally passable, you won't think that way about the landing
gear. The retractable main landing gear was something interesting
in early seventies, but for today's standards it is, in a word,
crap. The retracting mechanism is completely fictitious, having
no resemblance with the actual machine. And no, there is no
gears (like in the 1/40 Skyraider of the shame manufacturer
- remember that?), you have to rotate the wheels by hand. Furthermore,
the wheel wells are not enclosed, what adds something to the
already toy like appearance.
The main struts are too short,
and I think that this explains the low profile found in many
assembled examples of this model. The reason is in Revell's
approach for the retracting mechanism: the pivoting line of
the main strut is positioned aft the strut end. So, as the landing
gear is retracted the whole assembly is moved backwards. In
the actual machine the pivot was located at the end of the strut,
about the same level of the wing skin. Then, in order to make
the kit wheels fit into the bays, the main strut had to be shortened.
Besides, the struts look horrible. The wheels are on spot in
what concerns the diameter (30"), but their hub caps are completely
Main landing gear struts and wheels. On the right,
the reason why the kit's struts are too short (see text).
Let's play! The landing gear retraction mechanism in action.
| You think I'm exaggerating?
The wheel bay doors are devoid of any detail. They should be covered
with perforated plates on the inner side. There's no retracting
arms, no pivoting point and no gears. What the heck of gears I'm
talking about? The P-40 inherited the retraction mechanism from
the P-36, which employed conical gears to make the wheels rotate
and lay flat in the wells. The two shots below can explain it
better than me.
I know from the hard way that
to scratchbuild a new landing gear for this model is a painful
task. All I can offer now for you who accept the challenge of
building a new one is a drawing I prepared using a few drawings
and photos. Please, understand that this an approximate drawing,
but it is probably no more than a couple of inches in error
for the length. Small deviations can be compensated with the
Detail photo of the landing gear retraction mechanism
(looking from the back).
Detail photo of the landing gear retraction mechanism (looking
from the front).
My interpretation of the landing gear leg (the tie-down ring
and torque link are not included). Dimensions in mm. Better
to round off the figures to the next integer (my CAD system
doesn't understand what I say...).
| There is much of a debate about
the wheel wells: were they covered with canvas or not? Up to the
P-40E, the canvas was factory standard. I don't know about later
versions. The canvas covers were installed to protect the inner
areas of the wing from dust and debris. Under heavy use, however,
they eventually tore and were not always replaced or repaired
by ground crews. There are a few wartime photos of Warhawks showing
the underside with torn canvas hanging from the wheel wells. The
mentioned Eduard set includes photoetched parts to enclose the
wheel wells, but they are not accurate. It is up to you what to
do here. We will leave a picture of the wheel well without the
canvas in case you go out of control and decide to make a new
one from scratch. We also included a photo taken at the production
line showing the canvas being installed on the well.
Detail photo of the left wheel well (viewed
from the front).
A Curtiss H-87-A2
in the production line. Note the protecting canvas prior to
be tied into the wheel bay.
| The tail wheel used the same
expedient. Having a smaller exposed area, however, the canvas
there inside was not so prone to tearing. The kit parts can be
used, although the wheel yoke seems too weak for the job. As for
the tail wheel doors, the kit parts are over thick and don't have
any detail on the inner side. The picture below if from the E&M
manual and hopefully will help you to add the missing details.
Tail wheel details (P-40 E&M Manual).
| But don't put the kit back to
the closed yet. Again, there's a simpler solution: Jerry
Rutman's P-40E detail set. It comes with all you need
to make a well detailed landing gear without scratchbuilding a
single piece (ok, maybe the brake lines). The main and tail wheel
bays are depicted with canvas. And as far as I know, these resin
bits click perfectly in the kit's parts.
There are 4 clear parts in the
kit: windscreen, sliding canopy and the rear windows. The frame
lines are a bit on the heavy side but very well molded. Even
the hinges for emergency exit are printed on the sliding portion.
Two non-clear parts are glued to the bottom of the sliding portion
to fit the rails, and I'm afraid it will be difficult to dissimulate
the resulting joint. By the way, the rails are very heavily
molded. The windscreen fits surprisingly well in the fuselage
after a gentle clean up, and only a small amount of Mr. Surfacer
will do the job.
The rear windows are good, and
their curvature follow the fuselage. On the other hand, they
are slightly undersized in comparison to the corresponding fuselage
slot. Open your tips & tricks box here because their installation
will need a very careful operation in order to not leave a visible
seam all around them. I suggest to glue a thin stripe of plasticard
around the edges of the fuselage rear windows' slot to reduce
the gap. Wait until dry and sand flush. Now sand and dry fit
the clear parts until a good fit is achieved.
The clear parts.
Nothing here but the characteristic
P-40 belly tank. I didn't find good drawings of this to compare,
but the shape looks right. It comes riveted all around. The
attachment points (including the braces) and the fuel cap are
crude, at best.
The belly tank.
There are a number of smaller
details missing that are worth to mention, but and it's up to
- The USAAF Type N-3 gun sight
(part #70) is symbolic. Scratchbuilders company produces a very
good resin one in case you want a replacement. Here
is the LSP review by Saso Knez.
- The backup gun sight ring
and mast (parts #71 and #72) are both too fat. You are plenty
of photoetched options on the market.
- Some (later) P-40Es had the
'fish tail' exhaust stacks installed in lieu of the round ones
represented in the kit. Check your references and help yourself
in case you need the former.
- Another common feature found
in P-40E (generally field installed) was the rear mirror. This
has to be installed in the upper framework of the windscreen,
offset slightly to the left in most cases.
- Don't forget to scribe a small
circle on the fuselage, beneath the left aft window. No, it
wasn't the tank filler (like in the P-40B/C)... it was a landing
gear warning horn! Now you know why WWII pilots wore goggles.
The fuselage fuel tank filler should be scribed on the fuselage
just behind the sliding canopy, about the bulkhead station.
- And last, but not the least,
remember that the British export version of the P-40 had the
cranked pitot tube.
These features were not installed
in all P-40Es. Check your references... again and again. The
photo below shows a Flying Tiger P-40E (by then belonging to
the USAAF as the 23rd FG) and illustrates some of the above
A Flying Tiger wartime photo showing some of
the details pointed out in the text.
Sorry, no option here. The only
markings with the kit are for "Arizona", the first mount of
Sidney Woods, then serving with the 9th FS/ 49th FG. Later he
became a double ace in the ETO.
The decals are very well printed
by Scale-Master with the popular Invisa Clear system. All the
sheet perfectly registered with good color saturation. The stencils
are readable, even those for the propeller blades. I'm convinced
there are many stencils missing, maybe because they were painted
on in "Arizona". The rattlesnake (very well done multicolored)
nose art of the right side is different from the one to go on
the left side, what is correct. However, the "KIP" initials
were not applied to the vertical stabilizer in the only profile
I managed to find.
That's about what I can tell
you on this bird and its pilot.
The decal sheet.
A zoom on the decal sheet.
| FINAL COMMENTS
Well, a Warhawk is a Warhawk,
no matter what... and this one is a true survivor from times
when our hobby used to be more fun and less work. His contemporary
brothers (the Me-109 and the Spitfire) were surpassed by the
competitors but the Revell P-40E resists as one of the oldest
injected 1/32 kits still on the market.
The number of interesting versions
for this aircraft is countless. From Flying Tigers to Aleutian
Tigers, you can find anything you like: dark green/dark earth,
overall olive drab, splotched, forest green, desert cammo, shark
mouth, tiger head and so on. There are also interesting schemes
for stateside aircraft used for training purposes. Superscale
produced some decal sheets for this kit in the past. Unfortunately,
they are all out of production. With luck, you can still find
The P-40E was the best that
the USAAF had in the first year of the war, and it was pressed
into service in all theaters of operations. Wartime photos generally
show frontline Warhawks dirty, oily, faded and full of paint
chipping. This model is the perfect subject to put your weathering
tricks in action.
You are in charge of the rescribing,
if you want. Some of you scratchbuilders will extend the tail
to make a unique dash-F. This model can also be used in a P-40B/C
conversion using the Scratchbuilders resin/white metal set.
When I think in what can be
done with this kit, one thing that comes to my mind is the work
Williams on this model (in Scott Murphy's web page).
It is worth to take look. It will inspire you or make you give
A heavily weathered Aleutian Warhawk. Note the
radiator doors shut and the antennae.
Here is a good list of references
on the P-40:
1.) McDowell, E. R.: Curtiss
P-40 in Action, Squadron Signal Publ., 1976.
2.) Kinzey, B.: P-40 Warhawk
in Detail - Part 1: YP-36 through P-40C, Detail & Scale
Vol.61, Squadron Signal Publ., 1999.
3.) Kinzey, B.: P-40 Warhawk
in Detail - Part 2: P-40D through XP-40Q, Detail & Scale
Vol.62, Squadron Signal Publ., 1999.
4.) Drendel, L.: P-40 Warhawk
Walk Around, Walk Around Number 8, Squadron Signal Publ.,
5.) Famous Airplanes of the
World, No. 39: Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Burindo, 1993.
6.) Bridgewater, H. C.: The
Curtiss P-36 and P-40 in USAAC/USAAF Service - 1939 to 1945,
Combat Colours Number 3, Guideline Publ., 2001.
7.) Phillips, G. and Hjermstad,
K.: Building the P-40 Warhawk - A Scale Modeler's Project Handbook,
Kalmbach Books, 1997.
8.) Johnsen, F. A.: P-40 Warhawk,
Warbird History, MBI, 1998.
9.) Curtiss P-40, The Aero Series
#3, Aero Publishers, 1965.
10.) Stafford, G. B.: Aces of
the Southwest Pacific, Squadron Signal Publ., 1977.
11.) Technical Order No. 01-25CF-1:
Pilot's Flight Operating Instructions - P-40D and P-40E Airplanes,
AAF Headquarters, Air Service Command, Patterson Field, Fairfield
OH, Feb 1943.
12.) Pilot Training Manual for
the P-40 Fighter, AAF Headquarters, Office of Flying Safety,
13.) Ethell, J.L.:P-40 Warhawk
in World War II Color, Motorbooks Intl., 1994.
and if you are a real fan of
the P-40, these are the rarest:
14.) Technical Order No. 01-25CJ-2:
Erection and Maintenance Instructions - P-40E-1, AAF Headquarters.
15.) Technical Order No. 01-25CJ-3:
Overhaul Instructions - P-40E-1, AAF Headquarters.
16.) Technical Order No. 01-25CJ-4:
Parts Catalogue - P-40E-1, AAF Headquarters.
Also worth to visit in the web:
17.) John Baugher's aviation
Now we finish off this review
with two little gems attesting what can be done from this kit...
A marvelous AVG "Tiger" built from the Revell
kit, with full scratchbuilt interior.
Another tiger built from this kit. Note the
added details in the wheel bays.
As most other Revell kits in
1/32 scale, this one is recommend to anyone who doesn't care
about filling and sanding. Rescribing is not mandatory in view
of the beautiful surface details, but they will disappear in
some areas after sanding. Dedicated modelers will have many
hours of research and work on the cockpit and landing gear to
bring this models to high quality standards. Of all Revell kits
in the big scale, the P-40 is one of the best, given the good
dimensional and shape accuracy (ok, I'm forgiving the ailerons).
And it is not plagued with thousands of orange caliber rivets.
If you can, do yourself a favor and use the Jerry Rutman's detail
set for this kit.
Yes, this is one of the oldest
injection 1/32 models, and it is still around - strong as in
its first days. It reflects its age in what concerns engineering
and details, but is an inexpensive shell - as well as many other
Revell 1/32 kits - to show your skills and produce unique models
(something a Tamigawa addict will never claim). Ask modelers
Rodney Williams, Larry Hawkins, Scott Murphy, Brian Cauchi and
other fellows what I mean and they will show you. Don't step
away of this kit because it is 30+ years old. Build it and have
fun. Besides, it is the only E-game in town.
We would like to thank the support
Forrest Cox, owner of Scratchbuilders, for providing the review
sample, and the modeler/photographer Brian Silcox for providing
the scanned pictures of the E&M manual.
| In case you missed, here is