Flying Tigers: 1/48th Monogram P-40C Tiger Shark
Updated: Sep 27, 2021
Here is another of Monogram's old kits (originally released in the mid 60's) that are still available under the Revell brand. For its time this was a nice kit with good cockpit detail and overall shape. Now it is showing its age, however there are not many good choices for an early P-40 B/C out there.
Notable Kit Features:
Good overall shape
Separate flaps that can be posed dropped (although lacking any interior details)
Nice cockpit glass (Separate pieces which can be displayed open or closed)
Raised panel lines
After reading a bit about the Flying Tigers in WWII, I was inspired to add a "Tiger Shark" to my model collection. I settled on one of the groups top aces and decided upon 3rd Sqn. AVG Charles Older's aircraft, which meant that the kit decals would have to be modified a bit from the 1979 decal release that I had.
Overall fit isn't bad however the molds are not up to par with more current kits
Minor wing fit issue
Gun sight is heavy (photo etch would be a good replacement)
No detail in separate flaps (just slabs of plastic however, the basic look is there)
Non-vented wing guns
Closed radiator flaps
Raised panel lines
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Sanded off the panel lines
Modified kit decal of Red Angel to represent Charles Older's version and sourced the number 68
Added nose guns made from hypodermic needles (should refinish those in gun metal)
This kit turned out pretty well for its day and I was happy with the result at the time. The paint scheme was the Dupont green (closer to a FS 34092 than a FS 34079) and Dark Earth (FS 30095) upper over a US underside gray. The Monogram kit got me a decent looking Flying Tiger in the collection that still holds a place on the shelf today.
The After-Build Report:
The Monogram (now Revell) kit is certainly still buildable. If you don't mind the raised panel lines and can find an inexpensive one, the kit can still provide some enjoyment, however there may be better options for you.
Not many kits were released of this early P-40 B/C variant especially in the early days. The Monogram kit was it for about 30 years. Around 1996, Hobbycraft released their P-40B (which was later released by Academy as well), however that mold was criticized for inaccurate panels, some shape issues (especially in the wing area - not correct for an early P-40; exaggerated dihedral) and a pitiful pit... some proclaiming it "unbuildable". (Have you heard that before from a model maker? :) So this one will need a lot of work.
Later P-40B/C releases by Trumpeter (in 2004) were highly anticipated but then criticized for its shallow cockpit, control surface shape issues and overdone surface detail... again with some proclaiming the kit as unbuildable. I haven't built the Trumpeter kit however I have seen it built up into a very nice model. Certainly the separate control surfaces and extra details in the flaps etc. are very appealing. Apparently this one will take some extra work and maybe a new pit.
Bronco released a version of the early P-40 in 2016...which again met with some harsh criticism. Interestingly they seemed to go with a too shallow pit as well, even after the critic storm ripped the Trumpeter kits for this problem (you'd think Bronco would have taken notice). The control surfaces don't look correct either with noticeably exaggerated fabric sag. So this one will take some extra work as well... and maybe a new pit.
Airfix has more recently entered the fray with their version of the P-40B, which looks pretty decent although the construction certainly appears complex in spots (the 6-piece nose) and it has some issues as well (leading edge fairings ejector pin marks etc.). So a bit of extra work for this one too?
If I wanted to build another early P-40, I would probably opt for a Trumpeter or Airfix P-40B version based on the best starting point, availability and price. Find the kit that suits your budget and needs and do what you can with it to put something on the shelf that you like.
Completed build #37 - April 1990 using the 1/48th scale Monogram #6803 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers