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Thunderbird Warhawk - 1/48th ARII P-40E Kittyhawk IA

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

The ARII/ Otaki P-40 may look alright at first glance, however it has shape issues, some of which are problems that cannot be fixed. E.g. the forward edge of the wings have a bit of a sweep-back, which is incorrect for a P-40. Let's just leave it at: better options are out there for a P-40 model kit. (That weren't out at the time I got this kit.) Note: Airfix re-released this ARII kit under their brand in 2000... just wait, there is more.


The Tangled Web of P-40 Kits:


OK let's see if I can get this correct: In the 1990's a number of kit manufacturers decide we need a new P-40. Both AMT/ERTL and Mauve released a series of 1/48 scale P-40s, which were basically accurate in outline, featured finely recessed panel lines and were fairly well detailed. The Mauve kit was considered superior in many ways although the AMT/ERTL kit had a great cockpit. Mauve released the P-40M and P-40N, plus their RAF equivalents (Kittyhawk III and IV); with the P-40F, K and N coming from AMT/ERTL's offering. Hobbycraft jumped in at some point re-releasing some of the ERTL kits under their brand. Therefore, depending on which P-40 you wanted, you now had a decent choice.


AMtech entered the market in the early 2000s offering a number of new variants based on the AMT/ERTL kits. These were the P-40E, plus short and long tailed versions of the P-40F and P-40L. The Merlin powered variants were enhanced with a solid replacement nose that was supposed to be more accurate than AMT/ERTL's forward fuselage.


Eduard also got into the act, repackaging Mauve's P-40M and N kits with new markings plus resin and photo-etched detail parts and Academy jumped in re-boxing the Hobbycraft kits (which were re-boxes of AMT/ERTL kits). Adding to this, you have Monogram/Revell releasing a new tool P-40E in 2005 and Italeri re-boxing the AMT/ERTL in the late 2000s... there were a few more P-40 happenings, but at the point of overwhelming you, we will move on to the next development.


All these 1/48 scale P-40s are quite nice, but then Hasegawa stepped into the fray in the mid-2000s and set the new standard, starting with the release of a P-40E and then moving onto several other variants.


End Result:


Having said all that, if you are looking for a 1/48th scale P-40 kit, avoid the ARII, Otaki and Airfix variants and go with the Hasegawa kit or perhaps one of the other kits if the price suits you better.


My build, as it is, was of a RCAF 111 Thunderbird Squadron aircraft based out of Anchorage, Alaska in the Summer of 1942. (The decals cost more than the kit.)


Completed build #107 - April 2009 using the 1/48th scale ARII #A332-600 kit.


Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building what you want, how you want - Cheers

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