Special Hobby’s 1:72 P-40E Warhawk “Claws and Teeth” kit consists of 86 injection molded medium grey polystyrene parts on two sprues and seven clear parts on one sprue. The full color instruction booklet guides assembly over 12 steps. Decals provide markings for four P-40Es:
- P-40E Warhawk 41-35954, ET600, 1st Lt. Andy Reynolds, 9th FS, 49th FG, Darwin, Australia, Summer 1942
- P-40E Warhawk 41-24872, Capt. R. Vaught, 9th FS, 49th FG, Livingstone Field, Darwin, Australia, May 1942
- P-40E Warhawk 41-36402, Lt. Dallas Clinger 16th FS, 23rd FG, Kwelien, China, September 1942
- P-40E Warhawk 106, ex-AVG pilot John Petach, 75th FS, 23rd FG, Hengyang, China, July 1942
Strengths: The Special Hobby P-40E is a very promising kit. As with their other 1:72 scale P-40s, it reflects the increasing quality of Special Hobby kits over the last several years. I think it indeed might be one of the nicest of their 1:72 scale kits to date.
Parts breakdown and engineering are both simple and straightforward. The exterior of the kit is very nicely molded revealing very smooth and flawlessly produced surfaces, panel lines, and a sparing number of rivet/fastener details. The cockpit it very nicely done, with separately molded sidewalls, a nice instrument panel and a decent seat. The left and right wings are molded as a continuous part (for both upper and lower wing halves) so that getting an equal dihedral won’t be a problem. Also, the rudder is a separate part and it can be positioned as the builder wishes. The clear parts are also really very nicely done. They are not too thick for 1:72 scale and they are crystal-clear with pristinely smooth surfaces.
The injection-molded parts for the carburetor intake screen faces are almost as nice as a photoetched metal part. There are alternative parts for closed and opened cowl flaps. The main gear well walls each come as a separate four-sided part that drops into the space between the wing halves, and just like that, you’ve got a very nice and complete gear well. Detail on the landing gear and wheels look quite nice, and the kit also includes a pair of bombs and two styles of underwing drop tanks. I also like how the complete gun barrels are molded over to the bottom of the upper wing half. This makes the fit with the bottom wing half and any necessary cleanup a lot easier and virtually trouble-free.
The paint scheme options are really well-chosen, and include some great shark mouth schemes, and of course, a Flying Tiger, too. The wicked vulture fuselage art on “Star Dust/Oklahoma Kid” is pretty cool, too. The decals themselves look awesome. They were printed by Cartograf and appear flawless in every respect.
Weaknesses: There’s not a lot that I can critique regarding this kit. I see no obvious flaws in shape, detail, or other elements. The only observation I might have is that for some scale modelers, the panel lines on the fuselage and wings might be a little overscaled – a little too wide and a little too deep. Personally, I think that once a few coats of paint are on and a panel line wash or a pencil treatment is applied, they should look a little less pronounced. And while not a critique per se and more reflective of my own preferences, I have never cared for decal seatbelts, and I do love separate control surfaces (here, elevators, ailerons, and landing flaps are not positionable).