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Kittyhawk Mk.IA - 1:72 Special Hobby

Paul A H

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Kittyhawk Mk.IA

1:72 Special Hobby




The P-40 was based on the earlier P-36 but adapted and improved to give a good turn of speed, a stable gun platform and the agility to allow it to enter into service with the US Army Air Force. Improvements continued until the E-model entered service with a more powerful Allinson engine, extra guns and bomb shackles under the wings. It saw action mostly in the desert and Far East where the more delicate thoroughbreds at the leading edge of technology might have stumbled due to the conditions. The K was a similar aircraft with a more advanced Allinson engine and a curved fin fillet to stabilise the aircraft due to the additional torque of the engine. The E was known as the Kittyhawk Mk.IA, while the K was the Kittyhawk Mk.III in foreign service, with many Allied air forces, including Britain, the Soviet Union, Canada and China. Over 13,000 of all variants were built, and the aircraft served until the end of the war.


This is the second boxing of Special Hobby's new kit, with a number of revisions to enable the Kittyhawk Mk.IA to be built. It is unrelated to the P-40F released in 2008. Inside the top-opening box are two sprues of grey plastic, a small clear sprue and a sheet of decals. There are no resin or photo etched parts, indicating Special Hobby's continued progress towards the mainstream. The parts are all well detailed and crisply moulded, although the panel lines are a little heavy here and there, particularly on the fuselage sides and lower wing surface. Altogether there are over 70 parts. 






Cockpit detail is very good indeed. The cockpit sidewalls are moulded separately to the fuselage and feature crisp, clear details. The pilot's seat, armour and bulkhead are all moulded separately, as is the instrument panel and control column. The floor of the cockpit is moulded in place on the part that joins the upper wing halves, but this does not particularly compromise detail, particularly in this scale. Aside from the cockpit, the only other item that has to be assembled before the fuselage halves can be joined is the radiator, which is made up from three different parts. The lower wing, just like the upper wing,  is moulded in one piece. The main landing gear bays are made up of a plastic square part which sandwiches between the wing halves to give convincing depth and detail. The tail wheel is moulded in one piece. 


Once the wing has been joined to the fuselage, you can add the remaining control surfaces. The horizontal tail planes are solid parts, while the rudder is moulded separately to the vertical tail. The engine exhaust pipes are moulded separately to the fuselage and can be added from the outside of the fuselage, which is a major plus when it comes to the painting stage. Two sets of cooling gills are provided; one open and one closed. The propellor is moulded with all three blades as one part which, once painted, can be sandwiches between the front and rear parts of the spinner. A choice of two different drop tanks are provided, along with a bomb for the centerline pylon. The transparent parts are beautifully thin and clear and the sliding part of the canopy is moulded separately to the windscreen. Two different parts are provided depending on whether you wish to finish the canopy in the open or closed positions. 




The decal sheet provides for three options:
⦁    Kittyhawk Mk.IA AK772 GA-Y (no sniggering) 'London Pride', No. 112 Squadron RAF, Libya, 1942. This aircraft is finished in Middle Stone and Dark Earth over Dark Mediterranean Blue;
⦁    Kittyhawk Mk.IA A29-153 O 'Orace', No. 75 Squadron, RAAF, Milne Bay, New Guinea, March 1943. This aircraft is finished in the Dupont equivalent of Dark Earth and Dark Green over Sky Blue; and
⦁    Kittyhawk Mk.IA AK905 LZ-D, No. 111(F) Squadron RCAF, Anchorage, Alaska, 1942. This aircraft is finished in the Dupont equivalent of Dark Earth and Dark Green over Sky Grey.




The decals themselves are nicely printed and look glossy and opaque.




It's great that Special Hobby have released a kit of the Kittyhawk to complement Airfix's early Warhawk. This kit is both more detailed and more complex than the Airfix kit, and it's all the better for it. It should build up into a pleasing model, particularly if you acquire some of the not-inconsiderable resin sets that CMK have released alongside the kit. Recommended.




Review sample courtesy of 

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19 minutes ago, Andre B said:

I can se two types of propellers an three types of mainwheels. Are they all intended for the Mk.IA?


Cheers / André


It looks like there's all sorts of spares there; three IPs, two seats, two rear cockpit bulkheads, two drop tanks - but I'm guessing some of those parts are for the Special Hobby P-40N kit, there's probably enough commonality in a lot of the parts to make it cheaper to use one sprue for both kits than producing two dedicated sprues with less parts on them and it all feeds the spares box :)





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