Vintage Fighter Series'
by Mick Evans
Hasegawa's 1/32 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 is available online
The release of the Vintage Fighter Series Curtiss
P-40C in 1/24 scale is an interesting subject for a company to produce
as their first release kit.
There are 205 light grey injection moulded styrene
plastic parts and 6 clear parts included in the kit. The kit rounds up
with 7 etched metal parts and 3 soft rubber tyres. A photo image
instrument panel is included to be fitted to the rear of the instrument
panel. The kit also has a nice set of decals included depicting two
aircraft from Pearl Harbour at the time of the Japanese attack.
First up the styrene parts are chunky with very heavy panel lines. The
wing, tailplane and rudder trailing edges are simply too heavy and
require some serious thinning. Secondly there are too many gimmicks
causing a compromise on detail. The undercarriage is meant to retract
and replacement clip in undercarriage doors are provided. All control
surfaces are designed to move and the engine cowl is removable allowing
visibility of the engine. All of these gimmicks compromise detail and in
1/24 scale this is one thing that you cannot compromise. The kit appears
to be a scaled up version of the Trumpeter 1/32 scale P40C as it has
similar features and all of the problems inherent with the Trumpeter
kit. These will be detailed during the build. The fuel drop tank is
simply awful with large over scale projections representing bolts. If
the drop tank is to be used these will need to be replaced. Two pilot
figures are provided. On is an English while the other is an American
pilot, but the best place to put these is in the bin. They are simply
the worst moulded pilot figures that I have seen reminding me of some of
the old 1/72 scale Frog blob shaped pilot figures. They are featureless
with the moulding not well defined and not very crisp.
When this kit arrived for review there were tow surprised contained in
the kit. Both of these came from Gammett Productions. The first is a
replacement flap detail set in etched metal to replace the woeful
moveable flaps in the kit. The detail contained in this set was nothing
short of astonishing. The detail set contained 52 etched metal parts to
manufacture the flap and upper wing flap bay. When complete this set is
a vast improvement over the kit flaps and flap bays. The kit parts
require some modification to remove the existing kit detail to allow for
fitment of the etched metal parts.
The second surprise was a resin engine replacement set from Gammett
Productions. This set is a vast improvement over the kit engine
containing 10 resin parts and 12 cast metal parts. Replacement propeller
blades are included in cast metal to replace the kit propeller, which
are too narrow in chord.
Early in the build I had decided to do away with gimmicks such as
retracting undercarriage and removable engine panels. I always find that
these detract from the finished model. The kit engine and cockpit were
assembled as per the instructions. The engine is straight forward and is
a mandatory fit to hold the exhaust pipes and radiator into the correct
positions. The etched metal radiators are a nice touch. The cockpit was
assembled using the P40 Detail and Scale Vol1 as a reference. This is
where the first major error is discovered. The cockpit floor is simply
too shallow. The floor on the real aircraft is the upper surface of the
wing, which is the top of the wing fuel tank complete with the contents
gauge attached. The kit cockpit floor was at least 8-10mm too shallow.
Furthermore the floor is missing some major structure detail. The floor
was remanufactured from plastic card with the structure detail added and
then installed in the correct location. The difference in depth
perception and detail was amazing when the cockpit was fitted. The next
noticeable inaccuracy noted was the engine cowl carburettor intake and
gun tunnels. These were simply straight sided for ease of moulding.
These were reshaped correctly with a scalpel and file and then sanded
smooth reflecting the photographs in the P40 Detail and Scale. The
fuselage was then assembled with no further problems. Some attention is
needed to thin down the canopy sliding rail which is just too thick and
needs to be thinned down. The chunky panels moulded on to the fuselage
were sanded off and scribed into the surface.
The wings were then prepared for assembly. First all of the moulded on
detail for the flap area is removed as per the Gammett instructions. The
trailing edge was thinned down dramatically to look more realistic
before the wings were assembled as per the instructions. The drop tank
holes were filled as I was not fitting the drop tank. Also the chunky
panels moulded on the wing surface were sanded off and scribed into the
surface. The fit of the wings to fuselage was quite good with just a
small amount of trimming required and very little filler was used.
The remainder of the assembly was pretty straight forward and the
retractable undercarriage was glued solidly down, after it was found
that the kit was a little wobbly on the moving undercarriage leg. One
final correction that was needed was the two holes needed to be drilled
in the port transparency behind the cockpit for the fuel filler access.
The Gammett flaps and flap bays were assembled as per the instructions
and these look superb when completed. The parts are an excellent fit and
locate into etched recesses. The flap bays fit snugly into the wing
areas and the flaps are then attached with an etched metal piano hinge.
The kit was painted in Xtra Colour Olive Drab and Neutral grey before
the decals were added. The decals were quite nice but had some
difficulty in adhering to the chunky surface detail. The kit was subtly
weathered before a coat of semi gloss clear was sprayed.
This is not a bad first kit for a new producer on the block. The overall
fit is excellent with very little filler required. The kit has some
shortfalls but these are quite easily overcome. Vintage Productions
should drop the gimmicky retractable undercarriage, replaceable
undercarriage doors and removable panels and focus on accuracy and
In 1/24 scale where things are quite large detail is paramount. The
lessons learned in moulding this kit should be reflected in their
upcoming P-47 kit which, from the pre-production photographs that I have
seen, should be excellent.
Overall, this P-40C kit is not a bad buy, but the modeller should be
prepared to do a little work. After all it is currently the only 1/24
scale P40 on the block.
Text and Model Copyright 2007 by
Images Copyright 2007 by
Mick Evans (progress photos) &
Page Created 17 June, 2007
24 December, 2007
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