Monday, 10 October 2011

new Airfix Curtiss Hawk 81-A-2 build blog

Now that the late September/early October heatwave ( 30C on 1 October a UK record!) is slowly fading (still 23C here in the South-East) and I haven't been in the sea since 02 October (in itself a personal record), there is nothing like a new-tool 1:72 Airfix fighter to get the modelling juices flowing.

The Curtiss Hawk 81-A-2, known in US Army Air Corps service as the P-40B Warhawk and in RAF service as the Tomahawk Mk. IIA, was a single seat fighter based on the radial engined P-36 Hawk and first flown in 1938 and this latest Airfix release is a lovely little representation. You get two sprues of quality mouldings with engraved panel lines, a nicely detailed cockpit (including sidewall), 2 lower radiator flap inserts and a neat hollow upper engine cowl intake. Weighted wheels and a separate rudder are a nice touch.

A couple of 'negatives'  - the wing guns are moulded with the upper wings and were already bent back in the box, there is no cowl gunsight (although Tony O'Toole's 'Airfix Model World' magazine build featured one but wasn't mentioned in the text) and there is only one decal option -  Chuck Older's '68', Third Squadron, AVG, Kumming, China 1942. The decals are nicely printed by Cartograf but I would have liked a few more options on the sheet  - an RAF scheme or even a nice OD US option. I would have then bought a couple more ...

Time to get stuck straight in for a four day build and finish! Note the cockpit green appears a little garish here under the lights. I haven't used the Kagero etch here either in the end - the belts are from champagne bottle foil. The control column is impossible to get off the sprue without snapping it, the instrument panel is the kit-supplied decal. Major assembly completed in a day and a half. Wing/fuselage join is not the best perhaps around the lower cowl area. Click on the images to get in closer...

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