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Trumpeter 1/48 scale Curtiss P-40B

Kit: No. 02807
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Trumpeter, distributed by Stevens International, 856-435-1555,
Price: $29.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 104 parts (4 photoetched metal), decals
Pros: Good detail, excellent fit, decals, and assembly drawings
Cons: No instrument panel gauges, shallow cockpit, color errors in instructions and decals
It was only a matter of time before Trumpeter "shrunk" its 1/32 scale P-40B kit to 1/48 scale, and the process must have been smooth. The breakdown of the parts of the new smaller kit is nearly identical - along with repeating a few errors of the original. Overall, the shape of the finished model looks good.

All plastic parts have a high level of recessed panel line and rivet detail. Dry-fitting the parts reveals excellent fit. The eight-page instruction booklet has general assembly steps, color and decal application directions, and a parts map. The colors recommended for the No. 112 Squadron RAF Tomahawk are incorrect; Trumpeter calls for the temperate scheme of dark earth, dark green, and sky blue, but should be the desert scheme of dark earth, middle stone, and azure blue.

The cockpit is well detailed, but the floor is much too high and the seat much too small for the scale. A clear instrument panel goes over a backing panel, but there are no instrument faces provided.

Like the 1/32 scale kit, full machine guns are provided for the cowl and wing stations, but unless you cut open panels, all but the muzzles are hidden.

The wheel wells have walls that replicate wing spars and ribs, and the gear mounts accurately control alignment. Photoetched-metal plates fill the gaps in the bottom of the fuselage when the flaps are dropped - very nice. Strangely, the mounting tabs for both ailerons are bent up slightly; I just bent one aileron's tabs down to properly offset them.

After painting the desert scheme, I applied clear gloss to prep the model for decals. The kit's Cartograf decals were well printed, thin, and went on fine, but the sharkmouth didn't wrap far enough around the underside of the nose. The "K" fuselage code is printed in white but should be gray. A coat of clear flat produced the final finish I wanted.

Trumpeter's P-40B was a delight to work on. Beginning modelers who can paint their models should have no trouble with it. Advanced modelers will want to replace the Lilliputian cockpit features with aftermarket items. My model took about 22 hours to complete.

- Allan F. Jones


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