The distinguishing characteristic of the Curtiss P-40K-5 is the larger rounded tail. The short-lived early K models had takeoff problems from the more powerful Alison V-1710-73 engine which was rated at 1325 hp and tended to swing at takeoff. So the K-5 variant was born with the increase in the tail. The P-40K had been intended to be replaced by the next-generation P-60, however problems with the P-60 resulted in the P-40 being used until the end of the war. The P-40K had a maximum speed of 320mph at 5000 feet, took 7.5 minutes to climb to 15,000 feet, and had a range of 350 miles with it's 500-pound bomb attached.
The K-5 variant was also known as the Kittyhawk III in the British Air Service. British Kittyhawk Mk III's were used mainly in North Africa. A few ven saw service with the USSR. In the US Army Air Corps the sturdy plane saw action in North Africa and the PTO (including the China-Burma-India theater).
Based on AMtech's 1/48 P-40E release, this updated kit includes a resin tail by BlackBox to modify the tail section to the more distinctive K variant. Otherwise the kit is mostly identical to AMtech's P-40E release. Their is a new sprue that includes a K-style instrument panel as well as seat back, fishtail exahausts and exhaust panels. The E-variant parts are also included on this sprue.
The plastic sprues are mostly flash free. I did note a small raised area behind the cockpit on both sides of the fusalage, however some minor sanding would correct those issues. The panel lines are very fine and look to scale for 1/48 scale aircraft.
The tail section by BlackBox (www.vmdstudios.com
) is nicely done. Their was zero flash on my unit and the panel lines matched up very well. Hiding the seam between the plastic and resin part of the fusalage might be a challange for more intermediate modelers like me. I guess we shall see when I get to building it.
The instructions for this kit seem complete and well detailed. Thier is a section for the rear fusalage removal which includes a 1:1 scale drawing that you can put each side of the fusalage over for lining up the cut. 2 pages are dedicated to the process of adding the resin tail piece, but if you are a resin beginner you may want to read a bit about working with resin parts before you attempt this. Otherwise the process does not look difficult at all.
Also included are 2 pages detailing decal placement and paint schemes. See more on those below.
The kit includes decals and paint schemes for 4 different aircraft. Two from the US Army Air Corps and two from the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force). One is actually a P-40E model based on an unidentified training squadron at Randolph Field, Texas in mid-1943. Two are of Kittyhawk Mk III's in North Africa. FR346 in the No. 450 Squadron, RAAF, Libya, 1942. And the other FR249 also in the 450th, Western Desert, 1942. The remaining plane is wearing the "Death on Wings" marking of the 64th Fighter Squadron (57th Fighter Group) in Egypt, late 1942.
This special edition model is not widely available. Currently you can only get the kit through HobbyLobby stores or from AMtech directly. I was just informed by Alan Griffith that a new shipment of kits is expected to reach HobbyLobby stores by the week of July 11th, so if this kit is on your list you should act now. The MSRP is $24.95 and if you don't have a HobbyLobby near you try the AMtech Web site at www.amtechmodels.com
. You can order the kit from them for $29.95 which includes $5 for shipping.
I would like to thank Alan for sending me this kit for review. I plan to build it soon as the P-40 was my first kit (at 6 years old) and I want to officially re-enter the hobby as a real builder with this kit. Thanks AMtech!