Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Planes and Model Kits 2: Curtiss P-40

I am always a fan of books on modeling, and for some reason I have accumulated more on the Curtiss P-40 then any other aircraft. This new book is from the French publisher Historie & Collections and is the second book in their modeling series after some German fighter.

This is your typical modeling book in that it is more pictorial then text based. You get a short introduction, some scale side views, two pages on modeling tools, and then the meat of the book - building P-40s. The builds include an overhaul of the old Monogram 1/48 Tomahawk kit, a super-detailed build of the Hasegawa P-40E with an exposed engine, a conversion to a French P-40F, and finally a build of the Hasegawa P-40N. The modeling and painting style is very European and the text has obviously been translated by an non-English speaker. This leads to a few interesting turns of phrase like the "Transformation" in the subtitle, and the very amusing "crucifixion" of the fuselage and wing of the Tomahawk. There are some unique techniques used, for example, this was also the first time I had seen metal used on a model for exterior surface detail.

As is often the case in modeling publications the editing leaves a little to be desired. In the P-40F build it appears that some of the painting section has been omitted, often captions will be on a different page from the photos they describe, and occasionally the captions don't jive with the photos or are incorrectly numbers. Nothing fatal, just little irritating points.

However, there is one major mistake and that is in the profiles in the center of the book. Outside of the Tomahawks, all of the P-40s are shown with the long tail extension. While this is correct for the P-40Ns, and possible some of the P-40Fs, it is not correct for the P-40Es illustrated. They should have the short tail. This is an odd error in that Historie & Collections previously published a book of Kittyhawk side views and those profiles were correct. In addition, I personally think the complete lack of 1/72 scale modeling is a major oversight.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and picked up a few interesting tips, including building up fillets with Mr. Surfacer along with some scribing and detailing ideas.

1 comment:

David M. Knights said...

Good review. I'll link to it. I've noted that a lot of modeling books out there illustrate their techniques on 48th and now more so on 32nd scale kits. I think its done to make the work, especially the detail, look more impressive. I've always thought that a good modeling book devoted exclusively to 72nd scale models and techiniques would be a good seller.