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Kit Preview: Airfix’s 1/72 Hawk 81-A2

Airfix just keeps rolling along, putting out kits I love to build. Aside from the Spitfire, my “other” favorite airplane is the P-40. And here comes Airfix with a P-40 in my favorite markings, that of the Flying Tigers.

The kit is right in line with Airfix’s recent 1/72 scale new-tooled releases. Good detail, slightly thick sprue attachment points, engraved but somewhat heavy panel lines, very logical parts breakdown, and most important, good value for the money.

It usually takes quite a while for new Airfix kits to arrive in the US, so I circumvented the wait and ordered from Hannants as soon as the kit was available. The price wasn’t bad, either, at about $7.75 US (£4.99). Shipping added a bit more, but I was already buying several bottles of Extracrylix paints, so why not have a kit thrown in the box as long as it was coming my way? 😉

Cockpit detail is nice. The floor does a good job representing the top of the wing. The seat could probably use some thinning on the sides, but otherwise it’s nicely shaped. The IP is flat, but a decal is provided. A nice touch is the butts of the nose mounted machine guns molded in the IP panel top. Sidewall detail is a tad thick, but adequate for the scale. As the canopy is a single piece for the forward and sliding parts, it’s likely most modelers will go with a closed cockpit anyway. Of course, a razor saw could open the canopy up, or an aftermarket one could be used if you decided to have the cockpit open.

The cowl has upper and lower parts that fit on to the fuselage, which will help eliminate the need for sanding in those area. If this kit is like the recent Airfix kits I’ve built, fit should be excellent.

Parts are provided for a wheels up or wheels down configuration. For wheels down, weighted tires are supplied.

There is a US and RAF styled pitot in the kit, so if you’re waiting for the P-40B Pearl Harbor version, this is the same plastic.

Decals are provided for one aircraft, Charles Older’s #68 bird. The decals include a fairly full set of stencils also. The quality looks very good. Airfix has really worked hard to improve the quality of their decals, and this release is no exception. The sheet looks very good.

The only real complaint I have is the side-opening box, which is such a minor thing it’s almost silly to point it out. I bring it up mainly to underline how good the kit is- the worst I can say is the type of box it comes in!

I’ve already washed the sprues on this kit, and plan to start on it tonight as soon as I get home from work. Check back in a few weeks to see how things shape up!

Great work, Airfix!