Huw Morgan gives the re-released Airfix 1/48 Curtiss Tomahawk Mk.II a makeover, courtesy of new decals plus aftermarket extras.


The Curtiss P-40 has a comparatively long development history that can be traced back to the firm’s breakthrough monoplane, the Hawk 75, in the early 1930s. Designed for the US Army Air Corps in 1934, this all-metal machine was given the P-36 identifier, being powered by a bulky Pratt & Whitney R-1830 radial engine. While initially effective, it was deemed obsolete by December 1941, although export versions were used by the French air force during the Battle of France.

By 1937, powerful in-line engines were being developed by Allison and Curtiss opted to redesign the P-36 to accept its 1710-19 V12 powerplant, which was an immediate improvement. It was ordered in bulk by the USAAF as the P-40, being armed by two .50 cal nose-mounted machine guns, and could reach speeds of up to 324mph at low level, making it competitive with the Hurricane but slightly inferior to the Spitfire and Bf 109.

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