Curtiss P-40 B/C - Browning .30 cal and US Type Pitot Tube Detail Set

Published: January 22nd, 2018     
Product Image
Reviewed by: 
Paul Mahoney, IPMS# 8943
Scale: 1:48
Company: Master Model
Price: $33.00
Product / Stock #: AM 48 135

Airfix's new 1/48 early P-40 models have been very popular with modelers of late. Despite these being very good kits, there is always need for some improvement. Master Model's recent product address some of those needs.

Master has come out with aftermarket sets that replace Airfix's gun barrels and pitot tubes, as well as furnishing ring and bead sights that are missing from the original kit. There are separate Master packages for the American and British boxings, with appropriate changes in the pitot tubes and gun barrels.

IPMS and Master were kind enough to allow me to review the 'US version' of this set. It is comprised of the following brass pieces: four 0.30 cal gun barrels, two blast tubes for the nose guns, a 2-piece pitot tube (brass + resin), a bead sight, and a photoetch brass fret of ring sights.

To install the Master parts, the modeler will need to drill various holes. The ring and bead gunsights will need drilled-out mounting holes (measurements provided on the instruction sheets). The gun barrels and blast tubes will require the modeler to cut off the Airfix barrels, and then drill appropriate-sized holes for the replacements. Again, Master provides the appropriate measurements. The pitot tube is a drop fit into the Airfix opening (possibly with minor widening).

The Airfix wing guns have a somewhat peculiar mounting - the gun barrels are molded with a half-circle mounting plug that fits into the wing leading edge. To mount the Master barrels, one will need to install the kit guns, then trim off the kit barrel, drill a hole in the barrel mounting plug (I used #69 drill bit), and then fit the Master barrels in place. Master instructions describe exactly how far out these barrels should protrude. Please note in the accompanying photos I made no attempt to clean up seams or fill in any gaps, I just performed the above minor surgery for review purposes.

There are two styles of blast tube installations possible for the P-40B - short or long protruding tubes. Master makes note of this in the instructions, and shows the appropriate measurements for each. Airfix provides both of these versions, but only mentions the short one in its instructions. For review purposes, I trimmed off the kit barrel, drilled out the opening with a #67 drill bit, and installed the blast tubes as a 'long' installation. I think I would cut the length of the Master tubes if I were to go with the short installation - otherwise, quite a deep hole will need to be drilled out to install the provided barrel, and there is not a lot of excess clearance on the Airfix gun shrouds with which to work.

Finally, the pitot tube provided by Master consists of a brass tube and a resin pitot head. The pitot head fits directly onto the brass tube, and this should fit right into Airfix's opening (with some small adjustments).

Overall, these pieces bring some nice refinement to an already-nice kit. The hollowed-out barrels and precise air cooling holes make the gun barrels a definite improvement. The pitot tube is a bit crisper than Airfix's, and the addition of the ring and bead gunsights provide a detail that is missing from the base kit.

Highly recommend!

Thanks to Master for providing the review sample, and to IPMS/USA for allowing me the opportunity to review it!

  • Contents
  • nose gun comparison
    nose gun comparison
  • wing gun comparison
    wing gun comparison
  • master nose gun installed long
    master nose gun installed long
  • bead sight
    bead sight
  • ring sights
    ring sights
  • instructions
  • wing gun installed
    wing gun installed
  • master wing gun installed
    master wing gun installed
  • master wing gun installed 2
    master wing gun installed 2
  • comparison of installed wing guns
    comparison of installed wing guns

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