Printscale Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk decal sheet

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Printscale Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk decal sheet

Postby Mig88 » Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:28

I've started building some P-40s (a WIP will be posted soon) and I had intended to use this sheet on one but had to change plans due to some problems that showed up leading to a closer look at this sheet so I decided to post an "Out-of-the-bag" review to point out what I have found.

PS1.jpg

The Printscale sheet offers 16 (not 17 as marked) options of different variants of the P-40. Although titled "Kittyhawk" there is only one, the rest being Warhawks (and Tomahawks if you count the P-40Cs). It comes with 7 US options, 8 Soviet options and one RNZAF option. The options cater for 2 x P-40C, 3 x P-40E, 1 x P-40F, 3 x P-40K, 1 x P-40L, 1 x P-40M & 5 x P-40N. The variety of schemes and markings are interesting. The sheet seems well-printed with some decals slightly off-register. The options are all shown with one side view of each, no top or underside views, and simple colour call outs.

Unfortunately there are some BUTS!! The profiles themselves are generic and misleading. As from option 9 onwards, all are shown with the grill forward of the exhausts peculiar only to late-Ns. There are hardly variations in the length of each machine and the P-40Cs are drawn as P-40Ms with the afore-mentioned grills!! The Merlin-engined F and L have the carburettor intake above the nose when it was removed on these variants.

I've gone through 10 of the options and at least they correspond to the variants indicated regardless of what the drawings show so I'm assuming this is a case of trying to simplify things on the instructions (or just poor research of which more anon). Anyhow, here are some notes on some of the options:

PS2.JPG

Num. 4 - USAAF P-40L. This is a late variant L with the longer fuselage.

Num. 6 - RNZAF P-40M. Unusable. I was going to make this option but the markings are of the wrong colour, the red lines are overly thick and appear inside roundels and the tail bars and even if you were to use them anyhow, there are no bars nor markings for the top wing surfaces!!!

Num. 7 - USAAF P-40F. This is a late variant F so it has the longer fuselage. The numbers are printed in black but it seems they should be white.

PS3.jpg

Num. 9 - Soviet P-40K. This is a late variant K with the longer fuselage.

Num. 11 and 12 - Soviet P-40Ks. Both of these are early Ks so they have the shorter fuselage and the forward tailfin fillet.

PS4.jpg

In conclusion, a sheet with nice and varied options but with some pitfalls to watch out for. I'll be making some of the P-40Ns, a P-40C and E and converting AFV Club Ms to make the F, L and late-K options.

I hope this is of help.

Cheers

Miguel
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Re: Printscale Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk decal sheet

Postby F_IV » Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:41

That is very helpful, thank you! I was considering this set earlier, so it is nice to be properly informed.
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Re: Printscale Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk decal sheet

Postby ajmm » Sun Jan 06, 2019 13:11

Thanks for this review Miguel. I have the same sheet. Mine were also quite off-register. I built the Landers P-40 all the same. Good tip offs on the other schemes.

Printscale are a bit frustrating - good schemes and interesting subjects (seafires for instance - we lack a decent early mark spit, but we have decals for seafires!) but all their sheets have accuracy issues that I have found and all have shoddy instructions requiring quite a lot of research just to be sure. Alas.
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Re: Printscale Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk decal sheet

Postby Ryan B. » Sun Jan 06, 2019 17:17

Also, re the RNZAF P-40M, there actually were no red lines, that was a result of someone's misinterpretation of masking overspray. I believe it's was originally propagated in 1/72. (BTW, along with the Merlin P-40F, it'd be nice if someone came out with the short-tailed P-40K with the tail fillet.)
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Re: Printscale Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk decal sheet

Postby mtcc75 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 0:48

Nice Review... and accurate :)
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Re: Printscale Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk decal sheet

Postby smeg1959 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:21

Everyone is reinforcing my observations of some 3rd party decal manufacturers. Good variety of options, spoilt by inaccuracies, out-of-register printing (my absolute Number One hate) and instructions that have one view per scheme, almost invariably the port side one. Having explored the DIY approach to decals and creating appropriate profiles, I do realise the issues faced at times. On more occasions than I care to think of, I've had a great view of an aircraft from one angle then diddly-squat. Fortunately, some air forces had guidelines on markings and camouflage (both colours and patterns) … I'm thinking the "A" and "B" scheme approach used by the RAF during WW2. Unfortunately, the actual aircraft didn't always end up painted as the Lords and Masters intended. The upshot is, not enough info, forget that scheme.

Don't get me wrong. Printscale do some nice work and I've never had application issues with their decals (well, to date anyway). Fortunately too, I haven't had any issues with out-of-register decals from this source, unlike Kitsworld where I had several sheets where the red was off-centre in every roundel, making most of the sheets worthless. Whilst I'm not enamoured with decals where, say, the red spot on an RAF roundel is printed separately, I can definitely see the virtue of such an approach. Whatever the case, Printscale do need to up the ante on their research AND need to start incorporating top and bottom views (and, as I discovered myself, starboard side views are also warranted sometimes).

As for the stuff-up with the RNZAF example, I know one ex-pat Kiwi living in Western Australia who won't be impressed in the least! These 1/48 scale options are probably far more accurate, given that Ventura is a NZ company (not that this necessarily counts for much).
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Re: Printscale Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk decal sheet

Postby Fabiolone » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:39

Printscale usually make well printed decal sheets in hi quality material as well the lack of research is quite a standard for this company. This is sad but true. The research and profiles realization is the most annoying part of making a decal sheet, but it makes the difference. I suspect that the 144 scale is still underestimated by producers (but interesting because it's growing). You are only a little guy that play with little planes, shut up and eat this s***! :roll: :roll:
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Re: Printscale Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk decal sheet

Postby Mig88 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:05

Indeed. If you build in 1:144 you are not a serious modeller unless you are building airliners :lol: !
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Re: Printscale Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk decal sheet

Postby smeg1959 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:29

Sadly true. This narrow-minded view first surfaced when Revell and Crown released their first kits in 1/144, with "serious modellers" branding them toys for kids. OK, most of the releases were pretty dodgy (don't I know it currently trying to complete the Revell Tempest!), but we've moved way beyond this standard. Apparently, editors of some major modelling mags are still stuck in the 1970's. :evil:
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