Hi all,

 

My name is Chris and welcome to my build review of the VQ P-40 Warhawk.

 

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First of all, why did I choose the VQ kit?  Well it was quite simple, the VQ models are cheap and they are the only company to offer a 60 size P-40 in the British desert colours.

 

Out of the Box

 

Ok, the first thing you notice when you open the box is that the parts are well packed and the colours look better in daylight than they do in many photos on the web.  The other thing you notice is the smell that comes off the models covering (Pheeew, what a whiff!).

 

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As you can see from the above photo, the covering is pre printed and a sort of sticky back plastic and not the normal covering material we are used to.  Two things I was impressed with in this kit was, the engine cowling is really nice quality and the ailerons, flaps and elevator are already fitted and pinned.  The model itself does feel a little on the heavy side but gives the impression of being quite robust.

 

Things to Check

 As with any massed produced ARF kits, you should always check all the fittings are present and that all the glued joints have no gaps or voids.  One key area I found with my kit, was that there were some gaps in the glue around the engine bulkhead.

 

 Glued jointsMissing glue

 

Gaps like this were beefed up with epoxy resin to give me confidence that the engine would not pull itself out the the plane after a couple of flights.

 

 

Engine Installation

 

On this model I decided to fit an SC-61 2-stroke rather than a 91FS as the model has instructions for fitting both.  One nice thing that VQ have done is provide the builder with a small plywood jig/template to enable you to drill the engine mount holes in the right place.

 

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However,  you may notice that if you are fitting a 2 stroke engine as per the manual,  you end up with two mounting points outside of the bulkhead.  It is also worth noting, that the engine mount in my kit was rather poor and had moulding defects that I was not happy with.  So a quick trip to my local model shop and I picked up a good quality mount that had the mounting holes in a better location.

 

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To ensure the engine thrust lines remain the same for the new mount, a new template was made from some scrap ply. The mounting holes were then drilled and the engine and mount fitted.

 

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With the engine fitted at the correct distance from the bulkhead, the cowling was the installed and trimmed to give clearance and adequate airflow for cooling.

 

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Assembling the wing

 

The wing on this kit is not much different to any other kit on the market, but there are two areas that I found annoying.

 

 

 

1. The flap linkage is designed to be hidden inside the wing and exits via a small slit just forward of the flap.  However, if you are using standard servos for the flaps this poses a slight problem in that the wiring for your aileron has to travel past or near the flap servo horn.  As I was not keen on this idea, I did what most other kits do and fitted the flap servos and linkages the same way as they fit aileron servos.

 

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2. The retracts for this kit are purchased separately and are of the 90 degree rotating type which can be difficult to come by.  I really wanted to fit some servoless retracts but at the time of the build, no UK suppliers stocked them.  However, I did managed to get hold of a set of the VQ mechanical retracts for this model.  The main problem I came across with the retract installation was that the mechanical operating arm chafes on a section of the wing spar.

 

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When I first looked at this problem I wondered what VQ had done as it was obvious that there must have been a design oversight.  What looks to have happened is that in order to allow the retracts to close, a section of the spar in the wing has been cut and lowered.  This is then strengthened with a ply U-shape former.  However, what appears to have happened in doing this is that the spare has been lowered approximately 10mm when it only needed to be lowered 5mm.

 

The fix for this was quite straight forward in that I cut the lowered section out and fitted my own support, which allowed clearance on the retracts.

 

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On the new spar insert I also added a V-shape to the block to help centre the retract. Mechanical retracts can be a bit sloppy and cause the wheel to snag on the wheel bay.

 

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Other miscellaneous points

 

Other minor points that I had to look at were as follows:

 

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The gap between the wing leading edge and the bulkhead needed a 3mm ply shim fitting to make the fit nice and snug.

 

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The cockpit side glass needed to be popped out to paint the struts in on the plastic.  You do get stick on strips for the canopy but these will not last 5 minutes so it was easier to apply paint to the inside.

 

 

 

Finished product

 

Well it certainly looks the part.

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Conclusion

 

When you look at the cost of the VQ kits in comparison to others of the same size, you have to ask yourself what you want out of a kit.  The reason I purchased this kit was that it was on special offer and I have always wanted a British P-40 ever since I built an 1/72 scale Airfix kit many years ago.  As for the points I have identified in this review, I hope this helps others in that moment of head scratching and helps you resolve those build issues you are not sure of.

 

In the air

 

The first flight of the P-40 was not too bad, just rather nose heavy with the C of G at 100mm. With a tank of fuel and the retracts down it is quite difficult to flare on landing.   This could also be because the 2 stroke engine is slightly heavier than the 4 stroke.

 

However, after consultation with some of the other club members and using an on-line C of G calculator, I will be moving the C of G to 105mm with 1/2 a tank of fuel and retracts up.

 

Results on the C of G

Moving the C of G to the 105mm point with half a tank of fuel has improved the handling 100%. The aircraft banks round nicely and flares easily on landing.

 

In addition to the above, I fitted a 13 x 7 prop as this aircraft performs better with a little extra speed.