So here we are, a brand new adventure. Some of you may remember me from the early 1970s (yep, that long ago!) when I joined with a couple of friends to found the orginal "Replica in Scale", a quarterly publication devoted to scale modeling. We fought The Good Fight for several years, then folded the tent. We were, or so I'm told, greatly appreciated by the world of scale aircraft modeling. We weren't, and I know this for sure and for certain, making any money at the thing. Satisfaction of the ego is a wonderful thing, but sooner or later you have to pay bills. Filthy lucre raised its ugly head and, once more, got in the way of art, or at least in the way of what we were doing. Life's like that sometimes.
Now it's February of 2010, a brave new age as far as I'm concerned. Thoughts of doing some sort of "Replica" re-birth have been flitting in and out of my head for the past 30 years or so and now it's time. It's back. Right here, right now. Hot dog!
So, what are you going to see here? That one's easy. I build plastic model airplanes, tanks, and sometimes ships, and I also paint the occasional figure (but only to compliment those airplanes and tanks). Nowadays I'll build almost everything, but there are areas I specialize in. Those will become evident soon enough, so we aren't going to list them at this time. You'll figure it out.
That said, it's pretty obvious we're going to talk about plastic models. We'll build a few, show off a few, and maybe even review the odd kit from time to time. My wife tells me I need to do tutorials as well, and that's a possibility too. There's also a pretty substantial archive of photography under this roof, either taken by me or given to my collection by the person who took the original photograph(s). You'll see a few of those too, but you can't sell 'em as your own; that'll make me mad, I think, so please don't swipe my photos for anything other than your own personal use, OK? OK.
Now that all that is out of the way, let's talk about P-40s. I love 'em, and think they're basically God's Gift to the world of military aviation. You don't have to, of course, but I do. 'Nuff said.
So, let's presume you might want to build your very own Warhawk in 1/48th scale, which is what that particular P-40 happens to be in. It's a replica of the P-40E flown by Andy Reynolds out of Darwin, Australia, during The Bad Old Days of 1942, when Mr. Reynolds flew with the 9th FS of the 49th FG, and it's done from the Hasegawa kit that has gotten such a bum rap from the internet modeling community. It's a good kit, make no mistake, and most of the complaints against it are, in my never-humble opinion, totally invalid. The alleged issue comes from the fact that the kit is modular in design in order to allow the most bang for the buck in terms of different variants. That means there are inserts in several places, and for big parts of the airplane. Don't get scared off by it, though; just take your time and pre-fit those pesky inserts before you glue them in place. That's it. That's the secret, and if you follow that advice you'll end up with a pretty fair P-40.
There are a couple of other things you might want to do as well, so let's list them:
- Use the lenses provided by Hasegawa to fill in the lights in the starboard landing gear fairing knuckle and the formation lights under the cockpit. The P-40E didn't have either one of those features.
- Sand the "rivet" detail off the fuselage quarter panel inserts. It's grossly overscale.
- Fix the canopy. If you look at the clear piece provided for same, you'll see that there's a notch at the front of it to accomodate the triangular filler at the base of the windscreen. Hasegawa are trying, albeit somewhat poorly, to simulate a doubler that appeared in that location late in P-40 production. It doesn't belong on an E-model, so add a piece of .015 or .020 sheet to the clear part to properly square it off, then sand off the doubler that's molded to the fuselage and, if you're brave, cut out the appropriate part of the fus so it looks like the canopy would actually close. (That's the hardest thing you'll have to do to this kit, by the way.)
- Carefully fit and attach those inserts we talked about earlier. You might want to make two complete fuselage halves rather than making up the plugs Hasegawa wants. Life will be easier that way. Trust me on this one.
- Hasegawa gives you the option of sanding off all the molded-on navigation lights and replacing them with clear parts. It's easier and, in my opinion, looks just as good, if you paint them all white, then paint over them with the appropriate Tamiya or Gunze clear color.
- There are two possible exhaust treatments for the P-40E. Hasegawa provides the early, tubular style of pipe with the scalloped-out panel, which is appropriate for the aircraft shown above. You can easily replace those pipes with the later fishtail stacks, but be sure to fill in the scallop if you do, and please remember that the early P-40Es all had the tubular pipes. Match the exhaust treatment to the color scheme you're building. Photographs are your friend!
- We probably should have mentioned the interior before now, but we didn't. That's just how I am, and it's getting worse as I get older. You'll have to learn to live with it, I guess. Anyway, the kit's interior is pretty good as-is, and you can get away with a bone-stock representation of same, although I'd personally add a set of Eduard belts and harnesses.
A couple of final notes, at least until I start to remember the stuff I didn't discuss here; Reynold's airplane was of RAF contract origin, and was also a fairly early E-model, which means it could have had the IFF antennae that run from the vertical stab to the wingtips on the early Hawks. I put 'em on there with stretched sprue, but you don't have to if you don't want to. I would definitely add the radio antenna wire, though.
Camouflage and markings are a Whole 'Nother Thing entirely. I suggest a good set of references, and careful study of available aftermarket decals. When next we convene I'll discuss the paint and markings of this particular airplane, but that's it for this installment. Thanks for taking a look, and I hope you become a regular here. It's good to be back.
vaya con Dios,