About the 50th P-40 here lately!
As soon as I started building this Italeri 1/48 P-40N it seems like they started coming out of the woodwork on Imodeler - which is fine with me, I love seeing everyone's different takes on this classic, a favorite of mine.
In my first post on Imodeler, a B-25J in April this year, I stated that it was “my first model plane in 40 years”. Well that's not exactly 100%true. That B-25J was the first plastic model kit in that long, but around 1995 I built a Guillows balsa and paper P-40. That was great fun but I know longer have it as it did not move with the family in 2001 when we moved to where we live now. I don't recall what happened to it but it's not 'at the house'. When I built that, there was a hobby shop near where I was working then that is no longer in business. That is where I got the Guillows kit and the Squadron Publications book on the 49th Fighter Group because it had lots of good illustrations and photos. I still have the book and when I got restarted in building again this spring, I pulled it out. I knew another P-40 would have to be on my list. The cover of the book shows two P-40's and a P-38, and I always liked the natural metal finished P-40, no. “34” on the cover. So that is where I got the idea for this kit. I found the Italeri P-40N kit came with a 49th F.G. decal set for Maj. Richard Johnson's plane, no. 7, very similar to No. 34, so I got the Italeri kit by mail order.
Inside the book towards the rear is a black and white photo of No. 34, right side view. The photo is good and clear but of course being B&W, the colors are not actually discernable. The photo caption says ‘This overall natural metal P-40N-20-CW of the 7th Squadron at Middleburg Island in September of 1944 had an orange yellow spinner with a blue band as squadron markings. The tail was white, the fin tip was orange yellow with a blue band below it" Well, the color painting on the front of the book doesn't look like that, but does have blue on the spinner – the top of the rudder is hidden by the wing in that illustration. The B&W photo seems like the blue must have been much darker that the ‘Carolina Blue” shade in the cover art. So instead of trying to reproduce the cover art version, as much as I like that scheme, I have instead attempted an interpretation of the caption text for the markings.
As for building the kit, it was enjoyable and fit together well. I don't understand why Italeri made the front fuselage panels separate pieces though, it made the top front sections of each half very thin and flimsy, I disobeyed the instructions and put those panels in first to give the fuselage more strength to hold the tension of rubber bands when I joined the halves together. For the first time, I used Model Master “Aluminum Panel” spray paint – which is great and I love how it buffs up, but I loused up the potentially smooth look, especially on the wings, by my feeble attempt to “pre-shade” it. Chalk that up to “lessons learned, not to be repeated” (Actually, after several days now, it is starting to grow on me. It just looks 'weathered' I tell myself) On the other hand, the canopy masking results are my best yet, I'd say. The decals adhere very well, but the national insignias seem a bit oversized. I got the number 34 on the front by buying a sheet of stickers at the crafts store and using them for masks. I was unable to find any spare decals to resemble the six-digit tail number, so I left that off.
As always I am grateful to be able to share this here, appreciate all the wonderful models others post, things I learn from them and am looking forward to my next build. I have 4 in the stash…but none suitable for the Battle of Britain/France group build, which I'd like to join in on..…hmmm…decisions, decisions….