Hasegawa 1/72 P-40N – Desert Scheme
A friend of mine bought me this kit so that the two of us could both build P-40N’s (although his was 32 scale). I liked a couple of the Pacific Theater schemes that came in the box – especially the white-tailed version – but as I was doing some research and building my PPT deck, I came across several finished in the desert tan scheme, and I was hooked. I went looking for some decals, and found a set that had Tweedie II – a desert sand bird!
The only additions to the kit was some scratch building of some cockpit details out of scrap styrene. I added a few pics of the finished cockpit with pilot before I popped the canopy on, as it’s hard to see in pictures once the canopy is there. Drilled out the gun barrels, and had to file/sand the wheels in half and cut the struts up a bit to build it wheels up.
I went through several sequences of various mediums to try to get the weathered variation I was after in the finish. Since I don’t airbrush, I seem to go through more hoops than most to get what I’m after. Not sure it shows up well in the pictures, but live and in person, I really like what I ended up with.
I used a custom mix of MM enamels for the underside blue, and custom mix of Vallejo acrylics to get the sand shade on top. Then used weathering pastels (stuff used generally for HO railroad work – my standby) to try to lighten up middle panel sections by rubbing the pigment into the paint before it had been treated with any topcoats. Also used the pastels to do some of the initial streak effects, both on top, and underneath behind the wheel wells. Then gloss coated and added decals, and did a panel line wash. Because of the scale, and the fact that I brush paint, the lines become filled with more paint than if airbrushed, and I usually get mixed results. It looked ok underneath, but was a bit sketchy on the fuselage and tail section. It really looks more like worn-off paint than an accentuation of the panel lines, but I liked what I ended up with nonetheless.
Another coat of gloss over the decals and wash and then used artists oils and mineral spirits and the dot filtering technique to create some more variation. Next was the first flat coat. Once dry, I used Tensocrom for some fuel and oil staining on the fuselage and fuel tank. Then back to my pastels for the post shading work on all panel lines (various shades/colors).
To get what I wanted with the exhaust stains, I started during the first weathering step before any overcoats with various brown shades of pastels. After all of the various top coats, I finished off with Tamiya weathering pastels, using soot first and then snow over that down the center of the stain. I also used the Tamiya pastels to add some foot traffic grime, dirty up the underneath in places, etc.
After the final top dull coat, I used MM Metalizer paint (from bottles) to do the silver paint chipping, along with some silver and grey colored pencil. I had also used the colored pencils to add highlights to the cockpit details.
I used Uschi superfine rigging thread for the antenna wires. For the upper and lower whip ariels I drilled a small pilot hole and glued in short pieces of nylon thread.
Glued to stand, and done! I’m really pleased with the results. The P-40 is one of my favorite WWII aircraft – don’t know why, I just love the shape of them, and the variety of the schemes. I hadn’t really studied the N version much until Paul asked me to join him in this build project, and if he hadn’t warned me about there being no painted ribbing in the back section of the canopy, I would have painted those as Hasegawa has them molded in. From what I read, there was a seam in the plexiglass, so just leaving the molded detail there (rather than trying to sand away) is a nice compromise to depict the seam without having to do a bunch of extra sanding/polishing! That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!
18 additional images. Click to enlarge.