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Miha Kosi
6 articles

Desert Warhawk – Curtiss P-40K in Tunisia 1943

January 10, 2017 · in Aviation · · 10 · 3.8K

Yes, I am terribly fond of desert dioramas. They are so colorful. And I have always been especially intrigued by "pink" Warhawks in North Africa. What an unusual color, and a great challenge for a modeler. I was helped a lot by the famous LIFE magazine correspondent COLOR ! photos, made on the spot in Libya or Tunisia in 1943, which show exactly what this color was like (see pic 15). My model is the representation of a Curtiss P-40K-1, flown by R.J. 'Jay' Overcash from 64th FS of 57th Fighter Group in Tunisia, May 1943. This is the group that later flew P-47 Thunderbolts from Corsica and was made immortal in the William Wyler's color documentary Thunderbolt, made in 1944.

I tried to faithfully represent not only the color but also the worn out aspect of a real desert bird from the frontline. One prominent feature, shown very well on war photos, are different stencils, that really stand out from pink background (pic 17). The plains were namely first painted in OD. After they were destined for Africa, they were painted "pink" - the stencils simply masked and painted over. That's why they are in OD rectangles and so prominent, and I made great effort to show this. But there's no way you will get this stencils from any manufacturer. I had to study the real war photos, decipher them and make them on my own.

The model is classic Hasegawa, 1:48, quite nice in all aspects. It was enchanted with a lot of aftermarket detail: gun and ammunition bay, cockpit, wheels etc. The great decals are from Barracuda. The figures are from different sets - Jaguar, Verlinden - with Hasegawa jeep.


Reader reactions:
6  Awesome

16 additional images. Click to enlarge.

10 responses

  1. Miha, beautifull diorama, it all goes together.
    Not many "K" Warhawks I've seen built, the kit wasn't that easy to find, either.
    I like the way you show that the Sand was painted over the original OD. Also, that the stencils were masked off, and left on against their OD background.
    Wear and tear showng also as the underlying OD.
    I like the machine gun maintenance dio that is part of the larger one.
    Museum work!

  2. Very nice all around job, sir...a fine representation indeed.

  3. Nice job. Good stuff

  4. Excellent work, great detail. love the P-40.

  5. Very good work, Miha, the P-40 is great, and there's lot of good detailed action going on all around it.

  6. I can't imagine the amount of time and effort that must have gone into this - every part is so well done! Great history too! Beautiful - thanks for sharing.

  7. Great model/scene. You got that desert grunge done very well.

  8. Fantastic work! I recently finished a similar Warhawk in 1/72, but never caught the fact of the stencil masking - wish I'd done more research. Love your very weathered appearance.

  9. Very nice work and a realistic-looking diorama.

  10. Really like this...well done

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