Battle of Kasserine Pass GB, AMT 1/48 scale P-40 F short tail version, 57th Fighter Group North Africa
I want to start out by saying this... I owe a great big “Thank You” to David Thomas, for having a wonderful idea to start this Group Build. David tirelessly commented on our builds, encouraging us as we went along. David was also building his own plane for the Group, which is a plane you don’t normally see, The A-20 in 1/48 scale. If you haven’t taken a look as to what is happening over there at the Kasserine Pass GB, I highly recommend you do. You’re missing out on some good stuff if you don’t !
David made a good idea into a great idea by opening it up to include all of North Africa. This gave us all even more possibilities for building subjects that we may not have built otherwise.
Here is the first subject I completed for the Kasserine Pass Group build. It represents a fighter flown by the 57th Fighter Group. The 57th Fighter Group was attached to the 112th RAF Squadron, which also flew P-40’s with the now famous “Shark Mouth” on the nose of their planes .
The 57th participated in what come to be know as the “Palm Sunday Massacre”, (sometimes called the “Goose Shoot”), where a large number of German Ju-52 transports were intercepted and shot down. Many of the damaged transports (and some of the fighters providing escort), crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.
A small number of German planes managed to limp through to the German Airfield which was the intended destination.
Here are a few articles I found online that describes that day on April 18th, 1943. Exactly one year earlier to the date, the famous Doolittle raid happened over Japan. This is the final event that broke the will of the German military in North Africa. Having no supplies, they had no means left to fight. They were out of fuel, ammunition, medical supplies, spare parts, water and food.
North Africa was abandoned by the Germans and Italians less than 30 days later...
Once the straggling German planes arrived, many more of the surviving transports were immediately placed in the scrap yard due to damages inflicted by the 57th. Later when the German airfield was captured, a TIME magazine reporter was there and snapped these amazing color pictures of the scrap planes that were lying all around.
The scene was also photographed by various Allied personnel. Here’s another picture with a caption below it. However these are not Ju-88’s. They are Junkers Ju-52’s.
As I mentioned before, I was not able to locate any pictures of this exact plane. However I did find some online that you may find interesting. These pictures came from the 57th Fighter Group website, and were posted by members of the group, or their surviving relatives.
Here you can see plane number #56, which is three numbers away from the plane I built, which was #53. The top sides of the plane appear to be a light colored finish. A second camouflage color is used on this plane. This one could have been painted in the US equivalents to RAF Middle Stone and Dark Earth.
Traces of the yellow surround on the US National insignia on the side of the fuselage can be seen in this photo. The yellow surround was applied to U.S. planes insignia as part of Operation Torch.
In this P-40 photo showing a plane that nosed over on landing, you can see the spinner is a darker color. I opted to paint mine red, as this color match the spinners of the 112 RAF Squadron. The kit instructions would have you paint the spinner white. I did not do this as many of the Axis planes had white spinners. I personally think this is an error on the kit instructions. The spinners could have been a Middle Stone or even an Olive Drab color. If you look closely, you will see the letters “US” on the bottom side of the wing, just outboard of the wing mounted MG’s. The word “ARMY” would have been used on the other side.
Here is another picture of a P-40 from the same unit. Again this one has a darker colored spinner.
Maintenance was primitive but it had to be done. This picture shows a P-40 undergoing a wing swap. Parts were often cannibalized from a plane that was no longer considered airworthy and used to keep other planes flying that could be salvaged. This was a common practice on all sides throughout the War.
Here again, if you look close, you will see the under wing “US ARMY” lettering. This is why I chose to add the lettering to my build, as I think it was present more often than not.
Here is a painting by Keith Ferris, that depicts the “Palm Sunday Massacre”. It kind of gives you a general idea as to what happened.
It is the older AMT kit. The fit was spot on. I didn’t have to use filler anywhere on the model. This kit sometimes gets a bad review, but luckily for me it built up rather well...
Overall I was pleased with how this one turned out.
It was painted using Model Master enamels, and the kit decals were also used.
Once the overall sand color was painted, I sealed the top coat and decals with some Testor’s Dullcoat.
Weathering was done with a combination of chalks and artists oils.
Tamiya weathering decks were also used.
The exhaust staining was done using a cotton swab.
Burned gun powder residue was also lightly applied using the same method with cotton swabs.
These pictures give you a good general view of the plane.
Here is a photo of the underside of my model, showing the “US ARMY” lettering.
This plane was built at the same time as my other P-40 “Light House Louie”, using my assembly line method...
Here’s a link to the building process on both planes.
Again I wish to thank David for starting this fantastic Group Build, and the staff from Imodeler for giving us the opportunity to post our builds.
“Comments are encouraged”...