Airfix 1/48 P-40 – Luke Army Air Field
I had heard great things about this kit, and I was looking for something a little different to do with it. When you search for P-40s on the internet, one of the first photos that comes up is a P-40CU that was used as a trainer at the Advanced Fighter School at Luke Army Air Field (near Phoenix) during WW2. Having been an instructor pilot in the Air Force, building a trainer was a no-brainer. :o) In addition, I was stationed for two years at Luke in the early 1970s. I was particularly drawn to the faded paint and other weathering that you can see in the photo. You will also notice in the photo that there are no wing machine guns. Apparently they were often removed at Luke because they weren't needed for the training.
I used Eduard photoetch for the interior, and a really nice set of decals from Wolfpack. The weathering was done using a variety of methods, including artist oils, AK weathering fluids, AK Worn Metal fluid, watercolor pencils, and some Tamiya black and brown panel lining fluids. It was the weathering on the panels surrounding the engine that was interesting to figure out. If you look at the picture of the actual plane, the panels on the nose appear darkened and shiny. In addition, the exhaust stains fade in the shiny areas, but return in the non-shiny areas. I may be wrong, but here is what I think produces this pattern: An old, overused engine consistently throws oils during flight. This oil leaks onto the outside of the panels. Upon landing, the crew chief will check the engine, and then wipe down the new oil with a rag. This leaves the engine panels darkened by the oil absorbed into the paint, also leaving the panels shiny. I tried reproducing this look by interrupting the exhaust stains in the appropriate place, and then spraying Ammo by Mig Fresh Oil Fluid on the panels. I used alcohol on a Q-Tip to distress the exhaust stains as seen in the photo.
This was a really fun kit to build, and it was the first time I have tried to replicate a specific pattern of weathering on a specific airplane on a specific day.
Everyone stay safe.
11 additional images. Click to enlarge.