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Spiros Pendedekas
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Monogram 1/48 P-40B Warhawk

August 22, 2022 · in Aviation · · 37 · 1.1K

Conceived as a pursuit aircraft, the P-40B was agile at low and medium altitudes but suffered from a lack of power at higher altitudes.

At medium and high speeds it was one of the tightest-turning early monoplane designs of the war and it could out turn most opponents it faced in North Africa and the Russian Front. In the Pacific Theater it was out-turned at lower speeds by the lightweight Oscars and Zeros (which lacked, though, the 's structural strength for high-speed hard turns). Clive Caldwell (RAAF), the highest scoring P-40 ace, said that the P-40 had "almost no vices", although "it was a little difficult to control in terminal velocity".

The First American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Republic of China Air Force, nicknamed “The ”, was formed to help oppose the Japanese invasion of China. Operating in 1941–1942 and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault, it was composed of pilots from the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC), Navy (USN), and Marine Corps (USMC).

Their Curtiss P-40B Tomahawk aircraft, marked with Chinese colors, flew under American control.

The Flying Tigers began to arrive in China in April 1941, with the group seeing combat on 20 December 1941, 12 days after the Pearl Harbor Attack. Chennault received crated Model P-40Bs which his airmen assembled in Burma at the end of 1941, adding self-sealing fuel tanks and a second pair of wing guns, such that the aircraft became a hybrid of B and C models.

Since they had no radios, the AVG improvised by installing a fragile radio transceiver that was originally fitted to the Piper Cub.

Compared to opposing Japanese fighters, the P-40B's strengths were that it was sturdy, well armed, faster in a dive and possessed an excellent rate of roll.

Whereas in slow, turning dogfights it could not match the maneuverability of the Ki-27 and Ki-43, let alone the Zero, at higher speeds it was more than a match, with Chennault training his pilots to use its performance advantages to their benefit (like, for example the famous "boom-and-zoom" tactics).

Able to tolerate harsh environmental conditions and with its semi-modular design deeming it easy to maintain in the field, the plane's most critical problem was the lack of spare parts, the only source being from damaged aircraft.

Whereas P-40Bs were viewed as cast-offs that no one else wanted, dangerous and difficult to fly, the AVG pilots did appreciate the type's features and took the most out of the plane.

The AVG was highly successful, and its feats were widely publicized by an active cadre of international journalists to boost sagging public morale at home. According to its official records, in just 6+1⁄2 months, the Flying Tigers destroyed 297 enemy aircraft for the loss of "just" fourteen pilots in air-to-air combat.

This is the venerable quarter scale P-40B, an oldie by all means, but a kit that, due to its VERY correct general shape, constantly motivates you to walk the extra mile, somehow improve it and come up with a passable result. The kit was entered to our friend's @lis wonderful "Pearl Harbor" GB.

Thanks to all Followers and special thanks to our friends @tcinla and @lgardner for the advice regarding the (not applicable in Flying Tigers P40-Bs) drop tank and colors rendition.
Should you wish to read the full build review, you may do so by visiting my beloved site Modelingmadness:
Happy modelling!
Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

37 responses

  1. Like the AVG pilots took the most out of this aircraft, you absolutely took the most out of this kit, Spiros @fiveten
    A beautiful build accompanied by a nice article on the Flying Tigers.
    Well done.

  2. Spiros, @fiveten, that really turned out nice. I like the early P-40 and you really did bring out the best of this old kit. I am looking a the Airfix kit and building one of the Pearl Harbor P-40's and a Pearl Harbor "Zero" from Eduard. I think you got the colors right, it looks great.

  3. Love this! As one who recently built this kit I can say that you did a fabulous job. I wish I had more of these in my stash to build when you just want to get out something that is simple and still builds up nice. Great job Spiros!

  4. Very nice, eye-catching P-40, Spiros. Looks like you got perfect application of the kit decals. Even though it is an older kit, there is something that looks "right" about the Monogram P-40 - they got the shape better IMO than any other manufacturer in 1/48. Brings back memories of building Monogram in the 70s as a kid.

  5. Nice result on this old chestnut, @fiveten.

  6. My Chinese friends love models like this, Spiros, excellent work.

  7. Excellent build of an oldie, Spiros.

  8. Great build Spiros @fiveten. You made a sharp looking flying tiger! 53 years ago I built this kit and loved it. You put in a lot of good work and it shows.

  9. An 'Oldie' but a 'Goodie' , especially the way you finished it, Spiros!
    Gotta love the shark teeth.

  10. One of my favorite Monogram kits, built one in high school 45 years ago, and another one a few years back. Yours looks great, love the paint work. Did you use the clay molding method for the camo feathering on this one?

  11. A kit classic...nice work with that oldie!

  12. Great work Spiros, and I love the history lesson. Well done on both fronts.

  13. Classic work on a classic kit, Spiros. Well done.

  14. Great oldie, Spiros.

  15. Beautifully done , Spiros! @fiveten

  16. Beautifully done, Spiros! @fiveten.

  17. Looks good Spiros! And an aircraft I actually recognize (for a change)! 🙂

  18. Great job on this kit, Spiros! Really like your trick of using the extra sprue to keep the prop shaft in place.

  19. great work!

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