1/48 Amtech P-40 L ”Lighthouse Louie” 325th FG Tunisia

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  • Last reply 2 years, 4 months ago
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  • Louis Gardner said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    Thanks David for starting this Group Build. Here’s my addition :

    I will be starting out with this kit that has been in my stash for years. I picked this one up at the local hobby store when it was first released.

    This is the perfect opportunity to build it.

    I also purchased this set of Aero Master decals around the same time frame.

    I chose the one named “Lighthouse Louie” for obvious reasons………… my name is Louis and I like the checker tail theme.

    This kit looks like it started out as an AMT kit originally, judging by how the plastic looks.

    This kit came with a solid resin nose plug that has to be cut and spliced into the kit plastic fuselage parts.

    I plan on making this one pretty much right out of the box, nothing fancy…….

    So let the fun begin !!!

  • Tom Bebout said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    Built it Louis, it’s posted on iModeler. Make sure you cut the nose very carefully. You’ll have fun, I did.

  • Greg Kittinger said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    I’m leaning toward either a Hurricane or Kittyhawk… already built two P-40’s, so I may go the Hurricane. Although, I am toying with a Ju-52 as well… (too many decisions required for a Friday!).

  • David A. Thomas said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    Wow that sounds great!

    Speak of it, my Hasegawa P-40E arrived about 10 minutes ago! I was thinking in my typical bite-off-more-than-I-can-chew fashion of tackling it after the A-20, and modifying it as an L version. I have a cool pic of a P-40L in flight (59th FS, 33rd FG) over North Africa that I particularly like and wanted to copy. But daring to go head to head with Lou…that’s dicey!

  • Greg Kittinger said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    Ok – now I’m curious – care to post up the P-40L pic? I may be convinced to tackle another…

  • David A. Thomas said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    Here is Tom Bebout’s rendition of the same kit…

    1/48 AMtech P-40F/L

  • Louis Gardner said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    Tonight was spent with some research on the P-40 F / L series. It looks like there were two different variants built of each type……………. A long tail and a short tail version that was made in both the “F” model and the “L” model P-40. It looks like the serial number will determine whether or not “Lighthouse Louie” had a long tail (or not).

    Luckily I have another AMT P-40F in my stash……………..

    and it builds a “Short Tail” version, where the Amtech kit shown in my first posting has the “Long Tail” fuselage……….

    Here are a few pictures showing the two fuselage plastic sprues laid over top of each other to demonstrate the differences. The “Long Tail” plastic trees are on the bottom……….

    Here’s a close up showing just how much the difference is…………….

    and a close up showing the nose sections of both plastic trees. Again the Long Tail version is on the bottom……….

    Here’s both trees laid out. The long tail plastic tree is in the bottom of the picture. You can see a visible difference.

    This is a close up of the resin nose plug that came with the Amtech kit.

    I compared all of the plastic trees from both kits. They are identical parts except for the fuselage halves.

    There were several things that caught my eye…………….. The AMT kit parts had a lot more plastic flashing, but this excess flashing was mainly found on the runners and didn’t affect the parts too much. The parts trees were individually bagged in the AMT kit.

    On the other hand, with the Amtech kit, the quality of the parts molding looked much more superior. There was very little flash present. On some trees I didn’t notice any at all. However, the parts trees were all packaged inside one plastic bag. This would allow the parts to rub against each other and possibly cause some minor scratching……….

    So now I need to determine what the serial number was for “Lighthouse Louie”, and use the appropriate fuselage sections…………..

    Since I have two of the P-40 kits…………… and they are almost identical…………… well, I may go ahead and fire up the Gardner Iron Works assembly line ……………….

    Thanks for reading this so far.

    As usual. Comments are encouraged.

  • Louis Gardner said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    Thanks Tom for the words of encouragement with this one………….. I just looked at your build and it’s very cool. I like the story behind it too. Thanks for sharing.

    Greg, there’s always room for another Kitty Hawk…… But you don’t see too many Iron Annie’s built up. The Hurricane is another one of my favorites…………. Why not try to build all three ???? You can do it.

    David, I am with Greg on the P-40 L photo………… I too would like to see it if you don’t mind. Maybe we can convince Greg to build a P-40 too……………

    Just like you should (build a P-40 that is). The E model P-40 has nice lines to it and I would be pleased to see what you do with it. No “Head to Head” competition here. It’s all in fun, and I’ll bet your newly arrived E model will turn out great.

    Thanks for posting Tom’s P-40 F/L article here. It’s a very cool story behind it and his plane came out fantastic. I hope mine will turn out half as nice. I’ll be really stoked if it does………………..

  • David A. Thomas said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    OK, here’s the info, pics, and links.

    Although a book I have ID’s this bird as a P-40L of the 59th FS, 33rd FG (12th USAAF) flying over Tunisia in January, 1943, better documentation identifies it as P-40L-5-CU piloted by Otis B. Thornton and not joining this FS/FG until February 25, 1943–in the very thick of the Battle of Kasserine Pass.

    Up to that point it had been assigned to the 69th FS, 58th FG (1st USAAF)–in other words, a training unit. The links I supply tell the rest of the story. Contrary to what this link (https://www.asisbiz.com/il2/P-40/33FG/pages/Curtiss-P-40L-Warhawk-USAAF-42-10511-33FG59FS-flown-off-USS-Chenango-Africa-1943-01.html) states, the plane probably embarked not from the Chenango for Torch, but rather the USS Ranger for Kasserine itself, to shore up weakened units.

    I’d love some input, guys. I’m trying to figure out if this is a “long tail” P-40. Just eyeballing it I think it is, but I stand in the midst of more skilled craftsmen. It seems that only later P-40L’s extended the tail to deal with torque, but maybe this was late enough. Thoughts?



    I like this bird as I like my A-20B because the units and men were fresh on the field, weathering is limited, and there are fewer personal markings. The full American flag probably indicates an attempt to wave off French troops who were better disposed towards the Americans than the Brits who had just had to sink their navy.

  • David A. Thomas said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    OK, follow up here: Having read some info Tom sent me, I am convinced this is a “long tail” P-40L…

  • Tom Bebout said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    Louis, David and Greg, it’s time to fire up the Iron Works and do E’s and F/L P-40’s. One never has enough P-40’s to put in a display cabinet. Impress your friends by explaining the difference between the various models. That’s what I say.

  • David A. Thomas said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    I know, Tom. My back is up and I’m on the hunt. I already have a research folder on my desktop–always a sign…

  • Louis Gardner said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    That is a very cool wartime color picture !!!!

    Thanks for the help with determining the short tail / long tail question. From what I found online, “Lighthouse Louie” was also a P-40 L-5 – CU (Curtiss built) serial number 42-10664.

    This placed it towards the end of the “dash 5” production block, which ran from serial numbers 42-10480 through 42-10699.

    If they were built in sequence, this one would have been 35 from the end of the block. The research also indicated that the L-5 had 4 wing mounted .050 caliber weapons, instead of the usual six, since it was a “light weight” fighter.

    and was based on the F-5. Of special interest to me at least, is that the fin / rudder assembly was moved farther back, but the stabilizer and elevator remained in the same position. This was done to help compensate for the additional torque of the Merlin, and added directional stability.

    Thanks again for the assistance. Your advice and website links were of great help in determining which fuselage half to use for this build.

    I took your advice Tom, and the “Iron Works” is back in business, with two P-40’s……….. also added a M-4 early Sherman into the mix.

  • David A. Thomas said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    Louis, that’s great information. I’m trying to gather the goods to do a proper “L” with the long tail. And yes, very interesting that only the fin/rudder was displaced.

  • Louis Gardner said 2 years, 7 months ago:

    Tonight I finally got around to working on the P-40’s.

    I decided to build both the “F” short tail and the “L” long tailed versions. Most of the building time was spent on removing a lot of excess flashing that was present on most (if not all) of the small parts.

    Here’s the results of tonight’s labor:

    The Amtech long tail version is on the left in this photo above.

    Here’s a close up (shown in the photo below), of the original AMT release, and the associated cockpit parts that are now ready for a coat of “Interior Green”.

    However the earlier Curtiss P-40’s had a more yellowish color to them, so I’ll do some research before I nail down the final color choice for both cockpits……………….

    Finally, here’s the Amtech long tail kit, shown in this last picture. The cockpit parts are ready for painting the base color of “Interior Green” here too.

    as usual, comments are encouraged……………..

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