by Floyd Werner, Jr.
Why this kit?
This kit was originally released
in 1978 and re-released in Monogram's Promodeller series with
a few updates. I had this kit on the shelf and after watching
John Wayne in "The Flying Tigers" I decided it was
time to add a P-40 to my collection. I knew that AMTech was
going to release a P-40E but I needed practice. Practice in
the fine art of scribing panel lines. The P-40 has mostly straight
lines so I could work on them. Besides once the AMTech kit came
out I knew I would never build this classic kit from my childhood.
It was off to the workbench.
Why these markings?
I flew Cobras in 1987 with a
pilot named Rick Pierce. Rick's father came to Germany and visited.
While he was there the unit had a party like only full blooded
Snake drivers can. Well Rick's father took to our drinking real
well and being a southern gentlemen it only took a little prompting
and he started telling war stories. Rick had informed us that
his dad had flown during World War II but nothing else. As it
turned out Rick's father was Sammy Pierce of the 8th Fighter
Squadron, 49th Fighter Group flying in the Southwest Pacific.
Once his stories started the guys pretty much stopped talking,
not drinking just talking, and listened. If you ever get around
pilots there was hand flying, beer drinking (oh how I miss my
German beer), the tales flew and by the end of the night we
were all humbled to be in such great company. Sammy flew P-40s
and P-38s and was an ace with seven kills. Since that night
I have always wanted to model Sammy's machines. His normal mount
was named "Kay-The Strawberry Blonde/ Pistoff Pat".
There are no decals for this machine or his other P-40E "Yellow
50". I bought an ALPS Printer but so far great results
are hard to achieve. Also the "Pistoff Pat" on the
right/crew chief side is not very clear so that left "Yellow
50" which wasn't nearly as flashy but still looked nice.
Besides Sammy got two kills in this machine. This aircraft is
depicted on the cover of the Schiffer book "Protect &
Avenge" written by S.W. Ferguson and William Pascalis.
Personally, I would like decal
manufacturers to produce ace sheets. Depicting all the aircraft
of a specific pilot, like Aeromaster did with Galland, Hartmann
and von Maltzahn. Sammy flew two P-40Es ("Kay-The Strawberry
Blonde/ Pistoff Pat" and "Yellow 50"), one P-40N
("Kay-The Strawberry Blonde/ The Hialeah Wolf") and
a P-38J (The Strawberry Blonde). The Squadron Signal book "49th
Fighter Group" features pictures and drawings of three
of Sammy's planes but only the left side. His P-40N will be
a future project as soon as I figure out the printer. Sammy's
P-38 is depicted on Three Guy Replicas sheet and when I feel
froggy I'll jump all over the Academy or Hasegawa offering.
As you can imagine the quality
of the kit is not up to today's standards. It was molded in
olive green plastic with raised panel lines. Overall shape is
very nice. After I finished the kit I found out that the tail
seems a little too big. No big deal for me. I'm happy with the
looks of the kit. The kit is easy to build up into a real nice
model. The fit was overall pretty good, except the wing root
area. Nothing a modeler couldn't fix.
Before I started to build the
kit I started scribing the panel lines. This was done by using
Dymo label tape and a scribing tool. A friend at the local club
explained that you should make only two lines, one in each direction
with even pressure throughout the cut. Once that was done I
sanded off most of the raised detail. I left some raised detail,
as I didn't think I could replicate it as well as it looked
raised. My kit, my rules. Anyway the next trick to even lines
is Testor's Liquid Cement. Brush on a light coat of the cement
ONLY in the panel lines. This solvent is strong enough to melt
the plastic and smooth the scribed line. Finally I checked it
all with silver paint and one final coat of sanding. I did all
this before I even joined a seam. I was very happy with the
results and will try it again. With my practice done I had to
build the kit.
One complaint I did have with
the kit was that the cockpit was very sparse, after all it was
molded in 1978. True Details came to the rescue with their P-40
E-N Warhawk Cockpit Detail Set (Set 48451) designed for the
Mauve kit. This resin cockpit set is easily converted to the
Revell kit. You have to cut off the floor enough to get it to
fit in the fuselage and you have to cut the headrest off the
seat but other than that it fits like a champ and looks great.
Polly-S colors were used to paint the interior.
Another weak spot was the wheel
wells. I used some Eduard stuff for the wheel wells which spruced
up this area nicely and some True Detail wheels finished the
landing gear area.
Had I thought about it I would
have replaced the exhausts with Moskit ones but I'll save them
for my next P-40. The propeller spinner needed a panel line
added so I used Post-it notes to scribe it. Post-it notes? Yes
I peeled as many as I need to get the panel line where I wanted
to with my scribing tool held firmly on top of the notes and
spun the spinner on my scribing tool. Accurate, straight and
even lines. This technique works for any circular item.
I tried a technique on the wings
to get a good fit and some strength. First I flat sanded the
mating surface of the upper wings and the fuselage join. Once
this was done I attached each upper wing only. I really did
this before I even put the fuselage halves together. This allowed
me to compare them and make any small changes. I reinforced
the join on the inside with CA glue. This technique worked really
well and no filler was needed at the wing root. Next I ended
up attaching the lower wing to the upper portions after the
cockpit was done. This part required a little filler, especially
in the back.
Overall I thought the fit was
good for such an aged veteran. There were some areas that required
some filler and others that had to be sanded down but nothing
that you wouldn't expect.
I painted this aircraft as one
of the airplanes that were reacquired from the British so I
tried to get export Dark Earth and Dark Green. For me these
ended up being Polly-S Dark Earth, Aeromaster Dark Green and
Testor's Model Master Italian Blue Gray. I used Cutting Edge
Black Magic masks designed for the Monogram P-40B but they worked
with a little bit of work and some spare masking material I
lightened all colors with some white and faded the camouflage
as I thought appropriate. I have to say that the overall look
of the model was very much what I was looking for. Definitely
something different than German grays.
The decals are from various
sources, including the kit American markings. Surprisingly they
did not shatter and reacted well with setting solution.
Some final weathering with pastels
and oils topped off with True Details canopy and an MV, L 116,
lens and I was done.
When you build a model you have
to ask yourself a couple of questions. No, not whether it will
win a contest, but did I have fun? Does it look like I wanted
to? Most importantly, do I like it? If the answer to these basic
questions is yes then you will know how I feel about modeling.
Too many times modelers build for contests or to impress somebody.
If that is why you build a kit then you aren't enjoying the
hobby. The possibilities an unbuilt kit holds, the painstaking
research, the building challenges, and the sense of accomplishment
upon completion, these are the things a finished kit brings
I know of so many people that
start a kit and want to put so much into it that the kit never
gets built. Still there are others that won't even start a kit
because they have to have everything perfect. Boys and girls
build a kit. Enjoy the process if not the end product. Our hobby
is supposed to be fun. If you win at a contest, great. If not
Try to learn something new on
every model. Learn a new technique, a new paint, a new way to
weather, something that makes this one different. Not all experiments
work, but someone use to tell me it isn't how bad you screw
up (not the words he used, Cobra driver) it is how gracefully
you recover. For me this model was a scribing exercise, it stretched
Most people lose the motivation
and dedication necessary to finish a kit. It isn't the finished
product, it is the process by which you arrive at the final
results that makes modeling worthwhile. Remember, it is better
to have finished a kit than to never start one.
Off the soapbox and back
to the conclusion
The kit is a cheap offering
at the vendor tables (bought mine for $5US) now and with the
True Details resin set the kit can be made into a nice representation
of a P-40E. I really would like to build Sammy's other aircraft,
especially his P-40E and N. That is a hint to decal manufacturers.
The kit looks great built but if I knew the AMTech kit was going
to be as nice as it is, I probably wouldn't have started it.
As it was, I finished the kit after the AMTech offering was
released. Why? Because I liked the challenges and it looks good
in my display case. Bottom line, I learned some things, I had
fun, it looks like I wanted it to, and I like it. It will never
win a contest but who really cares? Certainly not me. Finally,
remember modeling is fun!
"49th Fighter Group,"
Squadron/Signal Publications, ISBN 0-89747-221-7
"Protect & Avenge", Schiffer Publishing, ISBN
0-88740-750-1 (Highly recommended)
Aftermarket Stuff Used
True Details P-40E-N Warhawk
Cockpit Detail Set, 48451
True Details P-40E-N Wheel Set, 48015
True Details Canopy, Unknown
MV Lenses, L116
Eduard Photo-etch for AMT P-40K, Forgotten
Werner, Jr. 2004