Colonel Robert L. Scott's P-40E "Flying Tiger"; Part Six
by Rodney Williams

My client was having the maintenance stencils, insignias, and the "shark mouth" made by "Woody, d.b.a. Archer Fine Transfer's." I received a letter from Woody, that he had trouble bending the "shark mouth" transfer around the intake. He mentioned that he had to do a bit of painting on certain areas of the mouth.

I made up my mind that I would air brush on the red, white and blue for the mouth, including a very fine blue "outline" line. I like these
challenges, heck sakes, anyone can slap on a decal, or a dry transfer.

My client sent me this excellent side view photo of the mouth. I studied the photo for a bit to see if it was taken at a true 90 degree
angle to the film plain.

"What does this 90 degree to the film plain mean to a modeler?"

Visualize the letter { T }.

The top horizontal bar on the "T" is the fuselage. The left portion end is where the spinner is. The right side end of the bar is towards the cockpit area. The camera position is at the bottom of the vertical bar.

Place yourself next to the spinner, then walk to the end of the sharks mouth. Say the length of the spinner is two feet, and the mouth is 10 feet long. This gives you a total distance of 12 feet. To get your 90 degree photo, you should be at 7 feet from the spinner towards the end of the mouth. Walk in a straight for about ten feet from the spinner, then make a left turn and walk off the seven feet. You should be very close to your 90 degree angle. Frame the subject in the viewfinder and take the photo. By taking the photo at a 90 degree angle, you will not have any distortion, nor compression of the teeth. This will let you make your teeth pattern almost 99% accurate. If you have any other angle of degree, it would not work out very good.

It's very important to photograph both sides of the aircraft, due to the fact that the other side may be different. I found out something about the "Restored P-40E" eyes that no one else noticed. This will be explained in the next segment of my P-40E story.

I took my clients side view photo and reduced it down to 1/32 scale. I taped on tracing paper over the black and white copy of the mouth, and drew on the "shark mouth." I taped the tracing paper onto .010" thick flat styrene, then cut it out. The styrene pattern was placed on my "frisket film," and presto I got my "teeth" ready to go. I air brushed on "white automotive lacquer" on the front of the model. The lacquer dries very fast, so I wet sanded it with #2000 grit sandpaper a few minutes later. I applied clear lacquer over the white, then wet sanded it. I placed the frisket film teeth patterns onto the model. I applied addition masking, then applied the blue lacquer. All of my masking material was removed, and once again I air brushed on more clear lacquer, which was wet sanded with #2000 grit. After remasking the model, I air brushed on the red lacquer. All the masking material was removed, so I could apply the clear lacquer. More wet sanding, and the final spraying of the blue thin "outline" stripe. The little blue "outline" stripe was a bit wide in a few places. I applied more clear lacquer over the entire mouth, again wet sanding it. It was washed with clean water and dried. I applied "Blue Magic" metal polishing cream and hand rubbed out the finish to a very high gloss sheen, just like on the
"Restored P-40E."

When I got ready to paint the O.D. on the rest of the model, I just cut a 1/64" wide strip of 3M Fine Line masking tape, and applied it over the blue. It turned out looking super good!

Why air brush on white, and clear, then blue, and clear, then red and clear? The clear coat seals the other colors, and when you sand the paint, the other colors do not bleed through and discolor the white. Some practice is in order as usual.

I took that same old challenge, and airbrushed on the insignias, rather than use Archer's insignias, which "by the way" were first class dry transfers. I used the same method as above, when I air brushed on the stars; (blue, clear, white, clear, and red, clear).

I used other dry transfers by Archer, however some of his red one's turned a "dirty brown" color, when placed on my test model , including the damn adhesive. My client had "red decals" made by another company.

Some, but not all of Archer's transfers were excellent, like the ones on the fin and rudder. The bigger they are the better! The little one's like what's on the props have missing parts of letter's and number's. They just don't make it.

The "U.S. ARMY" and the "eyes" are big, so they went on to perfection. The IPMS/USA Journal editor did not want me to say anything bad about Archer's dry transfers. I like to call the shots the way I see them. You spend $700.00 like my client did, wait up to two years to get your transfers, then have to hire a decal maker, to make some of them right for a few hundred dollars more! Would you, or would you not want to know: "THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY?????"

I noticed the "shark mouth" on the "Restored P-40E" had a full set of twelve, (12) teeth for the uppers and lowers. Archer had only 11 teeth per set. You have to pay attention to what you are doing and you got to count the "teeth" man!

I sent Archer a photo-copy of a World War-II "Hamilton Standard" prop logo, including the colors and dimensions. This close up prop blade photo of my 1/32 scale "Crashed F2G," along with this photo of my 1/32 scale F6F-3 Hellcat shows the "fine quality" of Archers "H. S." logos.

I really think Woddy's problem was: "You just can not make dry transfers 1/64" high, and expect them to work!"

Of course, Chuck Davenport wrote a super semi bogus story for the IPMS/USA Journal saying how good Archer's transfers are. He showed photos of "big" transfers, and how well they went onto your model. He neglected to mention anything about the "tiny" transfers. Chuck Davenport is "halal" of just plain old "bullcrap."

This last photo shows why you should photograph both sides of the aircraft.

In Part Seven, which is the final story on my P-40E I will show you some color problems.

Go to part seven
© Rodney Williams 2002