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Something Antique

Revell P-40 in 1/32nd Scale

n by Stefan Ericsson and Magnus Fridsell
n images by Stefan Ericsson 

When finding one of those "antique" and rare kits, the first question for many modellers is "should I build it or not"? Stefan Ericsson found an old Revell P-40 kit and found the answer to be yes!

Visiting an annual toy fair in Stockholm, Hjulmarknaden, I happened to stumble upon an old Revell P-40 kit in 1/32 at a very reasonable price. I know, there are newer and better kits of this aircraft today but an attack of nostalgia (I built this kit more than 30 years ago!) set in so I parted with the cash and went home with my newfound treasure. To build it was out of the question, then...

All the parts were there and the clear parts were in excellent shape, not a scratch on the canopy.  Decals were yellowed beyond all remedies and there were no instructions but that certainly mattered less. Instructions are always nice to have so a helpful member of the modelling fraternity, located in Belgium, sent me a scan! So, the plastic was first class, I had the instructions and with plenty of decals on the market for this aircraft... It might have been that Eduard etch set that tipped the scales (two sheets in one!), now it was time to put knife to plastic!

Sadly, sheet metal work have never been my thing and one day while surfing the net I found Jerry Rutman's site. He makes the most exqusite update set in resin and white metal for the P-40. A bit price but worth every dollar, it contained a complete cockpit, wheel wells complete with their canvas walls, new wheels and landing gear legs. Some mix-and-match between the Rutman set and the Eduard parts soon produced a very nice cockpit.

Some mix-and-match between the Rutman set and the Eduard parts soon produced a very nice cockpit.

Click to enlarge

The fit of the kit is good, especially considering its age. The Rutman resin parts  are also more or less drop fits with no surgery at all needed. Note those very nice wheel wells!

The model progressed at a remarkable pace and produced a certain amount of worries regarding paint scheme and decals. I have always wanted to do a Flying Tigers P-40 and they did fly the P-40E. However, the E-model aircraft were not as colourful as their B-model predecessors, being delivered in the normal US camouflage of Olive Drab and Neutral Grey. And they didn't wear sharkmouths... A P-40 without a sharkmouth is something that simply is unthinkable!

So, back to the roots: RAF 112 sqn flew the P-40E in Libya and they were the ones who introduced the sharkmouth. The only thing that remained now was to find a source for the decals...

Click to enlarge

Painting the upper surfaces was done eclusively with spray cans from an automotive store, calling for some rather careful masking. The result proves that you don't really need that ultra-slick and super-fast high-tech airbrush, with some care automotive spray cans might do the job equally well! Lower surfaces were brush-painted using Humbrol 157, Azure Blue.

When the model was almost finished, a sheet for the Trumpeter P-40 was released that contained one of the aircraft from the Kagero-book: GA-F. The decals are for a B-model but according to a photo in the Kagero book, there was a P-40E marked GA-F as well. The decalse were easily fitted to my E with the help of a scalpel and some touch-up painting.

By putting some extra TLC into this old collectors's item, I got a very nice representation of one of my favourite aircraft. And an interesting story to tell as well!


Additional images, click to enlarge

  Materials and references
  • Etch: Eduard, P-40E Warhawk, Set #32017
  • Resin: Jerry Rutman, P-40E Update set, J Rutman website
  • Decals:  P-40 Tomahawk IIb, EagleCals EC #71
  • T. A. Tullis; Tigers over China: The aircraft of the AVG, Eagle Files EF #4
  • A. R. Zbiegniewski; 112th Sqn "Shark Squadron" 1942 - 1945 Kagero Miniature #22
  • Frederick A. Johnsen; Warbird History, P-40 Warhawk


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