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Author Topic: AMT P-40N 8th FS/49th FG  (Read 571 times)
Mark Joyce
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« on: August 02, 2020, 08:11:43 AM »

My 85th FS P-40F/L builds are on a temporary hold for a couple of reasons, so I decided to break out the old AMT 48th P-40N kit. I've built its re-boxing by Italeri and thought that, since the AMT molds were 'fresher,' that they might be of better quality.  Unfortunately, that wasn't actually the case.  The AMT kit had quite a bit of flash and both fuselage halves had divots on the edges, where it looks like the plastic hadn't fully filled the molds before hardening.  These divots are present to some extent on all the boxings of these kits, but I was surprised that they seem to be worse on the AMT release. In addition, the port fuselage had a noticeable misalignment where the tail section attached.  This misalignment occurred on the AMtech P-40E kit, in which the company provided a free, corrected replacement fuselage half, but I was again surprised to find it present on the AMT kit.  I don't recall reading anything about this issue so assumed I had a fluke, but upon opening up another of this kit that I had on hand saw that it too had the misalignment.

Anyway, by carefully cutting away the tail section and re-attaching it so everything aligned I was able to deal with it:

These kit cockpits are quite nice OOB.  Although it has the correct square-back seat present in most P-40Ns, I had a spare True Details resin seat on hand so used it.  I also had a spare photo-etch Instrument Panel from an Eduard P-40N kit so used that as well.  I had to use the kit rudder pedals, however, which didn't turn out quite as nice as I would have hoped, but they were barely seen anyways once the IP was attached inside the fuselage.  A good thing too, since I apparently didn't attach them too securely on the back of the IP and they came off once the fuselage was buttoned up and are now rattling around the interior somewhere.....

I decided to doing the markings of "The Carolina Belle," flown by Ernie Harris of the 8th FS/49th FG.  Harris was a rare breed, being one of the few double aces flying the P-40.  He had 10 confirmed victories and an additional unconfirmed one.  He was also highly regarded as the squadron commander.  Interestingly, this airplane was ultimately stripped of usable parts and buried at Finschhafen Airfield in New Guinea, parts of which were recovered in 1997.  Unfortunately, "The Carolina Belle" lasted longer that Ernie Harris; he was killed in a jet fighter crash while serving in Germany in 1949.  

This is the only war-time photograph I could find of "The Carolina Belle," which is from Steve Ferguson's Schiffer book, "Protect and Avenge: The 49th Fighter Group in World War II."  Obviously not the best of quality:

I'll be using the Eagle Strike decals, which look like this and appear to be based on a profile of the airplane in Carl Molesworth's Osprey book, "P-40 Warhawk Aces of the Pacific." I contacted Carl about the profile, who told me that he was unaware of any additional photographs of the airplane and believes the profile was based on information provided by Steve.

That being said, I decided to change things a bit since likely no one can prove me wrong.  If I understand correctly, most 5th Air Force fighters in late 1943 had both white leading wing edges and tail sections for identification, and by late 1943 8th FS P-40Ns had a black band on the yellow (the squadron color) spinner as well as a yellow and black striped tail fin.  So, since "The Carolina Belle" flew into this time frame I decided to add those details.  So, here it is all painted up, waiting for the clear gloss coat and decals:



« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 08:13:54 AM by Mark Joyce » Logged

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Vince_M
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2020, 06:14:30 AM »

Great job, Mark!

Those AMT kits had a mold insert to do either long or short tail kittyhawks.  It was just sad that the molds did not quite line up...
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2020, 05:04:49 AM »

Nice save on the insert, I'll have to remember that when I get to any of those kits. Nice build and markings! I always thought the top of the stabilizers were white also?
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Mark Joyce
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2020, 01:29:29 AM »

I always thought the top of the stabilizers were white also?
From what I can tell from photos, some were and some weren't. There were also quite a few differences in how the white was applied to the leading wing edges and the rear fuselage area. Since I had no other photographs of "The Carolina Belle" to go by, I opted for what might have been most likely based on some other 8th FS P-40s around the same time I was aiming for.
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Mark Joyce
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2020, 04:07:02 AM »

Decals are done, and went on very nicely and settled into the panel lines with a couple of applications of Microsol.  The only minor issue was the decal for the twin yellow stripes forward of the tail.  I kept nudging it so much in an effort to get a perfect fit that it started to tear slightly, and finally decided to leave well enough alone.  I ended up with a slight gap under the fuselage where the ends didn't quite meet, but touched up the area with a little yellow paint.

This decal sheet has loads of stencils but, as is usually the case, I decided to forego them. Call me lazy...


Now time to start the weathering process.
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2020, 05:42:14 AM »

Looking really nice so far!
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Vince_M
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2020, 06:48:40 AM »

Very sharp looking!!!

 Grin Smiley
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Mark Joyce
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2020, 04:24:54 AM »

All done.  It was hard to concentrate on the final details since I do most of my work in the garage and we've been in the midst of a heatwave here, so it was all I could do to work for a few minutes at a time before I was drenched in sweat and the old hands started shaking even more than usual.  I always want to do more with the weathering, but under the circumstances I decided it best to stop where I was at instead of likely mucking things up if I tried to push on.

I swapped out the incorrect AMT wheels for some correct spares I have from the Hasegawa P-40N kit.



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Vince_M
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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2020, 10:25:50 PM »

Really nice job, Mark!    Grin
Great looking paint job!
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Mark Joyce
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2020, 07:20:41 AM »

Thanks Vince.  Sometimes I get lucky! Wink
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