Sometimes I get so caught up in details and after-market and P/E and so forth that I lose sight of the concept that it should be fun. I love to get the weathering just right, make an instrument panel look real, get the tires looking as if they were actually worn from take-offs and landings. Often though, all that simply gets old.
Every now and then, though, the urge hits to build a model like I did when I was a kid. Just paint it up, glue it together, and send it into battle. When I saw Academy’s 1/72 P-40B on the shelf at Hayes Hobby House, my local hobby shop, for $5.50, I couldn’t resist picking it up and sending it right to the top of the build pile for an (almost) old fashioned “quick build”.
The kit itself is very basic, with a simple cockpit, simplified detail, and minimal parts. (I read on ModelingMadness.com that it’s basically an upgrade to the old Frog kit.) I started with the cockpit, which is simply a floor, seat and stick. I glued them together, brushed on some Model Master Acryl ZC Green, also painting the cockpit sidewalls.. The instrument panel is very simple, so a quick brush of Polly Scale Night Black, then a “dry brush” with my Prismacolor silver pencil, and I called the interior done. All in about 10 minutes!
Before the paint really dried (and no washes!), I had the fuselage together, the cockpit nestled inside, and the wings glued together. The fit was actually pretty good for such a simple kit. There were no real gaps to fill, just a little sanding to “disappear” the seams. The wing to fuselage join was good, with just a little CA to fill in some minor gaps. The horizontal stabs went on next, and set in place without too much fuss.
It was at this point that I let the aftermarket, wonder if I can improve it part of me almost ruin the build- which until now had been a rather fun hour- yes, one hour. (With time in there to allow glue to dry.)
The kit comes with AVG marking- of which I’ve done a few kits. And I thought it would be neat to maybe do one in USAAC colors from the late 1941 era. Trouble is, the kit didn’t have decals for that. No problem though- I had a Pavla P-43 Lancer in the stash, and it has those markings. So I decided to go for it.
Now, I measured it exactly. I knew precisely how wide a piece of tape I should cut to produce thirteen stripes- seven red, six white. My first attempt produced the right number, but the spacing was wrong. Next attempt- perfect spacing, but fifteen stripes. So I took off the tape, and tried tocut slightly wider tape.
We’re talking a difference of like 1/32nd of an inch. I can’t read the label on a can of soup without reading glasses. Basically, it was hit or miss. Finally, on my fifth…. yes FIFTH attempt, I ended up with…..
Six red, five white. I declared it good enough. It was supposed to be a quick build. For fun. Like when I was a kid. As a kid, I would’ve built the AVG bird and been quite happy. The “modeler” in me was taking the fun out of it. I decided “to heck with it” and charged ahead.
A little paint chipping with my silver pencil, a coat of Future, a quick panel wash, PollyScale Flat, and add on the final bits and pieces.
The detail is not the best. Canopy shape is off, panel lines are a bit soft, fuselage panel lines are almost non-existent. Cockpit detail? Hardly any.
Yet, if you put aside the side of you that obsesses a build- and trust me, it’s hard to do for me sometimes- this can be the kind of build that will pull you out of a modeling rut.
Just avoid all urges to use other decals. Build the AVG bird.
Trust me on that.
The kid in you will thank me.