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Build report: Academy’s 1/48 P-40C

This was a kit I built a while back, sometime in early 2007. I was looking over the builds on my shelf, and realized I’d never posted pictures of this build. Not that I hold it up as any great work on my part, but it’s one of my favorite kits.

The kit itself was a Christmas present from my family, as part of a Flying Tiger theme they had for me for some gifts. While I love P-40 kits, and especially AVG P-40s, this one was extra special. In addition to the kit, and a nice set of decals, they also gave me a signed photo of several Flying Tigers in formation. Signed by AVG pilots Dick Rossi, Bob Layher, and my favorite of the Flying Tigers, Tex Hill.

Knowing how much I admired and respected Tex Hill, they made sure the decal set included his #48 P-40 markings. What more could a modeler and history bufff ask for?

The kit itself is not a bad build. It’s fairly typical of Academy kits. The cockpit was simplified but with reasonable detail. An aftermarket set would certainly dress it up, but even some scratch building would be a nice addition. Having did a bit of scratchbuilding on another P-40B previously, I decided to do Academy’s kit out of the box.

The cockpit went together quickly, and with a little detailing here and there, it looked fairly nice. I did add some Eduard belts to the seat to give it a bit more detail. The detailing on the IP was nice, and made for a quick but good looking drybrush job.

Assembly was very straightforward, with minimal gaps to deal with. Paint was all Pollyscale. I used a lightened shade of neutral gray underneath, and dark earth and dark green on the upper sufaces. I attempted some very basic post-shading, and it turned out fairly well. This kit was actually one of my first attempts at it. Some paint chipping with a silver prismacolor pencil, and a few coats of Future to seal it all in, and the kit was ready for decals.

While I have no real complaints about the kit, do yourself a favor and buy some aftermarket decals if you build this. Don’t even bother with the kit decals. (In fact, from my experience, that applies to most Academy kits.) They are thick and do not respond to any decal softener I’ve tried.

The decals I did use, from Eagle Editions LTD., were excellent. They were actually shown as out of stock on their site, but after an email to them, they found some more, and I was able to get a set. (Awesome customer service!) The decals, as all of their work I’ve used, looked very good, went down well, and seemed to be well researched.

I finished the model by hitting it with Testors Dullcote from the rattle can. Even after several applications, it was a bit shiny. I finally left it that way, worrying I’d ruin a half-decent finish. It was not long after this I switched to Pollyscale Flat, by the way.

All in all, this is a nice kit. Based on my own research, as well as reading various things around the web, none of the P-40B/C kits on the market- Academy/Hobbycraft, Revell and Trumpeter- are 100% accurate. (But what kit really is?) I’ve even read various discussions about what parts to pull from what kit to make an “accurate” version.

I’m more forgiving of things like that. I say “accurate schmaccurate”. Build all of them, for goodness sake- you can never have enough Flying tigers. 🙂

And you’ll certainly enjoy this one!