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Build Report: AMT 1/48 P-40E

You can’t go wrong building a P-40. Though it was one of the underdog aircraft of WWII, it was used by practically every Allied participant, and despite it’s status even then as “obsolete”, it delivered when other airframes were not available, and continued doing so even after newer models arrived on the scene. Tough and rugged, it was the little fighter that could.

Though AMT no longer produces aircraft, for a while they had nearly every P-40 model available in kit form, with the exception of the P-40B. (Too bad…..) Their earliest P-40 release, as I understand it, was a re-box of the Arii/Otaki kit. Later, they would release their own mold of a P-40. All of AMT’s P-40s that I’ve built were great fun, and this E model was no exception.

The kit was given to me by my good friend and fellow Lafayette Scale Modeler member Bob Fisher, who loves P-40s (and Spitfires) as much or more than I do. Thanks Bob for this blessing!

As with all of the AMT P-40s, the cockpit on this kit was what I’d call a “tweener”. It was in between Airfix/Revell and Tamiya/hasegawa in detail. For me, it was the perfect balance. Reasonable sidewall detail, a nice but simple IP, basically enough detail to have a fun time painting and get a nice result, but nothing fiddly. Rivet counters biggest criticism would probably be the seat- molded as the square-op model, which would typically be on the N model. But with a little sanding, that can be easily rendered.

Fit for all of the parts was very good. Again, I’d classify it as better than older Revell molds are typically, but not as tight as Tamiya’s latest releases. (of course, how many actually reach that standard anyway…?) No big gaps to fill, just a little sanding and filler here and there.

Surface detail is recessed, with recessed rivets. I’d never built a kit with recessed rivet detail. I’ve noticed people seem to either love it or hate it. When I examined the parts, I thought it looked kinda cool. of course, I fall into the “it’s a replica- have fun” camp, so I don’t get too hung up if it doesn’t look exactly like the real thing. Scale effect this and scale size that is something I don’t get to¬† hung up on. I do love panel line washes, and so all those rivets were right up my alley.

I decided to paint the bird in the markings of Lt. Dalls Clinger’s “Holdin’ My Own”. I’d seen the preserved rudder art at the Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, TX on my Christmas vacation, and I thought it was a neat set of markings. This kit didn’t come with those, but I did have another sheet from AMT’s P-40K that included those decals.

Painting was done with Pollyscale colors, light gull gray on the bottom, and British dark earth and dark green on the top. I’ve started thinning Pollyscale paints with Future, which has worked very well. I did not do any pre-shading. After painting, I applied the decals. Because I used Future in the paint, the surface was at a semi-gloss stage, suitable for decaling. And I’ve become a fan of weathering the markings along with the paint. One the decals went on, I gave the entire bird a coat of white oil paint, heavily thinned, to create a splotchy appearance. I applied it very heavily, using a large brush to just sort of bounce around the surface so that it was very uneven in application. Once it had dried for about an hour, I used a dry brush to dab at it until I had blended it and toned the effect down a bit.

Next I applied a panel lines was of burnt umber oil. I dabbed it on in much the same way along the panel lines, letting it mix and swirl as it wanted. After an hour drying, I then used a dry brush to dab that around until I had it how I wanted. If the oils were a bit heavier in places, I used a cotton swab to dab and swirl things around. I then set it aside to allow it to dry.

Once dry, I used highly thinned Tamiya Smoke to do some light post-shading, staining, and generally just splotching up the paint a bit more. I glued on the final bits, and after a coat of Pollyscale Flat, called it done.

This was a great build, which is typical of AMT kits. They are quite fun if you can get your hands on one. Too bad they’re out of production.

Thanks again to Bob Fisher for giving me this kit!