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AMtech's 1/48 scale
Curtiss P-40F Warhawk

by Fernando Rolandelli


Curtiss P-40F-15-CU Warhawk
“White 116”, 1Lt Henry E. Matson, 44th Fighter Sqn., 347th FG, Guadalcanal, June 1943.

AMtech's P-40F/L Long Tail Warhawk may be ordered online from Squadron.com





The P-40F was the Merlin powered version of the classic Curtiss fighter. The all round improvement in performance was negligible, but the active service ceiling of the aircraft was increased from about 15000 to about 20000 ft. Further attempts to improve the performance by lightening the airframe in the L series (usually by removing some guns and armor) proved neither popular nor successful. In the end, the meager gains achieved were not considered worthy and P-40s reverted to the Allison engine in the following series, the K (making allowance for short series of Allison-engined Fs and Ls) P-40Fs were thus sent to theaters were it was felt combat would take place at those heights (while in the Pacific it was most often just above the treetops). Most went to the MTO, but a handful was sent to Guadalcanal, to the 68th and 44th FS. Almost all the Fs you will see served in the MTO, so I immediately jumped at the opportunity of building a Pacific one, even though its camo and markings were much duller than those.

I selected (mostly because of the apparent lack of nose art/graffitis) “White 116”, shown in a picture in the Osprey book. It was the mount of 1Lt Matson, an ace with 5 victories, one of them (a Zero from 251st AG) by ramming (he was the one rammed, but also the one to survive to put forward the claim). Matson finished his combat tour in August, serving as an instructor in the States for the rest of the war.

The Kit 

Overshadowed by the new Hasegawa’s, AMT/AmTech line of P-40s are basic but good kits. The resin nose is way better than the original plastic one, and it is really worth the whole kit (the origin of this piece is a Hi-Tech nose marketed by Aeromaster, using the Mauve kit as the basis). A good-looking, reasonably accurate and almost correct, albeit basic, kit can be built straight from the box. If you are out for details, well, you’ll have to work a lot adding many, many small thingies. The decals are first-class but, in a show of that perverse self-destructive impulse which characterizes some modelers, I did not use any of them.






Of course, the piece de resistance of the kit is the addition of the resin nose. The cutting of the plastic parts is easy, and the actual fit of the nose is really good. Just take care of adding small plastic wedges where needed. Now, regarding the cooling vents… well, the plan proposed by the instructions is not realistic. After roaming through a lot of pictures (there are no good line drawings, and pictures never show that area quite clearly) I decided to build some from plastic card. 3 Sqn RAAF machines invariably show the doors shut when parked… USAAC ones show a wide variety of arrangements! I opted for closed doors, which hide the back of the radiator bay. However good is the fit of the nose, it leaves a strange “gap” in the under fuselage fairing. Again, there is no good drawings or pictures, but looking at many of them, I got the idea that the trunking is continuous, and should not “sink” behind the cooling louvers. So I built up that section with Parsecs epoxy putty. I should remark that in many construction reviews of this kit (and of the Aeromaster nose) this problem has never been reported nor addressed in any fashion.



Once the fuselage was relieved of its nose and the resin one had proved its ability to fit in its place, I glued the resin sidewalls to each half. The ones provided are not that bad, and certainly enough if the canopy is to be depicted closed. Some good detailing work should also suffice otherwise, but I am both very fond of detailed cockpits and a lazy guy as well. The True Details set is quite good, fits well and is cheap, so it is a good deal. You just have to rework the top or the seat’s backrest (which is square as per the P-40N) to a round shape.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

For the instrument panel, I opted for a PE leftover from an Eduard P-40N. P-40Es did not have coamings behind the dashboard. Though there are no good pictures, I guessed the Fs would have been the same, so I carved out the kit’s coaming and devised the butts of the instruments in plastic rod, and the cables in copper wire. The complex gunsight mount was scratch built after the one in the Hasegawa kit, to which the TD resin gunsight was attached.

To top all that, I used the customary Squadron vacuformed windscreen and canopy hood (glued with the characteristic “backwards cant”), but used the kit’s quaterlight windows (Squadron does not provide them anyway). A simple trick to minimize the reflecting qualities of the “slab sides” of these parts is painting them in a dark paint before gluing. After a minimal work they fit very well. The mirror was fashioned from a piece of styrene strip.

I drilled small round recessions for the fuselage formation lights, after the firewall. I also used the Hasegawa’s drop tank and mountings, which are quite better in shape than the kit’s.



The main improvements should be done to the wheel wells. The top of these is adequately detailed; some characteristic L shaped pipeline should be added. The walls need to be added/reworked. I used the leftovers from the same Eduard P-40N (they supply fully new wells in resin). There will most surely be uneven gaps in the upper wings-fuselage joint and diedhral is rather flat, but it is easy to deal with these. Stabilators are rather weak, one of mine insists in coming apart, so glue them securely. I made the landing light by means of a drop of Kristal Klear.



The pitot tube was replaced by the “spear-type” in a Hasegawa kit (I had used the “cranked” one on a RAF Kittyhawk)

The undercarriage is not accurate; it shows only a single retraction strut. Cut it off and replace by a twin arrangement made in plastic strut. The wheels themselves are average at best. I made good use of the resin ones included in the generous Eduard P-40N kit (they are correct for the F… they are not for the N!)



Painting and Markings



Interior: everything was painted in the now famous “Curtiss-Berry Interior Green”, an interior green made of Yellow Zinc Chromate and Dark Grey, and so, lighter than the more usual FS 34151-like. Details were painted as per my references. 

Exterior: well, again the “Blue in Olive Green” traditional tune! These machines were painted in Olive Drab nº 41/ Neutral Grey nº 43 (due to the timeframe it cannot be ANA 613 Olive Drab) So I used “Don Archer’s Choice” of OD, Humbrol 108 “RFC Green” (I know, it is long out of production, but I got some rusty old tinlets in a toy store at Nairobi) That color is simply perfect; I am still looking for a second choice. In enamels, I think Testors FS 34086 Green Drab could work, and also (strangely) WEMM’s ANA 613!! Talking acrylics… Xtracrylics ANA 613 also seems good (to really represent ANA 613, I would mix them both with some sandy color… But it is my personal opinion) For the Neutral Grey I used WEMM’s, which would have made the day for old Don.



I painted the Grey in transparent coats on a Burnt Umber preshade (yes… preshade!) over the Light Gray primer… then in mottle fashion (like in Brett’s articles, but without mixing the Grey to any other paint). With the OD the technique did not work so well (Humbrol paints do not agree to be airbrushed in transparent coats…) so I resorted to a soft mottling and some panel-stressing in a lightened version of the color. Control surfaces were painted consistently in this lightened shade.

All the White areas were painted after the basic camo was there. In the real machines they were painted in stages, first the fuselage bands, then the wings, then the tail surfaces, as the need for more positive identification aroused. In the tail surfaces, it allowed me to achieve some “instant weathering”, but the idea was not so successful in the wing bands, which came out each in its own shade of White, and getting an even result was a chore. 


Well, the WEM paints are semi gloss, but the mottle application dulls them… the surface of the Humbrol paint is akin to sandpaper! So many, many coats of Testors Glosscote were needed to achieve a decal-friendly surface.

 Though I did not build any of the variants in the box, I made some interesting findings regarding the accuracy of the provided schemes.

 1) Neither “Ace of Pearls” nor “X60” nor their pilots appear in Osprey’s book. Well, no one has the obligation to be an ace. Both “A” and “X” were used by 79th FG, while “Y” was used by the 324th, so they can be expected to be correct. The same can be said of the camo scheme, which is absolutely standard. I have my reservations about the Dark Green in “X60” being RAF or RA. Many Fs and Ls had OD repainting after repairs, especially in Italy, when stocks of Fs were running dry.

 2) “Stud” was the mount of LtCol Baseler, a picture can be seen in Osprey’s book. However, according to this source, Baseler flew it in combat as “Mortimer Snerd/Stud”, in a pretty standard Desert Scheme, while he took off two guns and armor to try catching German high altitude recce planes (unsuccessfully). It was afterwards taken off operations, painted in the gaudy Black scheme and used as a hack. So you should shave off all guns, it can be presumed to have been disarmed (or may be it kept the blast tubes?). Any way, do not paint gunpowder residue!

 3) FS490, “CV-V” from 3rd Sqn, RAAF. The internet page about 3rd Sqn involvement in Italy shows several pictures of this machine. As depicted, it is completely right, painted in Du Pont shades (hey, were they not painted Desert Scheme at the factory?) and sporting the big unit’s shield at the left nose side. If you, like me, think this shield is too lousy, let me say that it is exactly as pictures show, but also that several pictures show the machine without it.



Not many decals in this one. I used none of the kit’s, but the “stars-n-roundels” came from AmTech P-40E. I expected them to work flawlessly, so I grew overconfident. The overwing one soon became a mess, which I solved by “ironing” the decal with a tissue soaked in Microsol! Some flaws are still barely visible, if you look for them. The others went as expected. The numbers (“White 116”) were not easy to find… something I had not expected. In the end, they came from Sky Models 1/48 Foreign F4Us… the French Aeronavále “16 Flotille” markings. They are “about” the correct size and style… they look good… what I call a success.





Well, a mixed bag. The basic kit is undeniably good, and a good model could be obtained OOB without undue difficulty. If you want a “contest-entrier”… well, some work has to be done, especially on the fairing underside the forward fuselage, the cockpit, the wheel wells and a myriad of small details. Anyway, it looks good.


- “P-40 Warhawk Aces of the MTO”, Carl Molesworth, Osprey Publications

- “P-40 Warhawk Aces of the Pacific”, Carl Molesworth, Osprey Publications

- “P-40 in Detail and Scale Part II”, Bert Kinzey, D&S, Squadron Publishing.

- “Curtiss P-40”, Vlastimil Ehrman, MBI Publications

- Website on the 3rd Sqn. RAAF.

- “Modelling the Curtiss P-40”, Brett Green, Osprey Publications.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Modelling the P-40
Hawk 81, Tomahawk, Warhawk and Kittyhawk
Osprey Modelling 15

Author: Brett Green
US Price:
UK Price: £12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 January 10, 2004
Details: 80 pages; ISBN: 1841768235
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Buy it from Osprey Publishing

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2006 by Fernando Rolandelli
Page Created 18 May, 2006
Last Updated 17 May, 2006

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