1/144 ARII Curtiss P-40N

ARII 1/144 P-40N box (30.5kB)

Introduction

The ARII P-40N is a very basic kit, but most of what is there appears to be accurate, so it only needs some minor corrections and a lot of details added.


Construction

ARII 1/144 P-40N overview (10.8kB) Sofar I've added the Y-shaped intake splitter and cockpit interior and made a separate propeller from the spinner-with-blades (I noticed that the shape of the optional bladeless prop spinner is much better than the shape of the spinner-with-blades, so I decided to combine the two).

scale drawing of 1/144 P-40N cockpit parts (5.1kB) For the cockpit interior I started by cutting a floor, a rear bulkhead and the deck below the rear windows from thin plastic sheet. The rear deck measures 6mm x 4mm, dimensions of the other parts are in the drawing.
I made the triangular box below the rear windows and the seat out of plastic sheet.
I added a throttle and some fiddly bits to the cockpit sides.
I drilled a hole in the floor in front of the seat and inserted a length of stretched sprue for a control stick.
For the coaming over the instrument panel I dug up a suitable size (1/144 scale) drop tank halve from my spares box and cut it down to size. To position the coaming I drilled a shallow hole in each half of the fuselage, inserted a piece of stretched sprue, glued the coaming to the sprue, removed it from the fuselage again to add a dashboard and a set of foot pedals and finally glued the dashboard assembly into the lefthand fuselage.
After that I drilled a hole to the right of the seat, held a piece of stretched sprue close to a candle flame to form a knob and fitted the piece of sprue as the seat adjust lever.

I cut a bulkhead and placed it behind the radiator/oil cooler intake, fitted three circular 'coolers' to the bulkhead.

The main wheels need to be widened so I cut them in halves, inserted 0.3(?)mm thick plasticard. After widening the main wheels the legs which are molded on the top of the tires need to be replaced with proper undercarriage legs (brass wire ?).

I cut the canopy in three parts: windshield, sliding hatch and fixed rear section, I replaced the sliding hatch with a piece of thin plug-formed clear acetate so I can put the canopy in opened position.

Apart from having to modify the model, there was the even bigger challenge of painting the KNIL emblems, I thought I had to paint the emblems by hand (again, just as I did with the KNIL B-25J) but Dutch company Flevo Decals came to the rescue by releasing a compilation sheet of their excellent KNIL decal sets, scaled down to 1/144 (set FD144-002).
So now I don't have to worry about having to paint those tiny emblems, but have to decide which one to pick as the sheet offers a choice of no less than 11 different P-40N liveries (plus three more for P-51D/K, seven B-25J, five Hurricane IIB, four C-47A and four C-54A) and all those tiny emblems are perfectly printed.

ARII 1/144 P-40N closeup of scratchbuilt cockpit (8.3kB)

When I had a closer look I did find some issues with the fuselage:


Some recent pictures of work in progress (it looks like there are some specs of sawdust in the cockpit).
P-40N cockpit details P-40N fuselage modifications P-40N fuselage modifications

To create the long fuselage as used for the P-40N (and F, K-15 and M subtypes) Curtiss lengthened the P-40E fuselage by moving the vertical fin back and inserting a plug at the rear end of the fuselage between the horizontal tail mount and the rudder.
At 1/144 scale the fuselage length of the P-40N is 4mm greater than that of a P-40E.
With a P-40E the hinge lines of elevators and rudder meet at the same location. With the ARII P-40N kit the rudder hinge line is already 2mm further back than the elevator hinge line, so another 2mm needs to be added.
The ARII kit has the tail wheel already at the right position relative to the fin and I figured that lengthening the fuselage in front of the base of the tailfin would be easier, so I made a cut there, added a 2mm plug and moved the location for the horizontal tail 2mm forward to its original position.
Since I already fitted the cockpit interior to the fuselage I made a jig to be able to line up the tailfin with the lengthened fuselage.
P-40E and P-40N fuselages compared
P-40N fuselage legthened


P-40N intake modification To correct the nose intake I cut off the forward 3mm and sanded the edges of the cut to be able to attach the removed parts at a slight inwards angle, thereby reducing the width of the intake orifice from 5.0mm to 3.5mm.
The picture shows the corrected shape on the left (i.e. righthand fuselage) and the wider original shape on the right.


Painting

The green 'jong blad-oud blad' KNIL paint scheme for the P-40N is similar to the early USAAF paint scheme:
Dark Olive Green 41 ('oud blad', Fed.Std 34088, Humbrol Authentics HU2) overall with patches of Medium Green 42 ('jong blad', Fed.Std 34092, Humbrol Authentics HU1) along the edges of wings and tail surfaces and Neutral Gray 43 (Fed.Std 36173, Humbrol Authentics HU3) undersides.
An interesting description of this scheme, complete with color suggestions for fresh and faded paint, can be found at the Cybermodeler site.

Paints (to be) used
upper fuselage, overallHumbrol Authentic HU-2 Dark Olive Green 41
upper fuselage, patches along the edges of wings and tailHumbrol Authentic HU-1 Medium Green 42
lower fuselageHumbrol Authentic HU-3 Neutral Gray 43
cockpit interior, wheel wellsModel Master Acrylic E5973 'Zinc Chromate Green'
tires, dashboard shroudHumbrol 32 Matt Dark Gray

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