Author Topic: The Curtiss P-40 with Spats - A Pearl (Harbor) of a Tale in 1/72 Scale  (Read 437 times)

Offline Brian da Basher

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The Curtiss P-40 is one of the iconic U.S. aircraft of W.W. II with volumes of heroic history.



Far less well documented is one small sub-type, The Curtiss P-40B/S.



Curtiss had offered a simplified P-36 with fixed, spatted landing gear for export and many became well known.



These aircraft were bought by countries with less sophisticated air arms and sold well enough that Curtiss continued the trend with the P-40B/S. Whether the S stood for Spats or Simplified is unknown, this bit of trivia having been lost over time.



In the end, Curtiss only made five of these spatted wonders which were sold to Upper Volta. After the tiny nation was over-run by Axis forces, the aircraft were diverted to Hawaii and assigned to the U.S. Army Air Corps who found little use for them. Only one was ever serviceable anyway as two had been damaged beyond repair during off-loading and the other two were used as Hangar Queens to keep the last one flying. Even then, it practically never flew. This would all change on December 7th, 1941.



On that fateful day, America entered the war when the enemy launched a surprise attack.





The lone Curtiss P-40B/S was called to duty as one of the few air-worthy U.S. Army pursuits available.



While it actually never fired its guns in anger that day, it did successfully evacuate the Air Intelligence Officer from Hallelujah Field which also panicked local air defense who mistook it for an enemy due to its incredibly intimidating, spatted landing gear.



Unfortunately that action would be its last as all the P-40B/Ss were quickly cannibalized for parts needed to repair more up-to-date aircraft. None survive today and this once proud Hawaii Evacuator is all but forgotten by 'real' historians.

Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 09:02:41 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Brian da Basher

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This all started with one of those wonderful New Tool 1/72 Airfix Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk kits. Isn't that box art something? Airfix has really improved here and it almost makes me feel like a kid again.



This kit comes with a great set of RAF decals that I'll be squirreling away for future use. The build was almost totally OOB except for the addition of another fine Airfix product, the spatted landing gear from one of their Stukas.





I ended up using the P-40 kit wheels because the Stuka tires looked a bit too "off-road" on a Tomahawk.





I wanted to thank Evan, our resident engineer, for suggesting I do this a while back. Oddly enough, Stuka spats seem to be a natural on a P-40.



The model was painted in acrylics with the old hairy stick. Model Masters Light Olive was used on the uppers and Polly Scale SP Lettering Gray was used underneath. I did the rudder in Olive Drab, hoping the darker shade would hint at a replacement part to align with the off-loading accidents alluded to in the backstory, but I'm not sure it's very noticeable.



The canopy was tinted on the inside with Polly Scale RLM-something Lichtblau. Polly Scale Building Brown with a bit of dry-brushed Jet Exhaust was used on the exhausts, Aluminum on the prop blades, and a custom gunmetal mix went on the guns.



Decals were mostly from a Monogram P-36 but the prop blade logos were from nameless spares.



I'd like to thank Evan for suggesting this great idea. I hope you enjoyed the Curtiss P-40B/S and reading a little more forgotten aircraft history even if it suffers from poor enemy identification.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 09:10:32 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline kerick

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Clever as always!

Offline elmayerle

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Looks every bit as good as I thought it would.  *chuckle* Wonder how that fixed gear would look on a late-model P-40 (P-40N?)?

Offline Camthalion

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very cool.  Nice work

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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The spats look very familiar. Another set of spats that I vacuformed a long time ago or new product? 

Next P-40 should have spats from the Lysander so you can carry an extra pair of machine guns.  :smiley:
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Offline apophenia

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Brilliant! P-40 meets Hawk 75M/N/O  :D
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Offline Frank3k

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Those spats look like a perfect fit for the P-40!

Offline KiwiZac

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I want to see one of these fly! Brian, that undercarriage is indeed awe-inspiring! I love your work on the OD/NG paint scheme, too.
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Online finsrin

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As Frank3k said - Those spats look like a perfect fit for the P-40!

Offline Old Wombat

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Offline Dr. YoKai

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Re: The Curtiss P-40 with Spats - A Pearl (Harbor) of a Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2018, 11:24:27 PM »
 Mighty nifty! Honestly, is there a plane that doesn't look better with spatted gear? ;)

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: The Curtiss P-40 with Spats - A Pearl (Harbor) of a Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2018, 05:14:43 AM »
<snip>
 Honestly, is there a plane that doesn't look better with spatted gear? ;)

Truer words were never spoken, Doc.

I forgot to mention that in an odd turn of hyper (to me) realism, I painted the back of those prop blades PARR Maroon. I was surprised to discover the U.S.A.A.C. did this to cut glare.

I'm really glad you guys liked this one. More spatted wonders are in the works.

Brian da Basher


Offline kitnut617

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Re: The Curtiss P-40 with Spats - A Pearl (Harbor) of a Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2018, 06:21:40 AM »
Very nice Brian   :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

reminds me of a Fokker D.XXI only with a liquid cooled engine

Offline The Big Gimper

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Re: The Curtiss P-40 with Spats - A Pearl (Harbor) of a Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2018, 08:42:32 AM »
You never cease to amaze me Brian with your skills.

You are the :

1. Maharajah of the Mohawk
2. Tycoon of the Tomahawk
3. Kaiser of the Kittyhawk
4. Wizard of the Warhawk
Work in progress ::

I am giving up listing them. They all end up on the shelf of procrastination anyways.

User and abuser of Bothans...

Offline ysi_maniac

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Re: The Curtiss P-40 with Spats - A Pearl (Harbor) of a Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2018, 05:59:19 PM »
Spats look so natural in that plane! :smiley: ;) 8)

Offline Story

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Re: The Curtiss P-40 with Spats - A Pearl (Harbor) of a Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2018, 11:22:16 AM »
You could have also done the Prince of Monoco's personal plane, with the diced paint job.

I want to see you tackle this P40 build.

https://www.warbirdforum.com/phantom.htm

https://www.futilitycloset.com/2011/05/07/the-ghost-plane/

https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4547
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 11:26:02 AM by Story »

Offline pigflyer

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Re: The Curtiss P-40 with Spats - A Pearl (Harbor) of a Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2018, 08:43:03 PM »
Who needs the history channel? Our aviation education is in the very best hands here.
Super build and finish Sir Brian.

Thank you for finding us the true history.

Ian
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