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1/18 Curtiss P40C


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Thanks chaps :)


On 7/25/2022 at 8:04 PM, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

Excellent build, Love all of the detail work on all of your builds. I know you have a subject but I built a NMF P-40C myself years ago to represent a 51st F.S. Plane from Guatemala and the Galapagos islands during the War. 


It is one that I plan on re-doing soon myself as I did it originally with rattle can paint when I first returned to the hobby. 



Thanks Dennis - that is a really interesting airframe - thanks - will see if I can find more pics of it :)



still adding skins to the wings, so here is where it's at..


along the spar on the upper wing is this long pair of panels which includes two access doors to the guns..






this is then added with a tape hinge & contact cement..


the panel above the aileron has already been added with a cutout for the inspection hatch..




..hatch added with scored ali tube for a hinge..




..tape used to derive the shape of the leading edge panel - a pencil is used with tape to determine the rivet lines and once this is removed represents the real world shape that is needed to skin this area..




..the tape is carefully removed and used to create the wraparound panels..




..that panel is then added to both wings..




..more panels & hatches added to the top wings..








..same for the bottoms, the panel around the U/C fairing is the precursor to the compound panels that will cover it, plus the ammo doors have been added..










..its getting close to the point where the wings are added to be able to skin the U/C areas so I may move onto fuselage skins at the tail & nose while they are seperate parts as they are easier to handle - the upshot is I want to get as much skin on as I can without putting it in danger areas for filling / sanding etc


until next time



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4 hours ago, airscale said:

scored ali tube for a hinge

Referred to in the trade as Piano hinge. Not a lot of people know that. 

The skinning is a wonder to behold. Just like looking at the full size thing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

afternoon chaps :)


recent work on the P40 has focussed on getting the cockpit 'pod' completed and onto the fuselage as this was holding up many other things. I got as far as skinning the tail feathers before I had to move on..






..the filler fairings were slightly cut into so the skin will sit under the litho fairings that cover this union - I need to refill over the join or it will show through when burnishing down the fillets..




..To get the cockpit pod oriented, I mocked up where it sat and added braces so I could assemble the instrument panel mounts and all the final components..




..once that was fixed, I built out the IP mount and installed it..




..now I knew the area I had to fit the guns into so made up the mounts and ammo bins into one assembly. The guns were little PE kits and the cocking levers (I assume) were ground with my dremel from sheet aluminium - at 6mm tall this was pretty hard






..the guns were then added to the assembly as were the throttle control rods and any final bobbins before the whole thing would be fixed in place on the fuselage..






..the floor and control column also added - I can add the seat later..


..I also removed the panels under the rear canopy glass as these are different for the early version I am doing and I had incorrectly added fuel & oil fillers...




..I actually installed the cockpit pod and filled it to blend it in before I realised I had it slightly out of position - very frustrating as I had to carefully remove it without damaging anything which took hours of concentration..


..with it safely removed I also realised I should have got the windscreen area right before I mounted the pod, so it was a useful quirk of fate I got it wrong. I got the few drawings there are of the early windscreen and built up a 3D structure of templates - filled the bulk with balsa and then P38 filler...




..this was refined and a plastic card blank pulled to help set out the area where the windshield meets the fuselage skin. I will cast the blank in resin so I can polish it to a smooth finish before vacforming the windshield..




..the card blank was used to add two structural 'ears' that appear on the forward cowling where there are two hatches on the upper surface..  by carefully positioning the blank I could CA where the contact was needed for the ears and know the windshield part will match with these..


..the cotton is used to assure a true centreline through all components.. you can also see the damage on the forward fuselage where I had to chop out the poorly positioned cockpit pod..







..the cockpit pod was finally fitted and faired in with the surrounding fuselage structure..






..starting to look like a P40 now..







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  • 2 weeks later...

thank you chaps :)


so, onto more progress..


I wanted to get the rear fuselage skinned so I could take care of the tailplane / fin fillets, so started making up panels - this one is one of two that surround the fuselage access door.. here all masked up ready for contact cement..




..then completed the upper panel and the door - also added the panels behind the clear vision panels at the rear of the cockpit as these needed to replace the ones I made previously to represent the early version..


..you can also see the foam pipe lagging I use to protect the litho trailing edges of the fin & tailplane and a tape template for the shorter top fuselage panel with edges & rivet lines marked out..




..the door will have a piano hinge added later..




..with the skin all around the tailfeathers completed it was time for the fillets - these are in 3 parts - an upper and two lower with a nice set of compound curves to work into the metal...




..here you can see how the skin panels have been recessed into the filler fillet I made a while back when I fitted the tailplane.. all this needs filling as all these edges and ridges would show through soft annealed metal if it was burnished over it..


..you can also see the fillet outlines defined by tamiya tape..




..P38 filler used to close the gaps..




..sanded and used the curved blade in a scalpel to scrape away the filler to the tape edges so I knew where to feather into..




..filling any little holes or divots..




..shot of primer to check the surface is as smooth as I can get it..




..masking removed and now I have a good clear surface to burnish the fillet parts onto..




..the borders are then set out again with 2mm tape to give a demarcation ridge into the metal when burnished to determine the shape of the fillets..




..the top part starts out as a sheet with a slot cut in it for the fin - then it is worked using hardwood or balsa blocks and where the curves are acute a tiny ball pein hammer, taping it to hold position as I go...




..here the shape is forming and some of the edges being defined by pressing into the tape borders..




..initially, the metal looks creased and kinks, but normally it can be worked enough to get a good finish - this is why its so important to have a solid smooth substrate beneath it..






..now the part has been cut and glued down..








..the same process for the two lower fillets..




..and after wire wooling and adding the rivets the job is done..












..enjoyed that :) think I might move to the nose upper cowl as that has about the scariest metalwork coming in this model and I can get all the top p[arts done before I attatch the wings and get the lower panels sorted..





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On 25/08/2022 at 08:58, CJP said:

Beautiful precise work - as an aside will the Firefly ever get resurrected?



Steady on.  Let’s have a Siskin and Bulldog first :)

Lovely work Airscale! These models of yours will surely be admired enjoyed by people for centuries. 

(not kidding. these will be in a museum one day)


Edited by Putty Animal
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evening ladies :)


On 8/24/2022 at 11:58 PM, CJP said:

Beautiful precise work - as an aside will the Firefly ever get resurrected?




Hi CJP - thank you :) yes, I expect it will one day - I don't consider it permanently shelved anyway..


On 8/25/2022 at 4:26 AM, Putty Animal said:

Steady on.  Let’s have a Siskin and Bulldog first :)

Lovely work Airscale! These models of yours will surely be admired enjoyed by people for centuries. 


Ah - funny you should say that, I am wwatching a Gauntlet being built and got all tingly for pre-war biplanes again :)


so, to skin the nose area the anchorpoint is the exhaust panels so these absoloutely need to be in the right spot. I had made a PE panel for the stainless steeel panel that surrounds the exhaust outlets and used it to mark out the correct position of the aperture. I had made one earlier but it turned out it was in the wrong spot so I just filled in the hole and did it again..


..the panel is taped down and the corresponding one on the other side put in exacty the same position..




..the panel outline was scored so I could position it later...




..the exhaust pipes were made up from brass tube and filler to make a master to cast copies in resin - the actual outlet is an oval so it was compressed with pliers..




..and as each side is different (they curve upwards on the V1710) two had to be made




..and with refining two masters were finished and put in rubber..






..casting 12...




..the ports themselves were ground out with a dremel so the pipes are more hollowed and deeper and the whole lot primed..






..used the panel positions to fix the exhausts after a base paint coat..






..added the small rods between each one - there is a metal fairing in here too on the real one, but so little can be seen I skipped it...




..and then fixed the panels in position..








..now that is done I can start on the nose area..:)



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hi everyone - thanks for dropping in & your kind comments :)


I moved onto start skinning the upper nose - this is aa complicaated little area with the big caarb intake and two gun fairings meaning it's not a simple task. one plus is that the anti-glare panel is painted over this so I had decided to not try and skin the gun covers but see if I could get away with fairing them into other sheeted areas..


..first step was get a tape template of the central skin panel covering the carb intake & mark the rivet lines in situ so they are right vertically & horizontally..




..the template is removed and put on a sheet where the borders are scored, rivets added and in this case a Prestone access paanel cut out..




..with that panel laid down it sets the borders of the main upper cowling panels..


..same process repeated..




..both sides done at the same time so the rivet patterns carry over both sides & line up..




..those panels were made up - it took a few tries to get them right and good neat panel lines where they meet top and bottom..


..the black dyno tape is where I need to add material next time i try, and the top panel was perfect but I laid it down in the wrong position and it got stress wrinkles on removal so a hours work became scrap pretty quickly..




..when they were right they were fitted..


you can see where the gun covers have just been cut around and a small nose panel added & faired into the Carb intake casting at the front....








..then the skins were masked up ready to fill the gaps around the gun covers..






..filled and primed with mr surfacer but sanded back..




..and then a template used to score the panel line for the gun cover fairing..




..and the nose cap of the fairing scribed & the whole lot cleaned up - I aalso went over any rivets that needed it..


..not happy with how the raised rivets at the front of the main panel came out, but it is what it is...




..the panel behind this has two piano hinges, so I made up the full set and added the top one first, bordered by the hinges...




..then the side panels were added using the same masking & thin contact cement process..




...both side panels added..






..and the area is about as complete as I can get it before adding the wings & fillets as these need to be there for subsequent panels..










..I guess its wings on soon and working up the considerable wing fillets..




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3 hours ago, airscale said:

not happy with how the raised rivets at the front of the main panel came out

I think they'll be okay under a coat of paint. I've seen them like that on the real thing under about four coats!

3 hours ago, airscale said:

I guess its wings on soon

Yes please. I brought sandwiches and a flask of tea...

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Lovely work! I'd hate to criticise such excellent work, but I do agree with the raised rivets: your work is always on the "how the heck does he do it?" end of scale, but those rivets are on the "that's what I'd have achieved" bit. Still good, but not your usual level of perfection. Can it be reworked? :(

Edited by Sabrejet
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  • 2 weeks later...

howdy folks :)


On 9/4/2022 at 9:24 PM, Sabrejet said:

Lovely work! I'd hate to criticise such excellent work, but I do agree with the raised rivets: your work is always on the "how the heck does he do it?" end of scale, but those rivets are on the "that's what I'd have achieved" bit. Still good, but not your usual level of perfection. Can it be reworked? :(


This is what I love about posting what I am doing - I get to set my standards higher because I know people will see it, and even when that slips, I have good folks like you Sabrejet pushing me on to achieve more :)


I don't think I can remake the panels, but I have a few options to make corrections - will have a go at that for next time :)


so, just a small update today, but a pretty big step forward as the wings have been added...


..the model was laid on plans and levelled in all axis - the right dihedral was already fixed from the slide tubes added on day one of this build..


then they was epoxied into position and left to set..




..with the wings added, it was time to understand and set out the fillet structures.. seen here on the real one, they are quite substantial..




..I used drawings to create templates and then mark out the borders using lining tape, bulked out with tamiya tape..


..also added a brass definition shape at the back of the fillet to define the scalloped outline, and a little card section at the leading edge..




..then P38 filler was added and shaped - I thought I had done things in the right order by skinning some of the wings & fuselage, but actually it made for a harder task in doing some pretty agressive sanding & shaping right next to a buch of finished panels..


..you can see a missing panel by the access door - that was victim of a slipped dremel and will need to be remade...










..then a first coat of high build primer was shot to see how it looked..









..it's certainly close - a bit of fettling needed and then it will be fine to carry on skinning..



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Hi Peter,


Continued brilliance - every visit to this build is more fascinating!


I may not be seeing this correctly, but have a close look at the leading edge extension on your wing fairing.  The original P-40 had a short fairing which was later extended to help control airflow and reduce groundloops.  All Bs and Cs had the extended fairing.  You may have something in between, or I may just be looking at this from an odd angle.






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