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Curtiss P-40L

by Steven Eisenman


Curtiss P-40L


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Probably more nose jobs (rhinoplasty) are done in the New York metropolitan area than anywhere else. However, the most important nose job, as far as modelers are concerned, comes out of West Des Moines, Iowa.

As announced earlier, AMtech models has created a totally new resin nose for their forthcoming P-40F/L Warhawks that more accurately captures the shape of this Merlin powered aircraft.


I received the preproduction run of the nose and plastic kit without instruction, decals or other information as to what I should do. As a result, I feel it would not be appropriate to comment on the ease or sequence of construction. But even without instructions, you do not need to be an American Medical Association board certified plastic surgeon to build this kit. I simply built this one straight from the box!





That being said, I still would like to give a few notes on the construction and painting of my model.

As noted in my earlier announcement about the nose, cutting of the cowling was quite easy, and should not be any problem determining where the cuts are to be made. With clean, close cuts, very minor amounts of filler should be needed. Test fit before applying super glue. Slow setting gel is recommended to get everything aligned. I put the fuselage halves together before inserting the nose plug. There is additional cutting of the forward section of the lower wing so the nose plug will slip into the fuselage. I also had to make cowl flaps out of sheet stock.

After getting the new nose on, I was overcome by a strange fear. Given the size of that resin nose, it weighs almost as much as the rest of the kit. Would this be the first model to require lead weight in the rear? Would it just fall over on its nose when put on the shelf? The answer, after it was completed, was no. It did not tip forward!


For the exhaust stack, AMtech contemplates that you will cut the exhaust stubs off the backing plate and individually glue each stub in the recesses in the nose. Once again slow set super glue gel is a good way to go. I carefully cut each one off using a new #11 blade. Be careful though - luckily I found the one that went “Ping” across my work desk. Resin aftermarket companies listen up! Would be nice to have some beautiful resin exhausts, cast in pairs (two per opening).

For mounting the prop/spinner, I cut the kit’s prop mounting post just behind the first point where the plastic cowl would have held the post between the two fuselage halves, and glued it to the center of the resin nose. The prop assembly just rests on this.



Painting and Markings


I wanted to do “Stud’ of the 325th F.G. “Checkertails”. This aircraft was the personal mount of Lt. Col. Robert Baseler, who used it to fly from base to base. The markings for this aircraft will be in the kit. I used the old Aeromaster sheet SP48-15, “The 325 F.G. in Combat – Flying Checkers from Africa to Italy”. Just a note on these; the nose art is about twice as big as the nose art that was on the actual aircraft. Also, this aircraft, prior to being redone in black and red, had the “Stud” nose art as well as the name “MORTIMER SNERD” on the right side. It is quite possible that this was on the repainted aircraft. But I have only seen photographs of the left side.


As for the colors, I used NATO Black and Flat Red, both from the Tamiya Acrylic range of colors. For the tail I used Testor’s Model Master Acryl Chrome Yellow (FS 13538). Most profiles show the area behind the rear cockpit panel windows as being red. Looking at the few pictures that exist, and even taking into consideration glare, it is my opinion that the area under the windows was left in the original Middlestone. I am sure there will be much discussion of this point.





One final note. It is quite possible that this aircraft only carried one gun per wing. It seems it was quite common among this unit for the pilots to remove two guns per wing to lighten the aircraft so that they could climb faster. Often it was the center gun of the three that was retained.

For those who have been waiting for the long-tailed P-40 F/L, wait no longer. This is one great kit and it has the prettiest nose I have seen in a long time.

I’d like to thank Alan Griffith of AMtech for the sample.





  • Checkertails: The 325 Fighter Group in the Second World War, by Ernest McDowell; Squadron Signal Publications; 1994.

  • P-40 Warhawk Aces of the MTO, by Carl Molesworth; Osprey Publishing; 2002

  • Curtis P-40, by Vlastimil Ehrman and Valerij Roman; MBI, 1998.


Model, Images and Article Copyright © 2002 by Steven Eisenman
Page Created 15 November 2002
Last updated 04 June 2007

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