Wednesday 19 October 2011

Airfix Curtiss 81-A-2 Hawk AVG 3 Squadron 'Hells Angels' build blog (Day 9)

New Airfix Hawk now more or less finished on day 9. One or two small decals to go. Airfix have included an array of stencils which are so miniscule they are frankly not worth bothering with. Completely messed up my first attempt at getting the camo scheme looking suitably distressed and went for a complete respray. As to the kit, I think it looks like an early Hawk ..but only from certain angles. I can't quite put my finger on where it doesn't, perhaps around the canopy which seems to be a little too large and the windshield is a little too rounded. Otherwise a lovely neat little kit, and the decals worked excellently. I'm going to do a few more certainly, using either the Xtradecal Tomahawk sheet or the new AVG/112 Sq release from Kitsworld. (below).
As for the debate about Hawk colours alluded to by Tony in his Airfix Model World article, Airfix do indeed recommend Humbrol 28 (Light Grey) for the lower surfaces. For more discussion on this I've added links to  Nick Millman's blog and to the relevant discussion on britmodeller below..

Terrill Clements writing in his Osprey AVG book ;

".. The lower surface camouflage of the AVG's Tomahawks is even more interesting. While British contracting officers would likely have specified the complex greenish colour known as Sky at the time these aircraft were ordered, the best colour photographs and film of AVG Tomahawks indicate that their lower surfaces were in fact painted light grey. It appears that other American manufacturers had themselves employed a range of light blues, greys and greens when first coming to grips with the new requirement for Sky undersurfaces in mid-1940 ..".

Kits world new decals in 1:72

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Airfix Curtiss 81-A-2 Hawk AVG 3 Squadron 'Hells Angels' build blog (Day 3)

Day 3 of the new Airfix Hawk build - assembly is very straight forward, the most difficult part of this kit will be getting that suitably weathered paint finish looking right. This will do for me I feel. Rather than use 'blu-tac sausages' to get the colour demarcation looking just so, I've applied a coat of light earth (Humbrol 119) and then carefuly painted in the outline in dark green and filled the green areas in with the air brush. Not terribly neat ..but much quicker than all that messing about with blutac!
As with parts one and two of this build I've added some reference utilising some neat photos from Avions 126 (its okay, editor Michel is a friend...) and the full colour three view from Jean-Louis Couston (RIP) in the same issue for the upper surface scheme. The colour photo depicts Robert Tharp Smith with the Disney-designed 'Flying Tiger' neatly rendered on Airfix's decal sheet. Note Smith's Chinese cap and the 'Angel' design painted on the flight jacket. The photo below depicts Smith in the cockpit of his 'white 77' and provides a good view of the gunsight - which is unfortunately not in the kit.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Airfix Curtiss 81-A-2 Hawk AVG build blog (Day 2)

Day 2 of the Airfix Curtiss Hawk (P-40 B) AVG build. Quite a bit of filler for the wing root/fuselage join and the upper cowl doesn't fit too well either. I've also filled in some of the engraved lines on the tailplane where they are rather heavy. Now all sanded and buffed and shined, time for some pre-shading and the lower surface colours to go on. I've used the retracted wheel half option in the kit to mask the wells for painting.

Another nice colour view of Chuck Older's '68' subject of the Airfix kt - lower surface colour apears pretty obviously to be light grey - I'm not sure why Tony O' Toole in the current issue of Airfix Model World has finished his model in Sky - presumably on the basis that the first AVG machines were diverted from a British order ....and below that, well-known colour view of the 3rd Pursuit Squadron 'Hells Angels' AVG in formation - a good reference is issue 126/127 of Avions magazine, bio of Robert Tharp Smith whose colour photos these most probably are..

Colour illustration above from 'Ciel de Guerre no. 3 - Tigres Volants' (Flying Tigers) which can be located on the usual download sites.

The Aifix Spitfire Mk I that I started back in July here has also reached the painting stage. A lot of filing and sanding and buffing and polishing required to get a decent fit around the wing/fuselage join again here...

Monday 10 October 2011

new Airfix Curtiss Hawk 81-A-2 build blog

Now that the late September/early October heatwave ( 30C on 1 October a UK record!) is slowly fading (still 23C here in the South-East) and I haven't been in the sea since 02 October (in itself a personal record), there is nothing like a new-tool 1:72 Airfix fighter to get the modelling juices flowing.

The Curtiss Hawk 81-A-2, known in US Army Air Corps service as the P-40B Warhawk and in RAF service as the Tomahawk Mk. IIA, was a single seat fighter based on the radial engined P-36 Hawk and first flown in 1938 and this latest Airfix release is a lovely little representation. You get two sprues of quality mouldings with engraved panel lines, a nicely detailed cockpit (including sidewall), 2 lower radiator flap inserts and a neat hollow upper engine cowl intake. Weighted wheels and a separate rudder are a nice touch.

A couple of 'negatives'  - the wing guns are moulded with the upper wings and were already bent back in the box, there is no cowl gunsight (although Tony O'Toole's 'Airfix Model World' magazine build featured one but wasn't mentioned in the text) and there is only one decal option -  Chuck Older's '68', Third Squadron, AVG, Kumming, China 1942. The decals are nicely printed by Cartograf but I would have liked a few more options on the sheet  - an RAF scheme or even a nice OD US option. I would have then bought a couple more ...

Time to get stuck straight in for a four day build and finish! Note the cockpit green appears a little garish here under the lights. I haven't used the Kagero etch here either in the end - the belts are from champagne bottle foil. The control column is impossible to get off the sprue without snapping it, the instrument panel is the kit-supplied decal. Major assembly completed in a day and a half. Wing/fuselage join is not the best perhaps around the lower cowl area. Click on the images to get in closer...