P-40N CLEOPATRA III


1/48 Hasegawa P-40N "Cleopatra III"


by Kent Strickland


Introduction

Here are some photos of my completed Kittyhawk IV "Cleopatra III". It has been a long time in the making and although there are some minor flaws I am pretty happy with the way she turned out.

The kit

The kit is the Hasegawa 1/48 Kittyhawk Mk IV boxing (09732) of the P-40N Warhawk. I used the Eduard Big Ed set for the P-40N. This replaces most of the cockpit and adds some nice touches to the u/c doors and bays as well as some external pieces including the auxiliary fuel tank attachments, sway bars and lower cowl panels. The colour etched control panel and harness is an absolute gem. The replacement seat is nicely made and all in all it makes the “office” much nicer.

The kit includes a set of replacement PE flaps which are realistic in detail but a bit fiddly for big fingers. Next time I may leave the flaps out as I botched the installation of the upper wing "box". It also has the excellent canopy masks, however you may need to "stretch" them a little to tease them into position. I used "ezyline" for the antenna wire and Tamiya Weathering sets for the exhausts including the exhaust and gun residue. Oil washes for weathering but hopefully not "too" much as Atherton's a/c was often a propaganda pony. A squadron P-40N canopy (for the Mauve kit) for the sliding portion and the excellent Ultracast flared exhausts completed the additions.

The paints are Testors MM enamels and I used my Mk. 1 eyeball to approximate the colours and they are close enough for me. The a/c was OD (FS34087 – Olive Drab -1711) over NG (FS36320 – Dk Ghost Gray -1741) with the original US markings on the fuselage painted out with RAAF “Foliage Green” (FS34092 – Euro Dk Green - 1764) and sprayed using an Aztek A470. Atherton’s a/c appeared darker than other a/c and this is due to the fact that it was apparently often photographed as a propaganda pony and thus kept cleaner than its contemporaries. The decals are from the kit and settled down nicely with Micro Sol/Set. Two thin coats of Dullcote lacquer out of a rattle can for the overall finish. I liked the kit itself and it is typical Hasegawa quality IMHO. Whether that auger’s good or bad for you I don't know. There were some headaches but this was a learning experience. Here are some of the modifications or problems I found and how I went about solving them:

1. A common complaint is the difficulty in installing the tail "plug" to the fuselage. The instructions would have you join the fuselage halves (A16 and A17), join the tail halves (F6 and F7) and them plug it in. This may leave a step to sand out and also some trouble lining up the scribed lines along the fuselage. It has been suggested that it is easier to join each fuselage half with the respective half tail plug before joining the halves together.

2. Be careful attaching part E4. The kit part will leave a seam where you attach it behind the cockpit proper. You will need to carefully sand that seam away on all sides as the real a/c does not have that seam. (See p45 "Modelling the P-40")

3. Probably the biggest error I found was in the decal application. The instructions call for placement of the a/c squadron letters on the starboard side as follows:



however a reference photo from “P-40 in detail” by Bert Kinzey on p67 as shown below has them reversed. Luckily, I found that little gem out before I had applied the decals!



4. I had a little trouble defining the “foliage green” over painting of the US markings. The instructions refer to it but it isn’t set out well. I eventually decided on a full set of “stars and bars” spraying the “foliage green” first. I then traced a set of 1/48 stars and bars onto Tamiya tape, cut that shape out and covered the foliage green. I then over painted the lot in OD and then peeled off the tape to reveal the "over painted" areas. There are no references I could find for the over painted insignia on the wings so I just ignored them and put the Aussie decals on as listed.



5. The sliding canopy part (Y1) should be squared off at the front edges and not at 45 degree angles to meet the fuselage part. You will either need to have the canopy closed or get a squadron replacement unless you are good at vac forming your own.

6. Photos of the actual a/c below show that the manufacturers marks were absent from the propeller blades. Note the oils stains from behind the spinner cap.


Photo: Australian War Memorial

7. The lights were from the kit. I followed the kit instructions and removed the plastic moulded parts from each upper and lower wing and the tail. I drilled out a small hole in the appropriate spot and then painted the small placement tabs on each clear part red, blue (the starboard lights look blue when off) and silver as appropriate then carefully placed them using Micro Krystal Klear. When viewed from different angles the "bulbs" jump out and they appear to sparkle.

8. Parts A22 and A23 which fill in the scalloped sections behind the exhausts are marked “not for use” but they should be fitted to this a/c.

9. References show this a/c had the additional small “whip” antenna about midway down the fuselage spine.

10. Small inner door actuators were scratch built and added between the inner doors and Eduard landing gear supports.

The kit was relatively easy to build. The Eduard Big Ed set for the P-40N really enhances the standard kit. Carefully check your references. The AWM has some great photos of the actual a/c. The Osprey book "Modelling the P-40" by Brett Green that has some lovely photos of a restored a/c (especially the u/c and gear bays) and some great tips as well.

 










The wheels aren't right as they should be the diamond tread but I had these all done and didn't have the heart to disassemble them. The hydraulic cables are thin fuse wire painted black and attached with CA. Eduard provide some etched parts but they are too flat IMHO.



The small yellow indicators are the gear locked down indicators. The oil streaks on the spinner behind the cap were a common sight on this type of a/c. See the photo below.



The Eduard PE cockpit can be partially seen here. The gun reflector was a piece of clear acetate cut size and positioned appropriately with Micro Krystal Klear.


The Eduard PE flaps are visible here. Note the front edge of the sliding canopy. See note 5 below.



The navigations lights were the clear plastic parts supplied in the kit see note 7 below for more detail.

The scratch built hydraulic lines on the landing gear. Small inner door actuators were scratch built and added as well. Eduard PE lower cowl and external tank mounts.

Note the small “whip” antenna. See Note 9.

References

Modelling the P-40, Hawk 81, Tomahawk, Warhawk and Kittyhawk by Brett Green, Osprey
P-40 Warhawk “In Action 205” by Richard S Dann, Squadron/Signal
P-40 Warhawk in detail, Vol 62, part 2, by Bert Kinzey, Detail and Scale Aviation
Australian War Memorial at www.awm.gov.au for the photographic references.


 

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