Building and improving the Airfix A01003 Curtis Hawk 81A-2 in 1/72nd scale.

By:-Paulo Castro

Iwill show you through the whole building process of the excellent Airfix kit of a Curtiss 81A-2 or best known as the famous P40B. This aircraft became a legend after being used by the American Volunteers Group (AVG) in China circa 1941-42, in combat against the Japanese forces. This group was later known as the Flying Tigers.

During this period, the China government gave a scarf for every pilot fighting in China called "Blood Chit" and was written in Chinese characters the following: "This foreign person has come to China to help in the war effort. Soldiers and civilians, one and all, should rescue and protect him".

I am representing the aircraft flown by Flight Leader Charles "Chuck" Older, squadron leader of the 3rd Squadron called "Hell Angels", his plane was the "white 68".

R. T. Smith posing in front of Charles Older's plane

2nd aircraft in the row is #68 being refuelled

In this photo taken by R.T.Smith on the 28th May 1942 near Salween River Gorge, we can see: #68 flown by Arvid Olson, #46 flown by Bob Prescot, #49 flown by Tom Hayward, #24 flown by Ken Jernstedt, and #7

This photograph was taken by Robert T. Smith in #77, on 28th May 1942. The shot includes: #68 flown by Arvid Olson, #46 flown by Bob Prescot and #24 flown by Ken Jernstedt

#68 showing the starboard side.

Flight leader Robert "Duke" Hedman in Tomahawk #68 in 25th December 1941. He was accredited with destroying 4 x Ki-21 "Sallys" and 1x Ki-43 "Oscar" on this date, thus becoming America's first ace.

Flight Leader Bill Reed from the 3rdSq. Hells Angels, posing in front of #68 starboard side.

For this build I will use the excellent Airfix A01003 Curtis Hawk 81A-2 in 1/72nd scale.

Decal sheet for one version only but lots of stencils provided.

Instruction sheet

Kit Sprues

Kit Detail

The overall fit seems to be very good.

Beginning with the cockpit interior. I painted all interior parts (cockpit, wheel's bays, etc) in Interior Green, since I use acrylics Tamiya Paints, I've mixed 1 part XF3 (Yellow) + 1 part XF5 (Green) for my interior green. I airbrushed all the parts and after dry, I brush painted details with XF1 (Flat Black) and let it completely dry before giving it a coat of Tamiya Panel Accent Wash (brown). Removed the excess after dried using Tamiya thinner X20 and a brush.

Cockpit walls painted interior green (XF3:1+XF5:1) and details picked with XF1.

Details of the decal for the instruments panel. I did change the manual hydraulic pump lever to suit the scale.

This is the kit original seat, after reviewing my references I've noticed that the seat wasn't round but flat on top (see the photography showing the #68 cockpit detail above).

Here is the seat corrected. The instruction calls for interior green for the seat, but all my references shows an aluminium colour instead. I've painted using XF16 (Flat Aluminium).

Weathering by dry brushing with aluminium. I've also picked the 2 front .50 machine guns stocks over the panel sides.

Eduard PE seat belts.

USAF WWII Eduard PE seat belts in place.

Joined the fuselage halves and little was to put putty on. The exception is the gap just behind the seat and I still need to remove putty to place the head rest.

Another view showing how good the joints are. Almost no putty was used.

Glued the wings in place. Very nice fit with not much filling needed.

Next I moved to the spinner. It is missing the panel lines since this piece is made of three parts, the bottom and middle section connects to sandwich the propellers, and then the top.

I've used a very simple technique, just place a micro saw between a book to the desired height and than move the part against the blade.

Move the blade to another height and repeat the process. Simple like that!

Here is the final part.

Added the cooling slats, the kit has the option for open (that was chosen) or closed.

Installed the radiator cover. It required a little bit of putty, but nothing to scare!

Here is the motor cover in place, a little bit of sanding to match the parts.

I've also decided to open the exhausts. It is a very simple thing to do with micro drills and it really enhances the model appearance.

On the left side is the part with the holes opened and on the right is the original part.

I've worked on painting (Tamiya Matt Brown) some parts here the exhausts and the tires hub, I've just used the colour that was in the airbrush here since there is a decal covering everything.

Painted the tires using Tamiya Rubber Tires.

The propeller received a first cover of Tamiya Matt Yellow (XF3), then it will be masked off to paint with Matt Black.

Propeller painted in XF1 matt Black

Corrected the rudder horn

Inserted the needles "machine guns" in the nose and wings

Landing gear and disc breaker painted, using Tamyia XF19 Sky Grey. Main landing gear had a wash and the hydraulic line for the brakes added from stretched sprue

Wheels centre come in a separated piece which helps to paint and detail, in this case the decals is in place and The wheel's centre washed with Tamiya Panel Accent

The exhausts were painted and treated with several layers of MIG pigments (rust, yellow ochre, etc) until I was happy with the results

The propeller received a drybrush with aluminium and then I put the decal on. Still need to give it a matt coat. After matt coating the propeller I've noticed that the Curtis logo is upside down, so I recommend you to cut it off the decal and place it correctly (Triangle point facing upwards the propeller).

The main wheels and the tail wheel received a heavily weathering with MIG pigments to represent mud and earth (as can be observed in the various photos above)

Pre-shade done, model is read for painting

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