Building the Curtiss P-40E from AM Tech - 1/48 scale

by Giovanni Galvam © 2010 Modeler Site

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The famous P-40 needs no particular presentation, being the more widely used fighter by Allies in the early years of the Second World War. Some people think that when the Mustangs come to scene to win the war, the main job was just done by P-40s, P-39s and P-38s in all fronts!!


In 1/48 scale the choice was limited for many years, because there were only an old P-40B/C from Monogram and an inaccurate P-40E from Revell (corrected and reissued by Pro Modeler some years ago). Mauve, and after AMT, released in the mid ‘90es the P-40K, M, N versions, with up to date molds, even if with some lack of interior detail. AMT released also a P-40F (the Merlin powered version). In 2002 AM Tech reissued the P-40F and released finally a P-40E, departing ever from the same moldings from AMT.

In 2006 Hasegawa released his P-40E, with the usual accuracy, so I decided to study my AM Tech box to make something good from it, and I think this kit is still worth of its price. The cockpit detail is a little bit plain, and I recommend more accurate modelers to use the True Detail set 48-451, even if I decided to make the kit straight from the box. I added the seat belts done with adhesive paper, and on the consoles I added some lever and the gas handle. The cockpit color is Interior Green (Humbrol 158) with semi gloss Black instrument panel and consoles. A drybrushing with Light Grey highlighted the details.

The canopy is in two pieces, but the rear part was substituted with a vacuum-formed part to represent it open. The fuselage joint requires some putty and sanding, while the wing fit is good. I made holes on the guns and on the exhausts, of the rounded type.

I made the example, very well depicted on the instructions, named “Holding My Own”. In fact in the box there are decals to make this P-40E-1 flown by 1st Lt. Dallas A. Clinger of the 16th Squadron – 23rd Group, operating from Kweilin, China in October, 1942. The paint scheme is the classic RAF, with upper surfaces in Dark Earth FS. 30118 (Gunze H22) and Dark Green FS. 34079 (Gunze H309), and the lower surfaces in Sky Blue FS. 35526 (Gunze H76). There are some retouches on the fuselage, which the instructions indicate to be painted with Olive Drab. My personal impression is that these areas were Dark Earth, and that instead the Green was darker than normal, so on the rear fuselage I added some Black to the Green to give a darker tone.

The weathering was done with various hues of Green and Brown (with lightened base colors) and with Brown oil color. Some coat of various Greys helped to represent the exhaust stains.
This is an acceptably accurate kit, very easy and pleasant to build, so if you have one you don’t have to pull it away!

Chart of colors








Dark Earth

30118 29 129M X130 H22 1702

Dark Green

34079 116 1116M X110 H309 1710

Sky Blue

35526 - 153T X208 H76 -

Interior Green

34151 151 34151 X117 H58 1715

Zinc Chromate Green

33481 81 181M X408 H58 1548

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