Welcome to my next build. I am getting back into building aircraft and starting with a World War II aircraft. This build is the Academy 1/48 P-40N. I will also be using Eduard’s photo etch set to add details. I will be using the kit decals for the Burma Banshees scheme. This scheme represents 2nd LT. Philip Adair’s P-40N named “Lulu Belle” of the 89th fighter squadron in the 80th fighter group. During his service with the Burma Banshees he actually fly two aircraft named Lulu Belle. The first aircraft was severely damaged in December 1943 when the air base was attacked. 2nd LT Adair after just returning from a mission hopped back into his aircraft and chased the bombers and their escorts. Even though his aircraft was damaged he returned to his base and assigned a second aircraft which he also named Lulu Belle. This will look like the aircraft during the 1944 battle of Imphal-Kohima in India.
Starting with the cockpit I assembled the photo etch instrument panel which replaces the kit panel and then detailed the side walls using photo etch accessories. Next I drilled out the lower intake ducts and replaced them with photo etch screens and vanes. The pilot seat was replaced with the photo etch version. This was installed into the cockpit and the seat belts were added. The entire cockpit was installed into the fuselage and the fuselage was put together. The fuselage fit was very good only requiring some minor spot putty.
Using the photo etch parts the landing gear bays were replaced and detailed into the lower wing assembly. Once painted and installed the upper wings were installed. I used a 0.5mm micro drill bit and drilled the barrels of the guns. The wing roots mostly fit but required some putty along the seams. While the putty was curing I assembled and detailed the main gear wheels with photo etch. So far this build is going smoothly. Once I have the aircraft cleaned up from the areas that were puttied. I will assemble the landing gear and doors then I can begin the base coat of the paint.
The second week of the Lulu Belle covers the detailing of the fuselage and the start of the painting. Using the photo etch detail set I added the mounts for the drop tank and the cowl flaps. I opted to use the open set so the details inside can be seen. The tail wheel doors were replaced with the photo etch replacements as well. The main gear struts were also detailed. I used wire to add the hydraulic hoses to the main gear struts. On the nose there are two vented panels. The kit had tiny marks to represent these but the marks appeared way too small so I opted to use a 0.5mm drill and open the holes up for a better appearance. The underside of the aircraft and drop tank was then base coat painted with neutral gray.
While the underside was drying I masked and painted the canopy sections with the olive drab. The topside of the aircraft was then base coat painted with the olive drab. The Banshees scheme had some deep green scallops along the wing edges and tail so I painted them to match the reference photos. I then painted the propellers, nose cone, and exhaust pipes. I added some exhaust staining with some brown, gray and black pastel chalk. I am preparing to start the decals. One thing I noticed was the “Lulu Belle” decals are set up as two parts. Once white then a yellow decal will need to be aligned on top. I will let you know how it goes. I should be able to complete the model by next week.
The Burma Banshees P-40N is now finished. For this final week I applied all the decals. The “Lulu Belle” being two parts was not too bad to get them lined up. The skulls required some finesse to place. If you plan on building this kit I would recommend placing the skulls on before the exhaust pipes. It took a while for me to place the decals in between the exhaust pipes and not damage the decals. The rest of the decals went down very well and conformed to the surface details with a little help from the decal solvent.
The aircraft was then top coated with matte finish. I installed the clear parts and painted the wing lights with Tamiya clear paints. The canopy and windscreen were installed and this completed the aircraft.
This kit was a nice build. The fit was not too bad with the wing roots being the area needing the most work. The instructions were laid out well and the kit decals were good. The Eduard detail set was easy to install and adds nice details to the cockpit and main landing gear bays. I would recommend this kit as the finished aircraft looks nice and represents 2nd LT Adair’s aircraft very well. Thank for following along. Happy Modeling!