Curtiss-Wright P-40 Warhawk Production Color Photographs Part I

A series of color photographs detailing the production of early P-40 Warhawks at the Curtiss-Wright Plant at Buffalo, New York, Summer 1941.  With war in Europe and U.S. Army Air Corps orders exceeding the normal capacity of the plant, production spilled out into the open air around the factory.  LIFE Magazine photographer Dmitri Kessel took this series of pictures.

The assembly line moves outside, which makes engine tests a bit easier.
Tail assemblies in primer.
Wing assemblies, showing useful details of the flaps and wheel wells.
Fitting the canvas cover into the wheel well in the wing. These were sometimes removed in the field.
Working on the underside of the wing panels. Flap details are visible again in the background.
Crowded conditions inside the plant. Note the style and color of the “ARMY” lettering under the port wing, “U.S.” was under the starboard.
Stacks of wing spars.
Fuselages early in the construction process.
Fuselages in various stages of completion, again note the crowded conditions.
Engine tests outside. Note the identification code taped to the fuselage in the foreground.
Tanks in the paint shop receiving primer.
A bonus photograph of a wingtip from another Curtiss design, a rather obscure type in production at the same time as the Warhawks. Any guesses as to the aircraft?

6 thoughts on “Curtiss-Wright P-40 Warhawk Production Color Photographs Part I

  1. Just curious, what is the bright blue color? Is it just primer paint, or some sort of heat treatment or galvanic material?

    Thanks for these wonderful photos – some awesome diorama material!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mike, I don’t recall seeing a primer like that. There is a blue coating which is used in sheet metal work, just a guess but it might be something of that sort applied by the sheet metal manufacturer. Makes for an interesting question if you wanted to model an early P-40 with chipping!

      Like

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