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

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, part III.

A finished P-40 taxis at the Buffalo Airport.
Running up the engine during final assembly.
Delivery pilots in flight gear, with brand-new Warhawks.
A fitter at work inside a fuselage at the Curtiss plant.
Final engine adjustments.
A good view of the radiator assembly under the engine.
Details of the propeller markings.
A Warhawk on a test flight. “247” is marked on the cowling ant the vertical tail.
“247” again, showing the standard four-position placement of the national insignia.
A new Warhawk in formation with another Curtiss design, an SBC-4 Helldiver.

American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers color photographs here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/american-volunteer-group-flying-tigers-color-photographs-part-1/

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

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, part II.

A busy photograph showing aircraft in various stages of completion outside the Buffalo plant. This photograph is often shown reversed, but the fuselage access door under the insignia was on the aircraft’s port side.
A good view of workstands for the diorama builder.
Workers posing for the photographer with an unpainted Warhawk.
Several details visible here, the engine has leaked a lot of fluid.
Watertower with the Curtiss logo. A wide variety of completion progress between the airframes visible here.
Two fuselages on stands outside the plant.
Even the area outside the plant was crowded, although not as badly as inside.
Another photograph normally seen reversed, given away by the pitot tube on the port wing of the aircraft in the background.
Details of the engine, with the assembly number marked on the cowling.
A view of the paint shop, with components being coated with zinc chromate primer.
The transportation arrangement for the trip to the Buffalo airport.
When transporting the aircraft by truck wasn’t fast enough, the aircraft were flown to the Buffalo airport from the Curtiss parking lot. A P-40 takes off in the background.

Part III here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/10/06/curtiss-wright-p-40-warhawk-production-color-photographs-part-iii/

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?

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/09/29/curtiss-wright-p-40-warhawk-production-color-photographs-part-ii/

2020 Year in Review

“May you live in interesting times.” – ancient Chinese curse

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2020 in the form of a gingerbread house.

Oddly for a method of telling time, the positioning of our new year is arbitrary from a physical perspective and should have no actual bearing on earthly events, but here’s hoping for a better 2021 anyway!

I’ll look for the “win” here even if it is minor: We modelers are fortunate to have an inherently solitary hobby in these times.  Overall modeling appears to have picked up, Hornsby (parent company of Airfix) is reporting profits for the first time in years.  Modeling podcasts have come into their own and make bench time even more enjoyable.

The biggest void from a modeling perspective in my opinion is the cancellation of the shows.  I usually attend half a dozen per year and they are always a fine day out, with friends, new kits, and getting to see the work of hundreds of fellow modelers.  Also missing was the Half Price Books annual clearance sale where literally semi-truck loads of books are sold at ridiculously low prices at the state fairgrounds.

On a different note, perhaps the most interesting story of the year received very little attention – the U.S. government admitted that it was studying materials retrieved from vehicles of extraterrestrial origin.  Another commentary on the year 2020.

Blog Statistics and News

2020 was the second complete year for the Inch High Guy blog.  I am happy to report that I again managed to make a post each day, so 366 posts due to the leap year.  The blog received 73,992 views and 26,731 visitors, up from 27,174 views and 7,303 visitors last year.  The most popular post was “Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Interior Colors Part I” with 1,857 views, followed by “The B-17E and the Myth of the Bendix Ventral Turret” with 1,116 views.  Forts appear to be popular around here!

Link:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/b-17-flying-fortress-interior-colors-part-i/

Link: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/the-b-17e-and-the-myth-of-the-bendix-ventral-turret/

I am still struggling with the counter-intuitive Word Press editor, and that was only made worse with the introduction of the Word Press “Block Editor” in September.  This eliminated some useful functions while re-naming and moving others, with no apparent improvements on the user end.  On a more positive note, I did finally locate the tagging function and busied myself adding tags to all posts old and new.

I have linked several posts on ScaleMates, where the walk-around posts of museum aircraft have proved to be the most popular.  The Women Warriors posts have found a following with wargamers over on The Miniatures Page, among others.  I had intended for these pictures to tell their own stories, but there have been a few requests for captions.  Easier said than done with the modern-era photos as information ranges from obvious to impossible-to-determine, but there may be hope for the historical pictures.

Models Built in 2020

Forty-seven completions, twenty-nine aircraft and eighteen vehicles.  In addition I painted fifteen figures (plus one dog) and constructed three diorama bases. Everything was built to 1/72 scale as is my preference.  The mosaic has a picture of each build, if you want to see more finished pictures or the construction posts just follow the tags at the bottom of this post or enter the descriptions in the search bar in the upper right column.

Hasegawa Kawanishi Kyofu (Rex) x 2

Tamiya Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)

Aoshima Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)

MPM Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)

Hasegawa Kawanishi Shiden Kai (George) x 2

Hasegawa Mitsubishi Raiden (Jack)

Fujimi Aichi B7A1 Ryusei (Grace)

LS Yokosuka K5Y Akatombo (Willow)

AZ Yokosuka K5Y Akatombo (Willow)

Special Hobby Curtiss P-40 Warhawk x 5

Tamiya Republic P-47D Thunderbolt

Airfix Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress conversion to B-17E x 2

RPM Hotchkiss H35 French Light Tank

RAF Bomber Supply Set x 2 (6 vehicles)

IBG Chevrolet C15A Personnel Lorry

Monogram Boeing F4B-4 x 2

Rare Bits Boeing F4B-1 Conversion

Monogram Curtiss F11C-2 Goshawk

Matchbox Boeing P-12E x 2

Czech Master Resin Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk

Plastic Soldier StuG III Ausf. G Assault Gun x 3

Trumpeter StuG III Ausf. G Assault Gun

Revell Heinkel He 177A-5 Greif

Revell Junkers Ju 88P-1 Conversion

Hasegawa Heinkel He 111H-20

Italeri 15 cm Field Howitzer sFH 18

Trumpeter Sd.Ah.116 Tank Transporter

Zvezda Panzer IV Ausf. H

Planet Models Resin Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack

Revell Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack

Trumpeter Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack

Forward

Arma hobby has just announced a P-51 B/C Mustang in 1/72. The computer renders look good and show areas such as the wing leading edge and wheel well openings which have given other manufacturers problems appear to have been rendered properly. Here’s hoping! Every previous B/C in 1/72 scale has had some major shape issue so an accurate new tool kit has been at the top of many modeler’s wish lists for many years now. The early Mustangs, if done well, are sure to be a hit and a license to print money for Arma so here’s wishing for a successful release!

In more local news Ms. Inch High put a Creality LD-002R 3-D resin printer under the Christmas tree this year. These are very useful if you know what you’re doing, which I don’t at this point. Hopefully I will soon though, and I look forward to printing something useful. It is an amazing technology to have sitting on the bench. For all the talk of “Death of the Hobby” in some circles, I have yet to see any hint of it from here.

I have enjoyed putting this together, and have enjoyed hearing from other modelers and discovering other blogs.  A big thank you to all who have visited here, commented, followed, and especially those who have posted links.  

May you all live long enough to build every model in your stash!

Colorful Curtiss P-40 Warhawk Markings Part 2

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One of the larger and more flamboyant squadron nose art designs was carried by the “Parrot Hawks” of the 502nd Fighter Squadron / 337th Fighter Group.  This was a training squadron which was equipped with P-40N’s.  This aircraft appears to be missing some paint due to an over-zealous effort to remove exhaust stains from the fuselage.
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The Parrot Hawks were based at Napier Field, Alabama in late 1943.  This flight line shows the markings in all their glory, although the fifth aircraft has not had the artwork applied yet.
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The “Bushmasters” of the 78th Fighter Squadron / 15th Fighter Group operated their P-40K’s from the Hawaiian Islands and Midway in 1943.  They carried a large snake head on the noses of their aircraft.  An interesting if somewhat obscure marking.
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The “Burma Banshees” of the 89th Fighter Squadron / 80th Fighter Group featured large skulls on their P-40N’s.  Here Lt Philip Adair poses in front of his aircraft, named “Lulu Belle”.
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A line up of Banshee aircraft at Assam, India in 1944.  Each skull was unique, many featured fangs or dripping blood.  Note the variations in the application of the tail numbers.
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With the help of a small monkey, the first two victory flags are applied to the fuselage of the P-40K of Major “Big Ed” Nollmeyer.  Nollmeyer was the Commanding Officer of the 26th Fighter Squadron, part of the 51st Fighter Group.  Note the modified paint on the rudder.
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Another view of the same scene showing details of the fuselage side.  This is P-40K serial number 42-9766.  It has proved confusing to some profile artists as the markings evolved over time.  These pictures show the aircraft before many of the ultimate markings were added.
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At this point the aircraft carries two yellow fuselage bands with a third at the nose and red outlined national insignia, which were only officially authorized for a few months in the summer of 1943.
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A good profile view showing that several additional markings have been added to Major Nollmeyer’s aircraft.  The aircraft displays five victory markings, numbers four and five being claimed on 22 December 43.  The nose now displays a shark’s mouth with the squadron insignia inside and Big Ed’s personal Bugs Bunny emblem aft of the cockpit.  The vertical tail and carburetor air scoop have received fresh paint (likely Olive Drab) and the national insignia are now outlined in a blue border.
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The P-40K of Lt Robert “Jay” Overcash displays an interesting collection of markings.  Under the engine exhausts are the dot-dot-dot-dash representing the Morse letter V for Victory, below that is the Black Scorpion marking of the 64th Fighter Squadron / 57th Fighter Group.  Under the cockpit are Overcash’s five victory markings, other personal markings include the skull and the “Savoy” fez on the tail.  The red spinner and RAF fin flash were introduced by the RAF and adopted by the Americans as Desert Air Force theater markings.  Note that the aircraft’s original Olive Drab color has been painted over with a more appropriate Sand as evidenced by the background to the serial number on the tail and stenciling visible under the cockpit.  (LIFE Magazine photograph)

Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/07/22/colorful-curtiss-p-40-warhawk-markings-part-1/

Special Hobby Curtiss P-40N Warhawk “Parrot Hawk” 502nd Fighter Squadron in 1/72 Scale

This is a Curtiss P-40N-5-CU “Parrot Hawk’ serial number 42-105711 of the 502nd Fighter Squadron.  The 502nd was a training unit based at Napier, Alabama in late 1943.  I could not resist the spectacular parrot head markings, which came from Print Scale sheet 72-023.

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Construction posts here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/05/22/special-hobby-curtiss-p-40-warhawk-batch-build-part-i/

Colorful Curtiss P-40 Warhawk Markings Part 1

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The P-40 Warhawk is probably best known as the plane with the shark’s teeth, and the unit which started it all was the RAF’s 112 Squadron which first painted the famous marking on their Kittyhawk I’s in North Africa.  Here Lt A. R. Costello strikes a pose next to his aircraft at Sidi Heneish, Egypt.
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The sharkmouth fit the contours of the P-40 particularly well.  112 Squadron aircraft soon became favorites of photographers, and pictures were picked up by several magazines eager to provide coverage of the war.
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The magazine coverage made it all the way to China, where pilots of the American Volunteer Group “Flying Tigers” decided shark’s teeth would look nice on their aircraft as well.  Their aircraft and exploits soon became legend and are still one of the most recognizable schemes to this day.  Each set of shark’s teeth was painted by hand and differed in details.  (Robert Smith photograph)
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The 343rd Fighter Group was activated on 03SEP42 at Elmendorf Field, Alaska.  It consisted of the 11th and 18th Fighter Squadrons on Curtiss P-40Es and the 54th Fighter Squadron on Lockheed P-38s.  A fourth squadron with P-40Es, the 344th, was added in October.  In command was Lt Col John Chennault, whose father of Flying Tigers fame inspired the Tiger nose art applied to the Group’s P-40s.  (LIFE Magazine photograph)
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A lesser known application is this yellow nosed P-40E.  Supposedly there were two aircraft painted in these nose markings at Malaybalay, Mindanao while flying in defense of the Philippines, but documentation is lacking.
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At least one of these aircraft was captured by the Japanese in airworthy condition.  It was given Japanese Hinomaru over the U.S. insignia, although the “U.S. ARMY” lettering is still just visible under the wings in this photograph.
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Another view as the Japanese examine their prize.  Several U.S. types were captured and restored to airworthy condition on Java and the Philippines, including many P-40s and three B-17s.
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A view of the starboard side of the nose from a Japanese magazine.  Most artist’s renderings depict the head as either being yellow, or yellow with red mottling.  The “bullet-riddled” description in the English caption is wishful thinking, there were several P-40s captured intact by the Japanese that were quite flyable.
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The shark’s mouth marking remained popular with P-40 units, particularly those flying in the Chinese Theater.  Here is a P-40N of the 74th Fighter Squadron being fitted with rocket tubes at Kweilen, China in 1943-44.
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Yet another variation seen in India, this P-40K of the 25th Fighter Squadron 51st Fighter Group is pictured at Assam Valley India in 1944.  A smaller mouth but larger fangs.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/07/29/colorful-curtiss-p-40-warhawk-markings-part-2/

Special Hobby Curtiss P-40N-5 Warhawk of the “Burma Banshees” in 1/72 Scale

Yet another Curtiss P-40 with spectacular nose art, this is P-40N-5 serial number 42-105233 of the 89th Fighter Squadron, 80th Fighter Group stationed at Nagaghuli in Assam, India in 1944.  The Burma Banshees each carried large skulls on the engine cowlings of their Warhawks, and each skull was unique.  Decals are from the kit and are printed by Cartograph.  Living up to their reputation, the decals performed flawlessly.

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More completed P-40s here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/07/23/special-hobby-curtiss-p-40n-warhawk-parrot-hawk-502nd-fighter-squadron-in-1-72-scale/