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Dec 08, 2006, 01:39 PM
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Air-Gar's Avatar
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Build Log

The world's prettiest P-40


Following requests from several modeling friends, I decided to write a thread on my P-40E, an electric conversion and sale adaptation of the Hangar-9 P-40E “Warhawk” ARF. The main theme of this thread is that, with some imagination, desire, and a lot of extra work, one can create a very distinctive and beautiful scale-like model from any number of sport scale ARF kits that are now on the market. It is often pointed out that everyone’s ARF looks just like every one else’s ARF. But, as we will see, this need not be the case.

This thread will be different from the typical ”Build Log” thread because the airplane is already built, has been flown successfully, and has been written up as an article in Quiet Flyer (December 2006, page 18). But magazine editors are always pushing writers to shorten, shorten, shorten their articles because page space is pricey. With my P-40 conversion article this was a frustrating exercise because I had to leave out tons of detail and could use only a few of the over 100 construction photographs I had taken. Not so, with an on-line thread.

I plan to generate about 18 separate posts as follows.

1. Scale documentation.
2. Stripping off the plastic and recovering the airframe.
3. Building the battery compartment.
4. Electric power system.
5. Props and spinners.
6. Radio and internal controls.
7. Steerable tailwheel.
8. Landing gear and wheel wells.
9. Cockpit and pilot.
10. Canopy.
11. Machine guns.
12. Cowling and exhaust stacks.
13. Other scale stuff.
14. Painting.
15. Decals, nose art.
16. Control throws and CG.
17. Flying.
18. Final notes on the history of NZ3009.

This outline could change as the thread develops, questions arise and new ideas are posted. I’ll try to get these written at a rate of one or two per week. But this could also change. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the photos below of the World’s prettiest P-40 – and that they inspire you to follow this thread.
Last edited by Air-Gar; Dec 08, 2006 at 01:46 PM.
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Dec 08, 2006, 02:06 PM
hammer slammer
miljnor's Avatar
Wow nice build!

Especially like the pilot leaning out for a better look! Nice touch!

It will be awhile before I feel comfortable building something that large, but I am so envious!
Dec 08, 2006, 03:30 PM
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Air-Gar's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miljnor
Wow nice build!

Especially like the pilot leaning out for a better look! Nice touch!

It will be awhile before I feel comfortable building something that large, but I am so envious!
Thanks a lot - I'll discuss the pilot and cockpit in a later post.
Air-Gar
Dec 08, 2006, 03:58 PM
Warbird crazy!
new2rc's Avatar
Awesome!

Subcribed

John and Christo
Dec 08, 2006, 07:28 PM
Plane Crazy
cincy's Avatar
Can't see ever doing this myself but I marvel at other's ability to tinker. Subscribed!
Dec 08, 2006, 07:29 PM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
Are going to need more pics...shame you didn't do a build thread...that model is amazing...
Dec 08, 2006, 07:45 PM
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Air-Gar's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dora Nine
Are going to need more pics...shame you didn't do a build thread...that model is amazing...
Stay tuned - lots more pix coming - this IS a build thread
Dec 09, 2006, 12:21 PM
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Air-Gar's Avatar
Thread OP

P-40E scale documentation


This project started back in the year 2001 when I was surfing the internet and stumbled onto a photo of a drop-dead beautiful P-40E at www.ghosts.com. The photo was taken by famous aviation photographer Philip Makanna and is shown below with Phil’s kind permission.

Further internet research revealed that this airplane was a restored P-40E “Kittyhawk Mk.1A” that had served with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in WWII, under the serial number NZ3009. (BTW the US Army Air Corps called the P-40 “Warhawk”- the Brits called it “Kittyhawk”, while later versions were called “Tomahawk”. NZ3009 had been restored by Pioneer Aero Restorations and, at the time the photo was taken (1998), was stationed at Ohakea, NZ. I decided to build an e-powered scale replica of this airplane.

The first step in building a scale model is to assemble a detailed documentation package for the specific plane you are going to build to use as a guide. Very fortunately for me, NZ3009 and many restoration photos were located on Phil Treweek’s web site at http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/khawk.html. I contacted Phil and obtained his kind permission to use his photo of NZ 3009, which he took when the plane was on the ground at Ohakea.

I obtained a documentation package for NZ 3009 from New Zealand Aero Products, 34 Ward Parade, Stirling Pt., Bluff, NZ. This comprehensive package contained a condensed history of the plane, a detailed list of the Federal Standard numbers for all colors used, and the colors and dimensions of all markings. They also sent me the April/May 1999 issue of “Classic Wings Down under”, which had a feature article and cover photo of NZ3009 (photo shown below). This article contained a sharp photo of the cockpit and instrument panel which would become very useful later on.

I rounded out my documentation package with a set of Brian Taylor P-40E 1/6 scale plans (www.bhplans.com) and several picture books of P-40s. The most useful were Bert Kinsey’s “P-40 Warhawk” and ”P-40 Warhawk Walk Around”, both by Squadron/Signal Publications.

For several years I sought a size 60 P-40E kit, but wasn’t able to find anything I felt was suitable for e-conversion. When the Hangar-9 “P-40 Warhawk” ARF arrived at the Tumwater Hobby Shop (Tumwater, WA) in 2005, I checked it out, was impressed with its strength, lightness, and scale fidelity and decided to use it as a starting point for building my model of NZ3009.
Dec 09, 2006, 08:14 PM
It's a Great Day to Fly
LenBFP's Avatar
Air-Gar,

Wow! What a beauty. I have neither the patience or skill to do that, but I sure appreciate it when someone else can. I will be following along. Maybe I can pick up some simple stuff that will enhance my modest productions. This is real eye candy.

Len
Dec 09, 2006, 10:38 PM
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Air-Gar's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by LenBFP
Air-Gar,

Wow! What a beauty. I have neither the patience or skill to do that, but I sure appreciate it when someone else can. I will be following along. Maybe I can pick up some simple stuff that will enhance my modest productions. This is real eye candy.

Len
Thanks a lot, Len. I'll try to have another post ready by tomorrow.
Air-Gar
Dec 10, 2006, 07:32 AM
Registered User
Lynxman's Avatar
Very nice work! Makes me think twice about which scheme to choose for my P-40. I'll get the mgazine the next time I'm at the newsstand.
Dec 10, 2006, 11:42 AM
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Air-Gar's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynxman
Very nice work! Makes me think twice about which scheme to choose for my P-40. I'll get the mgazine the next time I'm at the newsstand.
Of the more than 13,000 P-40s that were built only a few hundred had a shark mouth. There are many color schemes out there. The Brits, Australians and New Zealanders had hundreds of P-40s through Lend-Lease and they painted them with RAF markings. There are lots of interesting possibilities. When I first took my P-40 out to our flying field everyone thought it was a Spitfire

BTW - you'd better hurry on the magazine, the January issue is out now. If you can't find it you can buy one through www.quietflyer.com.
Dec 10, 2006, 12:34 PM
Registered User
Lynxman's Avatar
Hehe... It seems that no matter what warbird it is someone always thinks it's a Spitfire.

I saw the magazine earlier today. We don't get magazines that early here so I don't think there's any danger of missing it.
Dec 10, 2006, 01:56 PM
Hooper, full throttle!
Tommy D's Avatar
As a Son of a AVG member I can't help but wish you had done the Flying Tigers finish.

That said it's no wonder after seening the photo you provided you were driven to recreate that plane.

Yours is leaps and bounds abover the H-9 model.

Best Regards

Tommy D
Dec 10, 2006, 03:27 PM
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Air-Gar's Avatar
Thread OP
Tommy,
I greatly appreciate your dad's service to our country (and to China) in WWII. If he is still living, please send him my personal thanks.
If it's any consolation, NZ 3009 was recently repainted in the AVG format. It is back in NZ and flies as part of the Breitling Fighters. More on the history of NZ3009 later in my thread.
Air-Gar


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