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Flying Tigers Curtiss Hawk 81-A2 - Finished

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On 6/1/2023 at 8:03 AM, themongoose said:

Ugggh, i feel your pain! Mixing paint types can get ugly. Hang in there :D


Yeah.  I prefer oil based paints as they stick better, cover better and I find they work better with air brushing.  The problem I have these days is that my local hobby shops seem to be going over to water based paints, so I find myself using both on a model as the old oil based paints run out.  Mostly it works well enough, but sometimes I get :BANGHEAD2: situations, but in the overall scheme of things (life, the universe, everything...... :rolleyes:), I'll live with it.


Progressing well with the varnish/decal/varnish stage.  Just got some varnishing to do, so hopefully pictures soon.





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Well that stage progressed better than I was expecting.  My daughter and her husband are off in Europe for ten weeks so dear old dad is babysitting the dog.  This usually tends to slow my modelling activities as he needs a fair bit of exercise.  But I don't mind at all as he's a lovely dog and I enjoy having him stay.


Once I got both upper and lower surfaces gloss coated, the first decal to go on was the sharks mouth and eye.  I figured that this would be the most difficult to place and if I screwed it up, the kit provides five other sets of shark mouth decals so you'd think I'd get one of them right.  As it turned out, the first time worked like a charm, probably because the nose is removable which makes that job a whole lot easier.




There are remarkably few decals for this kit, and this includes the stencils for maintenance too.  So here's the bottom, all done.




I did have a small issue with the sharks mouth decal as I couldn't get the decal halves to meet under the radiator intake, despite paying very careful attention to placing each half carefully and evenly side to side.  This was easily fixed with a little masking and flat black paint.




At this point, all decals have been applied, a coat of flat varnish also applied, and masking removed from the lower details such as lights, undercarriage mountings.  The gun casing discharge holes have also been picked out in flat black.






Here, the upper sides have also been flat varnished and all masking removed.  I've also picked out the fuselage machine guns which were overpainted as well as a couple of other details.  The prop was also painted and decals applied at the same time as the rest of the model.  There are three decals to each prop blade.  It has now been mounted to the spinner backing plate.  I think I will permanently attach it to the nose rather than leave it interchangeable with the engine.




I did have some trouble with the number 49 decal on the left side of the fuselage as I found that very late in the decal process that it had tilted a little.  Hastily brushing it with lots of water helped almost straighten the 9 digit, but the 4 digit became badly broken, so this was scrapped off carefully and the optional 48 decal sacrificed itself for the repair.




The next stage of the project will be the undercarriage, lights and wing guns, then the prop will go on.  Then I'll probably get back to the engine.  Decalling is not quite finished, as there are a few more to apply to the engine and undercarriage.  At least some of this is for next time.





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After the last update, I started on the undercarriage commencing with the tail wheel.  The picture below represents the full fitting and comprises four parts plus the rubber tyre - base with doors, opening actuator, tail wheel leg, tail wheel and the rubber wheel itself.  I've dirtied it up a bit with some dirt staining, which also takes away the impossibly clean state of this type of tyre in a model.




Fitted in place.




Next is the main wheels, which are quite involved.  Here they are minus the doors.  There's scratch building here; just kit parts. 




Here's a now complete assembly for one side.  There are sixteen plastic parts here, plus the rubber tyre and two decals, together with one etch part for the inner main door.  Involved, but very well detailed and not that difficult to fit together if you don't do it all at once.




In place, now.




A closer look.  Each wheel assembly is mated to the wing by four pins.  I found it necessary to file out those holes on both sides just a little to get a firm but positive fit.  Without doing this, the assembly slightly fowled the leading edge fairing.




Next, the guns and propeller went on.  The kit contains six 3D printed gun barrels to take the place of the stock plastic barrels which were chopped off the kit guns to take the 3D printed jobs.  After painting the barrels (no point in painting the guns themselves as they're not visible), the guns slide into the leading edge of the wing through the cover parts which I'd only temporarily glued on with Micro Krystal Clear to make painting easier.  Those parts were removed one at a time, the gun inserted and glued, then the leading edge cover properly glued back into place.  I took the nose off to do all of this which makes gun fitment here a lot easier.  This method is a little more complex than following the instructions, but it meant I didn't have to try masking the gun barrels then having to touch them up again, which never gets as good a result as my method.




Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the prop assembly, other than what you've seen in my last update.  The spinner in this kit is in two halves, so the back portion went on first and I then added a few oil streaks followed by adding the front half of the spinner.  The last bits to add on are the lights on the fin, under the fuselage and the port/starbord nav lights.  The nav lights, four of each, were painted clear red and clear green but the others are clear glass.  They were glued on with a small amount of Tamiya extra thin dabbed on the appropriate place, then positioned carefully using a wax pencil.


So here's a couple of pictures of the not quite complete model.  Readers may remember I made a hings for the radio door which wasn't quite as successful as I'd hoped, but open and close nicely it does, as shown in both of these pictures.






What remains now it to add some weathering, then complete the engine.  That is for what will be the last update, next time.





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Posted (edited)

This is the last update as the model is now finished, though this will be in two parts.  I took a few pictures here. :rolleyes:


First up, the engine.  I found the issue with the incorrectly fitted radiator parts impossible to correct to my satisfaction as I'd gone too far.  There were too many parts fitted between the engine and radiators and I would have needed to detach all these bits to get at the inner connections.  That could get messy.  So the fix just turned into a tidy up as best I could, then a paint job.  Paint doesn't quite cover this sin since the clean up was also difficult, again because of all the connected pipes.  Here it is now connected to the firewall as well as some more pipes and the control rod to the prop pitch mechanism (the long straight one).




These fine pipes and rods are extremely delicate and once you get them oh so carefully off the sprue, they can still break anyway, even with the most careful handling.  See the slender pipe from the cylinder head to the radiator?




The one on the right side broke trying to manoeuver it into place through the two larger pipes.  The one you see above is a replacement I made from 0.5mm wire, tape wrapped around the wire for the rubber connector, then the pipe clamps made with 0.3mm wire wrapped around the tape, twisted and cut short.  The 0.5mm wire was then painted aluminium to blend in better.  The above picture also has a kit plastic pipe, with decals on it, between the cooler pump beneath the engine and the carbie.  Not sure about that, but it's as per the instructions.  Just behind the spinner back plate, you can also see some more of the prop pitch control.  It's not finished yet.


The next shots show the engine in finished state.  More pipework, prop control (this time infront of the spinner back plate, also with a decal), carbie intake, top ignition wire run and exhausts.  The last two pipes to go in, parts K9 and K7, are the two you can see going through the firewall just below the top engine mount. These are Fiddly, trying to get them between everything else.  The top one also broke doing this, dislodging that pipe between the coolant pump and carbie, so another piece of 0.5mm wire was substituted and painted.




Some more pictures.






I was a little disappointed that the kit didn't have spark plug leads on the upper ignition cable run, but given the layout of the inlet manifolds, this would be very difficult to do, both in plastic or in wire.  I didn't attempt scratch building here because of that difficulty, and I don't think it would have added anything significantly either.  Hopefully the following picture shows why.




The kit provides a nice engine cradle in three parts.  This was assembled and painted gloss black after adding two lengths of steel rod.  The engine sits on the cradle via the front V shaped mount and two small U shaped mounts which take the two of the locating pins on the back of the firewall.  I found that the engine was very easily dislodged as standard.  This could cause damage some of the delicate detail of the engine, so these two lengths of wire were CA glued in place to use the magnet on the back of the firewall to help the engine stay in it's cradle.  Glue could have been used instead, but that would mean no possibility of displaying the engine on the plane.




Engine and cradle together.




So here is the engine now on the plane.  The fit is not brilliant which I think is caused by the three pipes that emerge from the plane's belly supposedly to connect the the engine.  Given it's a finished model, I didn't want to put a lot of pressure on either the engine or the plane.








I can't show it attached to the prop as this is permanently attached to the nose by a small retainer (part D17).  It's a pity GWH did not provide a duplicate prop, given that there's a few other parts duplicated such as the landing gear surrounds.  There's two sets of landing gear supplied so that you have the option of gear down or up, so why not two props?


To be continued.

Edited by Dpgsbody55
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The last job was to make one of my feeble attempts at weathering the plane.  This is not an area at which I excel. :coolio:  But I don't believe the factory fresh look is appropriate on this model.


First of all, I applied some dirt, oil and cordite stains to the model using Mr Tamiya's weathering sets.  Next, a little dry brushing to get some scratching on the wings adjacent to the cockpit, as well as along the leading edges.








The wing root scratching goes all the way to the leading edge, as armourers clamber up there to re-arm the fuselage guns.




Here's some nicer (GB gallery suitable) shots.














With the first aid/radio equipment hatch open.  The pictures don't show much here, but you can see more when you pick the model up.








Lastly, some more engine shots.  I reamed out the opening of the carbie intake to help it look a bit better.














So that's it for another model.  Overall a very nice kit and well engineered too, but let down by inaccuracies and a few omissions in the instructions together with foil thin brass etch parts that sometimes added nothing that a simple plastic part could not have done.  I'm thinking of the gun magazine covers under the wing here.  I do hope GWH release another plane other than a different variant of this one.  The detail is excellent and I think the engine once built is the best I've yet encountered on a 1/32 scale kit.





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  • Dpgsbody55 changed the title to Flying Tigers Curtiss Hawk 81-A2 - Finished

That is one  sweet kit. I picked up the Trumpeter ones back in the day, (3 of em, I like the early P-40s that much) and cried when this kit came out. Seeing this build< I think maybe I'll donate them to the next model show as prizes for a kid's event. Them and a bunch of other stuff that has been superseded over the years. 

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On 6/24/2023 at 7:13 AM, Sabre F-86 said:

That is one  sweet kit. I picked up the Trumpeter ones back in the day, (3 of em, I like the early P-40s that much) and cried when this kit came out. Seeing this build< I think maybe I'll donate them to the next model show as prizes for a kid's event. Them and a bunch of other stuff that has been superseded over the years. 


This is definitely the better kit, unquestionably so.  If you have the Trumpy kit and one of the add on kits which give you a deeper cockpit such as the CMK resin cockpit, then the Trumpeter model builds up well.  If I might suggest, in your situation I'd sell one or two of your three Trumpy kits and get that CMK resin kit together with a bit of Eduard etch.  Then I'd build the GWH kit first which will give you an idea as to how to further improve the Trumpy kits you want to build.  After all, there's so many marking options for P-40B's, I think this would be a good way to go.  Here's my P-40B Trumpeter build from 2020 if you'd like some further reference.  I see Hannants still have stocks of the CMK kit, as well as other stuff for Trumpeter's offering.






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On 7/9/2023 at 7:43 PM, themongoose said:

Love it all. My favorite part is the landing gear, those tires look real and you made some nice details pop there.


Thank you.  Yes, the landing gear is quite intricate, but not difficult to put together, and heaps better than any other P-40 model I've seen.







PS. Sorry for the slow response.  My computer's been playing up.  :BANGHEAD2:  Finally got it fixed but I may get a new one in about a year's time.

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