To quickly recap the background to this - I was curious about what the Curtiss '81-A-2' was and in it's relation to other variants in the P-40 family. As I pretty much covered the results of my research on this subject on my initial post for this project I will simply re-post the graphic I made to explain the early mark P-40 'family tree'...
But, despite the clear model progression indicated by the Airfix box art the simple fact is they are, actually, the very same kit. So subtle were the differences in these two early P-40 variants that you would be hard pressed to tell the difference and Airfix took advantage of this.
|Proof, were proof needed, that these two Airfix P-40s are indeed the same kit.|
My project plan...
OK, as interesting (if you are a geek like me) as these technicalities are the real question is why I bought the two models is they are actually the same? Well, I fancied having the two 'shark mouth' paint schemes for the P-40 - the RAF's 112 Squadron Tomahawk and the American volunteer 'Flying Tiger' P-40.
|The decal/colour schemes that my two Airfix P-40s come with. Top is the|
legendary 'Flying Tigers' scheme and below the RAF's 112 Squadron scheme.
(Trivia teaser - which came first?)
|Quite crisp and only minor flash, the components are nicely done though more|
advanced modellers may take exception to the comparatively deep panel line details.
|This kit is intended as a 'starter kit' and is rated by Airfix as 'skill level: 1'. So the|
rather exaggerated inscribed panel lines are intended to be helpful for the beginner
who may not be fluent in panel line painting techniques.
After a bit of research I plumped for a rare RAF scheme. Originally the RAF took delivery of some P-40s - Tomahawk Is and IIAs - and despite deciding the P-40 was not up to the job of fighting in the European theatre they pressed them into service in the UK as Army Cooperation aircraft. I liked the idea of doing one of these less well known Tomahawks (overshadowed as they were in Britain by the Spitfire and Hurricanes).
The third part decal set I sourced is by AML - 'P-40 Tomahawk IIA over Europe' - and is available from Hannants for just £4.80. It may not be a striking as the shark-mouse schemes but it has a tidy understated charm of it's own. (It also has the benefit of including a couple of nice Soviet schemes which I may be tempted to try in the future.)
|Tomahawks of No. 26 Squadron RAF based at Gatwick, Sussex, in flight. AH893 RM-D and AH896 RM-Y are Mark IIAs, while AH791 RM-E is a Mark I. All Tomahawks based in the United Kingdom operated as low-level tactical reconnaissance aircraft with Army Co-operation Command, hence the oblique camera ports visible on the port fuselage side of these aircraft. Source: © Imperial War Museum|