AMT 1/48 P-40K Warhawk
KIT #: 8794
PRICE: Out of Production
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Jonathan Prestidge
NOTES: Eduard seat belts


Arguably the best known American fighter of WWII, the P-40 was a mediocre performer that was fortunately available in large enough numbers to hold down the fort until better equipment was available. It was used to great advantage by the pilots of the A.V.G. who exploited its strengths of rugged construction, excellent dive speed and superior firepower to combat the Japanese forces in China. The P-40 saw service in every theater of WWII as a fighter, fighter/bomber and an advanced fighter trainer.

 The P-40K was a development of the P-40E and featured a distinctive “round” tail of increased surface area to handle the extra power of its uprated Allison V-1710-73. The P-40K maintained the armament of six “fifties” that proved well-suited for air-to-air combat as well as ground attack.


The copyright on this example is 1996. AMT’s P-40 series is notable for its soft plastic, engraved detail, low parts count and fit that is iffy in spots (engine covers). It is molded in soft white plastic and this being a “Made in Mexico” boxing carries an enormous amount of flash on most of the parts. The level of detail is adequate, but there are more detailed/accurate P-40 kits out there. The only aftermarket items used were Eduard pre-painted seatbelts for the pilot. The kit decals are thin, opaque and in register. I used a fair amount of “modeling skill” to turn this kit out.


 This being my third AMT P-40, construction was a breeze. The majority of time spent on this kit was in researching the colors and markings.

 Construction began with painting and detailing the cockpit. As mentioned earlier, there was a good amount of flash but it cleaned up easily with a swipe of the X-Acto. Poly Scale French Khaki was painted throughout followed by detail painting, a wash, and drybrushing to bring out the detail. I added the Eduard seatbelt for the pilot’s seat at this time. Prior to closing up the fuselage, I removed the molded-on tail and replaced it with the “K” tail. I did this for each fuselage half. I substituted the round kit exhausts with fishtails from an Eduard P-39. I attached the engine cowlings to the fuselage and added styrene sheet shims to the front where they are short. I glued the upper wings to the fuselage halves, installed the radiator, and then glued the fuselage halves together. I then added the lower wing, fuel tank, and DF antenna base (robbed from a Bf 109). I also filed the top of the tail to give it the characteristic flat spot just forward of the rudder. An application of putty & Mr. Surfacer was followed by sanding in preparation for paint.

 As the final step prior to painting, I added the canopy at this time. There are options to pose the canopy open or closed. I built mine so that I can open it if I choose. The clear parts were dipped in future prior to assembly. I added a rear view mirror made from sprue on top of the windscreen. I used Tamiya tape to mask the clear parts.


I wanted to model Major Ed Nollemeyer’s plane circa 1943. I have seen way too many interpretations of this scheme, and I wanted to give it a go to see if I could get it somewhat close to right. There are several color photos of this plane and the markings on it evolved over time. I wanted to model it as shown in the picture with a C-46 on final approach in the background. Notable in this photo are: five kill markings, sharkmouth with reindeer, yellow stripes on nose and fuselage, three small white stripes on the upper nose, pinwheels on the wheel covers, red surrounds on the national insignia, yellow Mae West stuffed in the window behind the pilots head, DF loop antenna with natural metal base, nose foreward of the prop is the darker camo shade.

 On to the paint! First, the camouflage colors needed to be determined. After extensive research, I determined that this P-40K was from a batch that was earmarked for England. Thus the base camouflage is Curtis’ equivalent of Earth Brown and Dark Green over Light Gray. Curtis’ Earth Brown was most likely U.S. Khaki (FS30219) and their Dark Green was U.S. Olive Drab (FS34087). The underside color is a very light gray such as U.S. Gull Gray Light (FS36440). All paints used in this build were Polly Scale acrylics. French Khaki was sprayed on the canopy framing and gear wells. The airframe colors were then added in several painting and masking sessions.

 At this point I used pastels to emphasize the panel lines, add exhaust stains and dirty the airframe up a bit. I added structural detail using the pastels to highlight the underlying stringers, etc. I tried to keep things subtle, adding just enough to enhance the detail on the kit. I used a reference book to locate the stringers, bulkheads, etc. I then sealed everything with a coat of future in preparation for decals.

I used the kit decals for most of this one with no major problems. I had to pirate the red-bordered insignia from another kit. I made many small relief cuts in the shark mouth decals to get them to wrap nicely around the tapering nose. Micro Sol settled things down. I did have to go back and touch up these decals with paint once they were dry. The rest of the markings and stencils were added with minimal fuss. I was fortunate to have several good color photos of the plane I modeled. Other than being a bit oversized, the markings are correct. I hand painted the pinwheels on the wheel covers. After weathering the decals, I gave the plane a final flat clear coat. The landing gear and other final bits were added at this time. Final detailing was then completed.


As simple and crude as they look in the box, the AMT P-40s look good when finished. They are very easy to build and respond well to a bit of extra effort. I’m sure that the Hasegawa is nicer in every respect, and it is priced accordingly. The level of detail and accuracy on the AMT P-40s O.O.B. is okay and it is hard to argue with the price ($5.00 at a swap meet). Recommended for modelers of all skill levels. 

Jonathan Prestidge

December 2013

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page