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P-40 wheel well color?


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Hey ARC,

 

I'm hoping someone could help me out.  I'm building Academy's P-40, and I'm curious about the wheel well color.  The instructions call for the main and tail wheel wells to be painted interior green.  I seem to remember reading that the wells were painted the same color as the underside camo (neutral gray).  My Google searches all turn up info about the canvas covers and their colors, but nothing on the wells themselves.  So, I have a few questions...

 

Could someone please let me know if the wells are neutral gray, like the underside, or interior green?  If they're painted, are the main wells and the tailwheel well painted?  If the main wells are painted, is it the entire well or just the part that houses the wheel?  (In other words, is the part of the well that accepts the strut painted too, or just the well that accepts the wheel?)  What about the inside of the doors?

 

Thanks in advance for the help.

 

Cheers,

-O

Edited by oortiz10
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On the topic of P-40 wheel well colour, the earlier comments included in dogsbody post indicates that early P-40's up to the E model had a canvas boot.  The fact that it was not metal would suggest there was no need for a primer and interior paint to protect metal surfaces.  My question is, would these earlier P-40's e.g.  AVG P-40B/C's have wheel wells the same colour as the wing undersurfaces?

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At least one coat of primer was used on all interior surfaces, not just cockpit, wheel wells and engine cowlings up until manufacturers started asking for waivers to increase production. The area behind the P-40 canvas boot still had to be primered. Being nominally an exterior surface, it got two coats, thus the green zinc chromate.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My apologies for being dull of intellect, but I am still unclear as to the correct colour of the canvas boot that was inserted in early wheel wells of P-40's.  It makes sense that the metal part of the wheel well would be primed and painted, but would the actual canvas boot be painted as well?  Would it be necessary?  Would the canvas boot be inserted before or after the wing under surfaces were painted?  Would the canvas become stiff and difficult to work with once it had been painted?  Would this boot be removed very often during operations?

 

I guess my conclusion is that this canvas part of the wheel well would be left the natural colour of the canvas or it would be painted the same colour as the wing under surfaces...but then again, I've drawn wrong conclusions many times in the past!  Comments would be appreciated.  Be gentle, I'm very sensitive.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

the canvas wasn't in natural colour. These "wheel pocket" were made in "12 oz waterproof duck" which was a rubber impregnated canvas,

probably tinted olive drab as same this material used on NA P51 for the liner in the wheel well ("O.D. waterproof duck 8 oz").

on H75/P36, H81/P40DC & H87/P40D & up, this was the same material used for the "wheel pocket"
These "wheel pocket" were easily removable(fixed by fasteners) before painting and the rubber don't like cellulosic paint.

Edited by Sowar
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Many thanks for the gentlemen who took the time to add to the above postings.  I'd like to share my concluding observations on the subject.  This subject was covered in some detail on Britmodeller back in the summer of 2014.  A member, '72modeler' from San Antonio, Texas quoting  a paragraph (page 16, bottom paragraph) from the Osprey Aircraft of the Aces #41, American Volunteer Group Colours and Markings  by Terrill Clements, "Colour photos of newly-assembled Curtiss aircraft in the pre-Pearl Harbor time period indicate that yellow zinc chromate primer was used for protecting undercarriage doors, access panels and similar components.  Wheel wells were protected with canvas liners painted the undersurface colour."

 

72modeler goes on to add his own observations which included, "Since H-81A-2's were delivered to the AVG direct from Curtiss in three separate batches consisting of 36, 33, and 31 aircraft, it is most likely that they were finished as stated above.  I personally think that the canvas covers probably didn't last very long, given the rough nature of the landing strips and the frequent repair/maintenance that they were subjected to."  

 

In the case of AVG P-40's, my conclusion is that these aircraft would have been painted to British specifications at the factory (could be wrong on this) which to me would indicate the canvas boots would be added after the under wing paint was applied, leaving the boot in that khaki colour.  If the under wing was repainted/touched-up in China they would repaint the canvas boot in that colour. If the boot had to be replaced it would be left in the khaki colour.  In others words, when painting my AVG P-40 I have the option of one of two colours, Sky Gray or Khaki Drill (recommended in the 1/48 Airfix kit instructions).  Man, I hope no one throws a wrench at this topic to add to the confusion!  

Edited by Brian J
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