North African Airfield, 1943

I have always loved the look of the P-40, and not just because of the “shark’s mouth” it often seems to be sporting. The rounded edges of the tail and the tips of the compact wings, combined with the over-sized, muscular-looking nose section, make it a handsome aircraft that still has the sleek design of the preceding “golden age of aviation.”

Here I have used Italeri’s 1/72 “PSP – Pierced Steel Planking” as the starting point for a small diorama meant to “evoke” (since I neither attempt nor claim to duplicate it with any accuracy!) an American base in the final stages of the North African campaign. I really like the Italeri PSP, except for the fact that the narrow strip of “dirt” at the edge of the planking doesn’t actually offer enough space to arrange the associated accessories at all like the box art depicts. I created a broader surface using caulking shaped over thick cardboard, which I placed in matching paint behind the Italeri polystyrene surface. Then there was plenty of room to set out the Hasegawa 1/72 US GMC Dumptruck, the Academy 1/72 Ambulance, the 1/87 Rocco Miniatures 1.5-ton truck, the Italeri 1/72 desert tents, and the tower, drums and sandbags that came with the PSP kit, all behind the Academy 1/72 P-40B, serviced by a few Airfix 1/72 USAAF Personnel.

Putting this plane into a dusty, sandbagged aerodrome has been very satisfying.

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