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Project Notes

#660 WarHawk 40K

Taking the Airfix 1:72 Curtiss Warhawk in a slightly unusual direction, with LED effects driven by a CD4060 ripple counter.


Here’s a quick demo..



I enjoyed the Airfix P-40B Flying Tiger in 1:72 (LEAP#648) so much that I got another (but A01003B instead of the A01003 kit).

Aside from the engineering, the lines of the craft really made me see the “hawk”, and so this flight of fancy was born.

Circuit Design

There are a range of LEDs on the model (cockpit, nose, crown/head, controller). I first thought of driving them with an AtTiny or PIC, but eventually settled on a simple RC-oscillator drive CD4060 ripple counter.



Testing the circuit on a breadboard:


Verifying the LED installation from a breadboard. After this, I transferred the circuit to a small piece of protoboard.


LED resistor Values

LED# Name Resistor# 5V Breadboard 5V Model
LRr Cockpit Red (right) RR 1kΩ 1kΩ
LRl Cockpit Red (left) RR 1kΩ 1kΩ
LY Nose Yellow RY 220Ω 100Ω
LG Controller Green RG 220Ω 10kΩ
LBc Head Blue (center) RBc 1kΩ 1kΩ
LBl Head Blue (left) RBlr 1kΩ 470Ω
LBr Head Blue (right) RBrr 1kΩ 470Ω

Model Build

Test fitting the kit before starting the mods. I really like the engineering of this series of P40s from Airfix.


Mocking up the basic design of my “transformer”.


Basic paint scheme complete



My first trial of the AK Light Rust wash and I like the result!


The base is just some high density foam offcuts stuck together, carved and lathered with tiling grout.


All the electronics fit on a small piece of protoboard that got hot-glued into the base.


Completed (Without Power)

Some shots of the model after completing the assembly and finishing, but not powered on.

build05a build05b build05c build05d

Completed (With Power)

With power applied, the LEDs all strobe at different rates for a pseudo-random effect.

build06a build06b build06c build06d build06e build06f build06g build06h build06i


Credits and References

Project Source on GitHub Project Gallery Return to the LEAP Catalog

This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LEAP GitHub repository.

LEAP is just my personal collection of projects. Two main themes have emerged in recent years, sometimes combined:

  • electronics - usually involving an Arduino or other microprocessor in one way or another. Some are full-blown projects, while many are trivial breadboard experiments, intended to learn and explore something interesting
  • scale modelling - I caught the bug after deciding to build a Harrier during covid to demonstrate an electronic jet engine simulation. Let the fun begin..
To be honest, I haven't quite figured out if these two interests belong in the same GitHub repo or not. But for now - they are all here!

Projects are often inspired by things found wild on the net, or ideas from the many great electronics and scale modelling podcasts and YouTube channels. Feel free to borrow liberally, and if you spot any issues do let me know (or send a PR!). See the individual projects for credits where due.