Curtiss Hawk 81-A-2 1:72 Airfix. American Volunteer Group, Kumming, China, 1942.美国志愿者组织,中国昆明。

Flown by Flight Leader Charles H. Older, Third Squadron. A very colourful bird as you can see, which is what attracted me to this build.

This is my rendition of the Curtiss Hawk by Airfix. I have displayed a 1:48 Warhawk on my site elsewhere so wont go into too much detail here.

However, this is the information that came with the kit from Airfix:

The P-40B, in its various incarnations, served the United States Army Air Force throughout the Second World War, fighting in Europe, across Asia and in the deserts of North Africa. The first model to see active service, the P-40B proved to be an effective and tough low level fighter. While not as manoeuvrable as the Japanese Mitsubishi Zero, or as fast as the German Messerschmitt Bf109, the P-40B still proved to be a tough opponent. Pilots liked the fact it could often get them home after sustaining heavy damage, as well as being able to inflict it with its armament of six machine guns. The P-40B became synonymous with the shark mouth motif, due to both its use with 112 Squadron and the American Volunteer Group i China. Today the P-40B continues to fly in the UK as well as its homeland of the United States of America.

Speed: 350mph

Armament: 4x.30 cal Browning machine guns, 2 x .50 cal Browning machine guns: range 730 miles

For this scheme, I used Vallejo acrylics: Tan Earth, US Dark Green and Gull Grey. I highlighted a few of the panel lines and rivets to show all the fine detail of this superlative kit.
Box art
Don’t make movies like this anymore!

North American P-51D Mustang. Tamiya 1:48 scale

Famous Mustang, the ‘Cadillac of the Sky’. This is the ‘Millie G, as flown by Major Edward Giller.

The beautiful P-51D Mustang, which appeared in May, 1944. Unlike the previous P-51B/C, the D version is fitted with a Plexiglas “bubble” canopy for all-around vision and was armed with six wing-mounted 0.50-inch (12.7-mm) machine guns.

Hard points below each wing allowed the P-51D to be fitted with 500-pound (230-kg) bombs or three-shot 4.5-inch (114-mm) rocket launchers, bolstering its capabilities as a close air support fighter. 

Jettisonable auxiliary drop tanks enabled the Mustang to achieve a continuous flight range up to 3,700 km, which allowed it to provide U.S. bombers effective protection against the German Me 109 and Fw 190 interceptors all the way to Germany.

This is a typical Tamiya kit, a blend of detail and simplicity, very easy to put together.

The pilot is Major Edward E.B. Giller of 343rd Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, part of Eighth Air Force stationed in England during WW2.

The P-38 and all four of his Mustangs were named “The Millie G”, for his wife, airline stewardess Mildred, and coded ‘CY-G’. He had three confirmed kills, including a Messerschmitt Me 262 jet over Munich on 9 April, 1945.

He was wounded when his cockpit was hit by flak over Munich on 16 April 1945 – he flew two hours to the UK with one arm. (Wikipedia).

The Ford Sedan (1942) car comes with the kit and it is a solid, heavy die-cast metal model.

P-51D Mustang became the principal fighter of the USAAF. Such lovely lines!
According to references, there is a glitch with the wheel wells but who cares!?

P-40K Warhawk ‘CBI Campaign’ 1:48 Hasegawa kit

The P40-K was the last variant of the famous Warhawk. I have always liked the look of the Warhawk and this model in particular for the colourful scheme. The Warhawk was the aircraft of ‘Flying Tigers fame, a volunteer group who flew in China against the Japanese. They carried the distinctive shark teeth pattern on their noses. I am sure you have all seen the movie ‘Flying Tigers’ starring John Wayne!

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Although the P-40 Warhawk has had something of a bad press, it was actually the third most produced fighter of the USAAF after the P-51 and P-47 with over 13,000 being built, all at the Curtiss-Wright Corporation’s main factory in Buffalo, New York state. It had its flaws but it would not have been produced in such large numbers or lasted so long had it not been a basically successful design.

P-40 Warhawk was the name the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) gave the plane, and after June 1941, the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) adopted the name for all models, making it the official name in the U.S. for all P-40s.

Since WW2, the conventional wisdom has been the P-40 was something of a mediocre indeed inferior fighter but it was, by far, the best and most capable fighter the United States had when WWII began.

The P-40 was designed as a pursuit and close air support aircraft and performed well at low to medium altitudes.

The P-40s lack of a two-speed supercharger made it inferior to Luftwaffe fighters such as the Me Bf 109 or the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in high-altitude combat and it was rarely used in operations in North-West Europe.

However, between 1941 and 1944, the P-40 played a critical role with Allied Air Forces in three major theatres: North Africa, South-West Pacific and China. It also played a significant role in the Middle East, South-East Asia, Eastern Europe, Alaska and Italy.

The P-40s performance at high altitudes was not as important in those theatres, where it served as an air superiority fighter, bomber escort and fighter-bomber.

The P-40 was not a long-range, high-altitude escort fighter. In that role, it was totally outclassed by the P-51 Mustang which essentially won the European air war for the USA. But that was an entirely different mission and when WWII began, no one knew bombers would need escort fighters.The kill ratios attained by the P-40 against the Japanese and the Germans were very respectable. The P-40 was the backbone of the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC), the aerial warfare service component of the United States Army till 1941, and continued supporting operations till VJ Day. As far as air fighting is concerned, the Allies would have been in a far inferior situation without the P-40.

A nice view of the distinctive bulbous nose. On the ground, the steep nose would hinder the pilot’s view ahead so a ground crewman would sit on the wing to direct the pilot. P-40s were frequently lost on the ground due to the poor visibility and relatively narrow landing gear track.
This is an old kit in my collection and I recently restored it with a more weather beaten appearance. The trick with weathering is ‘less is more’. The three black streaks on the leading edge of wings are from the .50 cal machine guns, three on each wing.
Unfortunately,the large central drop tank is missing, must have lost it over China!
Box. ‘CBI’ means ‘China, Burma, India’.

USAAF and Chinese P-40 pilots performed well in the China, Burma, India theatre against such Japanese types as the Ki-43, Ki-44 ‘Tojo’ and the Zero. The P-40 remained in use in the CBI theatre until 1944 and was reportedly preferred over the P-51 Mustangs by some pilots flying in China. The American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) were integrated into the USAAF as the 23rd Fighter Group in June, 1942. The unit continued to fly newer model P-40s until the end of the war, achieving a high kill-to-loss ratio.

The British Commonwealth and Soviet Air Forces used the name Tomahawk for models equivalent to the original P-40, P-40B and P-40C, while the name Kittyhawk for models equivalent to the P-40D and all later variants.

Mighty Thunderbolt. Republic P47-D Thunderbolt ‘Razorback’. Tamiya 1:48

Lt. Frank Klibbe’s ‘Little Chief’ P-47D Thunderbolt, one of the most rugged fighters ever built.

This is my tribute to the mighty American P-47 Thunderbolt which was able to escort high-flying B-17 Flying Fortresses into Germany and proved a match for the Luftwaffe’s FW 190s at 15,000 ft. The P-47 looked similar to the FW-190 from a distance which is why they had distinctive nose (and tail) bands to help Allied aircrew identify them.

Manufactured by the Republic aviation company, the Thunderbolt, or ‘Jug’ to its pilots, was the biggest and most heavily armed single-seat fighter of World War 2.

The massive power and weight of the P-47 design was made possible by the famous Pratt and Whitney 18-cylinder radial R-2800 Double Wasp engine.

Trying to capture the massive frame in close-up is not easy! Not as glamorous or graceful looking as the sleek P-51 Mustang, the portly Thunderbolt was still one of the greatest fighters the United States ever produced and was used by some of their top aces such as Francis ‘Gabby’ Gabreski, the son of Polish immigrants to the USA.

This was a straightforward build out of the box and I don’t have any progress photos for this one. The only tricky part was the Indian Chief’s head with the white band decal. Somehow I managed to ruin it while trying to snuggle it around the cowling and nearly gave myself a heart attack in the process! A quick order to Hannants, my go to online model shop, for an aftermarket replacement set retrieved the situation and I managed second time round which settled the heart flutters.

Decals can be the downfall of a model and I nearly proved the point this time!

There are lots of exotic and colourful marking schemes for American World War 2 fighters which is one of the great joys of modelling them. The nose art was quite often of a young lady in various states of undress which can be an added bonus depending on your inclinations!

Primary armament was the eight .50 calibre machine guns, four of which you can just see protruding out of the port wing.

Along with Spitfires and Lockheed P-38 Lightnings the P-47 initially formed the backbone of the USAAF Eighth Air Force’s escort fighter force, the ‘little friends’ as the American bomber crews called them, but on the longest missions these had to had to turn back practically at the German border, roughly between Cologne and Emden. The P-47 was a thirsty bird and its high rate of fuel consumption meant that early versions were restricted in range.

By late 1943, equipped with drop tanks, the P-47 was able to accompany the B-17s and B-24s to Berlin and back.

The belly of the beast! Showing rockets and drop tank. The drop tank or auxiliary fuel container was a simple American invention which greatly extended fighter-escort range and enabled American and British heavy bombers to fly into the heart of the Third Reich while protected by accompanying fighters using the device.

P-47s also undertook independent fighter sweeps and ground attack missions. In the fighter-bomber ground-attack role, the P-47 could carry five-inch rockets or a bomb load of 2,500 pounds.

The P-47 was by far the heaviest fighter plane, fully loaded its gross weight in the later models reached 21,000 pounds! The Douglas C-47 Cargo plane weighed 26,000 pounds.

Another view from the front showing the massive four-blade propeller.
Starboard view. I usually add the pilot figure if one is included with the kit and posed with the canopy open if possible. I think it adds more interest and besides saves having to make fiddly seat belts which are rarely included! Fighter pilots tended to be younger and more aggressive in temperament than bomber pilots.
That’s better! The ‘Jug’ in all her glory.
The ‘Jug’ or ‘Supercharged Milk Bottle’ needed a long run way for take off and landings hence this outdoor shot! Note the 5 ‘kill’ German Balkan crosses by the cockpit.

The P-47D Razorback also served with the RAF and designated ‘Thunderbolt Mark 1’ while the bubble top P-47D-25s which they received were designated ‘Thunderbolt Mark IIs’. These had the upper rear fuselage flattened and a tear drop canopy placed over the cockpit for improved rearward vision, a feature included on all versions of the P-47 produced after the D-25. This revision reduced the maximum speed of the aircraft somewhat but improved the balance of the design as a fighter aircraft.

Box cover of a 1:72 scale bubble top P-47D in my possession which I hope to make one day!