After its maiden flight in 1938, the Curtiss P-40 went on to become a workhorse for allied air forces during various WWII operations. Used as a ground attack and fighter airplane, the single engine design was extremely agile at low altitudes. Further to this ability, the low cost and durable all metal construction had relatively easy field maintenance and could tolerate harsh weather conditions.
The P-40B Tomahawk, represented in this scale model airplane, was active between 1941 and 1943. This rugged "B" variant featured twin nose guns (50-cal.), 4 wing guns (30-cal.), an armoured windscreen and a partially protected fuel tank. A total of 28 nation air forces used P-40 variants, and an astounding 13,738 were built by the time production ceased in November of 1944.
With a fleet of about sixty P-40B Tomahawks, the 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) was assigned to defend China against Japanese forces during World War II. Known as the "Flying Tigers", this unit had one of the most recognizable airplanes of the era due to the large shark face painted on the front of the fuselage. The three squadrons of this American unit also carried the 12-point sun Chinese Air Force markings. It’s interesting to note that under contract with the Chinese government, members of the AVG had lucrative salaries that were often triple their earnings from the US forces.
The Flying Tigers first saw action on December 20, 1941. Just 12 days after the Pearl Harbor attacks, airplanes of the 1st and 2nd squadrons intercepted 10 Japanese Kawasaki Ki-48 "Lily" bombers. AVG pilots scored several victories on that day and many went on to become aces. Among these aces was David Lee "Tex" Hill of the 2nd Pursuit Squadron "Panda Bears". Tex scored his first victories on January 3, 1942 against two Japanese Nakajima Ki-27 "Nates" and was credited with his fifth ace victory within three weeks. Tex scored many more air-to-air victories during his AVG assignment and ended his career with a tally of 18.25.
Trumpeter's 1/32 scale P-40B scale model airplane was used to replicate Tex Hill's Tomahawk. No aftermarket parts were required as the kit itself carries several photo etch parts. Enjoy the photos.