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Customization of P-40 Warhawk model (AVG, Flying Tigers)

January 22, 2015

P40 model in North African Air Force colors

My P40 Warhawk model with North African AF colors.

North African AF to AVG colors

I already had a P-40 model manufactured by 21st Century Toys which was painted in the North African Air Force colors of the British units fighting in North Africa against Rommel and the Italians. About five or six months ago I bought a second, identical P-40 model for $10, from a second hand shop.

I took it home and repainted it, carefully keeping the shark's mouth intact but painting over the tan desert colors with the Olive Drab of the Far East.

Flying Tiger Decals for the P-40 Warhawk model

Last week I purchased a set of decals by Kits-World Decals on E-Bay. This set is for the P-40 Warhawk and includes decals for the American Volunteer group in China, commonly known as the Flying Tigers. I bought these because the Flying Tigers are the most famous P-40 fighter group and possibly the most famous American fighter group of WW2, and I was planning to add an example to my model collection.

P40 model with American Volunteer Group colors

My P40 Warhawk with colors of the American Volunteer Group in China. Decals to be added later.

Then I pilfered some Republic of China decals from a model for a TB-3 Russian bomber, which did some service for China. China received these aircraft on a kind of a lend-lease program from Russia, in the mid 1930s. I took the Republic of China decals from that kit and put them on the P-40 Warhawk. There were actually four; one on the top and bottom of each wing. In my existing decals I had the numeral 31 and two white stripes. I applied these, using the two stripes to make one wide stripe, which would have been used by the first squadron amongst the Flying Tigers.

Having no other appropriate decals but the white stripe, I decided to purchase decals for the specific squadrons. And this set has decals for all three squadrons. This particular set of decals has both styles of first squadron decals: the apple with serpent in stick figures with Eve chasing Adam, along with the later, fleshed version out version of the figures.

KitsWorld decals of the AVG Flying Tigers

Kitsworld P40B decals of the American Volunteer Group and RAF. Note shark's mouth (tiger) logos; Adams and Eves logos of the first squadron; Flying Tigers logo from Disney Studios; Hell's Angels of the third squadron; Republic of China logo (white sun on blue background), and Panda Bear cartoons of the second squadron, including that of the Texas Panda. Photo used with permission from Kitsworld.

I'm planning to put those First Pursuit squadron decals onto the plane with the added Republic of China decals. But I'm going to have to change the number. After going through my books on the Flying Tigers, I cannot find any records of a plane 31. Because of training accidents damaging some of the planes, not all of the assigned numbers were used. So it appears that number 31 might be one of those that was never painted on an aircraft. I'm considering changing it to number 13 by painting out the 1 on 31, and then applying a new decal of number 1 in front of the 3.

Actually, number 13 was a very interesting airplane. It was assigned to two pilots and both of them were the vice-squadron leaders. One of those two people was Greg Boyington, who later became famous in the South Pacific as a marine fighter, the commander of the Black Sheep Squadron of Corsair fighters.

There are also additional decals that would allow me to do one additional P-40 fighter so if I can find another one at a bargain basement price, then I'll get one of these Hell's Angels done with the red stripe.

So this is the plan at the moment, as soon as I get time to work on my models.

~ Jon


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