The P-40 was the best known Curtiss-Wright designed airplane of the Second World War. It was also one of the most controversial fighters, vilified by many as being too slow, lacking in maneuverability, having too low a climbing rate, and being largely obsolescent by contemporary standards even before it went into production. The inadequacies of the P-40 were even the subject of a Congressional investigation after the War ended.
While these criticisms were certainly valid, it is also true that the P-40 served its country well, especially in China and Burma, during the opening phase of the War in the Pacific when little else was available to the US Army Air Corps. Along with the P-39 Airacobra, the P-40 was the only American fighter available in quantity to confront the Japanese advance until more modern aircraft could be delivered to frontline squadrons.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of an American Volunteer Group Curtiss P-40N Warhawk Fighter that was nicknamed "Boss's Hoss", and piloted by Lt. Col. William N. Reed, who was attached to the 7th Fighter Squadron, 3rd Fighter Group, then deployed to Liagshan, China, during August 1944. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 6 inches
Length: 5 inches
Release Date: June 2006
Original Issue Price: $24.99
Historical Account: "Guns for Hire" - The Flying Tigers was the nickname of the American Volunteer Group, a mercenary fighter unit that trained in Burma and China during the year prior to the American entry into World War II to fight against Japanese forces.
The AVG's first fight against the Japanese occurred December 20th, 1941, thirteen days after Pearl Harbor. The Flying Tigers had great success against the forces of Japan during the lowest period of the war for American forces, and gave hope to Americans that they would eventually succeed against the Japanese. The Flying Tigers were credited for destroying almost 300 aircraft with a loss of only twelve of their own in combat. After the dissolution of the AVG in mid-1942, the name was applied to its successor military unit, the 23rd Fighter Group, and more broadly to the China Air Task Force and the U.S. 14th Air Force. The shark-faced fighters remain among the most recognizable of any individual combat unit of WWII, and they demonstrated innovative tactical victories when the news in the USA were filled with little more than stories of victory after victory accomplished by the Japanese forces at the start of WWII.