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.
This particular 1:48 scale replica of a P-40 Tomahawk II was flown by RAF Ace Clive Caldwell over the hot desert sands of North Africa. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 9-1/4 inches
Length: 8 inches
Release Date: April 2006
Historical Account: "Killer" - Clive Caldwell was the most famous of the Australian and New Zealand 'Desert Rats' who bore the brunt of the fighting in North Africa, and the highest-scoring Australian ace of World War II. Caldwell altered his birth certificate when he enlisted at the outbreak of the war, because he was 29 years old and the age limit for pilots was 29.
In May 1941, he was posted to 250 Squadron, and gained his first victory on June 26th, 1941. On August 30th, 1941 Caldwell flew fighter cover for Royal Navy ships supplying the besieged garrison at Tobruk. He was bounced by Messerschmitt Bf 109Es flown by Luftwaffe ace Lt. Werner Schroer and his wingman from JG 27. Schroer set Caldwell's Tomahawk afire and wounded Caldwell. Schroer decided the burning Tomahawk was done for and flew away. Caldwell sideslipped his Tomahawk to extinguish the fire and prepared to bail out, but when he noticed that the fire had stopped, he attempted to limp home. But on his way back to base Caldwell spotted another pair of Bf109s, shot one down and hit the other. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and promoted to Flight Lieutenant. His flying career would continue throughout the war and his bravery never wavered.
His final score was 17 German, 3-1/2 Italian, and 8 Japanese aircraft shot down. He resigned from the RAAF in 1946 and became a successful businessman in Sydney. Clive Caldwell died on August 5th, 1994.