Corgi AA36109 USN Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina Flying Boat - Commander of Air Forces South Pacific, Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, 1942 (1:72 Scale)
"Why should we have a navy at all? There are no enemies for it to fight except apparently the Army Air Force."
- General Carl Spaatz, Commander of the US 8th Army Air Force, after WWII
The PBY Catalina was the US Navy designation for an American and Canadian-built flying boat of the 1930s and 1940s. PB stands for Patrol Bomber, with Y being Consolidated's manufacturer identification. It could be equipped with depth charges, bombs, torpedoes, and .50 caliber machine guns and was one of the most widely used multi-role aircraft of World War II. Catalinas served with every branch of the US military and in the air forces and navies of many other nations.
In World War II, PBYs were used as anti-submarine warfare aircraft, patrol bombers, convoy escorts, search and rescue aircraft, and transports. The Catalina can be considered the most successful aircraft of its kind, as no other flying boat was produced in greater numbers. The last active military Catalinas were not retired from service until the 1980s. Even today, over seventy years after its first flight, the aircraft continues to fly as an airtanker in aerial firefighting operations all over the world.
The Catalina was originally designed to be a patrol bomber, an aircraft with a long operational range intended to locate and attack enemy transport ships at sea in order to compromise enemy supply lines. With a mind to a potential conflict in the Pacific Ocean, where troops would require resupply over great distances, the US Navy in the 1930s invested millions of dollars in developing long-range flying boats for this purpose. Flying boats had the advantage of not requiring runways to take off and land, in effect having the entire ocean available as its runway. Several different flying boats were adopted by the Navy, but the PBY Catalina was the most widely used and produced.
Although slow and ungainly, Catalinas distinguished themselves in World War II as exceptionally reliable aircraft. Allied armed forces used them successfully in a wide variety of roles that the aircraft was never intended for. They are remembered most by veterans of the war for their role as rescuing aircraft, where they saved the lives of thousands of aircrewmen shot down over the Pacific Ocean.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USN Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina Flying Boat that was assigned to the Commander of Air Forces South Pacific, then deployed to Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, during 1942. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 17.25 inches
Length: 10.75 inches
Release Date: September 2009
Historical Account: "Cactus Air Force" - The Cactus Air Force refers to the ensemble allied air power assigned to the island of Guadalcanal from August 1942 until December 1942 during the early stages of the Guadalcanal Campaign, particularly those operating from Henderson Field. After December, the official name of the unit became Allied Air Forces in the Solomons, but Cactus Air Force was still used frequently to refer to the organization. The term "Cactus" comes from the Allied code name for the island. In April 1943, the organization was re designated as AirSols.