The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk is an American single-engined, single-seat all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft that first flew in 1938. It was produced between 1939 and 1944, during which time over 13,700 were produced. The P40-E was an upgrade on previous models and had maximum speed of 360 mph, range of 650 miles and was armed with 6 x .50 M2 Browning machine guns with 235 rounds per gun in the wings and 250 to 1000 lb bombs to a total of 2,000 lbs on three points – one under the fuselage and two underwing.
Oxford example is one of the P40-E aircraft that formed part of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), known as the Flying Tigers, a unit of the Chinese Air Force, recruited from US aviators. The Flying Tigers were divided into three pursuit squadrons, the Adam and Eve; Panda Bears; and Hells Angels. Robert Neale was the top flying ace with the AVG, amassing 13 victories. He took over 1st Squadron pursuit squadron Adam and Eve, after its previous commander was killed. He was awarded the British DSC for his exploits in the defence of Burma. Our model celebrates his command in which he helped keep the Japanese from entering China from Burma and threatening Kunming.
Decorated in the US wartime dark green/brown camouflage colour scheme with pale grey under body and a white rear fuselage band, our aircraft carries the US Star insignia on the upper and underwings and its military identity number 7 on the fuselage and P-8194 on the rudder. The detail is all in the magnificent nose art which features the menacing shark teeth favoured by US wartime fighter aircraft, while further along the fuselage appear the Flying Tigers graphics and the badge of the 1st Pursuit Squadron – Adam and Even in the centre of a green apple around which is coiled a black serpent. As with all Oxford’s wartime aircraft, this 1:72 scale model reveals a fascinating story. Cdr Robert Neale survived the war, living until 1994.