Air Force Colors (3) Pacifc and Home front 1942-47

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Official U. Thus, commanders in the Pacific took anything they could, regardless of suitability.

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The Commander of the Fifth Air Force located in the South Pacific , General Kenney, was well-known for his willingness to improvise and do the best possible with whatever he could get his hands on. Kenney's improvisational skills filtered down through the ranks, and in Brisbane, Australia USAAF repair squadrons developed their own belly tank capable of carrying extra gallons of fuel.

As a note here - this tank is decidedly different than the tanks carried in Europe, and Hasegawa only provides the European 'standard' tank in it's kits. So this is unusable for most Pacific-flown Ps. How could this beast possibly compete with the aerobatic nimbleness of the Japanese aircraft it was supposed to be fighting? Many within the USAAF thought a better solution lay in the P - this aircraft not only had some performance advantages over Japanese aircraft, but it had two engines and a greater range.

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These two factors alone made it a better candidate for the vast stretches of the Pacific, at least according to many in the Fifth Air Force. Kearby was a proponent of the P from the outset, convinced it's heavy armament 8. There are unconfirmed stories that Kearby squared off against legendary P ace Richard Bong in a mock dogfight to prove the worth of the P If the stories are to be believed, the 'battle' ended in a draw.

If nothing else, that story showed others that the P was at least the P's equal. Kearby devised tactics that would take advantage of the P's strengths.

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The high speed would then give the P a chance to regain altitude after the attack. This technique seemed sound, but because the Ps rate of climb unlike it's ability to dive was so slow, the th Group was confined to operate in the Port Moresby area, where they were assured at least an hour's notice of any impending Japanese air activity. In the first few combat engagements, P pilots attempted to dogfight with the enemy, and predictably losses were high for the Americans.

This reinforced views of the superiority of the P or rather the inferiority of the P , but Kearby insisted it was a matter of proper training and discipline to wring out the better characteristics of the P He continued on p. Neel Kearby won the Medal of Honor for his actions in a battle that took place over Wewak on October 11th, Kearby took a patrol of four aircraft up, hoping to draw out some Japanese aircraft and prove his slash and burn tactic once and for all.

Kearby himself scored 6 victories, not only making him an ace, but setting the record for the most victories by one pilot on a single mission in the Pacific up to that date. Kearby had a self-imposed goal of 50 victories before stopping flying, but General Kenney thought him too valuable to leave in combat for that length of time.

He want Kearby training and selling War Bonds. Despite this, Kearby wanted to stay in the action and continued to fly and chalk up more victories. Both Kearby and Bong had achieved 21 victories by the beginning of He planned a mission the very next day designed to add to his tally. Taking a flight of 3 Ps once again over the Wewak area, Kearby spotted a flight of Japanese bombers. The group attacked, and after the first pass, Kearby violated his own cardinal rules by circling around to see the results of his work.

Kearby always stressed never losing speed or altitude while in combat, yet entering into a circling turn he did just that.


He succeeded in shooting down a bomber on this second go around, but lost all speed in doing so, and was pounced upon by a lone Ki43 from above. No speed meant no maneuverability. His fellow pilots quickly caught up to the Ki43 and shot it down, but not before the Japanese aircraft had shot up Kearby's P His aircraft disappeared from the sight of the other two pilots. Kearby was carried as MIA until It was later determined that Kearby did in fact bail out of his stricken aircraft, but died of wounds from the attack immediately thereafter.

The bomber shot down became his 22nd, and final, victory. As usual, things didn't quite work out that way. Here the fault is all mine, not Hasegawa's. I had been working on several projects at the time, including applying brute force to Hobbycraft's Ar Well, Hasegawa announced their impending Ar issue, and I decided that was a sign.

So out came the P for an 'easy' build. I wanted to build it as Neel Kearby's aircraft, and with that being one of the kit decal options I thought things would be even easier. I dug out the references, and of course immediately ran into a few snags. The markings on Kearby's aircraft evolved over time, and I found various discrepancies in each of my references.

I ran out and bought 'Kearby's Thunderbolt's,' published by Schiffer, thinking surely my answer will be in here. A few posts on the Hyperscale board resulted in the friendly help of Ed Dixon - he sent me copies of an article in FSM specifically discussing Kearby's markings. Unfortunately, once again, contradictions popped up -- even with another work by the same author Osprey's Aces book!! I relied on most of the article in FSM to arrive at these markings, with one major exception.

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All the profiles of Fiery Ginger I have seen depict the entire tail surfaces in white, with a swept-forward demarcation line. I wanted to show some victory markings on my aircraft. Hasegawa's sheet has no bars, fewer flags, and a blue but different stencil style number. The FSM article suggests the tail number was black, and in most of the photos there seems to be enough contrast between the numbers and the blue fin tip to suggest that is true.

So issue number one was solved in my mind - black numbers. This article also has the name in black and white, and I would agree with this assessment. I'm no photo interpretation expert, but this seems right to me. Issue two solved at least in my mind. By this time the bar had been on the insignia officially for several months. So Aeromaster's combination of insignia and victories was correct, or at least plausible. Hasegawa's might have been correct as well, but I tend to think the bar was already added to the national markings by the time any victory markings were applied Kearby's first victory was Sep. Most of this issue was therefore solved. The white on the vertical tail surfaces clearly ends at the fuselage join. In other words, there is olive drab on the fuselage area between the vertical and horizontal tail surfaces. No other photos show this that I have found. Unfortunately the one photo of Kearby's with the white on the fuselage ending at the stabilizer's leading edge does not show the topsides of the horizontal stabs.

Using a little deductive reasoning, one could argue that Kearby's Thunderbolt was similarly repainted. Overspray was by far more common i. Issue three now solved in my mind. Back to the build. The kit itself has been written up more than once on various modeling sites including this one.

It has a great fit with one exception, and pretty much falls together. The one exception to it's great fit is the wing trailing edge join with the fuselage. Either I consistently have some major problem in this area, or every Hasegawa kit I build has this 'feature. Pretty much the only place I used any filler. I cringed at having to obliterate it, but had no choice. The item may be a factory second or a new, unused item with defects or irregularities.

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About this product. Stock photo. New other : lowest price The lowest-priced item in unused and unworn condition with absolutely no signs of wear. There is minor scuffing on the cover edges. The inside looks unread. See all pics. See details. Buy It Now. Add to cart.