1/32 Trumpeter P-47C-2 Thunderbolt
Trumpeter’s P-47D razorback modified to a P-47C-2 (mostly involved getting the lower two cowling flaps removed and replaced as cowling), done as my friend Steve Pisanos’ airplane circa late July/early August 1943. (Thanks to Mike Grant for doing the 1/32 decals) I had the problem that the kit has the deepened keel that came with the plumbing for drop tanks, though they didn’t appear at the earliest until early August and I wanted to do the earlier insignia. Then Steve told me that the 4th FG was slow in changing the national insignia to the white bar/red surround style officially adopted July 1 ’43. So here it is with the early-style insignia and the later drop tank. I have a photo of Steve sitting on a motorcycle in front of the airplane and you can see this insignia and a drop tank, so it works historically.
Walter Cronkite, who covered 8th AF for UPI during World War II once said “of all the people I met during the Second World War, the most outstanding was Steve Pisanos.” It’s not hard to see why: he arrived in 1940 as an “illegal immigrant” who didn’t speak English, taught himself the language reading newspapers with a Greek-English dictionary, learned to fly, went to Canada and joined the RAF, became a member of 71 Eagle Squadron. When the Eagles became the 4th FG, his immigration status was discovered, and he ended up being the first immigrant to take advantage of the new law that an immigrant who joined the US forces could get immediate citizenship. Became an ace, got shot down, fought with the French Resistance for six months, participated in the liberation of Paris. I could go on, but you won’t be disappointed if you buy his autobiography, “The Flying Greek.” He was the last ace of the 4th Fighter Group left, still sharper than a tack, and one of the best people you could ever meet. Sadly he “flew west” in May 2016 after a life very well lived. As he said “My life is the American Dream,” and so it was.
13 additional images. Click to enlarge.