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Bob Dudolevitch
16 articles

Hawk 81C, No 77, AVG 3rd Pursuit Squadron, Rangoon, Burma

January 21, 2021 · in Aviation · · 16 ≡

I finally got around to completing a Hawk 81 (P-40C) of the Flying Tigers, because everybody needs one in their collection. This model is from the Hobbycraft HC 1451 "" Tiger Shark kit which has accuracy issues with the wing-to-fuselage attachment as detailed in this Hyperscale article:

(ref:, by Jose Rodriguez).

I did not do as much surgery as that author but I did cut the wing roots off the fuselage halves, and then attached the forward wing section about 2-3 mm lower at the front, to fix the wing angle of attack problem; and then filled the gaps with epoxy and sanded.

My kit used kit decals to depict aircraft No 77, Ser P-8173 of Robert T Smith, as it would have appeared at Mingaladon Field, Rangoon, Burma in December of 1941. At that time, there would have been no kill markings, and no "" decal below the cockpit (that decal/sticker was made by Walt Disney and arrived in China around March of 1942). Since this Hawk 81 would have been relatively new (then), I get away with no weathering, which is good because I'm not that good at it. I also used the darker blue Nationalist Chinese 12-point star decal to reflect the non-weathered look. Colors are standard RAF temperate scheme, dark green, dark earth, sky (greyish green).

The debates and research on actual AVG camo schemes are numerous and worth your time if you are interested. I found this research by Rato Marczak useful and interesting.

Appreciation to Mssrs Rodriguez and Marczak for their fine articles and advice on AVG P-40s.

Reader reactions:
11  Awesome

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

16 responses

  1. Nice solid build! Well done.

  2. Love your build, Bob!

  3. Great looking Hawk, Bob.
    Those sharkmouth P40's are so impressive.

  4. Nicely done! Great looking scheme.

  5. Good looking model of an iconic bird. Like the jeep shot, need a better look at the Buffalo in the background.

    • Thanks, Bill. The Buffalo would be a RAF 67 Squadron (letter code "RD") Brewster B-339E . As important as Burma was in 1941, there were only 2 fighter squadrons available to protect the one remaining gateway to China; one RAF and one AVG.

      Per Wikipedia:

      Burma No. 67 Squadron RAF was equipped with thirty Buffalos when the Japanese invaded Burma. They were joined by Curtiss P-40 fighters of the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers). AVG crews were initially impressed with the Buffalo, some even urging General Claire Chennault to trade a squadron of P-40s for Buffalos.[59]

      Example of a 67 Squadron Buffalo provided, courtesy of Gaeten Marie Aviation Profiles.

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  6. Great plane and markings. The AVG was an epic ring of flyers and the P40 one of my favorite planes from WWII. Liked!

    • Thanks for the kind remarks, Michel.

      The AVG was an amazing group of adventure seekers. In reading about them, I was surprised at the number of Navy pilots that joined them (about 2/3s) from NAS Norfolk and NAS Pensacola, including a number of dive bomber pilots.

  7. Nicely done Bob, and who doesn't like building P-40's. Tough old bird that was used by just about every Allied country during WWII. Well done.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Tom. I am a P-40 fanatic. It is a truly under-rated aircraft that was in service from day 1 of the US entry and was still in service at the end of the war. And since it flew for so many countries we never run out of decal options.

  8. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    Nice clean and crisp work Bob.

  9. Bob, nice build. I have read other build this kit and all have enjoyed it very much. I currently have two in my stash and one from the Airfix kit. I know the Airfix is the better of the two but knowing me, I’ll most likely lean towards the Hobbycraft kit. Everyone I have seen looks nice to me, yours included. The link on the colors will be very useful, thank you.

  10. Thanks, Bob. I do same thing, and usually build the worst version of a kit in my collection first. Good luck with both!

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