1/72 Curtiss P-52 Super Tomahawk

by Brian da Basher


Silly Week 2008


In early 1944, disaster struck the U.S. Army Air Force when, inexplicably, their new P-51 fighters began falling out of the sky and crashing in great numbers.

It was later discovered that the entire North American P-51 program had been sabotaged by one very deeply placed Nazi agent, a Mr. Bimmler, who was eventually captured and executed along with his handler, a slimy little man known as Mr. Hilter.

In a blind panic, The U.S. Army Air Force solicited designs for a long-range, high altitude fighter. Fortunately, the Curtiss Aero Co. arose to meet the challenge and tweaked their XP-46 proposal by adding an amazing new engine of hitherto unachievable power: the high-compression, turbo-supercharged Allison V-2000 30 cylinder inline. The enormous power plant necessitated moving the cockpit far aft, but this was seen as a small compromise given the incredible performance the nimble fighter showed in trials. The new prototype fighter was able to attain a top speed of 492 m.ph. in level flight and had a top ceiling of 50,000 ft. When fitted with drop-tanks, it had a range of 2,500 miles. The fighter was christened the P-52 Super Tomahawk and was very heavily armed with four 20 m.m. cannons in the wings. It was immediately ordered into mass-production and began equipping U.S.A.A.F. units in February, 1945.

The P-52 Super Tomahawk (or "Super Tom" as it was called by its pilots and crews) helped the Allies gain the upper hand against the Luftwaffe in Europe and gained notoriety as "little friends" escorting B-17 and B-24 bomber streams over Germany where it inflicted staggering losses on Reich defense squadrons. No less than Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering cited the P-52 as key to the Allied victory in comments he made after signing the Nazi surrender at Wiesbaden in July, 1946. "I knew the war was lost when I saw Super Toms over Berlin", he was quoted as saying. The example shown here, "Four Queens" of the 412th Fighter Squadron, 8th Air Force, was eventually credited with 35 enemy aircraft destroyed and is currently on display at the Udvar-Hazy museum next to the "History of Aircraft Spark Plugs" exhibit.


Click on images below to see larger images


Photos and text by Brian da Basher