1/48 Grumman P-65 Thundercat

Gallery Article by Alvis 3.1

Silly Week 2009


Faced with a severe shortage of fighter aircraft in 1942, the USAAF was dragged kicking and screaming into purchasing naval fighters. The Grumman F6F series was selected as a major type to be introduced, sharing the same basic engine type with the Republic P-47. Designated P-65, it was dubbed "ThunderCat" almost immediately, a combination of the cat names Grumman planes had adopted and the Thunderbolt name from the P-47. Serving primarily in the Mediterranean and European theatres of operation, it was also supplied as a lend-lease aircraft to the USSR and served with the RAF in Burma. It was often based alongside P-47 squadrons in Britain. Here we see "Eileen" from the 82nd Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group based at Duxford in 1944.

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You know, sometimes things just pop out of nowhere in my head, and this is one of those occasions. It started with me wondering why the USN was slow to adopt the bubble canopy in WWII (Bearcats and Skyraiders were the first operational planes to sport them, too late to see combat) and next thing I knew, I was doing up a Hellcat in P-47 markings. I used the Otaki/Airfix Hellcat, with the bubble canopy, 4 bladed prop, and various goodies from the Academy P-47 kit (Which also supplied the decals) Yes, I know the "real" Eileen was painted in RAF Dark Green, but I wanted this plane to look as much like a P-47 as possible, so I figured it was painted OD over grey at Grumman. It confused some customers at my local hobby shop, who were sure they knew every plane flown by the USAAF in WWII.....

Alvis 3.1

Photos and text by Alvis 3.1