1/72 & 1/48 A.V.G. Tomahawks
2nd Squadron
Eagle Editions’ EC#31

By Chris Bucholtz

This is the middle edition of three sheets, each dedicated to one of the three squadrons of the American Volunteer Group, better known as “the Flying Tigers.” I picked up this sheet because it contains an aircraft flown by Bob Layher, whom I met this summer at the IPMS/USA National Convention and Contest.

The decals are based on the research for Tom Tullis’ superb book “Tigers Over China,” published not coincidentally by Eagle Editions. You won’t need the book to use the decals, but it is a worthwhile investment for anyone interested in the history of the A.V.G.

This sheet, like most EagleCals sheets, has four options. Option 1 is Peter Wright’s aircraft, and it’s the only one on the sheet to bear the famous Flying Tiger emblem. Option 2 is a plane flown by both Layher and John Petach, with a small bit of art of a character of some type riding a motorcycle on the starboard side. Option 3 is identified as being flown by “Swartz,” while option 4 was flown by Erik Schilling; both of these planes have no unique art outside of the call numbers on the sides of the aircraft. Option 4 is interesting in that it was converted into a photo-reconnaissance machine, with the machine guns deleted from the wings and a 10-inch opening for a camera port below the rear fuselage.

One outstanding trait of these sheets is that they recognize that every shark’s mouth design in the A.V.G was different and unique. Each option has its own unique set of choppers--some outlined in black, some in blue. With option 2, there’s some question about which color the plane had, so both blue and black are provided! The eyes are also unique, and the red parts of the design are separate to assure perfect registration once they’re on the model. Another neat touch is the inclusion of two different shades of Chinese cocades, in case you want to depict a weathered and faded Tomahawk.

The instructions call out DuPont equivalents of Dark Green and Dark Earth--71-065 and 71-013, respectively. However, there’s no equivalent of modern model paints also included, leaving the modeler to make some educated guesses. The undersides are called out as Aircraft Gray FS 16473, but since this is a glossy color, the modeler is again left to guess about what might be correct.

The only other downer is that, if you build 1/72, you’re out of luck as far as a P-40B/ Hawk 81-A2 is concerned. The instructions recommend either the Academy or Minicraft kits, but these are identical and are equally wretched as examples of this aircraft. Hopefully, some resin manufacturer or an Eastern European model company will come to our rescue soon. Until then, I’ll gaze longingly at these terrific decals, waiting for a chance to apply them to a worthwhile kit.

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