Surprising USAAF P-40E In Australia

Surprising USAAF P-40E In Australia

P-40 Eisenberg

Every once in a while something really cool happens. Several years ago, a fellow modeler named Mike Schine appeared at Meteor and told me an interesting and surprising story.

I had just released PYN-up Decals set PYND48023, PYN-up Decals P-40 Curtiss Cuties #1, thinking the 79th Fighter Group P-40F with the great tail art was the "primary" subject of this set. Mike set me straight!

P-40E EisenbergIt turns out his uncle was Lt Monroe (Monty) Eisenberg, the pilot of "Dollye." Although Monty passed away some time ago, Mike’s aunt Dollye is still alive even today, and it’s fair to say Mike was quite excited that we’d featured his relative’s plane in this decal set. I scanned a couple of the small photos of this plane and printed them out in 8" x 10" format for Mike’s collection (you can see them in the background of his photos here).


P-40 EisenbergMike’s now finished his model–great job, Mike! To cap off the historical value of his model, he put a lock of his Aunt Dollye’s hair inside the fuselage (her hair is much too short and fine–69 years after her husband flew this plane–for Mike to have used it for the HF aerial, which was his original hope). Clever!

 

P-40 Eisenberg

FYI, here is the plane’s info: The American P-40E from the 8 FS/49 FG flown by Lt Monty Eisenberg, Strauss Field, Darwin, Australia, June 1942, defending Darwin alongside Aussie-flown P-40s such as Cresswell’s famous four-flag ship depicted in our PYN-up Decals set PYND48025. This plane, #44 and named "Dollye" after his wife, sported a standing nude between the canopy quarter panel on the left side and the fuselage star. This is one of the more unusual nudes, with one hand on the canopy quarter panel and the other on the fuselage star.

asdfFor unknown reasons, Eisenberg’s "Dollye" has often been portrayed in profile paintings with the large white "Pegasus" marking that was actually applied to a completely different ship in the same unit. There are plenty of good photos showing the Pegasus on the other plane, and three good photos of Dollye with the female artwork on the mid fuselage. The Pegasus marking was never applied to this ship. Note the yellow aircraft number (often incorrectly portrayed as white) was painted on the fin on top of darker olive drab paint used to obliterate the serial number originally painted there. In all, an unusual and interesting combat ship from a little-publicized theatre.

The other The P-40F from the 85 FS/79 FG coded X2*8 carried a remarkably well-executed "shaded" painting of a nude woman on the left side of the rudder while in Tunisia in late 1942. Because of the angle of the only known photo of the full plane, it’s unclear whether the individual aircraft number was 8 or 9; of course we provide both in our decal set. Additionally, in some cases in the 85th the "X" was differently sized on the left and right sides, so we again provide you with both versions. In addition, the squadron insignia was hand painted on most aircraft and significant variations in the depiction are documented, including both white or yellow wings. Since yellow is more colorful and the photo does not provide such color detail, we’ve provided the yellow-wing version. Censors were active during the Second World War (in spite of what you see painted on this ship), and the 79th nude tail art figures were eventually given clothes to cover the naughty bits. Luckily for us she’s nude in our photo and that’s the decal you get!

(If you’re interested, you can order this decal set here Add to Goodie Bag

 

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