P-40E For My Daughters
by Dan Collier

I'm amazed that so many people share the same love for the P-40 that I do. Because you are also including P-40 scale models in your website, I thought you'd like to see a unique one that I built for my young daughters, Arlene and Shannon, as a backyard toy in 1968. I was a sheet metal apprectice at the time..

I started the project by purchasing a Guillows model rubber band-powered P-40, then scaled the plans up to make this model just over 15 feet long. It has a wingspan slightly over 17 feet. This little plane sat in the back yard under a tree for a few years and was very popular with my daughters and their friends.

The brainwork had already been done by the Guillows company. By comparison, it was easy to blow up their plans. Attached are additional photos of my daughters' P-40 with them in the cockpit.. Arlene is now 41 years old, and Shannon just turned 40.

I eventually refurbished it, took it to a couple local airshows.

I met Boyington at the Watsonville Fly-in in California, and saw him there a couple different years, and bought his book directly from him, and so he autographed it for me. I did spray clear laquer over Boyington's signature, but sorry to say, when I recently climbed a ladder to see if his signature was at all visible, it had faded away completely. This is why I'm especially glad that my daughter, Arlene got Boyington's photo just after he signed the plane. I missed seeing him sign the plane, having wandered off to look at the planes at the airshow, and when I came back to the little P-40, it had Boyington's name written on it.. Later, he came back by and posed for photos of himself with my daughters, and then one with me.. I have a photo of him posing with my daughters. I'd have to dig it out, if you care to see.. It's in my box of photos.. Somewhere..

Mike Kawato was also at that fly-in, and he's the fellow who took credit for shooting Boyington down. Boyington says he's a liar, and he showed me a letter from a Japanese historian who says Kawato was not even in the air when Boyington was shot down.. But I had Kawato autograph the other side of my daughter's plane anyway.

I eventually hung it from my hangar ceiling, and this is where it hangs today. I never get tired of looking at it. Pappy Boyington autographed it in the 1970's in chalk, but today it has all but faded away.

Since hanging that model from the hangar ceiling, I've told Arlene if she ever wants her plane, she has to get it down by herself! Needless to say, it's still hanging!

Here's a photo shows what's left of Pappy Boyington's signature. Look just under the ring sight and you'll see a P and an a. You can barely make it out. When Mr. Boyington autographed the plane in the1970's, I bought a cheap can of clear laquer spray paint from the hobby shop and sprayed over the chalk a few times, maybe I shoulda used varnish.. Oh well. I didn't even look for Kawato's signature on the other side of the plane, because I'm sure that's gone as well.

In the near future I'm going to make another scaled up P-40 metal sculpture and offer to my private airport as a plane-on-a-pole gate guard.. This time it'll be stainless steel frame only.. (A P-40 skeleton) Looking forward to that one.

© Dan Collier 2009