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Grumman P-74D Bobcat

Started by comrade harps, July 03, 2009, 06:53:37 PM

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comrade harps

Grumman P-74D Bobcat
Escuadrón 102, Mexican Air Force
Ellmore Field, Mindoro, The Philippines, 21 June, 1945
Personal aircraft of Captain Antonio Andrade

Aircraft history
When the British Purchasing Commission was seeking additional manufacturers to build the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk for the RAF, both Grumman and North American made alternative proposals. While North American designed the NA-73, which went on to become the P-51 Mustang, Grumman suggested licensed manufacture of the Supermarine Spitfire, alligning itself with the Packard company to produce the Rolls Royce Merlin engine. Both offers were accepted. When the Lend Lease program was initiated in 1941, the USAAF cancelled the twin engined Grumman XP-50 and, in a bureaucratic slight of hand, ordered the Spitfire as the P-50. Grumman wen on to produce 13,568 Spitfires, some as P-50s to British specifications and others as P-73s to USAAF standards. To Grumman personell, both types were known as Spitcats.

When the P-73 was ordered, Grumman proposed an advanced development with laminar flow wings and a packard built Griffon engine. This was accepted and two prototypes were ordered as the XP-74. Running well ahead of Supermarine's similar Spiteful design, the first XP-74 was flown in July 1942 and the first P-74A Bobcats saw action in Europe in January 1944. 7,591 Bobcats were produced before production was cancelled on VJ Day, August 1945, with 2,573 being sent on Lend Lease terms to the Socialist Union, 100 to the Free French, 100 to Mexico and 45 to Venezeula during the war. Both the P-74A and C were mass produced day fighter-bombers, while the P-74B (with APS-4 ASH radar) and P-74D (with APS-6 radar) were night fighters. Both the C and D models were refinements of the A and B respectively, with more powerful engines, a small fin fillet, more internal and external fuel (including a Hellcat-style central dop tank) and four 20mm cannon replacing the original six .50 MGs. Although only 258 B and D night fighters were built, they met an urgent USAAF interim requirement for more night fighters when the P-61 program was running into dificultines. Just two XP-74Es with a P-51 style ventral cooling system, taller fin, larger fin fillet plus contra-rotating props were built.

The Bobcat is seen by many as a cross between and Spitfire and a Mustang.

Mexican P-74Ds against the Japanese

Escuadrón 102 of the Mexican Air Force began operations from Ellmore Field on the Phillipino nisland of Mindoro in mid February, 1945. Flying P-74D night fighters, they initially flew in direct support of US operations in the Phillipines, but from April undertook other operations. When A Royal Navy task force was suffering from sustained air attacks off the coast of Formosa, Escuadrón 102 was ordered to provide long range nocturnal air defence. The mission subsequently evolved into an operation against Japanese conventional and kamikaze sorties from Formosa against the American invasion of Okinawa. From April through to late June, the pilots of Escuadrón 102 accounted for over 50 Japanese aircraft. The unit's top scorer was Captain Antonio Andrade, who claimed 12 Japanese planes, including 3 Bettys on the night of 21/22 June.

In mid-July, Escuadrón 102 moved to Okinawa, where they flew a mix of air defence and escort missions. It was on one of the latter that Captain Andrade scored his last kill, claiming a Yokosuka P1Y2-S Frances night fighter over Honshu on 4 August.


Ed S

Great concept.  I like the Mustang-Spitfire hybrid idea.

We don't just embrace insanity here.  We feel it up, french kiss it and then buy it a drink.


Great model! Also love the backstory and colour scheme!  :thumbsup:


[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]

Captain Canada

Gorgeous ! Love the colour scheme...and the pic of all three birds is a great study.

Cheers !
CANADA KICKS arse !!!!

Long Live the Commonwealth !!!
Vive les Canadiens !
Where's my beer ?

comrade harps

For those who haven't guessed, the kit is the 1/72nd AZ Models Spiteful, plus some mods, eg, radar pod and 20mm canon from an F4U, horizontal tails from a BAC Strikemaster, P-51 seat, DF loop, underwing racks and drop tanks and a Hellcat centreline drop tank. The fin fillet was scratchbuilt.

Thanks for the kind words.


I have to say that it took a couple of veiws of this thread before I realised the mods, beyond the different scheme, you had made!

Before I skimmed and though nice and moved on.

I looked a little closer this time and realised there was "more than meets the eye".

Congratulations!!!!!!! :cheers: :party:

You have also taught me to not skim the forums because I might over look something. :banghead:
Get this Cheese to sick bay!


Quote from: comrade harps on July 04, 2009, 04:42:29 PM
For those who haven't guessed, the kit is the 1/72nd AZ Models Spiteful, plus some mods, eg, radar pod and 20mm canon from an F4U, horizontal tails from a BAC Strikemaster, P-51 seat, DF loop, underwing racks and drop tanks and a Hellcat centreline drop tank. The fin fillet was scratchbuilt
I hadn't guessed even if I had tried hard to guess :huh: . I almost hesitated to ask, but I did respect the possible secret, and disliking to say something as "rather than an imagination story, I would have preferred to know which kits you used". Now this is fully perfect: we have both a story and a bonus as "how I did it". Double thanks! ;D
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]


Jolly nice build! :thumbsup: Cool backstory, too!

Must, then, my projects bend to the iron yoke of a mechanical system? Is my soaring spirit to be chained down to the snail's pace of matter?