Bell P-39 Airacobra Color Photographs Part III

One of the thirteen YP-39 Airacobras in flight, probably in the Fall of 1940. The YP-39s were initially unarmed and lacked the various scoops which would appear on later variants, which resulted in a very clean look. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
Another view of a highly-polished YP-39 which would make for an attractive model if you could pull off the mirror-like finish. This photo also provides a good view of the Curtiss Electric propeller. An unusual detail is the lack of yellow warning tips on the propeller blades, but this appears to be the case with many Airacobra photos. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
With war looming U.S. aircraft production swelled in 1941. This is the apron outside Bell’s factory at Buffalo, New York, where final assembly of a large number of Airacobras is being completed in the open.
Many Airacobras never left the States, but served as advanced trainers as squadrons worked up for deployment. This P-39 displays large “buzz numbers” on the nose which made the aircraft easy to identify if the pilot was performing unauthorized maneuvers.
This is a P-39 from the 354th Fighter Group while the unit was working up at Portland, Oregon during the Summer of 1943.
The Royal Air Force received approximately 200 Airacobras from and order of 676 before they cancelled the order. Only 601 Squadron flew the P-39 operationally with the RAF, and only on a single combat mission over the continent. Here RAF armorers make a great show of loading ammo bins for the camera.
A beautiful photograph of a P-39K during the Summer of 1942 showing the centerline drop tank installation to good advantage.
Access to the aircraft was through a “car door” on each side of the cockpit which could be jettisoned in case of emergency. This photograph provides several useful details for modelers of the aircraft and pilot’s flight gear. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
This is the unrestored interior of the P-39 in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum. This is a spectacular example of original colors and markings, as well as the wear patterns the aircraft would display while in service. (NASM)
In 2004 P-39Q serial number 44-2911 was found in Lake Mart-Yavr, above the Arctic Circle in Siberia. The Airacobra had suffered an engine failure and crashed into the lake on 19NOV44. The remains of pilot Lt. Ivan Baranovsky were still inside. The aircraft is currently on display at the Niagara Museum of Flight, near where it was built.

Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/06/23/bell-p-39-airacobra-color-photographs-part-i/

Eduard Lavochkin La-7 of Captain Aleksei Alelyukhin HSU in 1/72 Scale

Aleksei Alelyukhin was credited with 40 individual and 17 shared victories and was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union twice.  He was flying I-16s with the 69th Fighter Regiment when the Germans launched operation Barbarossa.  He scored steadily throughout the war, although he was wounded three times and forced to bail out once.  He survived the war and served until 1985, retiring as a Major General.

This is the La-7 of Captain Aleksei Alelyukhin HSU x 2, 9 GIAP, East Prussia, December 1944. 

ICM Polikarpov I-153 of Captain Konstantin Soloviyev HSU in 1/72 Scale

I-153 of Captain Konstantin Soloviyev HSU, 71st IAP, Soviet Navy Baltic Fleet Aviation, Lavansaari, Summer 1942.  Soloviyev was credited with 4 individual and 8 shared victories.  Photographs of other 71st IAP I-153s show that the front baffle plating was removed from some aircraft, exposing the engine, while on others it was not.  It is not clear if the plating was removed from White 24 so I modeled it in place.

ICM Polikarpov I-16 of Boris Safonov HSU in 1/72 Scale

I-16 Type 24 of Boris Safonov, twice HSU, CO of the 4th Squadron, 72nd Mixed Aviation Regiment, Soviet Navy Northern Fleet, Vaenga USSR, August 1941.  Safonov was credited with 20 individual and 6 shared victories.  While it is likely Safonov flew this aircraft, it was not assigned exclusively to him.  The slogans are “For Stalin!” on the port side and “Death to Fascists!” to starboard.

Eduard Lavochkin La-7 of Major Ivan Kozhedub HSU in 1/72 Scale

Ivan Kozhedub was born in Obrazhievka, Ukraine in 1920.  At the time of the German invasion he was serving as a flight instructor.  He achieved his first aerial victory in July 1943, a Ju 87.  The Stuka was a favorite target for Kozhedub, he eventually downed 18 of the type.  He was also the first Soviet pilot credited with downing an Me 262.  He claimed to have downed two American P-51s in a friendly fire incident, although this is unconfirmed.  He retired in 1985 with the rank of Marshal of Aviation.

Kozhedub was the top scoring Soviet and Allied fighter pilot of WWII with 64 victories. The model represents the La-7 of Major Ivan Kozhedub HSU x 3, 176 GIAP, Germany, May 1945.

ICM Polikarpov I-16 of Col. Ivan Romanenko HSU in 1/72 Scale

I-16 Type 18 of Col. Ivan Romanenko HSU, CO of the 61st Fighter Brigade, Soviet Navy Baltic Fleet Aviation, September 1941.  Romanenko was credited with 28 individual and 1 shared victory.  Romanenko survived the war and retired as a Lieutenant General.

This is a photo of Colonel Ivan Romanenko HSU in front of his rather uniquely camouflaged I-16. The colors used here are debated, I’m seeing five shades. Comparing the darkest color to the wheels, I went with a dark green rather than black.