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33820 Corgi   P-47D Thunderbolt - 4th FG, Donnie Boy, Don Gentile £ 74.99
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  Corgi Flying Mule Collection US33820: Republic P-47D Thunderbolt of 4th FG, 336th FS, Donnie Boy, Don Gentile, RAF Debden, England, 1944. Special exclusive limited edition of only 750 pieces. Intended mainly for US only issue. Hard to find.

Dominic Gentile began his fighter pilot career in the RAF, where he was a member of the No. 133 Eagle Squadron, an elite flying force consisting entirely of American born pilots. It was in the cockpit of a Supermarine Spitfire that Gentile made his first mark as a great pilot, earning the British Distinguished Flying Cross after shooting down two German aircraft within 10 minutes of each other.

The following month, Gentile and his fellow Eagle Squadron pilots were transitioned from RAF duty to the US Air Force 336th Fighter Squadron, Fourth Fighter Group, a unit that went on to become one of the most successful air combat units of WWII. The 336th continued to fly Spitfires (Gentile's USAAF Spitfire is also available as a Flying Mule edition) until the P-47 Thunderbolt came on the scene in 1943. Used to the lighter, more maneuverable Spitfire, Gentile was not pleased with his new plane, but he christened it "Donnie Boy" and went on to score 4.33 victories in its cockpit, two of which occurred during a famous low-altitude dogfight in which he out-maneuvered an Fw-190. During that battle, Gentile shot down two Fw-190s but ran out of ammunition and was forced to out-fly a pursuing Fw-190 until it, too exhausted its ammunition. The incident was a remarkable example of Gentile's skill in the cockpit-not many pilots could fly a tight-turning dogfight in a P-47 against a pursuing Fw-190 and come away the winner.

While serving in the 336th, Gentile and fellow ace Duane Beeson began a friendly rivalry nicknamed "The Ace Race" (Beeson's P-47 is also available from Corgi). Both men were so dedicated to their goal of scoring the highest number of German kills that they exchanged leave time for the opportunity to fly. The record was ultimately captured by Gentile when he broke Rickenbacker's record of 26 kills on April 5, 1944, at the age of 23.

Designed by Alexander Kartveli meeting a USAAC requirement for a heavy fighter, the P-47 was first flown on May 6th, 1941. Later models featured a "bubble-top" canopy rather than the sharply peaked "razorback" fuselage which resulted in poor visibility for the aircraft's pilot. The P-47, a deadly pursuit aircraft, featured 8 x 12.7mm machine guns; all mounted in the wings. Even with the complicated turbosupercharger system, the sturdy airframe and tough radial engine, the P-47 ("Jug" or "Juggernaut" as it was nicknamed) could absorb damage and still return home. Built in greater quantities than any other US fighter, the P-47 was the heaviest single-engine WWII fighter and the first piston-powered fighter to exceed 500 mph.
Picture of model:-

Corgi aviation archive general information

(note not all this information will apply to the above model)

The Corgi Aviation Archive features a vast selection of diecast model airplanes in 1:144, 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 scales and has become the standard by which all other ranges are judged. Each Corgi model is based on a specific aircraft from an important historical or modern era of flight, and has been authentically detailed from original documents and archival material. Subject aircraft in the Aviation Archive appeal to all aviation enthusiasts and every diecast model airplane includes such features as:

  • Realistic panel lines, antennas, access panels and surface details.
  • Pad printed markings and placards that won't fade or peel like decals.
  • Interchangeable landing gear with rotating wheels.
  • Poseable presention stand to display the aircraft "in flight".
  • Many limited editions with numbered certificate of authenticity.
  • Detailed pilots and crew members (1:72/1:32).
  • Authentic detachable ordnance loads complete with placards (1:72/1:32).
  • Selected interchangeable features such as airbrakes, opened canopies and access panels (1:72/1:32).
  • Selected moving parts such as gun turrets, control surfaces and swing-wings (1:72/1:32).
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