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Unusual Markings of the P-36A

The profile gave a great history of the aircraft covering its development and use by the Army Air Force in the 1930's and early 40's. I thought the paint schemes of that era were interesting and colorful so I built the standard Army version as depicted on the box cover art. This aircraft was also shown in the profile deployed with Army Air Force units.

As a side article to the profile, the magazine went on to document an unusual story about the markings used for this aircraft. According to the story, it seems "During a war exercise in 1939 at Ft. Bragg N.C., a squadron of Army P-36's was chosen for the aggressor force. To ensure their identification as aggressor aircraft, they were to be given unique markings. Not wishing to duplicate any other nations markings, the squadron commanders used the opportunity to choose their own markings, as long as they were different than standard service markings.

For some reason, lack of availability or time constrains, the paint for the markings was purchased locally from house painters. Assurances were made that the paint could be removed with water or solvents at a later date. With the confidence that the markings were only temporary, the ground crews went to work with a free hand."

The markings did turn out to be unique, as I'm sure you will agree. The planes wound up looking like a herd of pinto ponies. One that I thought was interesting I chose as my subject.

[click to enlarge images]

About the Author

About Chuck Shanley (CRS)

I've been building kits since about the mid 1950's. I've built all kinds of subjects, but for the past 20 years or so I've seemed to focus mainly on 1/72 Aircraft and Armor. Why 1/72, mainly for space conservation I build alot. I build primarily for my own enjoyment, and Armorama has helped to en...


Nice article. I have a 1/4 scale P-36 that I was going to do in Finnish marking (already have the decals!) but now I'll have to rethink that... or buy another kit.... hummmmmm.......
AUG 07, 2003 - 06:18 AM
JimF, Build it Man. I'd love to see the results in that scale. I only included the box art as a tease. Chuck
AUG 07, 2003 - 06:28 AM
Great article....Funny I was just re-reading an article on FLIGHT JOURNAL SUMMER 1996 on the Brewster Buffalo F2A and the different overseas Models....It talks about the Finnish Air Force and even has some photos taken from Squadron /Signal Publications: F2A Buffalo in Action #81. Hopes this helps anyone contemplating building Finnish aircraft. Semper Fi
AUG 26, 2003 - 04:33 AM
:-) Nice article, Chuck. I quite fancy a P-36in NMF, but the unusual colours make for an interesting model :-) What colours did you use? Mal
AUG 26, 2003 - 08:05 AM
is it true that there existed german "scavenged" (sorry, know no other word for it) p-39 ?
AUG 26, 2003 - 08:16 AM
MadMax - I do seem to remember seeing a photo of one. Many Allied aircraft were captured and test flown by the Luftwaffe. There is a book out there called "Allied Aircraft in (something don't remember what) Markings" that show P-47's, B-17's, P-38's and other all in Luftwaffe Markings. Check out this site, No P-39 on the list but many others LINK UPDATE go to LINK you'll find your P-39 there
AUG 26, 2003 - 08:38 AM
Hi MadMax I haven't got any reference to a captured P-39, but I'd be pretty sure the Luftwaffe managed to salvage one, because the USAAF and Soviets used them extensively... Whether, the German technicians made it flyable is another matter, but you can be sure Luftwaffe pilots were pretty clear about the capabilities of the aircraft they faced... All the best Rowan
AUG 26, 2003 - 08:42 AM