Did you know that the P-40′s seen in the 1942 Republic Picture Corporation film “Flying Tigers” weren’t real warbirds? In fact they weren’t even real airplanes just full sized movie mock-ups which did no more than taxi (some reportedly as fast as 90 mph). Special effects wizards Theodore and Howard Lydecker claimed that no actual aircraft were used in the movie at all! Every airplane was either a mock-up, miniture model, or actual combat footage.
Republic Pictures constructed its own P-40 fighter planes for the picture and equipped each airplane with a motor to spin the propeller and taxi around. Some of the airplanes do not even have functioning elevators and if you look closely at the cockpit in the photo above the instruments aren’t real either. Those $2200 balsa and plywood airplanes sure look good though and did a good job to tell the story of the AVG Flying Tigers… John Wayne’s first war movie.
|It is hard to find this movie but Amazon has a great deal on the movie if you want to see it: Flying Tigers and The Sands of Iwo Jima|