Author Topic: The Delta Wing P-26 and a Day of Infamy of a Different Flavor  (Read 746 times)

Offline Brian da Basher

  • He has an unnatural attraction to Spats...and a growing fascination with airships!
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The Delta Wing P-26 and a Day of Infamy of a Different Flavor
« on: November 17, 2019, 01:16:52 AM »


The Boeing P-26 "Peashooter" is famous as the first production all-metal monoplane pursuit in U.S. Army Air Corps service.



Less known are the experimental test-beds it spawned. One of the most recognizable of these may have been the delta wing XP-26DW.



A "one-off" created to test the combat efficiency of delta wing pursuits with an eye to raising the Peashooter's critical Mach number, the XP-26DW featured an enclosed "greenhouse" offering good all-round view and was armed with one .30 and one .50 caliber synchronized machine gun protruding from fairings in the unique delta wing.



Of course, this oddball Peashooter still had those magnificently streamlined and incredibly intimidating spats the type is famous for.



The Boeing XP-26DW proudly displays the prototype 'P' on the fin as well as a smaller number 2440 on the fuselage. This is not an aircraft serial, but official notice that due to the type's tendency for fatal spins, form 2440 is required to file for survivor's benefits.



The test-bed somehow survived numerous close-calls and this late in its career was being used to test-fire new ordnance. It had been armed with the top-secret Goddard GAR-9D rocket.



The GAR-9D had a magnetic warhead which would hone in on the metal bits of modern bombers. The rocket was released and its engine fired a split-second after it cleared the mother ship. Once the rocket was at a safe distance, its warhead would activate and acquire the enemy target who would be unable to escape destruction. In theory.



The XP-26DW had been sent to the Ft. Apache Proving Grounds gunnery range



and has that facility's distinctive badge with test mission tallies beneath the canopy.



The timing was fortunate indeed because trouble was brewing that the Americans were blissfully unaware of.



Across the border, the Republic of Mexico eyed its neighbor to the north suspiciously. In a reprise of the infamous Zimmerman Telegram from W.W. I, the country was ready to go to war against the Yankees. Planners hoped a lightning-strike aimed at a critical U.S. industry would soon bring the gringos begging for terms, even if a Mexican stand-off was more likely. Accordingly, a target that filled the hunger for victory was chosen.



The Mexican Tactical Air Force was especially incensed by this culinary cultural appropriation and were bent on revenge. This operation would test their dive-bombing skill to the limit since they were selected to launch the sneak snack attack.



Recently re-equipped by Germany with appropriated ex-Austrian O.E.F. Albatros XX attack monoplanes, the Mexican Tactical Air Force had the tools it needed to accomplish the mission and let the gringos snack on the bitter taste of defeat.



In the interest of range, the Albatros XX monoplanes would be armed with only one 125 kg bomb each. As the pilots chosen for the mission underwent enhanced pin-point dive-bombing training, they could take heart that their aircraft featured spats almost as fearsome as the ones Americans fielded.



Three Albatros XXs took off from the Los Trios secret forward base early in the morning of December 7, 1940.



This fiendish flight took a low, circuitous course to the target, hoping to avoid detection by the Yankees.



And for a while that worked as the sun climbed higher in the sky and painted the desert below in a rosy hue. This was taken by the banditos as a good omen.



Unfortunately for the Mexican Tactical Air Force, the Air Corps was up early too. And they'd had their coffee.



That delta wing XP-26DW was up and about, headed to the Ft. Apache not-the-Bronx Proving Grounds to lob yet another Goddard GAR-9D rocket at some hapless target.



By this point, two of the Mexican Albatross XX attack planes had turned back due to engine trouble and just barely made it across the border to sanctuary. The sole remaining pilot pressed on, now even more determined than ever to complete the mission.



At last the target came within visual range. The pilot brought his Albatros XX to altitude and assumed the best angle of attack.



At that very moment, the XP-26DW was passing over Doritos Plant #17 and was astonished to see it was being attacked. He watched in horror as the bomb fell from the enemy 'plane.



The bomb missed and took out the spoilage storage silo and the temporary employee parking lot which were set apart from the main facility. The Air Corps pilot wasted no time chasing after the enemy attacker.



The enemy was skilled at evasive maneuvers however, forcing the Air Corps pilot to find a new firing position.



At the last second, the Mexican Albatros XX performed a miraculous accelerated climb and snap-roll, pushing his aircraft to the limit.



The Air Corps pilot released his Goddard GAR-9D rocket. Its magnetic war-head locked on just as the Mexican passed in front of Doritos Plant #17. While the GAR-9D was supposed to target enemy bombers, this time it acquired the metal snack-food factory instead.



Both attacker and Doritos defender were shaken by the blast which forced them to the ground. The Mexican pilot was taken prisoner and almost faced mob justice from the Plant #17 shift-workers until the Air Corps pilot stepped in. While the Americans could take comfort in having captured the enemy, the Doritos firm was dismayed to learn they were ineligible for compensation from their insurance company who refused to pay damages for acts of war.



The next day, President Roosevelt gave a stirring speech before Congress.



War was declared against Mexico, and by extension, the entire axis. While most of the damage suffered by Doritos Plant #17 had been caused by an Air Corps rocket and not an enemy bomb, this fact would not become public knowledge until 1992. America had entered a war which they had shown no previous appetite for.



Nothing remains of either the Boeing XP-26DW delta wing test-bed or the Mexican Albatros XX today except these short-run models which sadly only garnered a dis-honorable mention in the humor section of the IPMS magazine Rivet Counter Weekly after being entered in the Los Doritos Model Show, Swap-Meet and Pot-Luck.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: November 17, 2019, 01:32:21 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: The Delta Wing P-26 and a Day of Infamy of a Different Flavor
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2019, 02:03:44 AM »
This all started when a good friend sent me a classic 1/72 Revell P-26 Peashooter and a 1/144 F-102 (thanks a million, hamsterman!) He suggested I use the F-102 wings on the P-26 to make a delta-wing Peashooter.



I was able to make the new wings reach all the way back to the horiz stab fairings by adding extended ailerons made from card. Then I discovered that once the huge P-26 head rest was removed, a spare Buffalo canopy was a pretty good fit.



The engine is from a 1/72 Polish ZTS RWD-6 and I liked how it looked un-cowled. I thought it added to the XP-26DW's arrow-like appearance.



The model was painted with the old hairy stick in acrylics, Model Masters Light Sea Gray mostly. Decals were all spares.



The anachronistic ordnance is a left-over missile from goodness knows what.



The test probes/pitot tubes were from this great plastic wire Mr Fontaine sent me. Thanks, amigo!



Of course, the XP-26DW was going to need an adversary. This was found in the form of a bagged 1/72 Airfix Albatros. I added a drop-tank half canopy and spats from a P-6E as well as a new tail wheel. Up front, I stuck on Spitfire exhausts and an oil cooler up top and a Vokes filter down below with a spare prop on the end. At this point, I was still going to keep it a biplane.



However, while chatting with my benefactor, he said he liked the idea of a monoplane Albatros. Some ideas are just too good to pass up so I swapped out the kit wings for spares from a Zero with Type 96 Claude spats.



The model was painted with the old hairy stick in acrylics, Polly Scale Italian Gray with added custom dark tan color.



The bomb was spare and the bomb shackle fairing was from an FW-190D.



The decals were mostly from a Roundels of the World sheet but the codes were spares.



It took me the last week to put them together.





I'd like to thank Bill for his kindness in sending me the kits and for his excellent advice, Jeff for that cool plastic wire, Acree for gamely moderating this GB and the rest of you playing along or just taking a look.



I hope you enjoyed the XP-26DW "Dorito Defender" and reading a little more forgotten aircraft history even if it's all a little too spicy for the so-called "experts" to swallow.



Brian da Basher

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: The Delta Wing P-26 and a Day of Infamy of a Different Flavor
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2019, 05:48:34 AM »
Oh, that is brilliant and twisted (as usual)  :smiley:

Love your delta XP-26DW. And the Buffalo canopy fit is a revelation. The spats are truly demented (and horribly intimidating, obviously).

Making an updated Albatros XX monoplane look radical after a Delta Peashooter took some real doing. But you pulled it off in spades (or spats, rather).  I couldn't guess the wing source but Zeke wings panels with Nate spats was inspired!

I also really like the look of your original incarnation of the monoplane Albatros. Maybe a reprise if another bagged kit D.Va comes your way? Perhaps a fabric-covered winged O.E.F. Albatros D.XIX  in Austrian markings?
"And loot some for the old folks, Can't loot for themselves"

Offline Robomog

  • Would you buy a used kit from this man?
Re: The Delta Wing P-26 and a Day of Infamy of a Different Flavor
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2019, 10:11:18 AM »
Bloody hell Brian that P-26 is awesome !   :-* :-* :-*

If you had ditched the spats for something else I wouldn't have guessed it was a Peashooter.

It will put my one to shame when it's finished. :-[

Mog
>^-.-^<
Mostly Harmless...............

Offline finsrin

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Re: The Delta Wing P-26 and a Day of Infamy of a Different Flavor
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2019, 01:52:07 PM »
Cool transformation of both fighters. 8)

Bet XP-26DW could break all dive speed records of the time and pegs the cool meter.   Carries Brewster canopy sooo well.   Whodda guessed !

Always thought Albatros fuselage shape was streamlined enough for monoplane build.  Thanks for showing us it is with Albatros XX.

Severity of destruction likely not devastating as public was led to believe.  Rebuilding damaged portions probably didn't take all that long.   Doritos availability nationally should not have been impacted.   Perhaps temporary local shortages.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2019, 07:51:53 AM by finsrin »

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: The Delta Wing P-26 and a Day of Infamy of a Different Flavor
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2019, 07:49:47 AM »
Severity of destruction likely not devastating as public was led to believe.  Rebuilding damaged portions probably didn't take all that long.

Well it would've gone a lot faster if their insurance carrier wasn't the "No-Hands" people.

It's better if you imagine it in Dennis Haysbert's voice.

I'm glad you guys enjoyed this one. It was wicked fun putting them together!

Brian da Basher