The Boeing P-26A was an early monoplane fighter for the USAAF and proved popular because of its aerobatic qualities. Boeing created an export version of the P-26 called the Model 281. The Spanish Model 281 (X12275) was bought after its demonstration at Barajas airfield on March 10, 1935 where it stayed until the war broke out. From there it flew to Cuatro Ventos airfield in the Summer of 1936. In October of 1936 it was operating from Getafe when it was shot down in a dogfight with three Fiat CR.32s.
There are only a few photos of the Model 281 which made it to Spain and these seem to show it painted with an olive drab fuselage and yellow wings, the pictures were taken in 1935 before the conflict and show large lettering on the wings and tail (NR12775) as well as the Boeing logo on the tail.
This picture has likely been doctored and the serial number is wrong, it was listed by the Boeing company as X12275
(Picture from the archives of Juan Arráez)
This picture could have been taken in the US before shipping or in Spain it is unclear, it is also unlikley that the serial number was NR12775, it is now believed that the serial number was X12275.
The next picture has been positively identified as being in Spain in 1935, however the colour of the aircraft is a little unclear and the picture could have also been re-touched.
(Published in the May 1935 issue of Revista de Aeronáutica (Aviation Magazine))
There is a picture that is widely seen in modelling world of the 281 in Spain which shows an attractive bare metal finish with the republican red band on the fuselage and wing tips with the red, yellow and violet on insignia on the tail.
However I’m not sure it would have ever looked like like this and I think the most likely rendition of the 281 is this drawing:
Model kits available: P-26 Models Scalemates
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