Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Day of Dogs and Cats; Uh-Oh, Long Ago and Far Away, A Hellcat, A Nifty Boat, and A Bunch of Other Stuff!

Long ago and far away (or long ago, anyhow), your editor had hair, and said hair was not overrun with the silver and grey so indicative of an increasing seniority on life. You could buy a hamburger for a quarter at Burger Chef, and another quarter would get you fries to go with it. You could, in fact, have a meal for less than a buck if you stuck to the basics. You could buy a new Volkswagen Beetle for $1,200, give or take, or a Corvette for under $7,000. Everybody knew who the Beatles were, and you could still buy a real Coca Cola without having to import it from south of the border. Times were simpler.

Plastic kits of model airplanes were far less prolific in those bye-gone days, and the Scale of Choice for most people was 1/72nd. Airfix and Frog were co-Kings of the serious plastic modeling world, with Revell's burgeoning 1/72nd scale lineup a serious challenger to the throne and a couple of upstarts from the Far East called Hasegawa and Tamiya waiting in the wings. People built Revell B-57s and put them in 1/72nd scale collections claiming/hoping that they were "close enough" to the scale when they were, in reality, far too small. The same thing happened to the by-then ancient Revell F-89D which, in a similar vein, offered the opportunity to possess the only Scorpion in town outside of the tiny one offered in the Monogram Air Power set. Lindberg issued a small series of poorly-done Luftwaffe subjects in the scale and people snapped them up as fast as they could find them. Any kit was better than no kit at all.

Aftermarket didn't exist in any form other than a sheet of styrene, presuming you could find one for sale, and a tube of DuPont Spot and Body Glaze, aka "Green Stuff", was the modeler's best friend. Custom decals were limited to the offerings of ABT, HisAirDec, and a handful of others, and were stiff, thick, and often inaccurate. Testor, Pactra, and Floquil were the paints of choice, with the difficult-to-obtain Scalemaster, Frontier HQ, and Official lines offering slow-to-dry and dubiously tinted colors as "serious" alternatives to the more mainstream offerings. Airbrushes were generally Binks or Paasche single-action units and few people owned them. Weathering was limited to exhaust stains and heavily-overdone gun streaks if it was done at all.

All of the "good" scale modeling periodicals came out of Great Britain back then, with America's Scale Modeler offering a distant third or fourth-best Colonial alternative, and various IPMS/USA chapter publications offered the only serious insight into the potential of the hobby.

Things began to change in the late 1960s, with the arrival of Monogram's 1/48th and 1/72nd scale P-51Bs, kits that are laughed at nowadays but were ground-breaking in their day; their arrival was equal in stature to the buzz created by the release of Tamiya's recent 1/32nd scale F4U-1. Better and better kits followed apace and we eventually arrived, year by year and product by product, at the present time. Airplanes we never thought we'd see kitted are now being kitted, and we've got aftermarket, kits, references, decals, and paint quite literally coming out of our ears. We're inundated. Swamped. And, for the truly serious scale modeler, we aren't that much better off than we were way back in 1968.

Consider this: Those of us who build in 1/48th scale have waited years for a decent kit of any Grumman F9F-6 through -8 variant, and now we have a Cougar tub, with promised single-seaters to follow. We've wanted a single-seat McDonnell Voodoo of any flavor in that scale for just as long, and now we've got one. One of the major players recently decided to do the ultimate mid-war Me109G for us, and we got it too. All of those kits were highly anticipated, and all of them were major let-downs when they arrived; the F-101 and F9F-8T were both difficult to build and inaccurate to a considerable degree, while the much-bandied 109 was just too darned big for its scale, in addition to possessing some accuracy issues of its own. Given what came before, all three of those kits should have been as near to perfect as a plastic model airplane could be, but they aren't nearly as accurate as the kits Monogram was beginning to produce back in the late 1960s and are often as difficult, if not more so, to build in terms of fit. Where's the improvement? We certainly can't see one.

The point is simple. Those of us who were building back in The Day were ecstatic to get any new kit, no matter how poor it might have been (and a great many of them were damned poor), because that new kit gave us a shot at building something we couldn't have built before. The same thing could have been said about each new decal sheet or new manufacturer jumping into the game. We were grateful! We probably should be grateful for that big 101 we just got as well, and really grateful for the two-seat Cougar, except that after 45+ years those kits should have been a whole lot better than they are, and they're so far from the standards that Monogram, among others, set back in the aforementioned late 60s that some of our more knowledgeable friends won't even buy certain of  the new kits, much less build them. Time marches on, technology improves the breed, and we're still getting kits that in some respects can't play on the same field with models the boys from Morton Grove were producing four decades ago. It is, if we accept the premise that there's a learning curve that should have been imprinted a long time ago, time for certain plastic model manufacturers to get with the program, if you catch our drift.

Funny how the circle is a wheel...

How Do You Spell "Potpourri"?

We don't know either, but it's been a long time since we've published anything and we've accumulated a fair amount of stuff over the past few weeks, some of which is pretty neat, so we're going to temporarily deviate from our normal format and publish a few of the better things we've received of late, plus some airplane pictures. We hope you enjoy the show!


Rick Morgan found this one while surfing the internet and passed it on. It's pretty remarkable in and of itself and yes; it's a real photograph, not photo-shopped, of a real airplane that really did what the picture illustrates.

How do YOU say "Oh Schmitt!"? Rick had never seen this photo before, and we certainly hadn't either, so we asked our Resident Authority on Things Icelandic if he could provide an explanation. Said RAoTA jumped right in with the following comment:

Well, there is only one way to do it and that is to forget to lock the wings after they have been folded down. Unlike the USN Phantoms ( I think), the USAF versions could not fold and lock the wings from the cockpit, it had to be done by the ground crew. We frequently put 3 jets together in a shelter at Selfridge - you stopped short, they folded the wings and you taxied in with about 18" on either side - almost like parking on a carrier. When you pulled out you stopped, they unfolded the wings, locked them (separate step) and off you went. The only indication that the wings weren't locked was a small pin (think half the length of your index finger and about the same diameter) that stuck up just inside the fold line. It was supposed to be painted red. That was it. No warning lights, nothing else. In the one I know about from Kef, both pins were painted gray - the same color as the wings - which made them very hard to see. The ground crew folded the wings down but forgot to lock them, the WSO did not see the pins sticking up (you couldn't see them from the front seat) and as they rotated for takeoff, both wings folded up from the air load. That was the saving grace - if only one had folded it would have been all over. But double ugly being the brute it was, the pilot just delayed the rotation a bit and they went flying. Since it was a maintenance test hop, they weren't loaded with the 3 external fuel tanks they normally carried, which was another very good thing as they would undoubtedly have exceeded the tire limit speed before they got going fast enough to fly with that much weight.They launched a chase ship to see what was going on, which was where the pictures came from - cameras were required on all alert jets to photograph the "opposition" and the WSOs were used to taking photos- burned down gas, did a controllability check to see what speed they were going to have to fly on final and landed. The only other photo I have seen was taken from underneath and behind the jet. I am "assuming" that it only happened once, but will have to find that other photo to see if they were carrying CAP-9s. It would be sad if they managed to do it twice! BTW---most of the ground crew at Kef had never seen an F-4 until they got to the Island. Most were C-141 or SAC guys getting their "required" remote tour and they showed up knowing absolutely nothing about the jets. Ditto for the T-birds. The mx chief on them had assembled them from crates but the other guys had never seen one before, which was the reason my 2 piece T-33 tailpipe became a "shorty" in flight - with the aft end of the exhaust pipe sticking out the rear end and the middle resting on the bottom of the fuselage - they remembered to bolt it to the engine but forgot to bolt the two portions together in the middle. When it fell apart in flight, it was not conducive to providing the jet much in the way of thrust and did a very good job of lighting up the overheat warning light - at 4,000' and 85 miles out over some very cold water - it took 83% rpm to maintain level flight and the overheat light went on a 82%. We dumped all the chaff to lighten it up, set the power at 82% and had a hundred feet or so of altitude left coming over the coast line, straight-in to the east-west runway... You learned to preflight!
Doug Barbier

And who'da thunk it?  Thanks, Rick and Doug!

It Ain't Like It Used To Be

Back in the days of The Silver Air Force, each May saw every Air Force base worth its salt holding an open house in honor of Armed Forces Day. Constant reader Norm found one of those air shows on You Tube and sent us this link. Sit back, grab a Cold One, and take a gander at the stuff some of us grew up with!

The way we were, in a manner of speaking.  Thanks, Norm!

A Spiffy Cat

Old friend Jim Sullivan seems to have taken yet another sabbatical from Chance Vought's immortal F4U to produce an interesting model of another Navy fighter from the Second World War. The markings are unique, and Jim provided a photo of the actual airplane to go with it.

"Lolly", sitting on an airstrip Somewhere in the Pacific. Jim didn't have any information as to unit, time or place, so all we know for sure is that she's an F6F-3 and she's wearing some highly unusual conspicuity markings.   Sullivan Collection

Here's a photo of Jim's model, based on the much-maligned but actually quite good late 90s Hasegawa 1/48th scale kit. Here's what Jim had to say about it:

It's the 1/48th Hasegawa F6F-3 and was a pleasure to build. When I saw the photo of the actual plane, the markings were quite unusual and I just knew I had to build it. It's from a Navy squadron that was island-based out in the South Pacific in 1944. Although I've tried, I have yet to nail down the actual squadron it was assigned to. My thanks go out to Pip Moss and Joseph Osborn who made possible the custom decals for the plane and pilot's name. It's pretty much an OOB build with the exception of the Eduard instrument panel and the TD weighted wheels and vac canopy. It's airbrushed with MM enamels. A fun build for sure and I hope you like the way she turned out.

Here's a photo of the other side of the model. We really like the way it turned out and are tickled to death that Jim chose something so unique to model, and have to wonder if Mssrs Moss and Osborn shouldn't go into the custom decal business!

Not One You See Every Day

You may be familiar with the various flying boats produced by the American aviation industry prior to the United State's entry into the Second World War. They were large, most of them, and designed to span the oceans of the world. The Pan American station at Wake Island, as well as those in other places in the far reaches of the pacific, were established to support a facet of air transport called "Clippers" (a PanAm term that apparently took off, no pun intended, and was generically applied to the whole gamut of aircraft which fell into the trans-Pacific flying boat category). That terrible war accelerated the development and employment of the big boats and the end of the conflict saw them relegated to history, but they were something when they were in their prime. Thanks to Bobby Rocker, we have an opportunity to view one of those clippers, but not in the guise you might expect.

And here's the star of our show, a Boeing 314 in warpaint. Several "Clippers" were purchased by the War Department and operated by PanAm crews on transport duties throughout the war. This example is shown moored off NAS Alameda and is carrying an N-number rather than Navy markings. She's also wearing a large American flag on her nose, implying that the photo was taken very early in the war. That camouflage is something special, and we even have a kit to apply it to---the old (late 1960s) but still viable Airfix offering in 1/144th scale. We're not going to begin to guess at those colors, but it ought to be easy to get there in a "close enough is close enough" sort of mode. We smell a project!!!            Rocker Collection

It's All in the Details

Which is as good a way as any to describe our next photo.

The place is Funafuti in the Ellis Islands, and that OS2U Kingfisher is in the process of being beached. Several details make this photo well worth the running (and well worth wishing we had other views of it!). First and foremost are those enormous national insignia---we suspect those on the upper surfaces mimic them, which makes the lack of a side view of the aircraft particularly frustrating, since we think, but have no way of knowing, that the fuselages corcardes are on the largish side as well. Of equal interest are the red and yellow stripes on the face of the prop blades. The blades themselves appear to be black, and those red and yellow tip stripes should be complimented by one in blue, but that doesn't seem to be the case in this instance. Finally, the aircraft is armed with a pair of 100-pound GP bombs painted yellow (that's a standard Navy treatment for the early war years, so don't go writing us telling us they're practice bombs, ok?). This is the sort of photo that makes us long for an up-to-date 1/48th scale kit of the Kingfisher!  Someday...
USMC via Rocker Collection

Size Counts

It's no secret that we've got an interest in the events and aircraft of The Great War, and we've even built a few models of them for the collection, including several examples of that most graceful of First World War German fighters, the Albatros. The boys at Eduard made a great deal of their reputation for manufacturing superior plastic kits off their renditions of the Albatros DIII and DV, and those kits have been in production for quite a few years, which makes it odd indeed that both are possessed of significant problems concerning their undercarriage.

Of the two aircraft, the DIII has the simplest problem in terms of fixability (a word I sort-of made up on the spot, although I think the hot rod guys use it quite a bit too). Its wheels are too small in diameter, which makes the whole airplane look a little odd as a result. The solution to that particular problem is a simple one; call Roy over at Barracuda and ask him to sell you a set of his Albatros wheels. They're the right size and offer more detail than the kit parts to boot---it doesn't get much simpler than that.

That's the fix for the DIII. The DV, our personal favorite of the pair (of course!) has an issue far more profound. Here's a photo that explains it far better than we can with words:

Here's the photo---can you spot what's wrong? It's pretty obvious, we think, but in case you can't figure it out, check out the length of the undercarriage struts on both models. The one on the right is bone stock, 100% as Eduard delivered it into our waiting hands, and those struts are too short by a whopping 3mm or so on each leg. That gives the kit a sort-of Low Rider stance once it's built, and it makes the finished model look seriously goofy. The model on the left has had its struts lengthened by the requisite amount and now sits as it's supposed to. It's an easy fix if you've got a little bit of experience under your belt, but it's something the serious scale modeler shouldn't have to contend with in 2014!

You can buy a set of replacement struts from the really nice guy who runs Pheon over in England, should you be so inclined, but he's frequently out of stock on the item. We've been trying to persuade an American manufacturer of resin bits and pieces to work up a replacement for them and that may or may not happen---we have no way of knowing. What we do know is that Eduard seems to have no plans to replace those struts any time soon. The kit sells well as-is, so why should they, right? (Wrong!)

Anyway, if you're going to build an Albatros DV or DVa for your very own collection you're going to have to fix those struts if you want it to look right. Just sayin'...

A Tale of Lost Love

It's Rocker Day around here, we suppose, but Bobby's recently provided us with a whole slew of photos from the SWPAC and we figured we should share a few of them with you. for example:

"Shirlee" belonged to the 35th FG and was sitting in the mud on the ramp when she posed for this photo. The nose art says it all---"Shirlee" is crossed out and replaced by the poignant expression; "She Couldn't Wait". It may seem odd to make more than a passing mention of the significance of the name, but far too many GIs and sailors ended up losing sweethearts and wives while they were off fighting. That's just one more thing to add to the rain, mud, mosquitos, heat, disease, and Japanese. Did we ever mention that it was a crummy war? A really lousy, crummy war.     Rocker Collection

And While We're on the Subject of Mud

Here's another image from the Rocker collection to show how bad things can be, even when they're good.

The F-5s belong to the 8th PRS, and their ramp is at Dulag in the Philippines. They've got Marston matting, electricity, ground vehicles, and proper support equipment. They've also got standing water, mud, mosquitos, and malaria. Sometimes things stink even when you've got it good!   Rocker Collection

And here's another view of having it good when things are bad, or maybe having it bad when things are good! Either way this 17th PRS F-4, sitting on the ramp at Henderson Field, illustrates the same thing in a different setting---real maintenance stands and Marston matting, albeit with the same water, mud, mosquitos, and associated tropical diseases included in the deal too. Note the design on the nose-wheel cover; we can't quite make out what it is, but it adds character to that haze-camouflaged airplane.   Rocker Collection

Contrast that with the maintenance conditions surrounding "Shrimp", a P-39D undergoing engine work at the 4th Air Depot in Townsville. There's not an inch of matting in sight nor any sort of ground support equipment although, in all fairness, the simple removal of panels wouldn't require any. Check out the footwear on the mech closest to the camera. It could be that he was styling for the cameras, although those could also have been the only shoes he had (those socks are awfully white, though). Either way, the working conditions are pretty lousy.   Rocker Collection

In addition to all the other problems associated with performing maintenance in the SWPAC, there was one potential situation that was always present, particularly in the early days---the prospect of an assault by Japanese ground troops. This 7th FS/49th/FG P-40E was based near Darwin, Australia, during The Bad Old Days of 1942. Darwin underwent a number of air raids during 1942 and the early part of 1943, but in the event neither the town nor its associated bases were assaulted by ground forces since none ever made it to Australia. That wasn't taken as a given during 1942, however, and there are a number of sidearms, plus one M1 Garand, present in this shot. There were few easy days in the SWPAC.   Rocker Collection

More Invaders

Reader John Horne sent us a bunch of A-26 Invader photography a while back (a practice that we whole-heartedly encourage; that address is ). While we've already run a few of them, there are certainly more to go so without further ado...

"Sayonara"/"Jamee"/"Figmo", an A-26B of the 6th TTS, sits on the ramp at Clark in 1957. There's some nose art on her that we can't quite make out, but she's also trimmed out in yellow which is colorful enough for us!   Olmsted John Horne Collection

And here's a detail of that 6th TTS squadron emblem. It's easy to ignore the various USAF squadrons of the 50s that did such mundane things as towing targets, but their job was essential to the training of the guys flying the combat aircraft. It's interesting to note that this aircraft once boasted a the early six-guns laterally-displaced nose.   Olmsted via John Horne Collection

Here's another target tug, this time from the 4th TTS out of Ladd AB, Alaska, also during 1957. Although she's unadorned by names or nose art, she's an interesting (and colorful!) bird because of the arctic conspicuity markings applied over her target tug paintwork. 44-34184 was rebuilt as an A-26K in 1964.   Menard Collection via John Horne

Here's a color shot of the 4th's "Stinky" to prove the point about that color. Bright paintwork was the norm when an aircraft was a dedicated rag-dragger, and this shot of 44-35254 certainly lived up to the reputation. The Jet nacelles and cowlings definitely added to the beauty of the scheme, although we're not so sure about the white that trimmed the vertical stab!    Menard Collection via John Horne

"Involuntary" flew during the Korean fracas and is seen here on the ground, most probably in Japan. Her yellow trim, name, and mission markers stick out like a sore thumb but would have been all but invisible at night unless illuminated by a searchlight or flare. She was one of the ones the Bad Guys missed but she bought it just the same; she crashed to destruction during takeoff on a 31 August, 1951, mission, with no survivors. She was serving with the 731st BS/3rd BW out of Kunsan at the time but was on the ground at Iwakuni when this image was taken.   John Horne Collection

"No Sweat" was another aircraft from the 731st at Iwakuni. The opened bombardier's hatch appears to be finished in a battered rendition of Jet in this photo but is could also be/should be Insignia Green instead. Note that some of the red stencilling on this airframe appears to be somewhat crudely applied. It wasn't all that unusual to see that sort of thing on the A-26s operating out of combat zones, another note for modelers to remember.   John Horne Collection

And here's a nose shot of "Los Angeles City Limits", also from the 3rd. In her case the Insignia Red stencilling prevalent on the nose of "No Sweat" is missing entirely, either due to a repaint in the field or, quite possibly, to a nose swap. There's that Jet bombardier's hatch interior again; it sure looks black to us!   John Horne Collection

Let's end this essay with a shot of an RB-26 from the 11th TRS/67th TRW being prepared for storage at Clark Field during 1957. The light-colored streaks you see are preservative, not some funky paint job. What's interesting about this particular aircraft is her antenna suite and the presence of a dorsal turret (sans guns). At first glance she still has her ventral turret as well, but that's actually a cover for part of her electronics fitment. Do any of our readers have a schematic of those antennae?   Olmsted via John Horne Collection

We've still got a few shots from John's collection yet to run, but we're saving them for another day. If you can't wait until then and need another A-26 fix right now this minute, might we suggest that you sashay over to Gerry Kersey's 3rd Attack.Org site, which we link to on this blog. Gerry's doing a great job of preserving the heritage of the 3rd and his site is well worth the visit. Tell him Replica in Scale sent you!

A Warbird You Don't See Every Day

A couple of years ago we showed you a Pilatus P.2 trainer, formerly of the Swiss Air Force, undergoing restoration near Liberty Hill, Texas. She's complete now, and here's what she looks like:

If you ever get a chance to look inside this one, take it! Besides being a rare bird in the extreme---she's one of only two in the United States and the only one flying---her interior bears more than a passing resemblance to that of the Bf109E, a type operated by the Swiss Air Force during the Second Great Unpleasantness. Her ground handling characteristics are similar as well, although she certainly doesn't have the performance of the Teutonic fighter she was built to emulate; her Argus engine sees to that. Still, she's a neat old bird, shown here as Simon Diver, a key member of her restoration team and also her pilot for the delivery flight to her owners in Southern California, formates with a camera ship to celebrate the occasion. Her trip from South Central Texas to The Sunshine State was, for the most part, uneventful, and Simon is now without an old airplane to restore. Anybody got a derelict warbird laying around that needs to be rebuilt?   via Simon Diver

Long Ago and Far Away

Although Greenland is a relatively long way from anywhere, it's also approximately halfway to everywhere, or at least it is if your idea of everywhere coincides with the distance between the United States and Western Europe. Back in the 50s it was normal for American fighter units to stop there when transiting between the two continents. An example of that is shown to us today thanks to the kindness of Mark Morgan.

One of the 20th TFW's T-33As sits on the ramp taking a little gas while transiting through Sondrestrom. There's no snow on the ground but Desolate and Barren is still Desolate and Barren, snow or no snow. This sort of thing was all part of the job, and still is to this day. Oh, and check out the F-80 tip tanks on that bird!   USAF via Mark Morgan

Goose Bay isn't Sondrestrom, but it's almost as desolate and every bit as barren. Our friend TR-005 (from the photo immediately above) is first in line in this shot as the 20th TGW's "T-Birds" taxi in on their their way across the Pond. F-80 tip tanks are the norm within the Wing, which in theory makes this deployment of 1952-1953 vintage. Mark?   USAF via Mark Morgan

Happy Snaps

In keeping with today's theme (a little bit of this and a little bit of that), here's a bit of photography that could have been termed gorgeous had we not defaced it in order to deter The Picture Pirates from stealing it to publish elsewhere:

A section of VAQ-139's "Cougars" formate high over the Pacific during one of Air Wing 14's many deployments to the region. Military aviation is fraught with adventure and often times danger, but there are the quiet times too, when the guys in the airplanes can reflect on the beauty of it all. Thanks as always, Morgo, for this outstanding shot!   R Morgan

The Relief Tube

Of which there isn't one today, except to say that we've decided that, effective this issue, we're going to run any photograph we know for certain to be of official origin sans (that means "without", in case you're a Picture Pirate and don't know what the definition of that word is) watermarking. We think it's the right thing to do.

On the other hand, we're going to continue to watermark anything we receive from any contributor that has been either photographed by them or is from their collection. Those of our readership who have grown up with the hobby in our contemporary age of Right Click and Save probably don't have much of a perspective on that whole provenance thing, but those of us who earned our spurs in print can tell you how difficult it is to search out the guys with the photography and, oftentimes, persuade them that it's ok to allow their photos to be copied and put into print, electronic or otherwise. Citing provenance is the right thing to do, and stealing (as opposed to copying for one's own private collection) is not. Just sayin'...

And that's it for this time. We had what seemed to be a non-stop series of personal events going on over the past six weeks or so which contributed in great measure to our present delinquency, but we'll try to do better in the future. Then again, we've made that promise before, haven't we?

Anyway, we're going to try! In the meantime, be good to your neighbor. We'll do our best to see you again soon!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

More FJs, Dancing With Mister B, Son of Superfort, A Neat Conversion, Stuff You Didn't Know You Had, and Some RAM Birds


So the guys at Eduard begin, and maintain, a month-long advertising campaign on the internet to push their new hotter-than-sliced-bread 1/48th scale Me109G-6. They literally flood the electronic side of our hobby with photographs and descriptions of what must surely be the most accurate plastic model kit ever because, after all, they said it was; priming the pump, as it were, for the mid-May release of their kit. Several of the big internet sites buy into the whole deal and join in the festivities about how great the kit is.

There are warts, of course, and the more knowledgeable regarding Things Teutonic pick up on them almost right away. Eduard puts a bump on the wing root that shouldn't be there, and the Internet Experts start up a hue and cry not seen since the days of the release of the most recent Trumpeter kit. Other issues are discovered as well, but those issues are all pretty insignificant and, at the end of the day, are issues that nobody has actually seen since the kit hasn't even been released yet, Shakespearean drama at its very best (as in much ado about nothing, if you catch my drift).

Then it happens. The kit finally gets released, and some very respected folks jump on it as being the ultimate 109 in any scale, dangerous ground to walk on with any kit but almost justified in this case except that it turns out the kit is closest to the ever-popular 1/46th scale, which means it'll look great by itself, but not too great at all if it's sitting anywhere near another Me109 or any other WW2 fighter. It's just too darned big. 

Of course, nobody notices it at first, and some very respected people write reviews, kit in hand, and state that it is accurate in terms of scale dimensions, which in essence means that people who said they measured the kit couldn't possibly have done that. Yikes! A double whammy! An inaccurate kit and highly-respected reviewers who went out and got themselves fooled and then compounded the problem by spreading the Bad Word. The infamy! The shame! The horror!

Or is it? There's no doubt that somebody at Eduard made a mistake, and it was a big one, but it's not like they never made a mistake before: The wheels on their Albatros DIII, the undercarriage strut length on their Albatros DV, the fuselage length of their Tempest, the fuselage on their big 109E (as well as it's 1/48th scale little brother), the nose on their Fw190 family, and the list goes on and on. Admittedly, a kit that's entirely too big for its stated scale is in a different ballpark altogether---somebody pooched it big time over in the Czech Republic, and it'll take a while for Eduard to get past the financial hickey of amortizing that tooling, not to mention the embarrassment of the whole thing. It'll become a standard scale modeling joke and will likely remain one for some time to come. 

That's really unfortunate too, because there's no doubt the guys at Eduard put their heart and soul into the project, and it's a darned shame things turned out the way they did. Maybe it was a kit designer, or maybe a cad driver, or maybe it was who knows what that caused the problem. The bottom line is that the kit won't fit into a 1/48th scale collection because it's too darned big, which in theory makes it useless in a collection. It's still arguably among the best kits of Herr Messerschmitt's iconic fighter in any scale, it just isn't in any useful scale.

What can we do with our wonderful new Me109G-6 then? Well, we can build just one and put it up a pole. That's what I think I'm going to do with mine when the time comes---I'm going to buy the kit, get a decent resin pilot to stick in it, build a spiffy base, and make myself a darned nice desk model, one that an enthusiast of Things Luftwaffe would be proud to own and display. I'll only do it once, which will disappoint the Czechs, but at least I'll do it, and I expect I'll be happy with the results. I'll buy a Royal Edition kit too when that comes out (presuming it hasn't become a casualty of the whole scale boondoggle), but that's because I collect that series, and not because I want more out-of-scale 109s. One's going to be enough, thank you.

It's easy to laugh at Eduard's expense, and at the expense of all the people who wrote reviews saying they measured the kit when they probably didn't, but we might all want to remember that the kit was an honest effort that went badly awry. That's too bad, too, because I for one was really looking forward to it and I'm disappointed in the way things turned out. I'm still going to buy that one kit, though, and I'm still going to build it and put it up a pole, and I think you should consider doing it too. Eduard's going to take a major bath on that tooling if the kit doesn't sell, and I for one would like them to continue to turn out the really neat stuff they've been steadily releasing over the years. Yes, they just gave us an enormous disappointment with that Messerschmitt, but just prior to the kit's release they gave us the best Spitfire anybody has ever done, and almost all of us use their aftermarket stuff. When they're good they're great, but anybody can make a mistake. One thing's for certain; I'll bet their next new kit is spot-on dimensionally! 

Let's shake our heads, have a laugh if we're so inclined, and move on. 

So three guys go into a bar. One has a Zvezda Me109F-2, one has a Hasegawa 109G-14, and the third guy has an Eduard Me109G-6...

A Sabre by Any Other Name

We're referring, of course, to the North American FJ Fury series of naval fighters, a mainstay of American naval aviation during the 1950s that is now largely forgotten. Pioneers in many respects, the Furies paved the way for jet aircraft aboard American aircraft carriers and are significant for that reason if for nothing else. We like the FJ a lot and periodically run photo essays illustrating the aircraft of that family---it's been a while since we've done that, so it must surely be time to do it again!

Here's a classic study of the fighter that started it all. The airplane is an FJ Fury, BuNo 120357 from VF-5A, taken on 29 November 1948. She met an untimely end in 1951 while serving with a Reserve unit, VF-778, crashing to destruction while making touch and go landings. She was in her prime when photographed here; none of the FJs were around long enough in actual service to get into bad cosmetic shape.   Sullivan Collection

We don't know the Bureau Number on this one, but we do know that she was at Miramar sometime in 1950 and was serving with VF-5A when the photo was taken. Although the first generation Fury looked tubby and ungainly, its performance wasn't all that bad for a straight-winged jet fighter with an underpowered engine. North American already had better things in mind, however, and both production and service use of the first of the Furies was limited. Sullivan Collection

The follow-on aircraft to the FJ, the FJ-2, was supposed to be carrier-capable but was in fact a barely-navalised F-86 with nominal abilities around the boat, which relegated it to land-based service with the Marines. This badly-weathered example shows the salient differences to be found between the F-86 and the FJ-2; four 20mm cannon in the nose, a revised canopy, barricade fences on the leading edges of the slats, an arresting hook, and a tail bumper. The changes weren't enough to guarantee any sort of safe performance on a carrier, but the NAV had to start somewhere.   Sullivan Collection

The first-generation jet fighters could be a handful on land, too. FJ-2 131970 from VMF-235 endured an off-road adventure at El Toro in July of 1954; her colorful markings couldn't keep her from being damaged, although the damage was minor. Note that the barricade fences have been removed; the FJ-2 was almost never employed aboard ship due to its poor performance in that environment. The markings were pretty, though... Sullivan Collection

The FJ-3 was the Navy's first successful swept-wing carrier jet, although "successful" can be considered a somewhat loose term in this instance---the airplane's boat manners were still poor when compared to such piston-engined stalwarts as the still contemporary F4U Corsair. In spite of that, the FJ-3 and its sibling, the FJ-3M, gave the Navy the operational experience it needed with swept-winged fighters on-board ship. 135933 experienced a  land-based Kodak Moment at Miramar on 28 October, 1955, but the aircraft was barely damaged. Such accidents were common in the early days of jet operations in the Fleet, but the results were rarely this benign. The 50s were a time of horrendous accident rates among all three of the American services operating fast jets, and a great many of today's safety regulations stem from the mishaps of that era.   Sullivan Collection

You could scarcely consider any Sabre variant, up to and including the F-86D and L, to be all-weather aircraft in the literal sense of the word, but operational requirements sometimes decreed that the aircraft had to be flown at night or in poor weather. This VF-173 FJ-3M is being re-spotted (and not prepared for flight) on what can only be described as a miserable flight deck in February of 1957. The boat is the FDR, and we'll all but guarantee you that 202 isn't getting ready to go anywhere under her own power. It would take extreme circumstances to warrant a launch in the conditions illustrated, although it was sometimes done. It wasn't just a job...   Sullivan Collection

In 1962 all United States military aircraft were re-designated, allegedly due SecDef Robert McNamara's inability to understand the system that had served the Navy since its earliest ventures into heavier-than-air aviation, which caused the last of the Furies, the FJ-4 and -4M, to become AF-1s instead of FJ-Anythings. This example, an AF-1E from NAS Willow Grove, illustrates the aircraft in a joint service (Navy/Marine) Reserve color scheme. Considered by many who should know to have been the hottest of all the Sabres, Air Force, Navy, or Marine, the FJ-4 spent its entire career without firing a shot in anger (although we've heard the type dropped bombs in Laos on at least one occasion early in the Vietnam War; corroboration and details would be appreciated!).  Sullivan Collection

One more thing; Jim sent us a number of FJ photos recently, of which these are just a sampling. There are more to be seen in our upcoming issues, so watch these pages!

A Couple of FEAF Superforts

Boeing's remarkable B-29 Superfortress was an amazing aircraft when it was designed and produced, a technological trans-oceanic wonder designed to take the air war to an enemy ensconced on an unreachable (by 1942 standards) continent far away. The B-29 was never used against the enemy for which it was initially created, but provided stellar service flying bombing raids against the Japanese home islands during late 1944 and 1945. The Japanese both feared and respected the type and gave it the moniker "B-San", or Mr. B. It stayed in United States service until the early 1960s in an auxiliary role, long after its effectiveness as a bomber had been overcome by advancing technology, and it was even cloned to become the Soviet Union's first strategic bombardment aircraft. It was quite an airplane.

Thanks to the kindness of Gerry Kersey over at 3rd Attack.Org we've got a couple of fascinating images to share with you today of the B-29 in early post-War service. Let's take a look:

BF-073 was photographed at Yokota AB by Dwight Turner during the 1947-49 time period. Assigned to the 492nd BS of the 7th BG, she's still armed with her turreted .50-cals and is wearing a fresh coat of Jet (the Air Force's term for a highly gloss black paint) on her ventral surfaces. The MiG-15 wasn't too far away from being an operational reality when this photo was taken, and its existence rendered aircraft such as the B-29 obsolete almost overnight, but "B-San" was still regarded as an extremely viable bombardment platform when this photo was taken.   D Turner via 3rd Attack.Org

Talk about an evocative photograph! This shot of Yokota's ramp was taken during the same 1947-49 time frame as that of 073 above and shows a ramp full of B-29s thought to be from the 6th BG. Those "Superforts" were undoubtedly on a TDY deployment since the type was never actually based in Japan, but all those A-26s in the background are from the 3rd Attack Group and are tenant at the base. Japan was (and we presume still is) a fairly wet place, as proven by all that mud adjacent to the parking area, but at least the hardstands, taxiways, and runways were concrete. It's worth noting that all of this particular batch of B-29s are still in natural metal finish, and all are still carrying their full compliment of turrets---if you recall, General LeMay had all but the tail guns removed from the Superfortresses operating with the 20th Air Force when the mission changed from daylight bombardment to low-altitude night bombing. Stateside-based B-29s kept theirs; FEAF-owned B-29s would need all the guns they could carry in just a few short years.  D Turner via 3rd Attack.Org

Japan was pretty good duty if you were a blue suiter immediately after the end of the war, and there were a whole lot of neat airplanes based there between the end of The Big One and the beginning of the Korean War. Many thanks to Gerry Kersey for sharing the photographs of those B-29s with us.

The Son Was Bigger Than the Dad

Or so it seemed. The Boeing B-50 was an up-engined and highly improved development of the B-29 design, readily identifiable by its enormous vertical tail and its highly modified engine cowlings. Although it was destined never to see formal combat (although it was shot and and, occasionally, shot down during the early phases of the Cold War) it played a key role in the post-War air Force as a recon ship, a weather bird, and an airborne tanker. The last B-50 soldiered on with Systems Command as a test aircraft until the early 1970s, proving the usefulness of the basic Boeing design that had originated in the beginning of the 1940s. It was a worthy successor to the B-29, and we've got a few images of it to share with you today.

The Air Force had itself a plate full of surplus airplanes immediately after the conclusion of the War, and production of new machines came almost to a standstill. The B-50 was considered to be necessary to the nation's defense, however, and went into production as a stop-gap strategic bomber as demonstrated by this shot of B-50B-50-BO, 47-0139, taken at Turner AFB, Georgia, during the early 1950s. Her defensive armament has been removed, but in all fairness the guns weren't much use against the jet fighters employed by the bad guys she would have fought against. The future of bombardment aviation lay in speed, but that wouldn't become fully apparent until the first encounters between the MiG-15 and the B-50's sire, the B-29, in Korea. 0139 was ultimately converted to RB-50F standard and wound up at MASDC in 1966.   USAF via Mark Morgan

Here's another view of 0139 on the ground at Turner, apparently taken on the same day as the previous shot. Note how faded the black paint on the prop blades appears to be, although the airplane itself seems to be in pristine condition. This shot and the one immediately prior to it provide us with a fine view of those modified cowlings. The B-50 was quite an airplane, but she was obsolescent almost from her first day of service---the advent of the jet fighter saw to that.   USAF via Mark Morgan

47-0122 was another conversion to RB-50F standard, having begun life as a B-50-40-BO. An interim conversion saw her operating as an RB-50E on what has been described as "special photographic missions) prior to her final reconfiguration to an RB-50F. It's in that final guise that we see her year, replete with Arctic conspicuity markings. We suspect that the aft entrance hatch is opened due to an operational requirement but we can't prove that, nor can we explain it. Those highly streamlined gas bags and pylons look out of place on this aircraft, don't they?   USAF via Mark Morgan

And here's 47-041 in flight. Originally a B-50B-50-BO, she had been upgraded to RB-50F standard by the time this shot was taken. She's fully-loaded here and not terribly far off the water. She's also heavy and is apparently carrying a full load of fuel judging by her wings. The Arctic markings are gone, replaced by Day-Glo (those "white" bands evident in the photo) but that same hatch is open. We're guessing it was somehow tied to the mission and would love to be educated---that address is  .  USAF via Mark Morgan

A Nifty Neptune

By now you all know the name of Jim Sullivan. He's a scholar of things relating to naval aviation, an author, and a photographer. He's also a darned good modeler, as we're about to show you.

Lockheed's P2V Neptune family in all of its variants was a mainstay of the Navy's patrol bomber fleet until the mid-1960s. The final production variant (as opposed to the somewhat unique limited-service conversions that seemed to flourish during the Vietnam fracas) was the P2V-7, a dedicated ASW platform, and to date all of the plastic kits of the type have been of that version of the aircraft. The original Neptune design was closer in spirit to that of the Consolidated PB4Y Privateer in concept, and Jim wanted to replicate one of the earlier variants. The P2V-5 you see before you was the result of that desire.

Jim started out with a 1/72nd scale Hasegawa P2V-7 kit and a lot of enthusiasm---we suspect there was a conversion kit of some sort involved in the festivities but we don't know who's it was. (Jim?) The mounting structure for the searchlight mounted in the starboard wing tank appears to have been largely scratch-built and really looks good in there. The devil's in the details!

And here's a 3/4 rear view of the port side of the aircraft. The early P2Vs were still armed, carrying 20mm cannon in the nose and tail and a pair of Browning .50 calibers in the dorsal turret. The guns were in keeping with the aircraft's mission as a patrol bomber and directly reflected that mission as it was performed during the Second World War. The final variant, the P2V-7, was still armed, but only with the dorsal turret since the primary mission had morphed into one of anti-submarine patrol. Jim's model represents a Systems Test aircraft as flown by the NATC during the early 1950s and really shows off the lines of the type.

Thanks to Jim Sullivan for the photography, and for stepping way outside the box to build a model of a unique aircraft. Good job, Jim!

They're Just Extra Parts, Right?

One of our interests around here is the Luftwaffe during its time on the Eastern Front during World War 2. It's a topic and a time period we used to swear we'd never build, but nowadays we're hip-deep into it, primarily because of the heraldry and camouflage and markings variations found in that theater of operations. That's led us to build quite a few Fw190 and Bf/Me109E models from the time and place, and that's led us to a couple of really neat discoveries that we'd like to share with you today regarding the 1/48th scale kits available for a couple of variants of those two types. We aren't going to build anything before your very eyes, or even say that one kit is better than another, but we are going to share a couple of discoveries that may make your life a little easier. Interested? Good---then let's proceed!

The Short-Nosed Fw190s:

There are three viable choices here; Eduard, Hasegawa, and Tamiya. Of the three, the Hasegawa kit in any of its variations is the best of the bunch in terms of accuracy and is second only to the Tamiya kit in terms of "buildability". About the only thing we ever add to them is a set of Eduard belts and harnesses---you really don't need anything else unless you plan on opening everything up, in which case you should've bought the Eduard kit (and all the related photo-etch for same) in the first place.

As for the Eduard kit, there's not a lot to be said about it  that somebody else hasn't already done. It builds into a really good looking model as long as you aren't overly concerned with accuracy, and the decals that come with any of its variations are among the best available in any scale, but the kit's primary usefulness is derived from the fact that it has a lot of extra parts included in the box.

The Tamiya kits are the Odd Man Out in any gathering of Focke Wulfs, which takes us to the point we're trying to make today. Easy to build and acceptably accurate out of the box, they suffer from undersized main landing gear wheels and tires and short landing gear. The simplest way to deal with the issues is to build the Hasegawa kit of your choice and forget about Tamiya and Eduard, but the Hasegawa offerings have become hellishly expensive of late which makes the Tamiya kits suddenly viable again, particularly since the simple replacement of the tires and wheels will restore most of the proper "look" to your model. There's a thriving aftermarket for such things, but you'd may as well take advantage of Eduard's generosity if you're building the Tamiya kit but have an Eduard Fw190A or F sitting in your kit stash since The Big E includes multiple sets of tires/wheels in each and every one of their Focke Wulf kits (early and late wheels, ribbed tires and smooth tires), which gives you a correction set for any Tamiya kit right out of a box you've presumably already got. The simple act of putting the proper-sized tires on your Tamiya kit will improve the sit tremendously, and thereby improve your model as well. It's a quick fix and there's a fair chance you've already got the parts in your stash!

The Bf109-E:

Once again we have a choice of kits, although this time there are four to choose from.

Hasegawa was the first in the current crop of 109Es, and it's not our favorite. We have a couple of the kits and periodically steal parts from them for other projects, but at the end of the day it isn't one we'd build so we aren't going to discuss it today.

Next up are the Tamiya offerings, an E-3 and an E-4/7. Both are adequate kits that build easily and don't need a whole lot of help except in the cockpit, where they're a little lacking. The propellers are anemic and you might want to replace the wheels but that's about it. One thing, though---Hasegawa and Tamiya both had to re-tool their fuselages for the sake of accuracy, and if you're buying a Tamiya kit you're looking for the one that says "Made in Philippines" on the end of the box. The really early iterations of the kit have a gomed-up nose.

Eduard's offering of the "Emil" really impressed us when it first came out, and it still does. It has some scale problems, primarily in the fuselage and in particular in the area of the nose, and it's wing slats are too wide, but otherwise it's a gem of a kit, although you'll need your wits about you if you choose to build one since it's design is a little bit complicated.

Then there's the Airfix kit. It's a simple model to build and quite a value for the money since it includes all of the parts to build an E-1, E-3, or E-4/E-7 directly from the kit, requiring no aftermarket whatsoever. It also includes all the various Jabo-related fairings and such for the underside of the fuselage, and it's got a tropical filter. It's been criticized, and unfairly, we think, for having overdone panel lines, but they look ok under a coat of paint. The real problems with the kit lie in its lack of a rudder trim tab, which is easily resolved with five minutes and a knife blade, overly-long landing gear, poor wheels and tires, and thick and clunky transparencies. The kit can be made into a real winner with some simple modifications though, and you may not even need to spend money to fix them since it's possible you've already got the kits necessary to do that.

Working on the theory that a picture is worth a thousand words (and I can always find a thousand words to say, so from your point of view a picture is a Very Good Thing!), here's a shot of an in-process Airfix Bf109E for your consideration. It's almost bone stock, but the wheels (including the tailwheel) are Eduard "Brassin'" components, while the windscreen and aft canopy section are from the "Carganico Option" provided (without identification, at least in the kit I had) in the Zvezda Bf109F-2. The landing gear legs haven't been shortened yet---they don't look odd until you set the model beside one from another company. From a dimensional standpoint, as well as that of value for money, the Airfix kit is The Good One in a 109E shootout, or at least that's my opinion this week! There are a few things to be cleaned up before we stick a fork in it and call it done but I like the way it looks, and I didn't have to buy anything to correct the minor issues the kit has; the parts were already in my spares cab. Beauty!

We've talked about how to fix the rudder trim tab already so we'll skip that now. If you're building an E-1 or an early E-3 you'll need to add a little vane inside the oil cooler fairing, but that's easy to do with a piece of scrap styrene. You'll want to shorten the landing gear legs but we disagree with conventional wisdom here and don't think the length issue resides in the oleo portion of the strut but rather in the basic part that's proportionally too long overall. It's easiest to shorten it in the area of the oleo, but it's probably more correct to take it out of the top of the strut---a sixteenth of an inch or so ought to do it.

Once you've fixed those things, you'll want to replace the tires and wheels because they're simply awful. I just used a set of Eduard's "Brassin" wheels on one I'm building, but you can get a replacement set from any of the other kits or from the aftermarket. That basically leaves the canopy stack to be dealt with, and that one is surprisingly easy to cope with as well. The Eduard canopy stack will fit the Airfix fuselage with virtually no modification, and the E-3 stack that Zvezda thoughtfully provides in their Bf109F-2 kit (included there so you can build one of Horst Carganico's modified 109Fs, although the instructions don't tell you that) fits like it was designed for the Airfix kit in the first place!

So what's the reason for this ramble, you might reasonably ask? Superficially, at least, it's to tell you how to perform a little simple parts swapping in order to improve a model from parts sources you might already have. More than that, however, it's to inspire you to think beyond the retail aftermarket and re-focus some of your energies into your own closet. We did it that way and were very pleasantly surprised at the results. Our efforts were spent improving recent kits wearing black crosses, but the opportunity exists across the board. Look on it as a little Modeling 101, as it were!

Bentwing Bugsuckers at the RAM

Any of our readership who have flown into Austin, Texas, during the past several years will have noticed a bright, clean, modern airport facility dedicated to getting grandma and the kids, as well as every itinerant musician in the United States, in and out of the State capitol in a safe, comfortable, and efficient manner. Any of those folks who might have chosen to look out the window while on final approach could have noticed something else as well; long, wide runways capable of handling the largest of jets incorporated into a very military-appearing plat. There's a reason for it all; until fairly recently Austin Bergstrom was known simply as Bergstrom Air Force Base. During its life span it saw everything from plank-winged F-84s through B-52s, with its final resident unit being the 67th TRW's 45th TRS. That final resident is important to our next photo essay, since Bergstrom was once host to the Reconnaissance Air Meet, known colloquially as RAM, and hosted every other year as an international photo recon exercise and competition.

The meet simulated operational wartime conditions with low-level recce missions being flown throughout Texas during the course of events, complete with airborne adversaries (generally F-15s and F-16s) and other defense measures thrown in for good measure. We attended the events in 1988 and 1990, and were able to spend part of the 1988 event at Last Chance, a spot on any American military airfield where final checks are conducted on the aircraft prior to launch. The photos you are about to view were taken there, at what had to have been the noisiest place in Texas that day, but the aircraft we're going to show you today were not photo-recon ships but rather the tactical fighters of the Texas Reserve's 704th TFS flying out of the reserve facility at Carswell. Here's what it was like that day, the 21st of August, 1988:

66-709 taxis into Last Chance, canopies opened and the aircrew reasonably relaxed. She's carrying all of her extra gas on the centerline and has a pod in her forward port-side Sparrow bay but is otherwise clean. Note the Texas flag motifs on the forward nose gear door and at the tip of the vertical tail. Pride runs deep in Texas, ya'll!   Friddell

709 pulls into the inspection area as the ground echelon comes out for a quick final inspection of the aircraft. Everyone out there, including the photographers that day, were wearing hearing protection and were sans caps or hats of any kind. J-79s are not fond of baseball caps!   Friddell

The airplane is stopped and final inspection is underway. The ground crew are looking for leaks, loose panels, improperly mounted external stores, or anything else that might pose a flight hazard to the aircraft. If it were carrying live ordnance this is also the place where the arming safety pins would be removed, shown to the aircrew, and taken away. The whole operation takes around ten minutes in a peace-time environment. It's it's a critical ten minutes that could define the success of the mission as well as the survival of the crew, and it happens every time an American military aircraft is prepared for launch.   Friddell

The checks are performed, the canopies closed, and 709 taxis away to the active runway for launch as a TARPS-equipped F-14A awaits her turn. It's all well-orchestrated and immaculately performed. The only thing that beats it is an operational carrier deck, but that's an essay for a different day.   Friddell

709 was podded, but her playmates weren't. Here's 762 immediately after her inspection, buttoned up and taxiing out. She's carrying an inert AIM-9 and has been fragged to support a recce mission. All of the photography on this particular shoot was done with a conventional 50mm lens, which allowed us to redefine the expression "up close and personal". Did we mention it was loud out there?   Friddell

Here's a final shot of 762 showing the way the external stores were carried that day. The loadout would make for an interesting detail on a model, we think---very few people ever build replicas of aircraft engaged in peacetime training exercises, which makes doing it that more interesting to us. It's all in the details, isn't it?   Friddell

We've recently begun to snoop around in our F-4 files and have re-discovered some interesting photography. Watch these pages for more 80s "Bugsuckers". It's the right thing to do!

Happy Snaps

We've really been blessed around here in that we've been able our readership some truly unique and, in many cases, outright beautiful, photography. Today's Happy Snaps offering is no exception.

Doug Barbier's military career was both extensive and varied, and provided him with an opportunity to indulge in his passion for photography while performing his other life's passion as an aviator. This example of his work was taken while he was a T-38 IP at Williams AFB and we think it sums up the beauty of flight as few photographs can. Thanks, Doug!

One more thing while we're on the subject: We hated, and we mean hated, to have to watermark such as beautiful photograph because of the continued actions of the goobers who continue to pirate photography every chance they get. Maybe some day those guys will learn how to play a straight game but, until they do, we'll have to continue to deface the images we run here. It kills our soul to have to do that, at least for the present, but it's the way things have to be. Arghh, he said!!!

The Relief Tube

The last time we met, Jim Wogstad had supplied us with a photograph of the T-5 Turret Trainer, the vehicle that appeared in that B-25 shot a couple of issues back. We couldn't get the picture into a format that would allow publication, so Jim was kind enough to scan it again and re-send it:

And here it is in all its glory; the T-5 Turret Trainer Truck. It's on a 4x4 rather than 6x6 chassis but would make for a fascinating accessory to a model B-25, and we've already got photographic proof that they were used to some extent in the Philippines, if nowhere else! Thanks to Jim for getting us a scan we could show you---now we need a kit!   Wogstad Collection

We ran a fairly extensive FJ-4B piece a few issues back. In conjunction with that article I'd built a model of a Fury carrying a Mk 7 on one wing. Tommy Thomason was kind enough to send an exceptional photo showing an FJ-4B with the weapon in place, and I managed to lose it somewhere in Electron Land! I recently managed to find it:

And here it is. It's worth noting that this particular airframe still has the port-side 20mm in place, and does not have the generator door and its associated vents as a result. Many thanks to Tommy for this photo, and a profound apology for taking so long to run it!   Thomason Collection

Much in common with Tommy's FJ-4B shot immediately above, reader Jean Barbaud recently discovered a better photo of the bulldog emblem on that VMF-122 F4U-1 we ran several issues back. We've found it now (misfiled in that same folder with the Fury!) and would like to run it for you today:

Thanks to Jean for his patience with us, and for sharing this wonderful image.   Barbaud Collection

Last issue we ran one of Rick Morgan's photos illustrating an RA-5C that we were almost certain was being prepared for public display. Rick was kind enough to confirm that for us:

Phil: The RA-5C at Memphis was in fact there to be put on display; it stuffed and mounted at the base. Rick

Thanks, Morgo, and thanks to all of you for making this project what it is. Be good to your neighbor and we'll meet again soon.