Sunday, March 22, 2020

Slightly Before Fame, A Mitchell, One More Mitchell, And a Pair of SLUFs

My Very Own Personal Want List

Yep; you read that correctly! While I don't think I've actually succumbed to the annual wish lists that beguile such a large percentage of the folks engaged in our hobby each and every year, I do have a small bucket list of airplanes that I think deserve to be kitted in my preferred scale of 1/48th. Two of the kits that would have been right up there at the top of any such list originating from me have recently been kitted; an FJ-2 with an FJ-3 in the pipeline too, and a P-51H, so there's hope but we've still got a ways to go so, without further ado, here it is. The List! (Please note, yet again, that I want these in 1/48th scale. I'm not trying to be hateful towards anyone that builds those other scales but it's my list, remember, so 1/48th it is!)

An F-100D done to contemporary standards, and including most of the variations for that aircraft in the box---all the various tanks and stores, all the pylons, at least two styles of refueling booms, both speed brake configurations, and a vertical stab that caters to the pre-Vietnam War "PACAF Mod". I would like for the kit to be done without provision for opening panels too, thank you very much!

A state-of-the-art F-100F, done to the same standards as the F-100D cited immediately above and with all the appropriated mods as previously cited. Second verse/same as the first, as they say...

An accurate and state-of-the-art RF-101C. We've already got a decent one, you say? Well, take a look at the shape and size of the nose on the currently available kit and compare it to photographs of the actual airplane. We need an accurate recce Voodoo that's relatively easy to built and that existing new-ish kit isn't it.

A slatted F-86 Sabre. This one's a no-brainer and, in all likelihood, a license to print money for anyone who takes the plunge, but nobody has bothered to do it yet. There ought to be two separate kits featuring type-specific fuselages and windscreens for the aircraft as well; a kit for the A and another for Everything Else. Optional panels should be restricted to the ability to do a Project GunVal nose and nothing more and, much like our kit for the "Hun", it should include all the stuff we could legitimately put under the wings. (Maybe, just maybe, there's one on the way since we've just seen a mostly-decent FJ-2 get itself released, but I'm not holding my breath just yet!). Oh, and throw an F-86H in there while you're at it, please!

An F-80, both as an A and a C, which probably means two kits. Yes; I frequently say I like the existing Monogram kit of the Shooting Star and I mean it, but it's time for something a little bit better, a kit without opened panels and including all the pylons and underwing stores affiliated with the airplane. This one's another no-brainer, I think.

An accurate MiG-15, with all the applicable underwing stuff in one kit. While it's true that there are a handful of kits of this most important of first-generation jet fighters already out there, they're all flawed to one extent or another. Much like the slatted F-86, this one is truly needed and, in all likelihood, another one of those licenses to print money for whoever decides to accept that particular challenge.

An accurate MiG-17, preferably in its later iterations as applicable to use in SEA. Think about it for a minute: The "Fresco" was one of those seminal fighters that saw active service in every corner of the globe wearing the national insignia of numerous air forces and we still don't have a truly good kit of it. And yes, Virginia; I would like all the applicable pylons and stores for it as well. I'd also like a MiG-17PF as a separate kit, but not at the expense of a good model of the day fighter.

An accurate F8F Bearcat, buildable right out of the box with no aftermarket required to achieve an accurate model. Really, people!

An accurate and state-of-the-art F9F, both in its -2 and -5 iterations. This one's another seminal aircraft and Monogram's kit is ok but it's also 40 years old, give or take. It's way past time for an up-to-date and accurate kit of this one!

And now, while we're Living Large; here are the Big Guns on my list:

A B-45 Tornado, preferably with the option to do an RB-45 from the same kit. Yes, it would be really big and yes, it's somewhat lesser-known, but it's also a seminal jet bomber that was used heavily by the USAF in its recce versions during both the Korean nastiness and the Cold War.

An accurate and state-of-the-art B-57; a basic B-model with the different noses and all the underwing stuff, as well as wing-gun mods, and all in the same kit. Yes, there already are two existing kits and yes, you can get there from here with either one of them, but both fall somewhat short of the mark and could stand replacing. It's too much to ask for an RB-57F as well, since only a handful of people (including me) would actually want one, but maybe someday...

A B-66, or maybe an RB-66. I'm not picky about the variant on that one. It's another mainstay of the Cold War USAF and an active participant in the early and middle years of the conflict in SEA, a seminal if somewhat inadequate airplane. 'Nuff said.

There's my list, then. Some, like the F-86 and MiG-15, are must-haves and I truly can't understand why we don't already have the kits in hand for them. Others, such as the B-45, might be a stretch but, like I said in the beginning: This is my want list, and it may or may not coincide with yours. We could probably get some of those kits too, the single-engined ones anyway, if all the world's manufacturers of plastic model airplanes would lay off the Bf109s, P-51s, and Spitfires for a while and issue some things that aren't already on the market in vast quantities.

For what it's worth!

Before She Hit the Big Time

Nowadays Curtiss AT-9 41-12150 lives in its restored glory as an exhibit item at the NMUSAF, but there was a time when she was just old junk down in Texas.

Roger Freeman, he of Old Kingsbury Aerodrome fame, found 150's hulk abandoned in South Texas, beginning a chain of events that resulted in the restoration of the airframe followed by its addition to the collection of that edifice once known as The Air Force Museum. Your editor (me) was poking around a disused hangar at what used to be Kelly AFB back in January of 1983 and discovered her recently recovered fuselage and wings sitting on skids prior to removal for restoration. Nobody had to tell me to take her picture!   Friddell

Here's a slightly different view of her. The lighting in that hangar was typically awful and I was shooting K25 off a monopod. It was a bit of a challenge but one well worth accepting!   Friddell

And here's what she looks like today, gleaming in a presentation of the markings she once wore early in her AAF career! A restoration team at Kelly performed a great deal of the necessary restoration work prior to shipping her north. What a treasure!   NMUSAF Photo

Thanks to Bobby

Bobby, of course, being Bobby Rocker. Here's a shot of "Mexican Spitfire", a 345th BG B-25D from The Bad Old Days for our consideration today:

The "Spitfire' bought the farm in September of 1944; a sad end for a proud Mitchell. There were no easy days in the SWPAC...    Rocker Collection

And to Gerry!

Here's another bit of B-25 nose art for your consideration. This time it's the 3rd BG's "King Sol". The photo depicts a fairly early B-25 strafer and no; we don't have an overall view of her yet!

We're guessing "King Sol" to be painted in a fairly deep yellow and the airplane is wearing early B-25 gunpacks, but aside from that we don't know much! There's a tantalizing sharkmouth at the lower left side of the photo and somebody's having fun with some belted 50-cal draped across her over-painted nose, but that's about all we know at the moment.   Richard N Davis via Kersey

Let's remember those young boys of so long ago who risked and, in far too many cases, gave all they had in the name of our continued liberty. We know it's redundant to say it again, but let's raise a glass...

Many thanks to Gerry Kersey for this wonderful image.

A-7s On Short Final

I was talking with a friend of mine this morning who tactfully, if somewhat forcefully, reminded me that it's been a very long time since our last visit. (Again, Phillip? REALLY?)

This extremely abbreviated issue is a response to Frank's admonishment but it is, quite unfortunately well and truly abbreviated. We're going to end it today with a pair of 23rd TFW A-7Ds photographed on short final into Kelly back in December of 1979:

A pair of SLUFs from England AFB's 23rd TFW drift by just prior to recovering at Kelly on 09 December, 1979. They're a tiny bit of a world now long in the past, but a world we remember with great fondness. No; they aren't the greatly lamented Silver Air Force, but they're special nonetheless, at least to us.   Friddell

The present global health crisis has changed, and will continue to change, a great many things in our lives. With any luck we will all return to normalcy in a few weeks but until that day please stay safe, and do everything you can to stay healthy. In the meantime, I'll try to publish these things a little more frequently---maybe we can take our minds off the crisis for a while by looking at old airplanes.

In the meantime, and now more than ever; be good to your neighbor. We'll meet again soon!


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Submitted Plastic, An Antipodian Aarvark, A Famous Hun, A Famous Airplane, A Bobcat, Another Model, and A Texas Voodoo

The Whole Thing's Just SILLY!

We're a silly bunch, you know, not to mention thin-skinned and egotistical, and some of us, not all but some, are experts on anything anyone could possibly have any expertise about. It's true, and all we have to do to prove it is to go someplace where a large group of our kind are congregated, or join one of those Internet scale modeling boards. Do one of those things and look around, maybe even just look at me since I enjoy this hobby too. None of us are exempt from the madness!

Let's begin with that part about being silly, and let's start that discussion by examining what it is we do. We build plastic models. Taken on face value that doesn't sound like much, and it honestly doesn't sound particularly silly either. After all, there's nothing wrong with having a hobby, and there are any number of learned people out there who will tell you a hobby is good for the mind and good for the soul. I can buy into that one, and have quite literally done that very thing if you take into account the unbuilt kits and unopened decals ("gotta get 'em while they're available") residing in the somewhat enormous walk-in closet sitting off my right elbow at this very moment. I don't count my reference library in the Silly category because I've been reading since age 5 (the same age I began modeling!), and doing that somewhat voraciously. That effectively means the references are actually two hobbies for the price of one, so they're ok. It's also what's known in The Real World as justification, but all those kits and stickies are another matter entirely.

Some of us also take ourselves very seriously because of our hobby. Very. Seriously. That's ok when we're with our peers, because a great many of them take themselves very seriously too, but there are a whole bunch of normal people out there ("OK, Friddell; define normal!" says my clinical psychologist friend Frank) who think the whole thing is, well; silly! Plastic model airplanes. Closets full of them, unbuilt or partially built. Shelves full of them too, built or partially built. Silly.

Then there's thin-skinned. We'll get into a disagreement or outright argument with people we've known half our lives, or people we'll never meet in real life because we know them over the Internet, over the finer points of plastic modeling or, perhaps more properly stated, each individual's own perception of same. I'm right. You aren't. It's that simple, but it's also devisive, it's damaging to all concerned, and it's silly.

Finally, there's the part where somebody's an expert and you're not. You don't know anything, but that person does and they'll by gosh let you know it; in person, in print, via electrons, or any other way they can figure to accomplish that task; all they require is an audience of some sort and they're off to the races. They're right, or I am, or you are; therefore nobody else is. Period. End of discussion. Well, it could be the end unless the discussion starts feeding off itself, becoming a sort of polystyrene breeder reactor, and then it goes crazy (and I mean straight-up bat-poop crazy here!). Friendships end. People get thrown out of clubs and organizations, or get banned from internet modeling boards, and it all happens because of a disagreement over something related to plastic scale modeling. If that's not silly, I don't know what is.

Now all that's out of the way, what if we agree to take a different approach to the hobby, and let's keep in mind that word: HOBBY. Our hobby, or any other hobby you might think of, can't possibly be any fun if your blood pressure is jacked up and those little veins on the sides of your forehead are all popping out because somebody disagreed with the kit you started with or didn't care for the way you painted your plastic model.

Please understand the perspective here: I'm not saying I'm right and I'm certainly not saying any of you are wrong in the way you go about enjoying this marvelous hobby of ours. On a strictly personal level I try my best to build accurate scale replicas of real airplanes at some point in their service careers, and I try to use the most accurate kits, decals, paint, and references I can find when I do it. I like to do these things. They're fun, and they soothe my soul, but when I make that jump from my own personal outlook on the hobby to telling somebody else how to do it in theirs the whole thing becomes---get ready for it---SILLY!

And that's what I have to say about that!

We Asked For It and We Got It!

Yes indeed; someone other than Norman Camou or myself sent in a photo of a model airplane they built!

Remember last issue when we mentioned that sometimes the folks in our hobby would talk about how they wanted a kit of a particular airplane and then not buy the resulting kit because it wasn't the variant they wanted? Well, boys and girls, this model illustrates one such badly-needed kit that would quite literally constitute a license to print money, a Korean War-vintage slat-winged F-86 Sabre! This particular example began life as a normal Academy kit with their standard in-the-box hard leading edged and fenced 6-3 wing. That's pretty much how all the 1/48th scale kit manufacturers treat the F-86Es and Fs, which means you have to take matters in your own hands if you want to replicate one of the myriad of slat-winged examples that were used in the KW. Cutting Edge did a conversion for us back when they were still a going concern, and it's their aftermarket set that Frank used here. Pretty nice, huh?

SO; if you really and truly want to pester the kit manufacturers about a brand new state-of-the-art kit of the Whatever It Is, why not ask for something the hobby really needs and has in fact needed for decades---a slat-winged F-86E or F? And no, Virginia; the F-40 doesn't count, because that takes us right back into Conversion Land if we're doing a KW bird. Nope; we want an out of the box, slatted Korean War-vintage Sabre so...

What do we want?  A SLAT-WINGED KW SABRE!!!

When do we want it?  NOW!!!

Whew! Anyway, thanks to Frank for the photo of his model. Now it's time for someone who isn't Norm, Frank, or myself to submit a photo or two! That e-mail addy is   replicainscaleatyahoodotcom so get after it, ya'll!

Were They Really Doing That?

A long time ago, back when we were still involved in the photography of military airplanes, we attended RAM 88, an international photo-recon competition held every other year at the late and heavily lamented Bergstrom AFB. As a means of providing inspiration to a certain segment of our readership, here's a photo for those of you who enjoy building dioramas:

That F-111C is from 6 Squadron RAAF and the ground crew in the photo are engaged at turning the airplane around between sorties. They did a seriously good job of that too, but they also inadvertently provided a bit of comic relief because of the number of people involved in that turnaround---one of my friends counted 21 different technicians in the photo! They also provided a legitimate and documented "you'll never believe it happened" modeling opportunity. How about it, ya'll? Can this be a diorama in your modeling future?   Friddell

Who Remembers "Triple Zilch"?

Most of you, probably, or at least most of you old enough to have ever possessed any of the old Profile Publications, because that very airplane, F-100D-69-NA, serial number 56-3000, provided the centerfold artwork for the F-100 edition of that seminal reference 1960s reference source. That artwork showed the airplane in its prime, back when it belonged to the Wing King of the 20th TFW in England. Here's a slightly different view of it taken a few years later:

After its service with the 20th, "Triple Zilch" was transferred to the Air National Guard and ended up with the 182nd TFS/149th TFG at Kelly, where it served until their transition to the F-4C Phantom II several years later. Somewhere during that transition process it was decided to take one of the Super Sabres assigned to the group and "Zilch" was chosen for that honor. She's on display at what used to be Kelly AFB right now this very minute but was still waiting for her trip to Corrosion Control for her Gate Guard Makeover when I shot this image back in November of 1979.   Phillip Friddell

There's an upshot to the story, too. There is, or at least was, an F-100D marked as "Triple Zilch" on display with the 20th, but it isn't the real one and never has been. Nope; that one lives at what's now called Kelly USA, right here in South Texas. We're personally still a little chuffed that Kelly, one of the oldest bases in the US Air Force's history, was killed off in one of the BRAC evolutions of the 1990s to become part of Lackland AFB, which was itself a WW2 offshoot of Kelly, but somebody there thought they ought to save this airplane, which is an Up Side, sortof, or maybe not. So much for heritage, right?

Anyway, you can still see the real "Triple Zilch" if you want to, but you've got to go to San Antonio to do it. We're just glad she was preserved!

Not a Miner

But most assuredly a Forty-Niner! Here's a nose-on image of "Snake Bite" Bob Vaught's 9th FS/49th FG "Bob's Robin" for your consideration:

It's possible we've seen this particular shot before, since "Bob's Robin" was frequently photographed during the 49th's Darwin days, but it's new to me. The image doesn't show us anything we haven't already seen but that airplane, shoved back into the bush for concealment, truly does tell a story.  Gerry Kersey Collection

Those guys from the early, dark days in the Southwest Pacific were really something. They stood up when they were called, and they set the bar for all who followed. Need we say it? Let's raise a glass!

A Bonus From Bobby

There's not a whole lot to say about this next photograph except that it illustrates an exceedingly well-worn P-38. We don't know the unit, the location, the pilot, or even the model variant, but the image is worth running for those of you contemplating building a Tamiya P-38. Don't pay undue attention to the shade of OD exhibited, color shift and real-life fading being what they are, but note the somewhat extreme weathering exhibited. Are you up for a modeling challenge on your new Tamiya P-38?

OK; have at it! The chipping exhibited here appears to go right down to bare metal along the leading edges of the wings---what a mess, eh? Good luck with that model!   Rocker Collection

So You Bought the Kit

And now you're looking for something to do with your Czech Model JRC-1 Bobcat, right? Here's an idea that might have escaped your consideration:

Jim Sullivan's personal photo archives are vast indeed, and you just never know what you'll find in there. Take this, for example; a Cessna JRC-1 Bobcat used by the station flight at NAS Atlantic City in 1946. The airplane is silver dope with a black anti-glare panel, and we're willing to go out on a limb and suggest the backs of the props are black as well. It's a simple scheme and would look great on that recent 1/48th scale Czech Model kit. You don't even need custom decals to do it, either; appropriately-sized black lettering in the font illustrated will get the job done, even though we can't read the BuNo on the vertical.    Ted Stone via Sullivan Collection

Another Way to Do It

There are a lot of folks out there who do what we'll call nostalgia modeling, taking older kits, maybe even from the 1950s, and building them for display, quite often on a stand. Say what you will about that old stuff, but those kits look pretty good when mounted on a stand and sitting on a desk. Take the concept (putting stuff on stands, that is) and bring it up to the present day, but using a near-contemporary kit instead of one of the old-timers, and you can get some amazing results. Take this model, a B-47E by Stan Kurcz, for example:

Holy cow, Martha, would you look at that?! This particular Stratojet is in 1/144th scale, which we presume makes it the MiniCraft offering, and it's a thing of beauty, as well as the perfect airplane for a display piece in that scale. The silver finish is predominately Alclad, with assorted subtle weathering techniques added. Stan hails from IPMS Butch O'Hare in Chicago and we've got a few other models of his to show you in the months ahead.   Stan Kurcz

The Stars at Night

That's the lead-in to a song about Texas, although our final airplane for today only has one star; a great honking big one back on the vertical stab:

Your editor (that's me!) shot this immaculate F-101B-90-MC, 57-0348, during a photo visit with Houston's ANG facility at Ellington way back in December of 1980. We loved the way the 111th FIS/147th FIG painted their brutish interceptors back the and we still love the paint job today. Check out that line mechanic for scale. Yep; the Voodoo was a big airplane!   Phillip Friddell

It Wouldn't Be Replica in Scale

Without a contribution from Norman Camou. Here's an essential piece on the struggle for Guadalcanal for your education and enjoyment:

No; this video isn't the usual WW2 footage with Lowell Thomas or similar doing the narration, but rather a scholarly symposium on the battle. It's well worth a watch---thanks as always to Norman for finding these gems for us!

Happy Snaps

Yep; it's another Happy Snap, the first in a while!

A KC-130T (162311) of VMGR-234 tanks a section of Grumman EA-6B Prowlers from VAQ-141 near Puerto Rico on 17 November 1989. It's a fitting image to close out 2019 with, and a sad reminder that we have to deface our otherwise superior photographic contributions because of those darned Picture Pirates. You guys really ought to be ashamed of yourselves...   Rick Morgan

The Relief Tube

Yes, really! We have a Relief Tube entry for this edition, from our friend Eric Methieu concerning the identify of a Piper YL-21 that we ran way back in September of 2011!


I suppose you already have the answers about two pictures of Piper L-21. 8 years ago!!! I think this aircraft is a Piper YL-21 Super Cub serial 51-6496. Thanks to Joe Baugher's site. 16496 is barely visible on the fin. 

Eric "Badluck" Mathieu from France

Many thanks for the comment, Eric---it's never too late to add to or correct a caption around here! We appreciate your contribution!

And that's it for this issue, and also for the year 2019! You've probably noticed how brief this installment is, but rest assured it's not the beginning of a trend! We haven't published a whole lot of late and it would have run this edition into next year if we'd continued work on it---the simple truth is we want to publish it now, before the year ends.  Please be patient and stay with us, because we've got a ton of really interesting photography to share with you in the months ahead, but until then be good to your neighbor. We'll meet again soon!


Monday, November 18, 2019

So Many Choices, Texas Phantoms, A Polystyrene Fort, An Emil, An Aussie Hawk, Down in the Weeds, and A Couple From Norm

So Many Choices, Mostly Flawed

Or to put it another way; Huh?

A couple of days ago I was reading the handful of modeling boards that constitute the beginning of cognizance for me on most mornings and I noticed a thematic trend, or maybe I didn't notice a trend at all and am simply making this up for the sake of a lead-in to today's somewhat deranged meandering. Which one doesn't matter. You have to start somewhere, right?

Here's the premise. It's one you're all familiar with because it comes around a couple of times a year, each and every year, but it always amazes me so by simple association it must surely amaze you as well. Well, maybe it does or maybe it doesn't, but the topic of the hour is Kits I Want Somebody to Produce For Me. It's a simple topic if taken at face value: Nobody makes a decent kit, or makes one in my chosen scale, or makes one at all, of the (fill in the blank here), which happens to be my very favorite airplane ever, one which I want more than anything else in the whole entire universe, and somebody ought to do that. Somebody really ought to.

Let's think about Somebody who ought to make that kit for just a minute, because the term encompasses quite a bit of territory, starting with the guys who produce a handful of kits out of resin, maybe in their garage, and running right up to the big-name manufacturers of polystyrene kits, with all sorts of permutations within those boundaries. Somebody ought to devine (that means figure out) the kit I want, design and produce it to Tamiya standards, and sell it at a price I can easily afford, but that won't happen if I'm the only one who wants it, so lets take a poll, or have a survey, or do something, doggone it, because I/we really really want that kit!

Here's how it works. Somebody starts a thread on one of those boards by asking which airplane the readership most wants to see produced in whatever medium may be under discussion, which in turn produces a veritable cascade of I Wants from Said Readership. Some of the I Wants will have considerable merit, some will be somewhat questionable, while a large percentage will fall into that rabbit hole that  lives out there in They Don't Know How This Works In The Real World Land. Don't believe me? Try these on for size, then:

The B-36, in 1/48th or 1/32nd scale. Yes; that very thing actually shows up on lists from time to time. There's at least one kit out there in 1/144th, and there's Monogram's magnificent effort in 1/72nd, but that latter offering never sold well when it was new because of size and cost so bigger might not necessarily be better---maybe that one's not such a great idea after all...

American jet fighters of the 1950s, to include the Century Series. Almost any of those could be legitimate to some extent, because most of the available kits are old and getting older by the minute, or of extremely mediocre quality, but there's a catch. (There's always a catch!) There are folks out there who would like a state-of-the-art Lockheed F-90, or a Chance Vought F6U, but you can count those folks on the fingers of one hand (which means zero interest from the big name manufacturers) and besides, we can't even get a slat-wing F-86 in most of the available scales, much less a Pirate. Add to that general mayhem the rather obvious fact that the variant of our hypothetical 50s jet fighter that someone actually chooses to kit won't ever be the one people will go out and buy, even if that variant is the exact same one they put on their Gotta Have One lists. They'll ask for a C-model and get it, and then bemoan the fact that they didn't get an A-model too or instead of. Go figure, right?

'Tween the Wars and Great War biplanes of any sort are in there too, and I have to admit the prospect of that one definitely gets me excited, but the folks who manufacture kits of such things are few and far between and the kits are almost invariably poor sellers, Wingnut Wings notwithstanding.

One-offs of any era. Decent kits of airplanes like The Spirit of St Louis will sell, usually. So will the true oddballs, but they'll only sell to a small circle of enthusiasts and therein lies the rub!

People who make short-run kits out of resin, or by way of 3D printing, or vacuumforms, or with tissue paper and popsicle sticks, tend to do it as a labor of love, but at some point even the most altruistic of those folks would like to receive some degree of adequate financial compensation for their efforts, if only to cover their costs as opposed to producing their short-run kits at a continual loss. The big companies who produce kits out of injection-molded polystyrene have a completely different business model; the guy in the garage can break even and consider it a Good Thing because he loves what he's doing, but those big guys who have employees and overhead to deal with need to make a lot more money than that, an event that will never occur if they chose to invest in 1/32nd scale kits of the legendary (and entirely mythical) Humbly Pudge Heavyish Bomber.

There's the kicker then, which also happens to be The Point: You want one of whatever-it-is, you get a bunch of people on those modeling boards excited and wanting one too, and some manufacturer, large or small but almost inevitably either heavily dedicated to the hobby or just not very bright, takes the bait and produces one. Its retail cost, medium, and degree of sophistication reflect the slings and arrows of research, tooling, production and probably overhead, and that guy who started the whole thing in the first place decides not to buy one because it costs more than he wants it to, a price that, in the eye of the requestor, is often just barely more expensive than Free. Most of his friends don't buy one either, possibly because they never really wanted one in the first place. The eventual bottom line gets us to the inevitable part where the manufacturer thinks twice before ever going down that road again. Don't believe me? Look around!

One the other hand, we're actually getting some of the things we thought we'd never see, like that new F-51H that, so there's always hope. I wouldn't hold my breath over the Humbly Pudge bomber, though...

Phantoms in the TXANG

San Antonio's 149th TFG has been in the fighter business for quite a while, and for a portion of that career, back during the late 1970s through the late 1980s, were flying the legendary Double Ugly, the mighty McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II. I used to get out to their ramp from time to time and would like to share one of those adventures with you, from a shoot in November of 1979.

Here's a fine example of a Charlie-model F-4 in TXANG service. 63-7419, an F-4C-15-MC Phantom basks in the sunshine on the 149th's ramp at what used to be Kelly AFB. There's no tailcode, but otherwise this particular example of "Double Ugly" could have been any one of a great many F-4s in service with the Air Force, the Guard, or the Reserves during that era. 419 was undergoing pre-flight when I took this photograph.   Friddell

There's nothing quite like a sunny ramp full of Phantoms to get your interest up! 63-0625 was an F-4C-20-MC and there was absolutely nothing special about her that day except for the "TEXAS" ribbon across her vertical stab. Things look fairly placid in this particular shot, but the 149th was, and still is to this day, a highly professional and proficient fighter outfit. Did flying the F-4 help that image back in The Day? Oh yes it did!   Friddell

Modern aircraft, "modern" in this case being anything built for the USAF after 1955 or so, are often covered in stencilled warnings and instructions and 64-0750, an F-4C-23-MC of the 149th, illustrates that practice to an almost ridiculous extent. Yikes! On a more modeler-friendly note, the 149th was tasked with the air-to-mud mission during the late 70s, as attested to by the gun pod and TERs attached to this airframe. If I were a betting man, I'd say she was on her way to move a little sand at the gunnery range on Matagorda Island but then again maybe not. Still, she is loaded with that pod...   Friddell

64-0827 was wearing a pod that day as well, and she's got TERs on her inboard stations too. Modelers take note of that gas bag; it's dented and the paint demarcation line on its nose cap doesn't match that of the main tank body. The devil's in the details, as this F-4C-24-MC attests!   Friddell

In somewhat striking contrast here's a view of 64-0879, another F-4C-24-MC, carrying nothing underneath her airframe other than the inboard stations, although those are fitted with TERs. It's hard to call the Phantom II a pretty airplane no matter what configuration a given airplane might be in, but the type does look kindof classy when it's all cleaned up.   Friddell

I'm personally not a very big fan of straight-on profile views of airplanes; I think they're just too darned clinical and sterile, but a lot of people prefer that. Here's a view of 64-0918, an F-4C-25-MC, that I photographed for those who enjoy such things. Let me be clear about that last statement, though; if you'd care to submit photographs of American military aircraft for possible use on this site (at   replicainscaleatyahoodotcom   ) I'm perfectly cool with clinical side views! They aren't a first choice, doggone it, but who am I to ever say no to a decent picture of an airplane?    Friddell

That's it for today's look at the immortal "Phantoom", although you can pretty much bet you'll be seeing more of the type in the months ahead. We're fond of the Phantom II around here, dontchaknow? 

One Big Honkin' Flying Fortress

By now you've all noticed that certain folks show up repetitively on these pages. One such individual is Norman Camou, who has supported us with a seemingly endless supply of really neat YouTube links to aviation topics and, more recently, with photographs of some of his models. Here's yet another example of the latter:

HK happens to make an extremely attractive B-17G kit in 1/32nd scale, and Norm turned his talents to building one of them a while back. This photograph says a lot for the overall quality of the kit and, more importantly, for Norm's not-inconsiderable talents. The completed model is a big 'un, and takes up a fair amount of space when on display, but the kit has been designed in a manner to allow the wings to be removed and reattached, thus simplifying storage when the beast isn't on display. We like it!   Norman Camou

Norm's B-17G is seriously cool, but that shot is also the only photograph of a completed model we've received here since I asked for such submissions last issue. No, wait; Frank Emmett did send me a couple of pictures of some model railroad buildings he's working on for a mutual friend of ours, but nobody else has, so I'd like to re-extend the invitation to you all. Remember that title: Replica in Scale? That "replica" part means models, ya'll! I happen to like what Norm's doing, and I tend to like what I'm doing as well but it's a far bigger world than that so how about it? Do you build? Do you build to a reasonable standard? Then you're our guy or gal! Photos should be in JPG format if possible and large enough to present well. You don't get paid for them, nor do you receive any sort of prize, but you probably will get your fifteen minutes of fame if we publish one of your photos. That e-mail addy, suitably gomed-up to mess with The Spam Brigade, is  replicainscaleatyahoodotcom  .

Willy in the Balkans

Or one of his creations, anyway. This one's a reproduction of a JG27 BF-109E-7 in use during the latter stages of Operation Marita, Mr Hitler's ultimately flawed excursion into the Balkans, and is from the much maligned 1/32nd scale Eduard kit:

Several years ago our friends over at Eduard made an attempt at breaking into the lucrative 1/32nd scale model airplane market but their premier attempt fell flat. The list of things that needed correction on that initial kit was lengthy and somewhat damning, and the kit was a severe disappointment in consequence although it was, and remains, quite buildable. In this view you can see one of the significant issues; Eduard's treatment of the fabric control surfaces. I rather obviously didn't fix them, but you could if you wanted to. I also didn't bother to put the hand-holds in the windscreen corners and I really should have done that, but such is life!   Friddell

This photo shows something I actually did correct, and you should too if you choose to build this model: As things come out of the box the slats on the wing leading edges are just too darned deep, chord-wise, and look pretty silly if you know how the real airplane appears in comparison. Fortunately the fix is an easy one, simply a matter of laying in a filler strip in the slat well (which is actually incorrect on almost every 109 kit ever made that allows for dropped slats, not just Eduard's, because there isn't any deep slat bay there at all) and then trimming back the slat itself. The mlg tires and wheels on this model are from an Aires accessory set meant for the 1/32nd scale Bf109F family, while the lawn-tractor tread has been sanded off the kit tailwheel and said edifice slightly reshaped. It looks ok, don't you think?   Friddell

On the other hand, the Eduard kit just isn't very good when taken as a serious replica of the E-series Bf109s. There are some dimensional issues that are difficult to address in addition to other flawed details, and there's actually no point in building one if you have the far better Dragon offering available to you BUT that's with a huge caveat. The kit is extremely buildable, and it looks pretty good once it's done, but like we said, it isn't accurate out of the box and getting it up to a higher level of fidelity to the real thing is a chore at best. It can be done, of course; just go over and visit the fine folks at BritModeller and look for examples of what some of their contributors have done with the kit if you don't believe me. The point is that a decent-looking, if somewhat inaccurate, model can be produced from the kit. Would I enter this model in a contest? No; I would not. Would I put this model in my 1/32nd scale Luftwaffe collection as an adequate representation of a late Emil? Yes I would, and in point of fact I have. It's all something about the eye of the beholder, if I'm not mistaken...

A Nifty Warhawk From Bobby

An issue of Replica just wouldn't be the same if we didn't offer a photo or two of the war in the Pacific from Bobby Rocker's extensive archives. Let's begin with a really nice P-40N:

This is such a neat photo I had to run it, although I don't know all that much about it. It was taken on Biak in 1944, which should make it from either 78 or 80 Sqdn RAAF, but I'm not sure which. What I am sure of is that it's a well-worn P-40N (Warhawk Mk IV) and its overall appearance makes it a wonderful candidate for a scale model. Notice in particular the generally disreputable appearance of the lower wing between the landing gear fairings and the outer guns, and the heavy lead deposits on the exhaust stacks, the result of cruising the aircraft with an extremely lean throttle mixture. The devil's in the details, as they say, and there are a whole bunch of those details visible here!   Rocker Collection

Just How Low Is Low?

Yep; that's a rhetorical question, and one that makes no sense without a context. Let's consider the American 5th Air Force in the Southwest Pacific as context then, because Low had a whole lot of meaning for them, at least where their attack aircraft and medium bombers were concerned.

How about this one for starters? It's somewhat of an enigma in our world since we don't know the serial number, nor do we know if there's different artwork on her port side, although we'd willing to bet there is. What we do know is that she was an A-20G with the 90th BS in 1944, and she was one impressive-looking airplane!    Rocker Collection

Of course, there was a price to be paid in the SWPAC, even if you were in a smokin' hot outfit and flew an airplane like the B-25G. By 1943 the odds were mostly in your favor, but that didn't eliminate the danger altogether because, besides the Japanese, you still had to contend with capricious weather and extremely poor operational conditions each and every time you got in the airplane. We don't know for sure which one of those things did in this 499th BS Mitchell, but we suspect the place to be Owi Island and it would appear her crew got out ok. It wasn't always that way.   Rocker Collection

Here's a really poor photograph of another B-25G, this time undergoing maintenance, for your consideration. Think about what you're looking at for a minute, and let's put it in the proper context. Let's pretend like you're doing major repair work on your car, and let's pretend you live in the Florida Everglades and your driveway is on the edge of a swamp. Let's add heat, humidity, bugs, snakes, and the occasional air raid to your repair efforts. That was every day for those guys; every stinkin' day, and they got it done every day. Every stinkin' day!  Rocker Collection

Every once in a while Bobby will send along a photo that's carrying a caption. Such is the case with this shot of "Mexican Spitfire", a B-25D from the 500th BS of the 345th BW. She's obviously seen the elephant more than a few times, and will eventually see it one time too many. There were no easy days in the 5th AF, not ever.   Rocker Collection

And Now For Another Havoc

Just one, but it's a SPECIAL one! Take a look and see if you don't agree!

Ok; everybody who's seen this photo of an 89th BS A-20 undergoing field maintenance (in the truest sense of that term, we might add) raise your hand. Got it! Now; everybody who's seen this image more than once, including right here on this very site, raise your hand again. Yep, it's true. We've all seen this airplane before, but most of the prints out there are pretty iffy at best and you can't really see the airplane, which means you can't tell she's carrying nose art and the name "Daisy Mae", along with a bunch of mission markers. This particular image is better than most and you actually can see those things this time around. Don't thank us; thank James Gallagher!    James P. Gallagher

There are two sides to every story---here's the largely unknown other side of "Daisy Mae"! This photo defines even more details about 0146; note in particular the U.S. Army logo still under her wings. Many thanks to Gerry Kersey for sharing this image from Gus O'Donnell, 89th BS crew chief.  O'Donnell Collection via Kersey

And finally, just when you thought things couldn't possibly get any better, here's a detail of the name, mission markers, and part of the nose art on "Daisy Mae"! Jack Taylor was her pilot and we'd like to raise a glass to him and all those like him. They were a special breed!   John Taylor Collection via Gerry Kersey

Many thanks to Gerry Kersey, both for correcting some misinformation we had on this aircraft and for supplying the additional images. The help is greatly appreciated!

Links From Norm

Frequent contributor Norman Camou, a man who's becoming ever more prominent on these electronic pages, sends in all sorts of really neat aviation-related links, sometimes several a week. Here are a couple of them for your enjoyment:

First is a link to an A-4 story from the Naval Institute's on-line magazine that might be of interest to you:

And then THIS jewel, off of YouTube and an absolute must-see if you have any interest whatsoever in the Naval air war in the Pacific:

And finally, there's this:

A few minutes with any of these should prove well worth your time!

See You Later, Alligator!

Which is a relatively goofy way of saying we're done for this particular issue. We should be back once more before we're done with 2019, though so watch this space and be good to your neighbor!


Saturday, September 28, 2019

An Early Lightning, Part of a SpAD, An Unusual Zipper, A Contrast in SAMs, "Hun" Addendum, A Couple of Fords, and A Recce 'Doo

I'll Bet He Never Built It

He, in this particular case, being the guy who drafted the instructions for the WingNut Wings Halberstadt family of kits (all both of them!). I say this with a sense of considerable regret, because I'm a big, no; make that HUGE, fan of their kits. I've got several in the closet waiting for the inspiration to start them, as well as several (that Junkers J.1 you saw here a couple of issues back and several Albatri) completed and on display in my studio. They're big, as 1/32nd scale kits should be, they're well-detailed, as any decent kit from the 21st Century should be, they look absolutely great on display, and every one of them was a little fussy to build.

You heard me right; they were all fussy to build in some area or another, but not for the reasons that might immediately come to your mind. The pieces fit just fine, for the most part, and the industrial design of the kits leaves nothing to be desired. If you build any of them correctly they'll go together beautifully and without problem, but there's a major qualifier to that statement---you have to read the instructions, and not just for the step you're working on. No indeedy; you can't just follow the instructions and zip right along ala Tamiya or Airfix. You've got to read ahead to the next couple of steps too. Got to. Have to. Absolutely. Positively. You cannot, not ever, just take what you're looking at and accept it at face value because you will inevitably discover that the piece you need to attach in Step Whatever-It-Is could have easily been attached a step or two before but has, thanks to the way the instructions are written, become an exercise in patience and, perhaps, black magic, when incorporated when said instructions say to do it if you do indeed want that part to reside on or within the finished model. If you'd only known!

We're not, however, indulging in Sir Peter Bashing, nor are we particularly unhappy with the individual(s) who write the instructions for his otherwise superb kits. Our world is bigger than that, so let's jump right ahead to the part where we say what we actually mean.

The premise is this: We, which is to say me, are convinced that the instruction writer for some if not all of those outstanding WNW kits doesn't actually build the models he or she pens said instructions for, or at least doesn't assemble any of them the way the instructions that come with the kits say to do it.

Then again, we can remember the time another well-known kit manufacturer defined a new release of theirs as the most accurate of its kind ever released, an edifice right up there with the second coming of the significant religious figure of your choosing, and we can remember the folks who run a couple of prominent electronic modeling magazines announcing that it was indeed so, and even stating that those Kit's of the Second Coming had been measured, which they obviously hadn't been, and were spot-on accurate, which they equally obviously were not. For that matter, and while we're talking about on-line modeling magazines, how about those seemingly endless I'm Right and You're an Idiot disputes about accuracy that people all too frequently become embroiled in on their forums regarding kits that, as of the moment of that particular electronic dispute, only exist as CAD renderings?

OK; ramble, ramble, ramble; there he goes again! Is there a point to this drivel? Why yes; there is! Here's the part we're going to define as The Take-away for today's meandering:

Sometimes the people who write the instructions for our kits don't build actually them and may, in fact, have never even held the sprues of their constituent plastic components in their hands. (No; we're most assuredly not accusing WNW of that particular transgression so put that Orc, or whatever the heck it is, back in its box!). Sometimes the editors of electronic magazines get fooled by the previously impeccable reputation of a given kit manufacturer and don't actually perform their own due diligence on certain kits, and those Internet Flame War Guys couldn't possibly know the truth about a kit that doesn't exist yet. Further, those two seemingly unrelated things actually come from the same container; they're related and, somewhat sadly, becoming increasingly frequent in our polystyrene and resin world. And that, my friends, is the point. If you did it, then you did it. If you didn't do it and in point of fact couldn't do it or wouldn't do it but said or implied that you had, or did it wrong and claimed for all the world to see that you'd done it correctly, then you didn't do it and shame on you.

 On a personal level, I've been involved with this hobby for a very long time and am generally able to figure out an after-the-fact way to deal with that part that should have been installed a step or two previously but wasn't, or measure the pieces of a kit before sticking them together (not that I always do it myself!), or throw the bovine defecation flag when someone who has yet to see the kit he or she is bashing engages in public and highly vocal criticism of it. I can do that, as can most of my modeling friends, but quite often the Brand New Modeler can't. The experience isn't there so that comment you just made, or that review, or that mis-step in the instruction sheet, jumps from being a mere point of humor or a minor annoyance into a really big thing that can actually cause serious problems for said Newby. It can also cause Said Newby to stop buying that particular brand of kit, or stop building a certain type of model, or maybe even leave the hobby altogether if the experience was bad enough.

In my own personal world figuring out what the guy who wrote the instructions actually meant is part of the fun of it, as is fixing the construction mistakes I inevitably make with or without that particular writer's unwitting assistance. It's somewhat less fun to buy a kit that someone gave a glowing review of, given the current asking price of most modern polystyrene kits of recent manufacture, only to find that it's not at all what I expected it to be or was told that it was. Caveat emptor is a very real thing and at the end of the day we're all the captain of our own ship, but it's nice when things are actually what they're made out to be.

Just sayin'...

Jumping On That P-38 Bandwagon

The modeling world is currently all agog at Tamiya's recent announcement of a 1/48th scale kit of the P-38F/G, and we have to admit that we're in there agogging with the best of them. It's a kit whose time has most assuredly come, and one that we can't wait to get our hands on. The early P-38s saw extensive combat useage in the Pacific, from the Solomons to the Aleutian Islands, and thanks to Bobby Rocker we've got a couple of examples of the former to share with you today.

Here we are, an early P-38G Lightning of the 339th FS/347th FG sitting on the ground, most likely on Gualdalcanal. Noteworthy are the early corcardes, post-red center but pre-bars, and the sit of the airplane, which implies that it's fueled and armed. The photo may have been taken immediately prior to engine start since there appears to be a pilot in the cockpit, but we have no way of knowing that, and we're willing to bet there's nose art on the port side of the fuselage as well although, yet once again, we don't know what it might look like. At any rate, it's an interesting photograph from a challenging period in AAF history.   Rocker Collection

You say you want to do some authentic-appearing weathering on your brand new Tamiya P-38G once you get it built? Well, here's a great example of just what that weathering should look like. If you look at the nose you can see where the major panels were taped off for the long ocean voyage to New Caledonia prior to prep and delivery to a combat area, and the paint on the entire airframe is pretty severely and uniformly weathered. There's a nose number but no nose art or kill markings as yet, although there's a fair chance this aircraft is Rex Barber's Yamamoto mission mount from the 339th FS/347th FG. Those ground echelon guys are in pretty high cotton since there's a maintenance stand next to the airplane, but they've still got to contend with the heat, the insects, and the Japanese. There were never any easy days in the Solomons. Not ever.   Rocker Collection

One further note regarding this pair of photographs: Both Bobby Rocker and Jack Fellows think those airplanes were most likely sitting on the strip at Fighter Two on Guadalcanal and I'm in no position to dispute that. Thanks as always to Bobby, and to Jack, for sharing the photos and for their insight.

I Could've, I Should've and I Didn't, But It's Still Useful

By which obtuse title I mean the photograph we're about to view. I made my first attempt at aviation photography in 1972, at a Randolph AFB open house attended by the staff of the original Replica in Scale. It was a wonderful opportunity I totally wasted by shooting details of airplanes without taking more than one or two photos of an entire example of same. Here---See what I mean?

By 1972 the Douglas Skyraider was an endangered species, almost totally gone from the Navy and Marine Corps and quickly disappearing from the Air Force inventory as well, but there were still a few around, one of which showed up at Randolph at a 1972 armed forces day celebration and public display. It's pretty obvious that someone put more than a little TLC into getting the airplane ready for its appearance but it was still a well-used A-1H and the one new thing about it, those shiny wheels, were totally incongruous in consequence. As a record of this particular 1st SOW airframe (52820) it's a fairly useless image but it does provide a fine look at paint chipping and the general wear and tear associated with continuous use in an operational (but not combat) environment.   Phillip Friddell

A Peculiar Zipper

As our readers may or may not remember the AIM-9 Sidewinder family of air-to-air missiles was a child of the Navy, but the birthing of that particular child came with a catch: The NAV was going to use the weapon in conjunction with its jet fighters, both already in service and projected, but there was a catch. It seemed that the Navy didn't have anything in service in the late 1950s that offered the performance it would have once the F8U Crusader and F4H Phantom II became available as production/service aircraft, which left a substantial gap in testing the Sidewinder under operational supersonic conditions. The obvious solution to the problem was to borrow a couple of the Air Force's supersonic Century Series fighters for the job, which in turn led to the loan of 3 F-104As to the Navy from the 83rd FIS' inventory, a task made easier by the type's impending 1960 removal from the Air Defense Command inventory.

A sight you don't see every day; an F-104A assigned to the Navy and wearing contemporary Navy markings, right down to the Air Force serial number being presented on the aft fuselage in the style of a Navy BuNo. 56-0740 was built as an F-104A-5-LO and was in active use at China Lake in March of 1960, when this photo was taken. It's service with the NAV didn't last very long, however, as it crashed to destruction with the loss of its pilot on 22 September 1960.    Navy via Replica in Scale

Here's the reason for the loan of those airplanes: An early AIM-9B sits on its wingtip launcher on 0740 prior to another test flight. It's interesting to note that the F-104 lasted far longer than anyone would ever have thought possible, albeit in foreign rather than US service, and highly improved variations of the Sidewinder are still in service as this is written. A simple airplane with a simple missile---there's something to be said for that combination, at least under the proper circumstances!   Navy via Replica in Scale

Ground to Air Plastic

Norman Camou normally educates us all with those outstanding YouTube videos he discovers and submits for us every issue, but today the contribution is a little different:

Our hobby used to be full of all sorts of neat things, from plastic kits of birds and spaceships to the then-latest (read "largely imaginary") jet fighters and bombers. The IM-98 and 99 Bomarc missiles were an early, and largely flawed, American attempt at a surfact to air missile that could protect the Continental United States and Canada from enemy attacks routed over the north pole, while the Bachem Ba349 Natter was a Second World War German attempt at a similar weapon aimed at stopping the ever-growing fleets of Allied bombers then pulverizing Mr. Hitler's Third Reich. While differing in concept (the Natter was designed to be manned and was of decidedly short range), both were considered to be serious answers to the question of air defense in their respective times. Norman took a comparative approach with the two weapons, to the end illusrated here. We admire that sort of thing and don't think there's nearly enough of it in our hobby!   Norman Camou

While we're talking about such things, let's consider a new section for this effort. The title says we're a modeling publication when we rarely are, so how about submitting pictures of your models for publication every once in a while? The parameters are simple: Well built and reasonably accurate, and having something to do with the sort of thing we write about on these electronic pages, which is to say no dinosaurs, fantasy figures, etc---those guys already have their own sites and we do airplanes here, along with the occasional missile, so let's keep it to that, ok? Ok! If you're interested, please send your submissions to replicainscaleatyahoodotcom, but substituting the approprate @ and . symbols where we used words. (Get thee hence; accursed spammers!) This is strictly an ego thing on your part, by the way, because we can't and don't pay for photographs or anything else around here; it's a BLOG, for cryin' out loud, but we'd really like to see what you've been building!

More On Those MoANG Huns

Reader Joe Vincent, a man who might be familiar to many of you, logged 171 combat missions in the F-100D while serving with the 309th TFS/31st TFW between October of 1969 and September of 1971. He's very nowledgeable regarding North American's F-100 Super Sabre and sent us an addendum to our Missouri ANG F-100 piece when we originally published it, way back in 2017. It's been on our list of things to run ever since then, but it just never happened and it is, by golly, high time we took care of that particular ommission!


 I added some comments about the MO ANG F-100C with practice bombs in your March posting. I think I may have clicked on the wrong thing when adding the comments because after I submitted them my browser had me on the Feb posting. (Actually, Joe, it wasn't anything you did. We've never printed reader comments because of the spammers and rarely ever look at the "comments" feature on the blog in consequence---apologies for that one!) Anyways, here are a few images to support my comments concerning the Bk-37 practice bomb rack. These are on OV-10s, but they are the same racks. A typical flight to the gunnery range would be loaded with a Bk-37 rack with 4 BDU-33 practice “slick” bombs on one outboard pylon, and an LAU-59 (7-shot) 2.75 inch rocket pod with only 3 rockets loaded on the other outboard. Also,the F-100s pictured with TERs on the inboards are carrying only 2 weapons per TER. My friends who flew them at Phan Rang say that they regularly carried three M82 bombs on them, but BLU-27 napalm and Mk117 bombs were physically too large. When they are loaded with fewer than 3 M82s it was because they were maxed out at takeoff weight and couldn’t carry more. One friend will send me photos of a Hun with eight M82s so I can forward it to you. As for the F-100C, I don’t know, but I doubt they were modified with the intervalometer release system and TERs. We brought the Ds back to CONUS to the ANG units to replace a lot of those Cs.

An OV-10 utilizing the Bk-37 Practice Bomb Rack with LAU-59 on the port outboard station and 4 BDU-33 Practice Bombs on the starboard one.   Joe Vincent

A better view of that starboard rack illustrating the Bk-37 Practice Bomb Rack to excellent advantage. Those practice bombs have approximately the same ballistic characteristics as a real low-drag bomb and are therefore highly useful as a training aid.   Joe Vincent

A 615th TFS F-100D in-country and on its way to some mischief carrying four BLU-27 napalm cans on the inboard stations, two per side, and a Mk 82 low-drag bomb on each outboard station. Modelers note: This was a fairly standard load for the 615th while serving in SEA.   Joe Vincent

Here's another "Hun" from the 615th illustrating the two Mk82-per-TER loading on the F-100D while in-country. Modelers in particular will want to re-read Joe's comments regarding the use of TERs on the F-100 while in SEA. This load, and the one illustrated immediately above, were standard loadouts used as appropriate to requirements on the ground.   Joe Vincent

Many thanks to Joe Vincent for this invaluable information regarding the F-100 and its air-to-ground weaponry, as well as apologies for our tardiness!

Inspiration, If You Will

We've already shown you some of Norman Camou's work in this edition of the project but there's more at hand! Norman sent us a Douglas photograph of a lineup of late-50s/early-60s Navy jet fighters that was heavy on the F4D Skyray, and coincidentally also sent a photograph of a pair of 1/72nd scale Tamiya "Fords" in differing squadron markings. We don't know if that's coincidental or not, but it provides an excellent example of how to turn inspiration into hardware, as it were:

Here's that Douglas photo for your perusal. If this doesn't inspire you to go build a model, nothing ever will!   Douglas Aircraft Corporation via Harry Gann via Norman Camou

And here are Norman's models. Pretty cool, huh?   Norman Camou

Who Do That Voo Doo

OK, it's a corny lead-in, but it does pretty much tell you where this is going. Richard Franke was the quality manage at an aviation company I worked for many years ago, a man who had spent part of his career in the Air Force, with part of that time spent assigned to Laon AB in France during 1964. He photographed these 66th TRW RF-101Cs while he was there, and we're glad he did!

56-0210 was a looker, as were all of the 66th's birds. By 1964 a great many of the Air Force's tactical jets had already been painted in silver but the 66th's Voodoos were still largely in natural metal. The markings are plain but effective, and compliment the massive fighter perfectly.   Richard Franke

Here's 56-0125 to prove the point regarding silver paint and USAFE's RF-101s. The Silver Air Force definitely knew how to decorate their airplanes, didn't they? One thing to note; neither of these 'Doos are carrying external gas bags. The entire F-101 family was delicate in that regard, in that the airplanes were barely supersonic with external tanks and overall handling was greatly diminished as well. Those bags have a way of ending up on most scale models of the Voodoo family regardless of the variant being replicated, but it's a really good idea to check available photographs before attaching them because they were rarely there in practice.   Richard Franke

And that's what I know! Be good to your neighbor and we'll meet again soon!


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Farewell to Marty

Marty Isham is gone.

Marty was one of the early contributors to the original print version of Replica in Scale. We had never heard of him---back in those days few of the serious aviation photographers were well-known to the general public once you got past people like Bill Larkins or Peter Bowers and Jim and I were still the general public at that point in time---but we'd met Norm Taylor and he brokered the introduction to Marty for us, and to Dave Menard, and to several others as well. Marty and Jim forged a bond almost immediately, and from that day Marty's generosity and kindness could be felt in every issue of the magazine. He was a photographer and a collector, and a sounding board, and a seemingly unending source of information regarding the military aviation assets of the United States and, in particular, of the Air Defense Command, a subject about which he was both passionate and and authoritative. He was, as we quickly discovered, the go-to guy for the ADC. He was a friend.

He was also, as were (and are) so many others of his breed, kind, helpful, and willing to share. He was willing to teach. He was there when you needed him. On a personal note he was invariably helpful to me as I tried to make this reborn Replica in Scale a quality piece of work, and the days when the post office delivered packages from him full of slides, photographs, and documents to help with the latest project were joyous ones indeed.

Marty had been sick for several years and his ability to help others became increasingly diminished as he dealt with his health issues, but through it all he never lost his smile or his good disposition. Our conversations became less and less frequent as those months of illness turned into years, but he never changed his approach to life and you could literally feel him grinning that Isham grin over the phone as you talked. That was how he was. That was Marty. He's gone now, and it's doubtful we'll see his like again any time soon. Our time with him was special because he was special, and his passing is a sad day for us all.

Marty Isham, departed far too soon, on 10 June, 2019. Blue skies, Marty, til we meet again!