A Rough Day at the Office
Let's start the day with a photo of one of my favorite 5th AF units, the 22nd Bomb Group. This photo depicts "Glen-Win" after its miraculous landing on 13 May, 1942. One of six B-26MAs from the 408th BS that raided Vunakanau Airfield at Rabaul that day, "Glen-Win" was hit by anti-aircraft fire over the target and barely made it back to Seven Mile Drome, where it was attacked by three Mitsubishi "Zeros" from the Tainan Ku while on final approach. The Marauder was badly shot up and the the tail gunner killed, while the pilot and navigator were wounded in the attack. This photo shows "Glen-Win" shortly after belly landing alongside the airfield at Seven Mile.
How 'Bout Some Bent-Wing Bug Suckers?
Working on the theory that you can never have too many F-4s, here's three aircraft of a four-ship of F-4Cs from the 182nd TFS/149th FG (it was a group back then, not yet a wing) out of Kelly AFB during the mid-80s. The photo was taken from the back seat of No. 4.Nowadays the 149th is the RTU for the F-16, but in the 80s it was a straight-up fighter outfit. Some aircraft carried nose art, but it was only to be found inside the nose gear doors! I'm not certain if that was by regulation or commander's preference; sure wish they'd put that nose art on the nose instead!
The Dora Done; Reduction Has Produced, Or Don't You Love It When a Plan Comes Together
Sometimes I actually finish stuff. You'd never know it by that A-4C that's still sitting in WIP (that would be Work in Progress, in case you didn't know) waiting to get painted, but our Fw190D-9 rework that was starged last Friday is complete. Done. Finis. We've already talked about why I wanted to do Black 12, and modeling philosophy, and darned near endless details of what was going to happen, so now let's talk a little bit about the real airplane so we can put this thing to rest. (Do I hear a sigh of relief out there? Me too!)
Lt. Theo Nibel must've been the luckiest man in the Luftwaffe on New Year's Day of 1945. Assigned to 10/JG 54, he was flying his third combat mission during the ill-fated Operation Bodenplatte when he suffered a birdstrike that forced him to make a belly landing in a field near Wemmel, Belgium. Belgian policemen broke the canopy to free him, making him a PoW and quite possibly sparing him the fate that was met by so many other Luftwaffe fighter pilots that day. His aircraft, w/n 210079, was only slightly damaged and provided the RAF with their first intact long-nose Focke Wulf for examination. Built by Focke Wulf at its Sorau assembly plant, Nibel's Dora was an early example of the type and exhibited paintwork typical of that facility, with the addition of some light blotching and yellow tactical markings on the lower cowl and rudder. The wreck was extensively photographed and a detailed (for the time) report was made of the camouflage and markings. The aircraft was taken to England for further examination and ended up a derelect, being scrapped shortly after the war.
As anticipated, almost all the work done to rebuild Black 12 was accomplished in the paint shop. A whip antenna was added to the ventral fuselage and an antenna suite run between the canopy and vertical tail, while the bump that simulates the tensioning system on the FW190's canopy was removed to replicate Nibel's aircraft---it had either been removed or, perhaps, never installed on the real aircraft, but that was it for additions/corrections to the model. The Tamiya "Dora" has an issue with the fuselage cartridge case ejection ports (the representation of same is inappropriate for the D-9) but that wasn't corrected on the model. It's mostly hidden by the drop tank and associated rack (which may or may not have been installed on Nibel's aircraft for Bodenplatte, but I put it on, there being a 50% chance that it's correct and should be there) anyway, which could be another way of saying I wanted an easy rework, not a major one. There may be a problem with the shape of the propeller blades too---I think I remember reading that someplace---but I didn't fix them either. It seemed to be the thing to do at the time.
Here, then, are your final Fw190D-9 photos for a while. The project was quick (about 5 hours total) and easy, and allowed me to put the model back on the display shelf instead of into storage or the trash can. You may or may not want to build a "Dora", but I highly recommend R to P as a modeling strategem. It's a painless way to spiff up a collection.
And that wraps things up for today. As always, be good to your neighbor and we'll talk again soon.