Fond Memories of Days Gone By
My dad was career Air Force. He was a noncom; a First Sergeant pretty much from the time I was old enough to remember such things. Being young and not yet educated in the ways of the military world, I thought he was Just Another Guy in a Blue Suit; it took a few years for me to understand just how much clout a First Shirt really had. Holy Cow! A First Sergeant could do anything, and a First Sergeant generally had friends who were First Sergeants, and they could do anything too. During my high school days in Japan (1962-1965) my dad's title proved to be the golden key that unlocked many doors, but we'll talk about that a little later. First, let's talk about Japan, and why I'm spending this time in reminiscence instead of in the serious discourse of aviation history.
Misawa AB was a jumping kind of place when we got there late in 1962; two squadrons of F-100Ds from the 21st TFW, a squadron of RF-101Cs from the 45th TRS, and a squadron of F-102As from the 4th FIS for base defense. It was a neat place to be and, with all those hard-light afterburners, a noisy one! There was always something spiffy zipping around overhead, pretty much all the time. Folks, it was just golden! Well, it was golden for a while, anyway. Our Huns went away in mid-1964, transferred out to England AFB in Louisiana and then on to Vietnam and a career of mud-moving. The 45th left the following year (or maybe 1966; I'm working off of memory here rather than the documents I should be looking at), but not before I got to see one of their Voodoos painted in an early SEA camouflage scheme, standard-sized national insignia and all. The times were changing in the Air Force, but I was racing motorcycles at the time and didn't really care anything else, which was a shame because our next-door neighbor was NCOIC at the control tower and I had a standing invitation to go there anytime and take pictures anytime I wanted to (a consideration arranged by my dad, I suspect). I never did take any pictures of airplanes while we were there, but I did go to the tower to visit a couple of times. On one of those visits a Voodoo from the 45th came back from a mission with an emergency that involved (or so I was later told) several largish holes in the airframe of said RF-101, a condition that, whether it actually existed or not, resulted in the immediate removal of Young Phillip from the aforementioned tower and a re-thinking of the viability of dependents in an operational environment.
The reason I mention this is because Jim Sullivan is presently working on a 1/48th scale RF-101C conversion from the Monogram F-101B kit. Turns out he's going to mark it for a Guard bird (I was lobbying for one from the 45th), but all that talk about F-101s got me thinking about Misawa, which in turn leads us to today's photos. You'll notice that a shot of anything from the 45th is conspicuous by its absence; I have yet to buy a slide scanner and my B&W Voodoo assets are thin indeed. (Any of you guys got any 45th TRS photos from any era? I'd love to see 'em!)
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Another Crack at Yesterday's Me109K
When last we met (a phrase I've appreciated since college days when one of my professors used to use it as his standard greeting to me, primarily, I think, because I cut his class more often than I attended it, but we digress...) we were discussing the application of 1/48th scale AFV and softskin kits to aircraft modeling. The airplane that illustrated the piece was a Hasegawa Me109K-4 done up for a bird from JG53 ca. 1945, and I noted that I'd knocked off part of the radio antenna suite during the course of photography. Well, it turns out I also managed to trash the trailer end of the fuel hose, and I want a do-over! Here then, and with considerable apologies to my friend Brad ("Finally! Something new on the '109!"), are a couple of photos of the Recently Repaired Regensburg Rascal. (And yes, I know the real thing probably wasn't actually built there, but I couldn't have said what I said if I'd stuck with the literal unpoetically-licensed truth. Lighten up over there, will you---this is a hobby, for cryin' out loud! Where's your sense of humor?)
This particular diorama got itself started because I needed a home for the Tamiya Kubelwagen and wanted to see how ProModeler's fuel cart looked when it was complete. I'm most assuredly not a diorama guy but I think it came out ok, pretty much in spite of itself but ok nontheless. Ain't nothin' to it but to do it!
Be good to your neighbor and we'll see you next week.