Down to the Sea in Stoofs
In this edition of our ongoing Stoof Extravaganza we're going to take a look at the Tracker in its intended environment; at sea. The S2F was a good airplane around the boat in any of its variations and was well-liked by those who crewed her (or at least I've been completely unable to find any former "Stoof" aircrew who didn't like her) except for the noise which was deafening in that airplane, both figuratively and literally.
We're not out of "Stoofs" yet, so join us next time for another chapter in our S2F essay when we take a look at a couple of unusual Trackers, some Reserves, and maybe even a little drama. Don't touch that dial!
All Beat to Snot is What It Is
Rick Morgan sent along this photo of a VX-3 Corsair a while back and I'd been holding off running it, but today's The Day. It's a post-War bird and is a little different from the norm. Let's check it out.
A Missed Opportunity
OK, ya'll, here's another of my seemingly endless There I Was stories to amuse and astound you but, if your own personal take on that sort of thing is that it's yet another boring tall tale from that Replica guy, feel free to move on. In my world it bears repeating because of the lesson learned and the opportunity missed and I think it worth sharing, but to each their own.
Way back yonder, in 1972 or so, the American Fighter Aces Association held their annual convention in San Antonio, a city in which I was resident at the time. The local IPMS group had committed to put on a display of relevant model aircraft, and I'd volunteered to work said display. How could I go wrong? Lots of aces, lots of stories, and a chance to show off some models---in 1972 it didn't get much better than that as far as hobbies went!
Anyway, there I was, standing by one of our display cases minding my own business (more or less), when these two guys walked up to the case that contained our paltry collection of Vietnam-era jets. They were both a lot younger than the WW2 and Korean War aces we'd been talking with all day, so there was no doubt they were just a couple of passers-by who held an interest in model airplanes. Still, they were interested.
They looked at the display for a minute, then the more outgoing of the two turned to me and asked "Do you have any 17s here?". 17s? OK, his dad must've been 8th AF or something during The Big One, right? "Yep, sure; there's a B-17 over there in that corner case." He grinned at me and said "No, not those old bombers. I mean MiG-17s. Do you have any models of a 17 here?" "No, I'm sorry; there's a kit available but nobody here's built one yet. There's just not enough information on the North Vietnamese air force out there, and that's what most of us would want to build."
The Outgoing Guy got an even bigger grin and said "I've seen a bunch of 'em. You could probably just paint the model silver and you'd be ok." I stood there for a minute letting his remark soak in, but obviously not letting it sink in enough since I just wasn't snapping to what he'd said about seeing NVAF MiGs. The conversation went on for another minute or so, small talk mostly, and The Quiet Guy (he being the one who hadn't said anything yet) said "Thanks for showing us the models. It's a neat display, but we've got a meeting to go to and we need to leave." I said thanks and opined that I'd been rude and hadn't introduced myself. I told them my name, and The Outgoing Guy stuck our his hand. "Randy Cunningham. My friends call me Duke". The Quiet Guy chimed in: "Willie Driscoll." Then they left.
There's a lesson to be learned here, something to do with open-mindedness, a character trait I haven't always possessed. I missed a golden opportunity to talk to the Navy's only Vietnam ace and his RIO because I was so down-and-locked about model airplanes and I never got a second chance at it, at least not with those guys. Like I said, it was A Lesson Learned, but it wasn't the only lesson I learned that day. NosirreeBob; when I'm on a roll, I'm on a roll! Let us continue.
There I was yet again, same day/same place, shaking my head and wondering if I could somehow physically manage to kick myself really hard for the opportunity I'd just blown, when an older gentleman walked up and went straight to the case that held all the representatives of the Pacific War. He stood there with his hands behind his back, obviously thinking about something as he looked at the model of an Australian Spitfire Mk V in the case. OK, I thought to myself; this guy speaks my language. Maybe he was there. I'll go say hello.
So I marched myself right on over there to say hello to the guy. He smiled and returned my greeting, his accent immediately identifying him as being a member of The Former Empire. That should have been a clue but, as usual, I was pretty clueless, presuming that he was British because of that accent (never mind the Aussie Spit he'd just been looking at). I guess I figured that I'd impress him with my worldliness (read "abysmal ignorance" here) because I asked him which part of England he was from, a question that prompted an immediate and somewhat impassioned response regarding the British, Great Britain in general, and his opinion of anything that could even remotely be tied to that distinguished group of islands. He then informed me that he was Australian and had been a P-40 and Spitfire pilot during the war. He was in a hurry to get somewhere too, but was gracious in his leaving and held out his hand. "I'm sorry, I've been quite rude. My name's John Waddy."
John Waddy. Holy cow; John Waddy. Waddy was one of the RAAF's high-scorers, in case you didn't know, and a legitimate person to look up to if your interest runs to personalities of the 2nd World War. He was also (and still is) one of my personal heros, which was probably why I suddenly lost the ability to coherently say my name in reply to his introduction. John Waddy. Holy cow...
So there you are; two really good reasons to listen instead of talk when you meet somebody new. It's a lesson I haven't fully learned even now, but it's a pretty good lesson nontheless; You can't listen when you're talking. Some day that may sink in, but somehow I doubt it...
Everybody Needs a Spitty, Right?
If you build 1/32nd scale you've probably already seen the series of late Merlin-engined Spitfires recently released by Tamiya. To this point we've seen a Mk IX, a Mk VIII and, most recently, a MK XVI, and I'm guessing there will be more to come since the kit's component breakdown easly lends itself to the accomodation of a large number of variants.
It's a good kit too, in any of its several iterations. Think of those big Tamiya Zero kits, and then think of anything good (or maybe even superlative) you've ever heard about a Tamiya kit, and it's all there in spades. Detail, fit, overall accuracy; it's all there and there's relatively little needed that's not already in the kit (although I personally found an Eduard Zoom offering for the Mk VIII to be a tremendous help in the cockpit).
Anyway, this isn't a review, or anything close to one, but it does tie into the editorial immediately preceeding this missive. I've always wanted to build an Australian Spitfire Mk VIII, but not the ubiquitous sharkmouthed MK VIII from 457 Sqdn which is, I suspect, what most folks will want to do with this model. (It's a sharkmouth, right? And, in all fairness, a sharkmouth looks really good on the Spit. I just didn't want to do one on my model.) That said, I pretty much jumped right out and got myself a Brand Spanking New Tamiya Spitfire Mk VIII as soon as they were released, and got started on it a couple of weeks ago. Here's where we are with it as of today:
There's not much left to do on this one and it ought to be finished in a few more days, at which time we'll reconvene and see how it came out. Up to this point I'm really impressed with the kit. It's every bit as good as everybody says it is and sets the bar pretty high.
The SpAD Was a Tough Old Bird
Most of those old American prop planes were pretty darned tough, and could survive a tremendous amount of battle damage. That could be attributed to good design, good materials, simple systems (and not many of them), and, sometimes; luck as well. Here's an example.
The Fury Around the Boat
It's been a while since we've done anything with North American's FJ Fury, and there are still a whole bunch of pictures we could look at. Today's as good a day as any, so without further ado:
We Almost Never Run Pictures of F-14s Around Here
And that's a shame, considering what a neat airplane it was.
Last time around we discussed the possibility of a new section devoted to the contributions of our aviator readers called "Happy Snaps", and here's our first installment of same. If any of you are interested in contributing, here are the ground rules:
1. The photo needs to be air-to-air, preferably but not necessarily of a military airplane.
2. You had to have taken the picture yourself---nothing from official sources, etc.
3. If you didn't take it yourself, you need to have been there when it was taken.
Pretty easy, huh? That said, here's our first official entry in the Happy Snap Department:
Pretty cool, I think. Thanks Kolin! Anybody else have some happy snaps they'd like to share with us?
The Relief Tube
Tommy Thomason's been following our "Stoof" series, and offers a link to some interesting tests involving the type. http://thanlont.blogspot.com/2010/12/davis-barrier-one-more-time.html
And while we're talking about "Stoofs" and Tommy, here's another photo that may be of interest:
The whole reason we run The Relief Tube is to correct mistakes. Every once in a while I manage to drop a real clanger, as pointed out by sharp-eyed reader Grant: Thanks for your write-up on Monogram. One small point that you already know, it was the USS Pueblo Crisis in 1968 that sent the F-106s to Korea, not SS Mayaguez in 1975. Yikes! I'm embarassed over that one, having watched the whole "Pueblo" thing on TV!
Grant also had something to add regarding that last B-50 piece we did: Interesting comments on the B-50. One aircraft that doesn't get enough attention. 46-0005 should be a B-50A. I am an ex-airborne weather equipment repairman, though the B-50 was before my time. Bernie Barris, ex ARWO is a fount of knowledge on weather aircraft. He said that the weather marked B-50As were trainers and not fitted with weather equipment, so it should be TB-50A if redesignated at all. 310 is now at the Air Force Museum and the non-standard modifications (small camera window on the nose and small scoop before the prop warning line) along with the missing AMQ-133 Psychrometer on the left nose has thrown an error into some WB-50D profiles. I believe that it flew out of Panama before being flown to the Museum and vaguely remember that it was concerned with upper atmosphere or space radiation. If you wish to discuss weather aircraft, Bernie can be reached through the AWRA Homepage. Thank you for the pleasure of reading your blogs. Grant
And thanks to you, Grant, for both the correction and the additions to the B-50 piece, and thanks for helping to keep us honest!
And that's what I know. Thanks for dropping by, and we'll see you again real soon. Meanwhile, be good to your neighbor.