You Need Schoolin'; I Ain't Foolin' (With Apologies to Zep)
OK, it's a corny intro, but it's all I've got so we'll have to live with it. The point to be taken (and we've taken it at least once before on these pages) is that you've got to go to school to learn to fly, and you're probably going to do that learning in a purpose-built airplane called a trainer.
Regarding those trainers; nowadays we tend to buy them off-the-shelf from other countries, but it wasn't always that way. Nope, for a great many years we designed and built our own, but rising costs put the kibosh on that sort of thing, since it eventually became far more cost-effective to buy something that was already out there than to start from scratch, but the do-it-in-country approach produced a number of classic airplanes. We're going to look at a couple of them today. Call it nostalgia (except you'll have to be really old to personally remember one of them!).
AAF G107A-467J-PD) via RAFB PAO
It's a Delta But It Ain't a "Deuce"
Nope, but it's sure a close relative to the F-102. The Delta Dagger quickly changed from being a cutting edge weapons system to an interim design that held the fort until a more advanced interceptor could be built. Convair's take on that more advanced design thing was the F-102B, which quickly morphed into the F-106A for budgetary reasons. Mark Morgan sent these "Six" shots to us last week, and since we're waiting for a special bunch of "Deuce" photos that haven't arrived yet, this seemed as good a time as any to run them.
A McDonnell Spook Revisited
We haven't heard from Mark Nankivil for a while, but he's introduced us to quite a bit of remarkable photography and we think it's time to look at some more of it. Today's subject is the McDonnell F3H Demon, one of many 1950s Navy jets that could have been a contender but was crippled by engine problems for much of its service life. On the other hand, it (and the F-101) are the direct sires of the immortal F-4 Phantom family, making the pain worth the gain, as it were.
Not the Tamiya Mustang You Wanted to See, But a Tamiya Mustang Nontheless
It's official; Tamiya's next 1/32nd scale kit will be the P-51D Mustang, with release scheduled for mid-summer of this year. It ought to be quite a kit, although there are any number of other subjects equally deserving of the honor, and we're guessing that a huge number of folks publicly proclaiming enthusiasm with buy the kit but never build it. Then again, we're a little bit prejudiced, since The Big T could have produced state-of-the-art 1/48th FJ-3Ms and F3H-2s instead, thus curtailing our ongoing whining about same. (We call that "prejudice", and are not ashamed of it. We want a Fury!)
Be that as it may, Tamiya has another Mustang out there that you can buy right now, in 1/48th scale. It's been released three times that we're aware of; once as a straight WW2 version, once in a "Korean War" release (the one to get because of the additional parts, mostly ordnance, that are included, plus the Aeroproducts prop), and once as a special WW2 release that includes a staff car. It's a good kit with a few minor glitches, such as a soft cockpit, a non-prototypical way of mounting the deployed flaps (important to the Mustang since those flaps were generally down when the airplane was parked), and a "rivet" pattern on the upper surfaces of the wings, towards the leading edge, that directly reflects a repair (most likely a doubler of some sort) on the real P-51 they scaled the model from. There's a fair amount of aftermarket available for the kit including a spiffy little F-6D conversion from QuickBoost, and more decals than you could imagine, although the majority of the latter are for European-based Second World War birds.
The kit is, like every other Tamiya kit you've ever built, quick and easy to get together, and you can tart it up as much as you want to with that aforementioned aftermarket.
While we're talking about this particular Mustang, let's look at a couple of other things too. First, there's the background color of the pin-up under the windscreen. AeroMaster provided that background in red, yellow, and blue, stating that blue was the most likely color for that particular bit of art. Since the 458th's squadron color was blue that seems a very logical presumption, so that's the color we used. If any of you have a color photograph of this airplane that shows otherwise, we'd love to see it.
AeroMaster did four separate decal sheets for VLR P-51Ds, and there's also a decal sheet for that subject included in AJ Press's 506th Fighter Group, the History of 506th Fighter Group, Iwo Jima 1945, as well as markings included in at least one of Kagero's monographs on late Pacific War aircraft. We're extremely enthusiastic about the fact that so many markings variations are available for such a seemingly esoteric subject, but do have one minor complaint. There was a fair amount of what could only be described as "ribald" artwork on those Iwo Mustangs, but AeroMaster are the only folks to include that sort of thing on their decal sheets, and there's not much of it even then. The AJ book provides both drawings and photographs of pinup art on the 506th's birds, but includes none of it on their decal sheets. There's even one such aircraft ("The Enchantress") depicted on the cover of the book, for crying out loud! Some pinup art would've been nice, ya'll.
Finally, that base is a little-known Eduard offering that really helps out a static model such as this. They make two different sizes of that PSP base; this size for fighters and a larger one for light and medium bombers, and they're well-worth looking for, although it's possible that they're presently out of production. They're one piece and provide an adequate, but not outstanding, representation of PSP and look pretty good after painting and weathering. They're inexpensive and definitely worth the money. You can even use the nameplate from the appropriate Eduard photo-etch set like we did. Just a thought, as it were...
One more note, this time of an historical nature. "Madam Wham-Dam" was lost on an escort mission on 01 June, 1945, when Harvey Sandrett, the deputy commander of the 506th, flew her into a storm while leading a strike. That makes you a little more aware of just how dangerous the VLR mission could be, I think.
In our last edition we provided a shot taken by Doug Barbier when he was an IP. Today's photo is also by Doug, but from his F-4 days with the Guard:
It definitely looks like fun! Thanks for sharing this one with us, Doug. And, as a reminder to our readers, if you've got any air-to-air you'd like to share with us (we prefer that you took it yourself, hence the title "Happy Snaps"), please forward a scan to us at email@example.com . We'd really like to see it.
And that's it for today. Be good to your neighbor, and we'll meet again soon.