Smoke and Mirrors Don't Fly Around Here, Ya'll
A while back, maybe a year or so, we (that would be me) took a particularly nice photo of an obscure subject and e-mailed it to one of the better-known internet modeling sites, figuring the folks over there would enjoy the picture. Apparently they did, but there was additional fallout that, to be perfectly honest, took our staff (me) by surprise.
So, you might well ask yourself, just exactly what was that surprise? Was it a dispute over historical fact? Was it contradiction of the information provided? Was it some combination of the two? Nope! We can honestly use the expression "none of the above" when describing our amazement over the reaction, because the most notable discussion in the thread, or at least the most memorable, was in regard to ways to manipulate the image to provide someone's perception of "correct" color.
With that thought in mind, let's accept as a working premise the undisputed fact that old color photographs, and in particular old transparencies, can and often do undergo a phenomenon known as color shift when they age. It's a fact of pre-digital photographic life. That said, an essential fact of digital photographic life is the photographer or editor's ability to manipulate virtually every aspect of any given photograph in the computer, thus "improving" it (an opinion at best, and we have our own regarding that) for publication. Color, detail, and basic interpretation are all up for grabs (and change) when that sort of thing is done.
Why are we boring you with this? Simple. We don't like it and, therefore, we don't do it. We will crop an image from time to time, usually for asthetics but occasionally to emphasize some particular detail of a photograph, but we won't, not today, not tomorrow, and not ever, mess with the color or focus of any photograph of a real airplane published on these pages. What you see is pretty much what we started with (with the admitted caveat that your monitor may not see color the exact same way ours does.) We don't use Unsharp Mask to "fix" photographs, and we don't mess with the color balance of vintage photography. You can. We won't, unless it's a photo of a model, and even then we won't do it very often. Let's make sure we're all on the same page here; we don't/won't maniplate anything on any photograph of a real airplane.
That takes us to the moral of this story, if in fact there is one. We've said before that we're big believers in sharing historical photographs, so we don't do anything to keep our readers from saving them for their own collections. We want you to have those images if you want to have them. We do, and it's only fair, put credit lines on everything we publish, and we try to present the best, or most unique (the two aren't always the same thing) images we can each and every issue. If you choose to manipulate those images to try to figure out some point of interest, then Power to you, and we wish you every success in that endeavor. We're going to proceed with our policy of giving you a clean palette to start with by providing unmanipulated photography each time and every time. If the colors have shifted with the passage of time, then so be it. If the original image was softer than we'd have liked, or damaged in some way, then so be it. The images you'll find on these pages are true representations of the images that were presented to us.
We think it's the Right Thing to do.
Something a Little Different in the Way of Well-Known German Airplanes
We all have pet interests as modelers, and the staff here at RIS are no different. There can be no doubt that one of our primary interests lies in the realm of the United States Air Force and Navy, 1945-1975, but we bounce around a lot more than we did back in those Long Ago Days of Print, and our modeling tastes are pretty much all over the place, which takes us to our modeling subject for this issue.
Everybody builds an Fw190 sooner or later, just like everybody builds a Zero or a P-51. It's a rite of passage, if you will, and few aircraft modelers escape it. A whole bunch of folks make kits of the Wurger, and you can start quite an argument by telling a room full of modelers that you prefer this kit over that one, but that's a slim argument if your tastes run to early Focke Wulfs in 1/48th scale; Tamiya pretty much rules the roost as far as the A-1 through A-3 variants of that airplane are concerned, since their Fw190A-3 kit is pretty good, extremely easy to build, and equally easily-modified to A-1 or A-2 standard (or, somewhat less-easily, to A-4 configuration). It's a good kit. Wanna see?
Mostly Sabres, Except for the Ones That Aren't
It's been a while since we've run any CONUS USAF stuff, so it must be time to do that again! Here are a few shots from the collection of Marty Isham to get you in the mood---gotta love that Silver Air Force...
As a final note, our in-house slide-scanning capabilities are extremely limited at the moment, although that's in process of changing. In the meantime, sincere appreciation is extended to Frank Emmett for assisting with that chore for this article. Many thanks, Amigo!
We Almost Never Run Pictures of Airliners Around Here
We don't, and that's a fact, but that doesn't mean we can't. Lockheed has never shied away from unconventional design, and in the late 1950s they made an impact on commercial aviation with the introduction of their 4-turboprop L-188 Electra airliner. It was a neat idea that eventually morphed into the superb P-3 Orion family of ASW aircraft, but the airliner itself was plagued with structural failures. Those failures, and a well-publicised argument between an Electra and a flock of starlings that resulted in the loss of the aircraft and all aboard, guaranteed the demise of the type as a people-hauler, although a handful still operate as freighters. Mark Nankivil recently came across some absolutely gorgeous photography of the airplane and sent it along for your enjoyment.
Doug Barbier took some remarkable air-to-air photography during his stint with the Air Force and the ANG, and has provided some more of it for our enjoyment today:
Many thanks, Doug! And please don't forget, ya'll, that we're always looking for original photography for these pages. If you've got anything you'd like to share with us please scan it and send to firstname.lastname@example.org . The photographs will be properly credited.
Here's the part of our day where you'd normally see a "Relief Tube" entry, but we either did really well last week or nobody read what was written! However that shakes out, we've got no corrections for this week so, as always, be good to your neighbor and we'll meet again soon.