It was inevitable, probably. We run a tremendous amount of photography through this site, and we go out of our way to make sure that each and every photograph is properly credited, each and every time. Mostly we've been successful with that sort of thing, and we've even deleted a couple of shots because of our commitment to straight-up integrity. Our track record has been pretty good, but yesterday we discovered a problem with a couple of photos we ran a few months ago. That problem has been resolved, but it was/is a Big Deal to us, so we want to talk about it for just a minute.
First and foremost, we want to offer our sincere apology to Martin Kyburz, who runs an excellent web site called Swiss Mustangs. Those photos first saw the light of day on his site, and were forwarded to us by a reader when we asked if anyone had any shots of post-War P-51s in the Far East. That reader told us up front that he'd found the shots on an internet forum or web site but couldn't remember which one, and we made the decision to run them, attributing them to his collection. It was an honest mistake but a mistake nontheless and, it's important to note, it was our mistake, not the contributor's. We've made the corrections to the credit lines and edited the captions on those photos, which now include additional information since Martin was kind enough to supply us with comments that further explain the pictures. We're grateful to him for that information, and also for his kindness in allowing us to keep the photos on our site.
We operate largely thanks to the generousity of our readers, who contribute the exceptional photography that makes us what we are. We encourage that, asking that those of you who would like to contribute scan and send the images that you'd like to share to firstname.lastname@example.org . Please continue to provide credit lines for your submissions where appropriate, and we'll do our best to make sure everything is done the right way. One final thing: When we received the e-mail from Martin, we immediately went to his web site, Swiss Mustangs. He does a great job over there, and we encourage anybody who's interested in the P-51 or the Swiss Air Force to visit the site. We've added a link to his site so you can check it out for yourselves.
We Finally Figured Out Those Broken Pictures
Over the past week or so you've all seen comments from us regarding the size of the photos we run; if you recall (and how could you avoid doing that, since we've pretty incessantly reminded you of it since that particular deal went down) our photos had begun coming up a whole lot smaller than they normally do. That all started two installments ago, when 50% or so of the photos we ran in our 100th issue came out dramatically smaller than we'd intended. It was what you might term a Very Bad Thing for us since we pride ourselves on providing large, detailed images for our readers to enjoy, and since that 100th edition was meant to be special.
Fortunately, the problem turned out to be an easy one to resolve once we'd figured out what had happened, and we're now back to normal. Both our last issue and our 100th issue have been fixed and that 100th blog is now as special as it was originally intended to be, with most of the images now popping up to full-screen when you click on them. A few still won't, but they were smaller scans to begin with---you'll know 'em when you see 'em! Meanwhile, thanks for your patience with us, and please go back and re-visit our 100th if you get the chance. We think you'll really enjoy the photography!
Rub-a-Dub-Dub, It's the Tinker Toy Tub
We all have Favorite Airplanes, all of us. Some folks are manic about it (think of the guy with a shelf full of nothing but P-51 models) but most of us aren't, and most of us have more than one favorite too, which tends to spread The Madness around a little bit. In our world, a prime contender for favorite favorite has got to be the Douglas A4D/A-4 Skyhawk family. It's a neat airplane with substantial combat use, it's well documented, and there are decent kits for it in just about any scale you can imagine. Those thoughts define today's lead photo essay---it's "Scooter" time, ya'll!
We're going to do things a little differently than might be expected, though, and only cover the two-seat A-4s today. Why, you might well ask yourself, are we going to do that? The answer is simple. Most folks write about the single-seaters almost exclusively, and most of the available kits/decals/aftermarket are for the solo birds as a result. The thing is, when Classic Airframes announced they were going to release a two-seat A-4 a couple of years ago, a whole bunch of folks got real excited. Then, when Hasegawa announced the impending addition of the TA variants to their 1/48th scale Skyhawk family, that same bunch of people went what could best be described as nuts, generating an enthusiasm not surpassed until the recent Tamiya announcement of what we presume will be the ultimate P-51 kit when it's released later this year. That alone would make the two-seaters worthwhile, so without further ado:
Here you go; it's your basic TRACOM TA-4J. This is the way most of us are used to seeing the two-seat "Scooters", and it's a gorgeous scheme. The bird is from VT-25 (it's hard to miss that particular bit of information since it's emblazoned in that really tasty side trim!) and is well-used. BuNo 155087 is in what might be considered "standard" trim for a Training Command A-4; no guns and with gas bags on the wings. Most A-4s assigned to TW-3 had USS Lexington painted on the fuselage because the "Lex" was the boat everybody in the command did their carquals on. It was an esprit sort of deal. This shot was taken the day before an airshow at Kelly AFB, on 19 May 1990. Friddell
email@example.com and we'll fix the credit line! Friddell Collection
Sometimes Things Show Up When You're Least Expecting Them
Which is exactly what happened in this instance. Reader Chris Williamson recently acquired a slide scanner and has been busy. He's sent in some extremely interesting images, two of which we're going to share with you today. We think you'll agree they're something really special.
Thanks, Chris, for those marvelous images! Sierra Hotel, Sir!
Sometimes a Politician Was a Hero First
There are a number of benefits to this project that go far beyond what we expected when it began. Take our Links section for example; most blogs have one, and the inclusion of same allows all of us to check out even more sites that cater to our particular interests. The really neat thing about that is that we often get to correspond or meet with the people who operate those sites we link to and learn a little more about them and their work and sometimes, as you're about to discover, it turns up some seriously cool information. Take John Mollison, for example. He operates a web site called http://www.johnmollison.com/, with the credo: "I interview old guys and draw their airplanes." That credo pretty much says it all, and it in turn takes us to the reason for this ramble.
Joe Foss was quite an aviator; Marine ace over Guadalcanal during The Bad Old Days of 1942, General in the South Dakota ANG, and, later on, governor of that state. Most of us think of Foss as a Wildcat driver, and he certainly was that, but he also flew P-51Ds while in the Guard. John has produced a fine bit of artwork of that particular Mustang, and has also sent along a photograph to help document the artwork.
Those Other Guys Flew T-6s Too, But They Didn't Call Them That
Memory's a funny thing, ya'll. I can't tell you what I had for breakfast this morning, but I can say with absolute certainty that the first plastic model airplane I ever built was a molded-in-black Me109-Something-Or-Other purchased from Blair's Supermarket in Canton, Georgia back in 1955. The second kit was an Aurora Zero, and the third was an SNJ by the same company. Those three kits must have impressed your editor to some extent, since the 109 family has become a modeling favorite, and there are presently 11 completed models of various A6M variants sitting on the shelf. There aren't any members of the T-6 family there at the moment, but several are planned, including at least one member of the SNJ family, which in turn takes us back to memories of that bright yellow Aurora SNJ, which in its turn takes us to our next photo section. As is usual around here, we aren't going to include a whole lot of in-depth historical or technical data on the airplane, but we think you'll like the pictures. Let's take a look:
Let's hold this Truth to be self-evident: We really like A-4s around here! We said that before, way up there at the top of this page, but it's worth repeating, and it's also worth taking pride of place in this week's Happy Snaps department:
The Relief Tube
This is one of those unusual, and very nearly scary, times when we can honestly say that we've received no corrections or comments regarding our last issue. In our world that means that we're either lucky (and we'll certainly take that!) or that nobody payed attention last time around. At any rate, that's it for today. Be good to your neighbor, and we'll meet again soon.