Sunday, August 28, 2011

There Needs To Be A Decent Kit, That Bat-Winged Douglas, Return of the Cat, Some Navy Color, Even More Mustangs, A Jug, and A Texan in the North Country

Things We Like (With Apologies to Jack Bruce)

Today's going to be a goofy sort of day around here, so stand by! It's been a busy (and somewhat crazy) week in our part of the world and we haven't had time to scan very much material for you this time around. On the other hand, we've received quite a bit of really nice stuff lately, with a great deal of it involving blue airplanes of one sort or another, and today's as good a time as any to show that material off. (That, in translation, means we're a little bit lazy today but feel an obligation to keep our schedule going!) Here, then, is a potpourri of nifty photos for your consideration.

The Last Thing You'd Expect to See

We all have favorite airplanes, and for most of us those favorites mostly revolve around airplanes that shoot guns and drop bombs for a living. Our first entry could (and sometimes did) do those things, but they weren't its primary mission. Nope, the Vought OS2U Kingfisher was an all-around cowboy, best remembered for its role in locating and picking up downed fliers during the Second World War. The airplanes in these photos never got the chance to do anything in that war, but they were there when it started.

Anybody out there recognize this airplane? That side number is a clue; it's 1-0-1, and it's an OS2U-3 photographed in September of 1941 . Give up? She's from BB-39 USS Arizona, and was photographed being recovered during a training flight some three months before her operational career was terminated early one morning in Hawaii. Off the top of our heads we can think of only a handful of Kingfisher kits out there; from Airfix and Lindberg in 1/72nd, and Monogram in 1/48th. We think it's time for a modern kit of the type, which means it's just about time for somebody to release another P-51 model instead. There just ain't no justice!  Bill Peake Collection via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Nankivil

And here's 1-0-3 getting ready to come back aboard. This photo is a companion of the one above and was also taken in September of 1941. Note that the airplane is wet just about everywhere; that's a side of floatplane operations most of us don't consider, but it was a constant in the floatplane community. There's a lot of detail visible here if you're inclined to build an OS2U.  Bill Peake Collection via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Nankivil

Good Lord, It's a Ford!

Several of them, actually. The Douglas F4D-1 Skyray was one of those airplanes that could have been a world-beater with just a little more development. The "Ford" actually got that development towards the end of its life, and the ensuing F5D Skylancer was everything its younger brother wasn't. Unfortunately, the Navy already had both the F8U Crusader and F4H Phantom in the pipeline at the time and didn't need yet another fighter, relegating the F5D to one of history's many sidebars. There never were any operational Skylancers for us to show you, so you're just going to be happy with these images of the lengendary "Ford" instead. We don't think you'll mind.

The F4D-1 was hitting the Fleet in 1956, and beginning to show up at public air shows as well. 134755 is virtually devoid of markings but shows off the aircraft's clean lines in spite of that stand on the ramp behind her.  Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

VMF-115 was equipped with the "Ford" When Clay Jansson snapped this classic photo in 1958. There's a tremendous amount of detail shown here, particularly in the areas of the wing-fold and tailhook. One of our readers was looking for wing-fold detail a while back; Sergei, we just got this photo last week! We hope it's not too late to be of use!  Jannson via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Nankivil

Here's a different view of one of 115's birds, this time with the wings deployed. These marking are pretty simple, but the red-white-and blue stripes work really well on the airframe. 134826 shows signs of use but is devoid of that Teutonic Pottery Look so beloved by some folks in the scale modeling community. A picture is worth a thousand words...  Jansson via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Nankivil

To a lot of folks there's only one F4D-1 squadron worth looking at, and VF(AW)-3 is it. The squadron was operating out of North Island when this photo was taken in 1958 and that paint scheme, coupled with a moderately-famous skipper named Gene Valencia, guaranteed Instant Fame for the squadron. You can bet those markings were a big hit at airshows, although we'd personally like to see a little bit more of that C-47 in the background too!  Kasulka via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Nankivil

Black Cat Moan and Other Assorted Blues

We ran a few shots of the PBY Catalina several issues back courtesy of Bobby Rocker and his remarkable collection. We'd like to add a few more to that collection today:

We don't know the unit for certain, but we definitely know the place! This PBY-5 was photographed in her full tail-striped glory while taxiing past the Enterprise in February of 1942. We mentioned it last time around but the "P-Boat" went just about everywhere and ended up doing just about everything in the process. The PBY was what some folks might call a "versatile" airplane.  Rocker Collection

The Catalina trained quite a few aircrews, as typified by this example working out of NAS Jacksonville during mid-1942. The tail stripes are gone, but the painters have more than made up for it by their presentation of that star on the bow, which is missing its insignia blue corcarde and is upside-down to boot! If you're looking for an unusual "P-Boat" to model, this could be the one!  Rocker Collection

Unless, of course, you'd rather do this one! VP-34 was extremely active with the type during the Solomons campaign, using the aircraft to good advantage during harassment operations at night. Remember that part where we said the PBY did just about everything? Remember that part about Black Cats?  Rocker Collection

So Where's the Color Pichers, Mister?

You're right---so far we've run nothing but classic B&W this week, and it honestly looks like that's a horse we're going to ride a little bit longer, but we know full-well that there's a portion of our readership that really enjoys those new-fangled color photographs. We pride ourselves on having a little something for everybody around here, so here's some color for your day. Just a little, bit, though...

OK, if you guys just have to look at color photographs, we're happy to oblige you. VA-43 operated the Grumman F11F-1 Tiger for a short while, and was aboard CV-62 when Hal Andrews took this photo on 18 February 1960. 141812 apparently spent some time with VF-21 prior to her assignment to Fighting 43, resulting in a unique (and colorful!) set of markings. That's an unforgiving ocean out there, ya'll!  Andrews via Nankivil

Here's another Token Color Picture for today---149180 was still marked as an F8U-2NE when Bill Peake immortalized her in 1963. The Crusader managed to be both better and worse than her reputation made her out to be and that whole "last of the gunfighters" moniker didn't hold up when she finally reached combat, but she was a looker, and a hot rod to boot. Vought made pretty good airplanes once upon a time. Bill Peake Collection via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Nankivil

So you say you want a little more color? How about a whole lot more color? The Crusader's lines could accurately be described as sensuous, which make her a natural for exotic paint jobs. 150909 was an F-8E and was with VF-194 when she was photographed on the ramp in July of 1966. We've seen numerous interpretations of the F-8's "sit" on model airplanes; this photo give a good idea of what one that's less-than-completely-fueled-up looks like.  Jansson via Nankivil Collection

It's Been a While...

That's a double-threat sort of intro, don't you know? It's been a while since we've run any Guard P-51s, and a couple of issues since we've run anything from the remarkable collection of Jim Sullivan. It's time to make amends, so let's take a look at a couple of South Carolina P-51s!

The Air Force had a whole bunch of P-51s on strength when the war ended in 1945, and the rapid development of the turbo-jet fighter was rapidly making the type obsolete. Quite a few of them ended up in the ANG during the late-40s and early-50s, and South Carolina's 157th FS/169th FG was one of the units that was active with the type. 44-73699 was among them and was photographed at Wilmington, North Carolina, during 1949. She's a Plain Jane but you can't disguise her elegance.  Sullivan Collection

Here's another view of 699. She's still got her tailwheel doors, but that feature would go away once the P-51 got back into combat in Korea. By that point in her career she wasn't doing a whole lot of dog-fighting, and max performance wasn't really required for her new-found air-to-mud role, although that was still a couple of years in the future when this was taken. Check out the buzz number presentation on the top of her wing!  Sullivan Collection

45-11607 was an interesting bird. She's wearing rocket rails and part of the antenna mast suite most commonly identified with VLR Mustangs in use during the last few months of the war in the Pacific. She's beginning to show her age here, but we like her anyway!  Sullivan Collection

Sometimes the Glory Days Weren't All That Glamorous

We've run a whole bunch of post-War Mustang shots since this project began, and we almost always mention her involvement in that big war that was going on back in the 1940s when we do it. Our next photo shows the type at the height of her glory while flying VLR missions from the newly-acquired air strip at Iwo Jima. Iwo was cramped, dirty, and dangerous. It was also a life-saver for the crews of the 20th's B-29s, both as an emergency field and as a forward base for the escorting P-51Ds that were increasingly finding their way into the final stages of the war against Japan. This photo shows an escort mission (probably from the 45th FG) in the process of recovering after a mission to Honshu. Those guys in the foreground are all pretty much just out of high school and college, and of the age to be foolin' around and having fun instead of flying six and eight-hour combat missions. Put your cursor on the photo and enlarge it, then look at their faces. Every picture tells a story, don't it?  Rocker Collection

We Like Jugs As Much As The Next Guy

And we especially like 'em when they're from the post-War Air Force!

The year is 1952, and there are still a few F-47Ds and Ns hanging around the regular Air Force. This example is from the 469th FIS and was photographed while doing an engine run-up in June of 1952. Her effectiveness as an interceptor would have been highly questionable at that stage of the game, but she'd make quite a model all the same---we like it!  Isham Collection

A Texan Up North

The T-6 Texan (the real one, not the Brazilian turboprop that's presently serving with the USAF as a trainer under that moniker) is an immortal airplane if ever there was one. We all know about the airplane, and most of us have built at least one or two models of the type during our time as scale modelers. If you happen to be in the market for another one for your collection we'd like to offer this image---it's a beauty!

If you've looked at any photos of Navy birds from the 50s you've probably noticed more than a few marked for the Reserve component at Grosse Ile. Those guys operated a little bit of everything, including this immaculate SNJ-6. 112034 was photographed at the Detroit airshow in July of 1955, and we'll bet she made quite an impression on everyone who saw her. She appears to be overall yellow with orange reserve bands, although reader comments are invited on that one ( ) . The photograph was taken by some guy named Menard and comes to us via Doug Barbier.  Barbier Collection

Happy Snaps

We started off this edition by saying it was going to be a hodge-podge of things we like. Today's Happy Snap fits that category; it's not an air-to-air, but was taken by reader and frequent contributor Mark Nankivil at a recent air show honoring Marine aviation. It's a Thing We Like!

The HH-53 family of helos has been around since the Vietnam era, and shows no sign of going away any time soon. Mark caught this one taxiing at an airshow in St Louis a few months ago and we're glad he did; we think it's a remarkable photo and a great way to end our day.  Nankivil

The Relief Tube

It's another day and, as usual, we've got a few comments and corrections to share with you:

First off, there was that F-86D with the goofy serial presentation. We asked for correction/clarification and got it in spades. Let us begin. First, from Maddog John Kerr: Phil, serial number is correct: 52-10006. 52-9983/10176 North American F-86D-50-NA Sabre c/n 190-708/901. John Next, from a reader known to us only as Michel: According to what I have: s/n 52-10006 F86D-50NA batch of 194 c/n 190-708/901, most where converted to F-86L. Michel  Finally, here's a correction from the guy who gave us the photo, Dave Menard:  Phil, Latest blog was out of sight still again! That serial on that 4th D was 52-10006, as I have a shot of a 40th D 52-10000 so assume both a/c arrived in Japan on the same aircraft carrier. And that NH ANG L was taken on 2 May 1959 a week before signing out from my unit at Pease to head for France and NO MORE DAMNED SAC! I took it so it is not my "collection". Wore my Ike jacket with my A/2c stripes and had an AP drive me around the ramp to shoot what I wanted after clearing it with the maint officer of the unit. Those were indeed the days on no fuss, no muss. Cheers, dave Thanks to Dave, Michel, and Maddog for the help on that one. While we're still at Misawa, we've got to fess-up to botching a credit line on one of the photos. Here's the correction from Dave Menard:  Phil, Col Eichenberg took the air to air of the 4th D while Tom Brewer shot the three ground shots. Cheers, dave  For the record, Dave told us that when he sent the photos. Apologies all around!

And while we're talking about "Dogships", here's a bit of further information on one of the shots from last issue from Michel:  Might be of of interest to know, but 52-4042 ended up in Japan ,and is now on display at Hamamatsu AB as 84-8104. Michel Thanks, Michel! It's always neat to hear that one of the birds we've illustrated has survived to the present day!

Finally, here's some food for thought from one of our readers:  Phil, Just wanted to drop you a line and tell you how much I've enjoyed the great photography and content on your site. I'm currently flying HH-60G's in the Air Force, so I loved your classic Jolly Green pics a few weeks back! As a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, I really appreciate the way you constantly mention the hardships and sacrifice of the crews who have flown in to harm's way for our country over the years. Just like you and most of your other readers, I grew up on a steady diet of models and airshows. We all love that side of it, but I think modelers are sometimes guilty of getting "lost in the weeds" of slat positions and scale inches and forget that young men and women did, and continue to, fly these magnificent machines into the worst places in the world, losing their youth, heath, precious time with family and sometimes their lives in service to the nation. You bring the detail and history to your photos, but constantly remind your readers that many of these pictures were taken during terribly desperate times, and we owe a debt to those who have come before. It's refreshing and welcome.

One of these days, if I get a good enough snap of one of our birds inflight, I might pass it along for Happy Snaps! Thanks again for the great site…  Matt "Muddy" Mustain Thanks for that perspective, Matt, and Thank You for what you do.

And that's it for today. It's been a shorter issue than we'd like to have done but we're fighting buggy software again so, as we're fond of saying around here; be good to your neighbor. We'll meet again soon.

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