Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Time For a Break, A Couple of Cats,

A Pause for the Cause or a Short Set?

Well, since we aren't in a band it probably isn't either one of those things, but to get straight to the point; this is going to be an exceptionally short edition of the blog. Our real job has been somewhat demanding of late and we're tired, the Down Side of which is that our editorial quality seems to diminish in direct proportion to our lack of sleep. Here, then, is what we're going to call a highly abbreviated version of RIS for your enjoyment. (But Fear Not! We'll be back full-bore next time!)

More Short-Cuts for the Wurger

Just a couple, though. Last time around we looked at a simple way to fix those normally ill-fitting gun-bay doors that live in the wing roots of the Eduard Fw190, and we promised to show you an alternative way to mount the engine. Here, in living color, is an example of That Way for your perusal.

Here you go---the proverbial One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words! There are some elemental truths to the way the engine fits in the radial-equipped Fw190s; it's a really tight fit in there, and the cooling fan fits pretty much flush with the front of the cowling. (It actually doesn't, but in 1/48th scale you'd be measuring that distance with a micrometer, so for practical purposes it does...) We talked about construction of the cowling last time, so today we're going to stick the engine inside of same. Literally. This shot provides a graphic example of just how crude your modeling can get if you want it to be that way; we aligned the magneto on the front of the engine properly using the cowl gun troughs as a guide, then carefully pushed the engine up into the cowling until the cooling fan was centered and aligned with the sides of the cowl ring, after which we ran some Tenax on the juncture of the engine's cylinder heads and the inside of the cowling. We stuck the engine's accessory section back there so we could have something to hold on to while pre-painting the cowling (the Germans described that assembly as a "power egg", an appropriate description in this particular instance).

Here's a slightly different view of the installation. Last time we mentioned that we cut off the kit's exhaust stacks and used only the stubbs, cementing them to the insides of the cowling in the appropriate places. This photo shows how that looks. We pre-painted the stacks with Testor Metalizer "Burnt Iron" but they could easily be painted black instead, because you can't see much of them except for the ends once the cowling's in place. The point to be taken here is that the engine bay is one of the Big Bugaboos of Eduard Focke Wulf Construction, and leaving most of the kit's structure out of there really simplifies things. Is it blasphemy? Maybe it is, but if you can't see it when the model's done then there's not a whole lot of point in going to all that trouble. If you're going to close the cowling we're convinced this is the Way to Go.

Remember last time when we showed you how to fit those darned gun bay covers? Here's how one looks when it's done. We didn't use any putty there at all; a little bit of judicious sanding took care of what few fit issues there were. Sharp-eyed readers (and we don't seem to have any other kind) will probably notice a couple of seams on the leading edges of the wings that need addressing. We'll fix 'em before the model is completed---look on it as our way of doing bodywork. A little bit here, a little bit there...

Since we're fixing things today and illustrating Short Cut Secrets, we'd may as well share another one. The background of the swastika on the Wurger we're modeling was apparently RLM 76; the whole insignia must have been masked off before the modified camouflage was applied to the airframe. The ideal way to do this on a model is to be really careful with the mask before you apply your decals but that's asking a lot of us. We'll fix that trim by holding a sticky note up to the edge of the insignia (and we're showing it bass-ackwards here---it's best not to ask why!) and using it as a quick and dirty paint mask. It works, and it ensures you won't go ripping your decals off the model like you might do if you'd masked with tape instead. Beauty!

This is a better view of what we're talking about. Just align the edge of the paper with the edge you want to straighten out on the model, hold the paper (or use the sticky part of that sticky note since it doesn't have enough tack to pull off a properly-applied decal) up against the airframe so overspray doesn't get underneath, and touch up the area with your trusty airbrush. It's simple, it's quick and  easy to do, and it works.

 Here's where we are up to this point in the construction of yet another Luftwaffe fighter. There's still some touch-up to be done as well as some weathering, and those masked edges we were discussing still need fixing. Well, actually they don't, because the model is now complete and sitting on the shelf. We haven't photographed it yet, though, so this is all you get to see for today. We'll show you how it came out next time.

Just Call Her Sweetheart

We've looked at the PBY before, but we just received these images a few minutes ago and figured they deserved a stop-press sort of treatment. Consolidated called her the Catalina, while the people who flew and crewed her often called her "Dumbo". The downed fliers, coastwatchers, and occasional civilian of the Southwest Pacific called her "Angel".

 VP-34 operated the PBY-5 out of Samarai (and no; we didn't mis-spell it---it's an island, not a Japanese warrior, in case you weren't aware of that) for part of 1943. This PBY-5 is beached there undergoing maintenance and refuelling between operations, providing us with an excellent view of her black paintwork. This view also shows off her radar antennae and the bombs fitted to her wing stations. Lots of folks think the "Black Cats" operated with torpedoes most of the time, but the majority of missions were flown with bombs. Either way, it took enormous intestinal fortitude to fly a lumbering, 175-knot airplane into combat at low level in the middle of the night. Those VP-crews never got the accolades they deserved...  Rocker Collection

The AAF flew the "Cat" too, as the OA-10A. This example is on the ground at Dipolong, on Mindanao, where downed aviators were brought by Philippine guerillas to be picked up and returned to an American installation. Dipolong was relatively secure by the time this photo was taken, but Mindanao wasn't. The unit was the 2nd ERS, and they were a gutsy bunch of guys even if they never dropped a bomb on a Japanese ship or ground installation. By the way; take a look just aft of the fuselage insignia; there appears to be some pretty extensive artwork there, although we can't make out what it is. Phooey!  Rocker Collection

Happy Snaps

Yep; it's that time already. We told you we were really tired! Here's a shot from old friend Tom Gaj to end our day with:

 Tom had an interesting career during his time with the Air Force; this photo was taken during one of his stints as a BUF EWO and was shot during the course of an intercept by our friends from The Great White North. We haven't seen the last of those Canadian Voodoos, so stay tuned!  Gaj

You Call This a Relief Tube?

No, we don't. Not this time, anyway. We've got some entries for the department but we're just too tired to sort them out, so this time around what you see is what you get---it's all we've got in us. It's Bed Time in Texas, ya'll! Be good to your neighbor, and we'll meet again soon!

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