The Incredible Hulk
As some of you probably remember, Replica in Scale started life as a print magazine way back in the early 1970s. We did some interesting things back then, including the reviewing of the many kits, books, and decals that were provided to us by industry. We also tried to actually build models of some of the subjects we wrote about, which is a lead-in that takes us to Right Now.
Earlier in the week we received an e-mail from Fred Hall, with whom we've had an ongoing correspondence regarding the old Monogram kits and how much better they were (and are!) than a great many of the current offerings by our ever-increasing list of "modern", state-of-the-art manufacturers. That discussion led to a few comments regarding new kits in general, which caused Fred to say this about the new Meng 1/72nd scale F-102A:
Well Phil, since the Hasegawa F-102 kit has grown so old, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the new Meng kit. I got it in December but had something else going on the bench so didn't start it until about 2 weeks
ago. I went back into the Nov 1972 " Replica" to see what you had to say. I'm not sure what you'd think of this quote regarding that old kit "fortunately quite good and needs virtually no reworking to achieve a decent model." Amazing how times and techniques change because I thought the same thing too. The basic kit did have an accurate shape but trying to close those weapon bay doors was never easy, and I don't like to leave that stuff open as its not typically seen that way on the flight line except during maintenance or loading. I do like the Meng kit, but it's weapons bay is a little narrower than the fuselage so it still needs some attention. Fred
1972 was a very long time ago, and that November issue Fred mentioned was the second RIS ever published. We were still scrambling to find things we had enough information on to be able to write an article at that point; since we were only two issues into the thing we hadn't yet made the acquaintance of Marty, Dave, Jim, or Doug, although Norm Taylor was stationed in San Antonio at the time and was kind enough to open his collection to us. We didn't run very many photographs at that point since photos cost money, of which we had very little at the time, so most of that F-102 article was illustrated with Jim's drawings (a high point of our project both then and now---I still think they're great after all these years!). I also built a Deuce for the article based on a photo from Norm's collection, a bird from a USAFE outfit, the 496th FIS. The relatively new (1968 or 69) Hasegawa kit provided a canvas, and off we went. Since the "Deuce" was our lead article for that issue, we also featured it on the cover:
And here's what remains of that 1972-vintage Hasegawa kit of the F-102A:
There are a couple of other things you really ought to know while were visiting 1972 in our Wayback Machine:
First, we actually built two F-102s for that article. We got the first one built (with the weapons bay doors closed), painted, and decalled, and then decided to clear-coat the model with Krylon Kristal Klear, which was a lacquer-based aerosol available in art supply houses. It looked really good when we sprayed it too, right up to the point where the lacquer crazed the previously bullet-proof Floquil paint and made the entire model look like an F-102A-shaped football. We did a hasty re-build with another kit (which is why all the decals weren't dry transfer; we'd used the ones we had allocated to the wings on that first airframe) and managed to get everything finished in time to make our deadline. Lucky, we were!
Also, if you'll take a close look at that pitot boom you'll notice that it's far too thin and tapered to be plastic. We were fond of using steel insect pins for such things back when we could still see 1/72nd scale, and that's an insect pin on our "Deuce". It's epoxied and puttied in there, which virtually guarantees puncture injuries if you get careless with the model. Back then we didn't care, but we knew it was there and avoided stabbing ourselves with it! Nowadays such shenanigans would probably add to the coffers of some attorney!
Finally, there are those squadron markings, made by punching out a piece of decal stock with a paper punch and painting the 496th's insignia on them, a chore handled by the First Mrs. Friddell.
That "Deuce" was one of those models that just came together for us in spite of all the drama associated with its creation, and it looks pretty good right now this minute, although we may be somewhat prejudiced in that regard. Many thanks to Fred for inspiring us to drag that old dinosaur out and take another look at it. We hope you enjoyed our trip to the distant past!
Holy Cow; Wouldja Look at THAT!
When we run photos provided by Bobby Rocker we normally feature airplanes from his personal collection of WW II-era photography. This time we've got something a little different for you to peruse.
Just Passing Through
That's what these 20th FBW F-84s were doing way Back in the Day. The images were provided to us by Mark Morgan---THANKS, Mark!
Everybody Has a Bad Day Every Now and Then
Of course, when most of us have that aforementioned Bad Day it's generally an inconvenience of some sort. If you fly for a living, however, those Bad Days can take on a somewhat different flavor. Let's take a look at some photographs from the Bobby Rocker Collection that prove that point:
Reader Mark Williams is no stranger to these pages, having shared images with us from his days as a Boomer a time or two before. He captured this F-18D waiting to tank a couple of years ago.
The Relief Tube
Let's start off today with an entry from Steve Stith, who's been going through some of our older issues:
I just was killing some time over lunch surfing the web and happened upon the photo of this aircraft from December 2010. As far as I know this is only one of two photographs in existence of this particular aircraft in this configuration. The other is in the book, the Age of Orion by David Reade and shows absolutely no national markings. As an ex-USN P-3 crewman, I found this picture interesting to say the very least!!
The following text is from the P-3 Orion Research Group website ( a great source for interesting variants of P-3’s)
CIA’s black P-3 program
A small number of American Orions has always been involved in operations which cannot tolerate daylight. Between 1964 and 1967 three P-3As were assigned to the "PROJ AF" what probably stands for "Project Air Force". The Orions involved (BuNos 149669, 149673 and 149678) were modified by Lockheed and E-Systems for a clandestine "reconnaissance project" in June 1964. External modifications included extended exhaust pipes on the nacelles (to reduce heat radiation), shortened propeller blades (to reduce the noise), a bulged observation window on top of the fuselage, panel and blade antennas, an air intake device in the position of the forward starboard observation window, and a cargo door (created by adding a "mirror" door to the existing entrance door). Furthermore the MAD boom had been removed and all three aircraft were painted black. Mission equipment included a Side Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR), special communications systems and infra red detection systems. For self protection the aircraft were fitted with Sidewinder missiles and one of them even is believed to have shot down a MiG fighter. The area of interest for these Orions was communist China. They were flying signal intelligence mission along the Chinese border but also were conducting missions over the South Chinese Sea, Burma, Tibet and clandestine overland missions over China. The black Orions have also been involved in missions over Vietnam, flying at night out of Okinawa, Japan. In May and July 1966 at least two of these black Orions were handed over to the Republic of China Air Force which operated them for a short period in support of a CIA program.
Like your blog!! Steve Stith
Thanks, Steve! We appreciate your update to our original photo caption!
In today's "Keeping Us Honest" department we've got a correction from Mike Furline regarding one of those F4U shots we ran an issue or two back:
Hi Phil. To start with, GREAT BLOG! Love the pics. In the Jan. 2013 pictures of the Corsairs, your description for one of the pictures is
“The "Hog" was too good an airplane to languish at the end of the War, and ended up with a career that took her well into the 1950s. This gorgeous photo shows VF-114 F4U-4Cs on the boat during 1951. Don't let the relaxed atmosphere of that shot fool you; a flight deck full of taxiing propeller-driven aircraft is one of the most dangerous places you'll ever be. Naval aviation was never safe, even in peacetime. Rocker Collection”
The F4U-4 with 20mm cannons was the F4U-4B model. The F4U-1 series used a “C” to designate 20mm cannons (F4U-1C), but the F4U-4 uses a B (F4U-4B). The “B” version was originally used to designate F4U-4s going to Britain, but Britain never took delivery of any so the “B” was used to designate the 20mm cannon armed Corsairs.
The .50 cal. versions are just plain F4U-4. There was no “A” model.
F4U-4 - .50 cal
F4U-4B – 20mm
F4U-4P – Photo-recon
It's amazing the simple things you forget as time passes---thanks, Mike, for the correction!
And that's it for today. Please continue to send your corrections (or contributions---we're always on the lookout for good material!) to firstname.lastname@example.org . In the meantime be good to your neighbor and we'll meet again soon.