Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Plastic Fury, Not What It Seems, A Rare One, And Some Sleds in the Guard

The Thing About Irony is That So Few People Get It

Ray Wiley Hubbard said that and it is, in my opinion anyway, one of the essential truths of our time. Irony is one of those ever-present things that haunts all aspects of our lives, each and every day. There's no escaping it even when it rears its, dare I say it; ironic little head, often in the most incongruous of places. (How's that for a profundity, ya'll?)

Here's the deal: A couple of issues ago I was rattling on endlessly (which is, after all, the only way I ever rattle on) about having a small collection of model airplanes that were sitting on a shelf, mostly-finished but nowhere near to getting themselves actually completed. I went to great pains to describe each and every project in sufficient detail to allow our readership to picture that project in their mind, and I think I might have even talked about what it was each of those models was lacking; the specific culprit that was keeping them from an honored place in the light of day on a display shelf.

Since that time several projects have actually seen completion around here. Yep, that's right! I went back, plucked a couple of those models out of storage, and finished them, or at least made substantial progress on them. The HMS Bounty has had her masts stepped, her bowsprit attached, and her boat (the great big one, whatever it is that sailors call it) has been started in a fashion far more detailed than Revell had ever intended way back when they cut the molds for the kit in 1956. The winter-camouflaged Fw190A-4 is complete, and so is the SG-77 (not SG-11 as originally and erroneously reported by me) Fw190F-8.

So where's the irony, you might ask. Well, if you've ever built an Eduard Focke Wulf, or an Eduard Anything for that matter, you're well aware that they inevitably give things like gun barrels as little round blobs that do an extremely poor job of replicating whatever it is they're supposed to be representing on the model in question. They're best replaced, and that's what I did---the guns on both of those 190s gave way to a really nice set of turned brass barrels, and they look 100% better than the kit offerings. Or maybe I should say they did look better, because the aftermarket I used provides the inboard guns in two pieces, which makes them a snap to install after the wing has been built and sanded. It's a great idea and it works like a champ as long as you make certain to get a good bond on the barrel sections when you attach them to each other and to the airframe. I apparently got a really good bond on one of them, and a not-nearly-so-good bond on the other. You can probably guess where this is going so I'm not going to describe what happened, or that it happened over a deep-pile carpet. Sadly, and contrary to Ray Wiley's quote that I cited at the beginning of this piece, everyone will probably see the irony in what happened within mere minutes of the model being placed on the display shelf. There just ain't no justice in this world!

Big sigh. Move on.

Why Can't We Get a Decent Fury?

If you've been with this blog from the beginning, or if you've ever bothered to go back and read all of the various issues we've published, you've probably noticed that I've got an affinity for the North American FJ Fury family of naval fighters. I like 'em all, from the tubby FJ-1 that started it all through the definitive FJ-4B that rang down the curtain on one of the most elegant of jet carrier fighters. With that as a basic premise, it should be easy for you to appreciate the fact that decent FJ-Anything kits don't exactly grow on trees around here. Yes; there are a few kits out there but none of them are particularly good. Let's elucidate.

In no particular order save that of variant, we've seen at least one limited production 1/72nd scale FJ from somebody, although I can't remember who did it, a good vac form from RarePlanes, as well as a nice but fiddly 1/48th scale kit from Czech Model. The FJ-2 was sortof-but-not-really kitted by Lindberg back in the 50s, and by ESCI's thoroughly confused FJ-2/-3 kit of the 80s. (It has to be one or the other; you can't do both from one kit, a fact which seems to have totally escaped ESCI at the time since they incorporated elements of both variants in a single airframe, creating a beast that was neither fish nor fowl in the process.) The FJ-4 was better served, sortof, in that Emhar did an injection molded kit in 1/72nd, RarePlanes did one in the same scale, and Matchbox, Grand Phoenix, and Hobby Boss all issued kits in 1/48th. In today's adventure we're going to explore the FJ-4 and FJ-4B in 1/48th scale.

To start things off, let's pull the Matchbox kit off the shelf, look at it briefly, and quickly put it away again. It was ok, but barely that, when it was The Only Game in Town, but that was a very long time ago. By today's standards it's not a very good kit and better offerings are out there.

Better could, and in fact does, define the pair of kits (an FJ-4 and an FJ-4B) issued by Grand Phoenix, but without going into an agonizingly long and somewhat pointless review we'll just say that it's a tough date and not one of their better efforts. It does, however, make a good source of detail parts for the Hobby Boss kits and comes with great decals---if you bought one during any of the various Squadron Shop sales your money wasn't wasted, because you can use a lot of the parts in that box as ad hoc aftermarket for the Hobby Boss kit. You can also build it if it's the only kit of the FJ-4 in your closet, but be advised that modeling skills are definitely required.

Hobby Boss is the kit of choice these days if your tastes run towards the last of the Furies, but you're going to work for your model if you choose to build it. Both variants, the FJ-4 and FJ-4B, are offered, but you can build either variant from either kit (exclusive of ordnance) so it really doesn't matter which one you start with.

We're going to try a different approach with this thing today and give you marked-up photos as reference for the details on the FJ-4 family in lieu of a long, rambling article. Things to watch out for on the Hobby Boss kit include an interior that needs help, and poor landing gear and wheels. The kit interior is best replaced with a resin one (although it's usable and easy enough to detail if you don't want to spend the money), and the nose wheel strut is too short. The nose wheel is usable, but the mains don't replicate anything normally found on the last of the Furies (or any of the earlier ones, for that matter). There are other issues to work out too, but those are the main ones you'll have to address.

One major detail you'll be interested in is the presentation of the speed brakes. The FJ-4 has "normal" components reminiscent of those found on the F-86, while the FJ-4B retains those brakes and adds an additional pair (with strakes) under the aft fuselage. They don't overlap between variants, so it's a good way to tell what you're seeing when you're looking at pictures of the real thing. Another item, and one that will be easy to destroy by accident, is the fuel dump mast, which the kit gives as a little stump hanging off a fairing behind the rudder. All it takes is a swipe or two with a file to give it the correct profile and it belongs there, so don't go cutting it off when you're doing the basic bodywork---it's easy to mistake it for a molding flaw!

I bet you thought we weren't going to show you the other side, but here you are! The FJ-4B (which almost all of the aircraft in this piece were since that's what I was building) was the fighter-bomber member of the family, and a whole bunch of the folks who build the kit do it up with a full (and full-fantasy, at least in the Fleet) load of five Bullpups and a guidance pod for same. You can build your model that way too, if you want to, but you'd do well to remember that the airplane was designed to deliver other ordnance as well. One of the things it could drop was a largish lump that eliminated the requirement for guns and some FJ-4Bs were so modified, this aircraft being one of them. Another structural thing to notice are the presence (or absence---it could go either way) of those little "fences" you can see on the leading edge of the wings in this shot. They aren't fences at all, of course, but are there to assist in snagging the barrier during emergency landings on the boat. The odd thing is that not all  FJ-4Bs (or FJ-4s, for that matter) have them fitted. Photographs are your friend!

The ultimate Fury had a lot of internal fuel capacity and could carry refueling pods under the wings, a reality that saw the type widely used as a tanker during its service career. This photo illustrates that feature, and gives us a look at a number of other details as well. Modelers should note that there's a transparency at the bottom of the intake, in the middle of the intake lip. It's got lights in it related to the carrier approach attitude indicator and is a piece of cake to add to the model---you need to do that, too, because the completed airplane won't look right if you don't.

I think this is a really neat photo, one that would make a great basis for a small diorama, but it also shows off a number of details to advantage. Of particular interest are the wheels and landing gear struts, both because of the detail shown and because it shows another one of the FJ-4 family's "typical" anomalies---that gear and those wheels are painted silver. It's pretty normal to find that on the Fury once you know to look for it. Those fuselage ducts are shaped incorrectly on all the kits of this airplane, by the way, and in addition to that the ones in the Hobby Boss kits are too tall as given. They're easy to modify and you need to do that.

All tactical FJ-4s and 4Bs were painted Nonspecular Light Gull Grey over gloss Insignia White and you would have expected them to have had an anti-glare panel on the nose as a result, but none did. They weren't supposed to have anti-skid walkways on the wings either, but 1463 puts the lie to that notion! The Devil's most assuredly in the details when you're dealing with the last of the Furies!

We've been talking a little bit about what color things were on the airplane, and you've been reading captions that describe those colors, but there's nothing like a good photo to prove the point. Shots like this really make me wish for a good FJ-4, but then again that helo in the background is another aircraft that has long deserved a decent kit. Someday...

This RAG bird is getting close to the end of the line but she shows off a number of her details quite well. The MLG wheels are worth noting; they're spoked, and the Grand Phoenix kit provides spoked wheels, but those Grand Phoenix wheels don't look anything like the ones on the airplane. The photo also gives us a good view of the vortex generators under the horizontal stab---all of the kits give us a "clunky" presentation of this feature, but in defense of the several manufacturers who have already kitted this airplane it would be pretty tough to get them in scale. I lived with that feature on my model but you're more than welcome to correct them if you're so inclined.

We don't have much to say about this shot that we haven't said in the photos we've already shown you, but it's a nice clear photo and well worth running.

The Fury also saw service in a couple of utility squadrons as well as in the reserves. These VU-7 birds are absolutely gleaming in the sun, and showing off their different tail treatments as well as their anti-glare panels---we'd mentioned before that the tactical FJ-4s didn't make use of them, but the utility birds did! The Engine Grey and yellow on those birds really stands out, doesn't it? Oh yeah, and notice the insides of the wing fold detail on side number 31---that's been painted yellow too. What a model this would make!

And here's a final shot of a utility bird to end our day with. You can pick out the details by reading the captions on the photo, but you should also notice the way the Engine Grey looks in these photos. It could be faded paint but it's just as likely to be the angle of the shot and the ambient lighting. Gotta be careful with color on a model!

And Speaking of models, let's talk a little bit about what I think is the best of the available 1/48th scale kits of the FJ-4 and FJ-4B, the Hobby Boss offering. Yes; you can get there with either the Grand Phoenix or Matchbox kits and you're welcome to do it if you want to go that route, but remember that the Matchbox kit is almost an antique at this stage in its life and will be a lot of work of you want to use it as a basis for a decent model. The Grand Phoenix kit is far better but is, as I'm wont to say on these pages, a Tough Date. You can get a really nice model from it but it's going to require substantial modeling skills, which is relatively pointless since that Hobby Boss kit is moderately easy to get together and is reasonably accurate to boot. That gives us what I'm going to call Perspective, so the HB kit is the route we're taking today. One more thing---a lot of internet modeling sites will give you a blow-by-blow description of how to build something, and tell you how many parts are in the box and what color they are. That's not my style, so I'm not going to do it that way. Instead, let's look at the areas that could stand a little improvement and go from there.

First, let's get the kit's dimensions out of the way in a really fast and loose manner, which is to say it looks like an FJ-4 and I'm making a leap of faith and saying that HB got the dimensions from someplace and they look ok to me. There was a time when I wouldn't have taken that stance but at this stage in the game close enough is close enough, besides which I won't lay awake at night worrying about something being 1/64th of an inch off if I'm not aware of it. Seems fair to me! The things that do bother me are few in number and all are fixable. Let's take a look at them.

First, the landing gear isn't all that hot and the nose gear strut is molded in the fully-compressed position, which you'd never find on a real airplane if the oleo was properly charged. You'll need to extend it or, if you're lazy, buy yourself a set of SAC landing gear made specifically for the kit (SAC 48018 at the Sprue Brothers site) (or use the one from the Grand Phoenix kit if you've got one of those). It's molded with the strut in a far more believable degree of extension and is worth the money. The wheels are another matter entirely, and you'll have to either make a compromise there or be a far better modeler than I presently am. It was  mentioned earlier in this piece, but I've never been shy about repeating myself so I'm going to say it again: None of the 1/48th scale FJ-4 kits come with accurate wheels for the mains. You can use the spoked wheels from the Grand Phoenix kit if that's what your model requires, or get the "solid" ones out of the HB kit, but neither one is particularly accurate and I don't think the aftermarket offers replacements for them. I'm going to live with the kit offerings but you may choose another route---if you do that and it looks good please write me and let me know how you did it! (  )

Next are the gear doors. They're too thick (most kit gear doors are) and their interiors aren't as good as they could be detail-wise. They're good enough, though, so you can probably use them as-is if you're lazy. One thing of interest about those doors is that they're often painted Insignia Red on their inner surfaces, although conventional wisdom says they should be Insignia White with Insignia Red edges. Photographs of the aircraft you're building are your friend! (And in that vein the landing gear and struts should be Insignia White too but are often painted silver. Pay attention to those photos!) It's also worth your while to remember that the FJ-4 family were products of North American Aviation, which means that most of the landing gear doors will be up most of the time and your model should reflect that, although it's not uncommon to see them down as well---you pays your money...

The basic airframe is ok, thank Goodness, but could stand a little refinement here and there. Three things you'll need to watch for require mention in that regard. First, the scoops on the aft fuselage are too deep and incorrectly shaped. They're also separate pieces so that's easy enough to fix. Second, there should be a transparency in the bottom of the intake lip---it's a cover for the three small lights used in the aircraft's approach attitude indicator suite and is also easy to make using a piece of scrap clear sprue and a jeweler's file. Finally, the wings may or may not have tiny "fences" on them for engagement with the barrier in an emergency landing on the boat. I looked at a bunch of FJ-4B photos and they're there sometimes and not there others. Once again, you'll need a decent photograph of the airplane you want to model in order to accurately replicate a specific BuNo.

Another thing you'll want to do, but only if you're building a straight FJ-4 fighter, is to fill in those additional speedboards that live on the lower aft fuselage. They were added to the fighter-bomber member of the family, the FJ-4B, but didn't show up on the -4. A word to the wise...

Finally, the kit's cockpit is sortof ok, but there there are two aftermarket interiors available for the model (AMS 48021, which includes all the stuff under the canopy, and Aires 484448 which doesn't; both part numbers are once again from the Sprue Brothers web site). That assortment of gear under the canopy is an essential part of the Fury "look", so you'll need to do something under there whether you buy it or build it yourself.

Paying attention to those things will result in a reasonable model of the FJ-4 or -4B, and you can certainly proceed from there if you're so inclined. (And if you're one of the many who purchased the Grand Phoenix kit in either of its iterations, don't despair! The plastic contained within those boxes is a challenge to be sure, but the kit comes with photo etch that includes those windscreen mirrors, an excellent resin cockpit and a nice set of wheel wells, and a white metal nose landing gear strut of the proper length! The kit can be had for next to nothing at model shows and it's a whole lot cheaper to get the necessary aftermarket that way than it is to buy landing gear and a cockpit set separately. If you go that route, the only thing you'll be missing is the stuff under the aft canopy and you should be able to scratch that up yourself. Just sayin'...)

This image will give you an idea of what can be done with the Hobby Boss FJ-4B if you take your time doing it. The model isn't complete by a long shot, but it's far enough along to give you and idea of how good the kit is. The model is 100% HB, with no aftermarket whatsoever at this point---I've even kept that fully-compressed NLG strut, although it will most likely have been replaced by the time you see photos of the completed model. Still to come are the intake warning stripes, a little bit of paint touch-up, plus some stencils. The airplane will, in all likelihood, carry just two pylons (stations 2 and 5), one of which will carry a gasbag and the other a big silver lump---note that on this model the troughs for the nose-mounted 20mm guns have been faired over to accommodate a mod sometimes performed on mission-specific FJ-4Bs. The IFR probe needs to be added, and I'll need to either find an AMS detail set or scratch up the plethora of stuff that's found under the aft portion of the canopy. The kit doesn't provide barrier stops on the wing and I didn't add them during construction---the idea of scratching up three identical sets of tiny handed parts just didn't appeal to me at the time! As noted up above someplace, they don't seem to have always been there, but I've got photographic evidence that they were on the bird I modeled. (All together now: Big Sigh!) I'll probably paint the little Gomer in the cockpit and put him in the finished model too; I used to do that all the time way back when I was building jets exclusively and am of the opinion that he adds to the ambiance of the model.

In theory you'll see photos of the completed project next issue, but that's what I said about that T-6G nearly a year ago. I'd like to hope that you're interested in seeing how this thing comes out, but if I were you I wouldn't hold my breath over it---my completions track record hasn't been very good of late!

The Magic of Hollywood

We get a fair amount of correspondence around here, and some neat things show up as a result. A couple of days ago one of our many friends from the old days (in this case the old days of the 1970s and 80s) dropped us a tantalizing photograph with no information attached except that it was a shot from a forthcoming movie.

Thanks to the diligence of Captain Banzai, aka David Aiken, here's a fine example of a Zeke 21 for your perusal. It's a non-flying prop for the movies, but Holy Cow, did somebody do a good job on it or what? We wish we could tell you a little more about it, but what's just been said is 110% of what we know. One thing we do know for certain---when that movie comes out, no matter what it's about or what language it's in, it's on our Must See list! Many thanks to David for sending the heads-up and this image to us. Banzai!

Tropical Storm in the East

When the American Volunteer Group, colloquially know as The Flying Tigers, first arrived in the Far East, they based out of what was then known as Burma, sharing airfields with the RAF. We don't know much about the photograph shown below and the photographer, Jack Jones (a former AVG armorer) couldn't remember (and quite probably never knew) the unit, although 28 Sqdn RAF is a prime candidate for the honor. At any rate, thanks to the fact that Jack took a camera with him and used it until he mustered out with fever in mid-1942, we get to look at a photograph you won't see every day.

The Bad Old Days in Burma. Jack mentioned in passing that "those British guys were long on guts but they just didn't know how to fight the Japanese". That was true enough, but nobody else really knew how to fight the Imperial Air Forces either, at least not prior to Claire Chennault's implementation of a hit-and-run strategy that involved a diving pass from altitude with associated refusal to enter into a turning combat with the Ki-27s and the Ki-43s the AVG most often fought against. It was a crummy war for everybody concerned. Let's raise a glass...   Jack Jones via Friddell Collection

The Lead Sled Finds a Home

While it's true that the Late Great Republic Aviation built one of the best radial-engined fighters of the Second World War, and that it also built one of the most legendary jet-propelled fighter-bombers of all time, what came in between sometimes left a little bit to be desired. We're specifically talking about the F-84 family of aircraft, of both straight and swept-wing variety. It wasn't that the Thunderjet or Thunderstreak were bad airplanes, mind you, but they were relatively heavy when compared to the North American F-86 family and suffered greatly as a result of that weight when combined with the often poor-performing first generation American turbojet engines. Although both sub-types eventually saw sterling service with the United States Air Force, the Air National Guard, and the air forces of a number of foreign operators, there was a shred of truth in the classic slur regarding those first and second-generation jets: If anybody ever builds a runway around the world, Republic will build an airplane that can't take off from it. Hot and high is not your friend in a heavy, underpowered airplane!

In all fairness most of the problem did indeed lie with those not particularly stellar engines, and there was even a time when the ramp in Farmingdale was rapidly filling up with F-84Fs that had no powerplants available for them. Most of the kinks were eventually worked out, and both the straight and swept-winged F-84s ultimately enjoyed long and mostly successful careers in their respective roles. A great many of them ended up in the Air National Guard, and we're going to look at several examples of those today thanks to the kindness of Mark Nankivil and The Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum.

We'll start off today's piece with an early example of an ANG F-84F. 51-1707 was an F-84F-25-RE and was assigned to Missouri's 110th TFS/131st TFG when this photo was taken in November of 1958. The guys in the 110th knew how to paint an airplane, and 1707 was easily as attractive as anything the regulars were flying at the time. She just screams "Silver Air Force", doesn't she?  RA Burgess via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

In stark contrast, 51-1808, an F-84F-30-RE was bare bones as far as markings were concerned. We think she belonged to Illinois' 170th TFS/183rd TFG  in May of 1960, which was when this photo was shot, but she could just as easily have been assigned to the regular USAF. The point to be taken is that she carries no markings of any kind that would indicate her unit. One thing she does carry are those big honkin' 450 gallon gas bags. None of the early jet fighters had very long legs and extra fuel was an essential if you actually intended to go someplace in the airplane.  P Stevens via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

Paul Stevens took this portrait of 51-9313, an F-84F-1GK (built by General Motors rather than Republic) on the same day and, on the same ramp, which is what leads us to presume that 1808 belonged to the Illinois Guard---this airplane obviously does! She doesn't have aux tanks in this photo and her speed brakes are deployed, providing the scale modeler with some interesting detail. She's painted silver and carries a badge on the nose as well as extensive stencilling. The 170th kept their F-84s until 1972, when they transitioned into F-4Cs. 9313 survived it all and presently lives on a pole in Peoria.   P Stevens via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

51-1735, an F-84F-25-RE, sits in her natural metal (and totally un-decorated) splendor on an overcast day. The date is August of 1962, and we don't know the airfield or the unit. She's another bird that ended her days on public display but was very much The Real Deal (and over ten years old---note the 0 prefix to her serial number) when this photo was taken. Check out how busy that nose gear is---it's something that's tough to get right on a model.  P Stevens via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

Those of you with a certain seniority on life may recall that "Rodan" was a flying monster of the "Godzilla" ilk back in the 50s, a creature that scared the dickens out of your average ten-year-old when viewed in the base theater. We don't know if fear is what drove the pilot of 51-1697 (an F-84F-25-RE) to paint that name on her nose, but we can see how it would have been deemed appropriate. She's another bird from Missouri's 110th TFS and very much resembles 51-1707 which we illustrated at the beginning of this piece---this photo is dated 1962 and on the face of things very little has changed in terms of markings.  Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

We'll end today's essay at an airshow in August of 1963. Ohio's 162nd TFS/178th TFG was a star attraction at that show, although the airplane was nothing to write home about in terms of special markings; once you get past that ANG badge on her tail she becomes pretty much just another F-84F. 51-1747 was yet another -25-RE and was on public display in Indiana until 1996.  Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

The F-84F was more of a fighter-bomber than she ever was a fighter, even though she managed to get herself painted grey to portray a "MiG" in the classic Korean War aviation movie The Hunters. She had a brief air-to-mud combat career with the French AF during the Suez conflict, but most of her days were spent preserving the shaky piece that was The Cold War. She, and the regulars and Guardsmen who flew her, were ready to go at a moment's notice, although it was probably a very good thing for all concerned that she never had to go up against the Warsaw Pact in an air-to-air combat situation. Still, she helps define The Silver Air Force of the 1950s; that shape is an iconic memory of a time that once was. (And if you'd like to know what it was like to live with her on a day-to-day basis we strongly recommend you find yourself a copy of Richard Bach's Stranger to the Ground and read it. You can thank us later.)

Many thanks to Mark Nankivil for sharing these photos with us.

Under The Radar

The Air Guard, Aerograph 2, Rene Francillon, Motorbooks International, copywrite date unknown, 180pp, illustrated.

Jay Miller's Aerograph project lasted but a few brief years, but the quality of work done by both Jay and the various authors who worked with him during the course of the project have guaranteed that the titles he produced became standard references on their specific subjects. The Air Guard has been around since the late 80s (we think) and contains, in a concise and easy to use format, a history of the Guard and all of the units that operated under its auspices. The text is authoritatively done by Rene Francillon, and the book is well illustrated. It has been a go-to reference from the moment of its publication and has not, to the best of our knowledge, ever been equaled, much less surpassed in terms of coverage of the subject matter. It's one of those books that belongs on every aviation enthusiast's shelves, yet a great many of the folks that have become interested in American military aviation since its publication are entirely unaware of its existence. Long out of print and now only available on the used book market, it's well worth seeking out and acquiring if you have an interest in either the ANG or the USAF. We recommend it highly.

Happy Snaps

As a matter of perspective, we've done a couple of ground-bound Happy Snaps of late, even though that's an anomaly of sorts when you recall that the entire purpose of this particular part of the blog is to present air-to-air photography submitted by our readers. Yes; we've got quite a bit more of said air-to-air to share with you. No; today's not going to be the day we do that.

Once upon a time, not so terribly long ago, there was an Air Force organization called the Air Defense Command, or ADC, a command charged with the air defense of the Continental United States. That command had airplanes, personnel, exercises of various sorts and, more to today's point, an annual competition known as William Tell. The competition was open to all ADC and ADC-gained units which means that the Air National Guard got to play too, reason enough for Michigan's 191st FIG to send a contingent to the festivities. In 1982 Michigan sent, along with its normal contingent of interceptors, a somewhat unique support vehicle. Doug Barbier explains:  Now this brings back some memories...... as I recall, they drove it all the way from Michigan to Tyndall - complete with that AIM-7 on the roof. Stylish transportation at its best!   Doug   Bet they couldn't do that today!   Barbier Collection

The Relief Tube

Sometimes we get a lot of comments and corrections for this section and sometimes we don't. Today is one of those Don't days, but we've got one thing we most assuredly do need to correct. Here are comments from a pair of folks regarding our mis-identifying Len Morgan and calling him "Les" in our last Under the Radar segment, even though we should have (and in fact did) know better. First, from writer and former editor (and, in this case, man of few words) Mike McMurtrey:

Len (short for Leonard) Morgan. WW II RCAF pilot, Braniff captain, and writer for Flying magazine. See here: And here:   His biography would make an excellent book in itself.  Mike

And from author and Historian of Things SWPAC Steve Birdsall:

Hi Phil - As one of the authors in the “Famous Aircraft” series – I did the B-17 and B-24 – I feel I should correct a minor slip in your review of the Childerhose F-86 book. It was Len Morgan, not Lou. Len was a Braniff pilot and a pretty good writer in his own right . . . as I recall he did the P-51, P-47 and DC-3 books in the series. He also had a regular column in Flying for many years. All the best - Steve

Thanks, guys---we should've known better!

And that's about it for this issue's Relief Tube, and for today's installment in general. We've got some interesting things coming up in the very near future (including some nice Berlin Airlift) photography, so stay tuned. It's our intention to publish again before Christmas but that's only three weeks or so away and this is a busy time of year, family-wise, so it may not happen as quickly as we'd like for it to. However things go down, you'll see another issue fairly quickly. Until then, be good to your neighbor!


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