Friday, May 15, 2015

Better Than You Thought, A Couple From Eniwetok, Some Door Art, Phollowing a Phantom, Classy Dogs, and Voodoos in The 'Nam


Everything Old is New Again

I think I've said that before but, if I haven't, I should have. After all, most things in life are repetitive, and whether or not they're new to any of us really comes down to our own personal perspective on things---the title of an old Byrd's song, Funny How the Circle is a Wheel, comes to mind in this context. That circular evolution, to coin a phrase that somebody else probably came up with long before I ever thought of it, can explain a lot in The Big Picture of Life. It can also explain quite a bit in regard to The Far Smaller Big Picture of Plastic Modeling.

Take, for example, the ubiquitous Messerschmitt Bf/Me109 family of Second World War fighters, a collection of aircraft variants about which everything there is to know is known. We've figured that one out, and we've got all the bases covered, or at least we thought we did. Just a couple of weeks ago, back towards the end of March, several of those ubiquitous scale modeling boards I'm always mentioning discovered a Brand New 109 Variant; the Me109K-6. It's an airplane that looks like the far-more-common Me109K-4 except that it's carrying a 30mm cannon buried in each wing, along with a permanently-installed gun camera. That's right; a late-war 109 built with a pair of cannon inside the wings rather than slung underneath in gondolas. It was a revelation!

That revelation came to light in a photograph of American GIs sitting on the hulk of one of the aircraft, and the news of that photo spread far and wide and being disseminated somewhat faster than a speeding bullet, to steal an old expression. That dissemination was rather quickly followed by an illustration of the sub-type, a 3-dimensional inboard profile that showed the location of the significant components of that variation to include the somewhat astounding wing gun installation, which in turn caused the expenditure of a great many electrons as both common folk and authorities pounced on The New 109 Variant with both feet. A New 109 Variant! Shazbot!!!

Or is it really new? The gun installation in those wings was uncomfortably familiar, as was the drawing that was offered in a forum or two as corroboration of the installation as a "standard" feature, projected or actual, in the never-produced in quantity (as far as we know) Me109K-6. That discomfort led me to the bookshelves, to a 1973-vintage Monogram Aviation Publications work by Tom Hitchcock entitled Messerschmitt 'O-Nine Gallery. There, residing in all its splendor on page 49 of that once-cherished but now largely debunked study, was the same 3/4-view inboard profile of an Me109K-6 (and, to throw a little fuel on the fire, a follow-on Me109K-8 to go with it!). We'd known about that "new variant" since 1973!

It's pretty normal these days for certain segments of those who reside within our hobby to discredit the older works that live out there in Reference Land. Often that's for good reason, since nowadays we all have information at our fingertips, via the Internet, that only the most hard-core collector, scholar, or enthusiast had at their disposal Back in the Day. Anybody can go on the 'net nowadays and glean information that was impossible for most of us to access a mere 20 years ago (presuming, of course, that said information is accurate in the first place, but that's a topic for another day...), which in turn means that a lot of the information that was published way back then is considered suspect by a great many enthusiasts, particularly the younger ones. The "Thorpe Books" come to mind when we consider that point, as do several other volumes that were once standard references but are now largely ignored by most modelers. It's a mistake to do that.

Consider this if you will: Serious research did not lie fallow for decades awaiting the invention of the Internet to come along and legitimatize it, and the foundation of a great deal of the information now available to us all came about as the result of the labor of a great many historians and authors who only had printed references to work with, and often had limited access to those. While it's true that a great many of those older publications were, and still are, flawed to some extent, that was never for lack of trying and, contrary to contemporary popular opinion, a great many of those older and now ignored references actually do have something to offer. Take that old Hitchcock 109 reference, for example. It's true that a lot of what's in it is flawed, but it's equally true that a lot of what's in there isn't. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Should we all run out and buy every old aviation book we can find, then? No probably not; the newer stuff truly is better in most respects than anything that came before. What we should do is be a little less quick to jump on the old stuff as worthless, because a great deal of it is far from that, and almost all of it laid the foundations our modern researchers and writers use every day as they create the new references we look on with wide-eyed amazement. Think about it and, while you're at it, think about Thomas Hitchcock, and John Beaman, and Don Thorpe, and all those other guys who led the way with the references they had available at the time. Long ago, in a faraway land...

That Other Wildcat

When most of us think of the Grumman Wildcat family, we tend to think of F4F-3s holding the line in those Bad Old Days of early 1942, or of F4F-4s clinging to a muddy Henderson Field and doing the best they could against overwhelming odds. Those things are an essential part of the Wildcat story, but they're far from being the only part of it. The last of the American service variant of the type was intended to be built as the F4F-8, but ended up being constructed by General Motors and named the FM-2 instead. It was a pip of an airplane too; slightly lighter than the F4F-4 and with a bigger motor and a paddle-blade propeller to go with it (and a larger vertical stab to offset torque). Its gun suite was reduced to the F4F-3's original two guns per wing, which offered both reduced weight as well as the opportunity to carry more rounds per gun, and it was plumbed for a pair of 58-gallon auxiliary tanks right from the factory. It was in every respect the best of its breed, and thanks to Jim Sullivan we're going to take a quick look at it today.

The FM-2 was painted in a variety of camouflage schemes depending upon the theater of operations. It made its operational debut in the Pacific in what we now call Tri-Scheme, as typified by this aircraft from VC-14, sitting on the flight deck of the USS Hoggatt Bay (CVE-75) in November of 1944. This particular aircraft is almost a Plain Jane but not quite; note the nickname "Judy" painted on the cowling. The FM-2 often operated without the wheel covers so prevalent on the F4F-3 and -4, and its silver-painted spoked wheels are well-illustrated in this image.  Sullivan Collection

Here's another example of the FM-2 in Tri-Scheme, this time sitting on the deck of CVE-30 USS Charger in November of 1943, presumably working up prior to delivery to the Fleet. Note the delivery numbers chalked on her cowling and vertical stabilizer, the plated-over fuselage windows, and the wheel covers. This photograph was almost certainly taken during carrier qualifications and provides us with a fine example of an early, and almost brand new, FM-2.  Sullivan Collection

Here's an FM-2 that's most assuredly not on carrier trials! The aircraft is assigned to  Gambier Bay's
VC-10 in June of 1944, and has apparently done a bit of a headstand on the flight deck. In some situations the damage would have been deemed repairable, but by mid-1944 there was no shortage of fighters aboard American aircraft carriers and it would appear that B19 is on her way over the side. Note her missing canopy and the various panels removed from the fuselage and wings, although the engine and prop are still on the airframe---the engine would have required a complete inspection and overhaul after a prop strike and the effort just wasn't worth it, so she's taking the plunge with her powerplant installed. The NAV had a lot of airplanes in 1944!   Sullivan Collection

In 1944 the Navy changed the paint scheme of its tactical aircraft to overall Glossy Sea Blue, as exemplified by this extremely faded example sitting on the ramp at NAS Whidbey Island that same year. While the Grumman F6F Hellcat often featured national insignia applied as white on GSB, that practice was never done to the FM-2. This photo provides an excellent example of that; a full Insignia Blue and Insignia White star and bar applied to the fuselage and wings in textbook fashion. The aircraft has obviously seen better days but is still in service, at least for a while.   Sullivan Collection

In this photo we get to see an FM-2 from Rudyard Bay's VC-96 illustrating the way GSB appeared when it was relatively new, and it shows off the national insignia to advantage. The shot is useful to the modeler in a number of other respects as well. Note the under-wing rocket stubs, and the white-painted 58-gallon gas bags---the Tri-Scheme FM-2s had white aux tanks, and a large number of those found their way onto GSB-painted aircraft when the Fleet repainted its fighters in GSB. The wheel covers are worth a look as well, as is the tailhook, and the badly-weathered propeller is certainly worth a second take. We consider this bird to be well worth modeling!   Sullivan Collection

Whoa, Nelly! This VC-70 aircraft is coming aboard the USS Salamaua during flight operations, and is giving its driver quite a run for his money. Drama notwithstanding, the photo is once again worthwhile for the details it offers to the modeler; the white-painted gas bags, rockets mounted to the zero-length launching stubs on the wings. silver-painted spoked wheels, and white arrestor hook. The FM-2 was in its prime as a secondary fighter when this photo was taken.  Sullivan Collection

This FM-2 appears to be on a flight deck somewhere in the Pacific during 1945, but appearances can be deceiving! She's actually sitting on the training carrier USS Sable and is operating in the Great Lakes. Judging from those bent prop blades her pilot, Ensign John Hood, has just successfully performed an aviator's headstand and survived the experience. There were no easy days, even in the training command.   Sullivan Collection

The FM-2 spent its combat carrier operating off the escort carriers and was effectively obsolescent at the end of the war. A few aircraft managed to survive a few years into the post-War era, as typified by this battered example sitting on the ground in 1948, but most were dumped over the side at the end of the war or scrapped out shortly thereafter. It was a sad end to a great airplane, but a handful of examples have survived and are showing the folks what the Last of the Wildcats could do on the airshow circuit. If you ever get a chance to see one in the flesh you need to do it. Take a long look at her, and think back to her glory days with Taffy Three. She was quite an airplane!   Clay Jansson via Sullivan Collection

Old Hose-Nose Again

Bobby Rocker's been sending us some interesting photos of late, two of which are presented here today. Let's go to Eniwetok Atoll in mid-1944 and take a look at the goings-on there.

These Corsairs are from VMF-113 and are undergoing maintenance on Engebi Island at Eniwetok. The aircraft are F4U-1As, and appear to be perfectly normal, right up to the point where you start looking at their paintwork. Those birds should be in either Tri-Scheme or maybe, just maybe, in GSB, but their fuselages at the least appear to be in the old non-specular blue-grey over light grey, a paint job that they should most assuredly not be wearing! Your guess is as good as ours as to why they're painted like that, and the e-mail channels are open at replicainscale@yahoo.com . Drop us a line if you know what's going on here!   National Archives via Rocker Collection

This is a little more like we'd expect---a Glossy Sea Blue Corsair sitting on the ground at Engebi. The airplane is interesting, of course, but take a minute and look at those Marine pilots standing beside her. Combat in The Pacific was a Tough Date right up until the shooting stopped, and it's guaranteed that at least a couple of those guys never made it back to the ZI to celebrate the victory. They answered they call and they went to war knowing full-well the possible consequences. They were a special breed. Let's raise a glass!

Thanks as always to Bobby Rocker for these images; his collection never ceases to amaze us and we're extremely grateful for his participation in this project.  Thanks, Bobby!

So Where's the Rest of It?

Sometimes we find photos that prompt us to look for other photos, and this is one of them:

We were going through some old F-4 shots the other day (imagine that!) and found this image of the gear door art worn by F-4D 66-7515 of the 507th TFS. John Dienst shot the artwork and, we presume, the aircraft it was applied to, back on 02 June 1983, but we've got a problem! We've got a photo of this artwork but nothing, nada, zip, of the entire aircraft. We can tell you that she went to Davis Monthan for storage in 1987, and that she was scrapped out in 1989, but we can't show you a picture of the whole airplane, so if you've got one, well; you know the drill:  replicainscale@yahoo.com  is the address and we'd love to hear from you!   John Dienst

They Rarely Stay in Just One Place

It's a common misunderstanding regarding military aircraft, I think. A lot of people have it in their heads that an airplane leaves the factory, gets itself assigned to a squadron of some sort, and stays there until it's either pranged, shot down, or sent off to the scrapper to become pots and pans. The truth of the matter is quite a different story---those airplanes move around from unit to unit much like their pilots do. Even the trainers bounce around a bit, and the tactical aircraft tend to go from unit to unit far more frequently than you might imagine. Reader Scott Wilson has been sending us a great deal of photography lately (a practice that we strongly encourage, I might add), one group of which tailed a specific F-4C-18-MC from its service with Kelly AFB's 182nd TFS/149th TFG to its final duty station with Oregon's 123rd FIS/142nd FIG. Scott's documentation effectively followed her tracks throughout her post-USAF service with the Guard and thus provides us with an interesting look at one of our favorite airplanes.

63-7517 was rather obviously contracted in FY 1963, but our essay skips her active-duty USAF career and picks her up with her assignment to the Guard at Kelly AFB in July of 1981. In this view, she's painted in the conventional SEA tactical camouflage and is part of a three-ship, taxiing out to go move some sand dunes at the Matagorda Island bombing range, a normal activity for the 182nd TFS during the time they operated Phantoms. 7517 must have recently left corrosion control, because she's absolutely spotless in this photo. Then again, the 183rd always took good care of their airplanes...    Scott Wilson

1983 saw a change in mission as well as station. 7517 spend a portion of the early 80s at Ellington AFB outside of Houston, where she served with the 111th FIS/147th FIG, one of the complement of Phantoms that replaced Ellington's now-famous F-101Bs. Her tactical scheme had changed to the overall "ADC Grey" (Aircraft Grey) worn by the Guard's interceptors, and there were no more trips to Matagorda. Once again she was a Clean Machine, although those SEA-camo'd F-4s behind her would seem to indicate a recent visit to the paint shop that the other ships in that lineup had yet to experience.  Scott Wilson

By July of 1989 she'd reached her final station, being transferred to Oregon's 123rd FIS, and her paintwork had changed once again, reflecting the Air Force's painting directives of the era. Her subdued greys looked just fine, thank you very much, but didn't have quite the snap of her previous clothing---it's really tough to make an assortment of flat greys look pretty. Still, a Phantom's a Phantom no matter how she's painted, and old "Double Ugly" was an effective, if aging, platform right up to her final days of service. 7517 retired to the desert shortly after this photo was taken, a sad, if normal, end to a fine airplane.   Scott Wilson

There's one more thing we should mention prior to leaving this particular piece; Scott moved around quite a bit during his time with the Air Force and the Guard and rather obviously knows how to use a camera. There's a lot more of his photography where this came from, so stay tuned!

Just Can't Get Enough of Those Iron Dogs

Particularly not when they look like these do. At first glance our next photo looks pretty normal, and we suspect most of you have seen at least one of these airplanes before. What you haven't seen are the way they're marked, so sit back and get ready to be amazed!

OK, so what's so new about these airplanes, you might rightly ask yourself. After all, everybody has seen at least one photo of the 82nd TRS' P-39Ns, and everybody has seen "Little Sir Echo/Texas", so what's the Big Deal? Well, don't go getting all uppity on us and we'll explain, and for your part you can prepare to be modestly amazed! First things first; there are indications that "Little Sir Echo" might have bagged a pair of Ki-43s at some point in its career which certainly makes it worth a second look, but that ain't all! Let's start with the obvious; those beat-up gas bags, pretty normal except for the sharkmouth on the one "Echo" is carrying. As you marvel at that somewhat aggressive-looking drop tank, shift your eyes slightly to the right and check out the main landing gear doors. Shazbot! Those doors are scalloped in the best tradition of 1930s American air racers! Holy cow; who would've expected that! And that's not all! Slide your glance over to the aircraft on the far left, because "Ruthie II" has the same treatment on her doors, although in a lighter color. (She also carries the earlier, small diameter nose wheel, but that's a story for another day.) Holy Cow! We told you we'd be impressed!  Rocker Collection

Maybe you're smarter than we are and knew it all along, but those scallops are news to us. As nearly as we can recall we first saw a photo of "Little Sir Echo" (named after Bing Crosby's 1939 song by that title) sometime back in the late 1960s, and we'd never noticed those scallops until just recently. That proves something about the fine art of paying attention, we think, and it also reminds us once again how fortunate we are that Bobby Rocker has spent the better part of his adult life collecting photographs of American military airplanes!

It Was Big and It Was LOUD, But the Polka Dots Were All Covered Up

And, up until it was replaced by its more effective younger brother, the RF-4C, it was also the best photo recce platform the USAF had ever possessed. It was big and it was heavy, and it most assuredly wasn't much at turning, but by the time McDonnell had gotten around to the Charlie variant of its RF-101 family they'd pretty much figured out the photo recon thing and the Voodoo was the perfect airplane for the mission. The RF-101C was available and in service in the Far East when the United States first began air operations over Laos and the Republic of Vietnam, and was heavily involved in the Able Mable operations begun by TDY Voodoos of Misawa's 45th TRS and operating out of Thailand during December of 1961.

By the time The Big War had begun, the 45th had changed stations and moved from its long-time home on Northern Honshu to Tan Son Nhut AB in Vietnam. Photographer Rick Burgess spent some time at that base, and we're privileged to share some of his photography from those days courtesy the kindness of Mark Nankivil and the Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum.

It's March 20, 1968, and 56-0061, an RF-101C-65-MC, touches down at Tan San Nhut after a sortie. Those gas bags slowed her down a bit and the added weight and drag of her paintwork didn't help things either, but she was still fast. Simple speed wasn't enough, though, and Voodoo losses were significant throughout the type's use in theater. It's hard to imagine how things would have worked out if the 45th had taken the 101's immediate predecessor, the Republic RF-84F, to war instead.  RA Burgess via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

May 22nd, 1968, saw Rick Burgess beside the active at Tan Son Nhut once again, catching aircraft as they recovered from missions to Points Northwest. This time the aircraft was 56-0061, an airplane that proves a point of sorts. Modelers should note that none of these 101s are particularly weathered and are obviously well-cared for, even though they're in the middle of a shooting war. The Insignia Red interiors of the speed brake and landing gears wells are worth a second look too.  RA Burgess via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

Although nose art was no stranger to the Air Force of the Vietnam era, it was officially discouraged for a fair part of the war. The sharp-eyed reader will note that only one of the aircraft illustrated in this essay carries any sort of nose art at all, and 56-0071 illustrates that point to a tee. It's not that the aircraft of the 45th never had nose art, because there was a point in their SEA career when a great many did, but there was a substantial period of time during their service there when their aircraft went largely unmarked. One more thing to note about this shot (aside from that interesting B-57 parked behind 0071); Most of the Air Force's second-generation fast jets had aircraft-specific boarding ladders as part of their ground support equipment, and the one for the Voodoo is well illustrated here. That may seem mundane at first glance, but a picture's worth a thousand words to the scale modeler.   RA Burgess via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

And here's 0041 taken on the same ramp during June of 1968, just a month after 0071 posed for her photo. This shot is similar to the one immediately above but the lighting on it is different, which gives us a chance to look at the way the camouflage paint was applied. Notice how the demarcation of the greens over the tan appear to have been sprayed separately? It's almost as though these were big model airplanes rather than the real thing! This method of paint application gives those modelers known as Paint Pedantics something else to obsess over when they get together and talk about airplanes. Beauty!   RA Burgess via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

Our next three shots are all pretty much the same photo from some perspectives, but they're all interesting in and of themselves so we're going to run them all. If you don't particularly care for RF-101s this might be a good time to skip to a different part of the blog!

Our final three images were all taken at the same spot beside the active on 26 June, 1968, and all show Voodoos of the 45th in the act of recovering from a mission or missions over Laos, Cambodia, or within Vietnam, Republic Of. We're guessing there was some sort of drama going on with 0047 during this particular landing since her barrier arresting gear is deployed, but we have no idea what that drama might have been. There's one thing for certain, though; there were no easy days up North.   RA Burgess via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum.

Here's 0071 again, this time returning from a mission. Like all of its Century Series stablemates, the RF-101C was equipped by a drogue chute, which is shown deployed in all of these recovery shots, but it was common to perform the first part of the landing evolution with the aircraft in a fairly steep nose-up attitude in order to take advantage of aerodynamic braking.The Voodoo was big and she was heavy, and needed all the help she could get on a short runway!   RA Burgess via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

We'll finish up our photo essay today with this shot of 56-0083 touching down. Note that she appears to have a name of some sort painted on her nose, but it's small and we have no idea what it might be. Drop us a line if you know what it is!   RA Burgess via Greater St Louis Air and Space Museum via Mark Nankivil

And now it's Bonus time here at Replica in Scale, at least for the modelers among our readership. If you're interested in building your very own Vietnam-era RF-101C you might have an interest in the next couple of images.

If you're a modeler and want to build yourself a Voodoo from the SouthEast Asia Wargames, sooner or later you're going to want to paint it. Here's something to help you do that---the appropriate page from T.O. 1-1-4. Our copy is dated 19 January, 1967, and is therefore appropriate to a 1968-vintage RF-101C (not that the paintwork changed all that much once those early experimental schemes had been left behind). Keep in mind that variations will exist from aircraft to aircraft when painted in the SEA camouflage; it's highly doubtful that any of the Voodoos illustrated on these pages conformed 100% to the painting directives!

Here's something for the detail freaks among us. Sargent-Fletcher manufactured gas bags, pods, and various and sundry other under-the-airplane thingies during the golden age of the Silver and Vietnam-era Air Force. This illustration is from one of their early-70s catalogs and provides us with details of the 450-gallon aux tanks used by the Voodoo. It may or may not be of interest to you, but we like it so we're sharing it. Feel free not to use it if you don't care about such things.


Here's a scan of a real, honest to Goodness 45th TRS patch I bought at the base exchange in Misawa, during 1964, just for your edification. I kept it all those years so I could show it to you today!

And that's it for today's look at the Voodoo, but we're a long way from done with the type. Stay tuned!

Under the Radar

Since we haven't talked much about books lately (or much of anything else, for that matter), we probably ought to get back in the groove before you begin to think we no longer know how to read! Today we're going to look at not one, but three---count 'em, THREE---volumes, because they're essentially one book, and we're going to say right from the start that you'll be doing yourself a considerable disservice if you only read one of them. It's a continuity thing if you will.

Invasion Rabaul, Zenith Press, 2006 and 2014, 270 pp plus notes and indices, illustrated. Bruce Gamble is a retired NFO with a passion for history, and his three-volume treatise on the struggle for the Japanese Fortress at Rabaul is without question the definitive work on the subject. This first volume, originally published in 2006 as Darkest Hour and republished under its current title in 2014, covers the Australian base at Rabaul and its loss to the Japanese during January of 1942. This particular volume has relatively little coverage of aviation because the Australian forces at Rabaul had virtually no air assets to speak of prior to the Japanese assault, but rather addresses the creation, activities, and loss of Lark Force, the under-manned and under-equipped garrison sent to Rabaul and left hung out to dry there by the Australian government of the time. Readers of this blog may not be particularly attracted to this volume since it's so thin on aviation, but we advise reading it before reading the other two books because of the background and perspective it puts on the entire campaign.

Fortress Rabaul, Zenith Press, 2010, 350 pp plus notes and indices, illustrated. Of the three volumes of this history, this one is the one most likely to be acquired and read by enthusiasts, since it covers the 5th AF's and Navy's operations against Rabaul up until April of 1943. Those air operations are covered in considerable detail and the "classic" ops against the Japanese bastion are explained in such a way that a complicated and easily misunderstood aerial campaign becomes simple to understand. This volume made me pull down and start an Accurate Miniatures B-25D...

Target: Rabaul, Zenith Press, 2013, 362 pp plus notes and indices, illustrated. This volume covers operations against Rabaul from March of 1943 up to the end of the war, and continues in the same scholarly yet reader-friendly style employed by Gamble in his first two volumes. Once again air operations are the star of the show, but this book also provides a great deal of detail regarding the fate of those Allied airmen (and soldiers, since there were a handful of Lark Force survivors at Rabaul as well) unfortunate enough to fall into Japanese hands as prisoners of war. In point of fact all three books of this remarkable work detail the plight of the Allied POWs and their brutal treatment by their captors; this volume ties it all together for the reader and helps to provide additional insight into one of the many facets of the bloodiest aerial campaign of the Pacific War.

We purchased these books together and read them in sequence over a period of a couple of weeks. We recommend that you do the same, because the three volumes are essentially one book that's broken down into three manageable parts. They are, without question, essential to any library that focuses on the air war in the Pacific. Bruce Gamble is a remarkable and gifted writer and we can easily see these books remaining the go-to references on the subject for a great many years to come.

Not Quite a Happy Snap

Every once in a while we receive a photograph that we know had to come from some sort of official source rather than one of our readers, but that fits into our Happy Snaps section anyway. This is one of those shots:

We had to take a severe second look at this photo when we received it from Mark Nankivil a few months ago. It's unusual, it's remarkable, and more importantly, no naval aviators were harmed in its making, unless you count damaged pride, of course! It's a fitting way to end this edition, and we hope you all enjoy it. We sure did!

The Relief Tube

It's been 5 weeks, give or take, since last we met, and most of our letters have been of the "where are you and why aren't you publishing" variety so once again we're going to slide right past offering anything in the way of corrections. On the other hand, there are a lot of photographs up there for you to look at, which means there are many opportunities for me to make a mistake! That address once again is  replicainscale@yahoo.com . If all those spam dudes can find the address then so can you, so don't be shy!

And that's it for today. Be good to your neighbor and with any luck we'll meet again soon!

phil

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