Friday, August 24, 2018
Invaders You Probably Haven't Seen Before, Some Mitchells, Really, George?, A Car, Bad Thing On the Block, and A Couple From Norm
That's right; attitude. Yours. Mine. Ours. Attitude.
Several months ago I received a phone call from Rudy, who's the manager over at King's in Austin, telling me they'd just received a Wingnut Wings Junkers J.1 on consignment and asking me if I wanted it. It was a kit I'd missed first time around and the price was right---its previous owner had started it so it had to be sold at somewhat of a discount---so I said yes (with considerable enthusiasm, I might add) and made arrangements to get it into my hands. The kit arrived in Kendalia a few short days later and I immediately dropped whatever else I was working on at the time in order to begin construction on The Ugly Junkers. I was pumped!
The model was pretty much as I'd expected in terms of detail and buildability (I'm not sure that's a real word, but I'm going to use it so cut me some slack, please) and I was just sailing along with its construction when the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune befell my universe. I was installing the struts onto the upper and lower wing stubbs, just like the instructions said to do, but I was trying out a bottle of Squadron's Plastic Weld, a product I'd never used before, and the stuff was a lot hotter than the Tenax I'd been employing for the past umpteen years. After all that time I was used to the way the Tenax behaved but was still learning the characteristics of the Squadron stuff and managed to overapply it to the attach points of the struts which in turn caused them to melt, although they didn't look like it when I plugged them into the mounting receptacles on the model's wings and fuselage. No; they didn't look it at all, but they'd softened past the point of being able to hold those big heavy Junkers wing parts in place and I had the unique pleasure of watching the entire structure literally crumble before my very eyes. The horror. The horror!!!
Anyway, I knew immediately what had happened, so I gave everything a couple of days to finish outgassing and curing, and then I reattached those struts to the wing stubbs but this time using the basic butt joints I'd accidentally created as my mounting indices and using a whole lot less Plastic Weld to stick the pieces together. Everything worked just fine too, until I went to slide the upper wing's outboard panels into place the next morning. It was deja vu all over again, to quote Yogi Berra (the baseball catcher, not the cartoon character often mistaken for him) but I perservered and repeated the whole curing and installation process and viola: this time it worked! Hooray! (And yes; I know I should've just pinned them and moved on but I didn't do that so cut me some slack, ok?) The model was subsequently completed and now sits on the shelf with my other 1/32nd scale attempts at Great War modeling, but that's not the point. Here's The Thing:
If I'd had the exact same thing happen to me twenty years ago I would've put the tattered remains of the kit back in the box, put the box on the top shelf of the closet I kept my unbuilt kits in, and forgotten about it, or maybe just broken the model down for parts. If I'd tried to save the situation and had the same thing happen again, I probably would've introduced the entire project to the trash can, frustration being what it is. I didn't do either of those things this time, though. Passion never entered into the equation in any way and I took the disappointment as a challenge; it was just another thing I needed to deal with if I was going to complete the model. That passion part is important, because it's the thing that causes models to be trashed when they could be saved instead. Remember that Classic Airframes Curtiss P-6E I showed you a few months ago? It was the same sort of deal---I'd royally pooched the kit the first time around but I knew it was salvageable, so I waited until my head was in a better place and then I finished the model.
And that takes us to the moral of the story. If something you're doing, or have done, to a plastic model airplane that's supposed to be putting a little joy into your life is causing you frustration or, worse yet, causing you to lose your temper, then you've chosen the wrong hobby for yourself. I know that for a fact, because I used to be That Guy. My scale modeling life got immensely better for me the day I decided that there wasn't anything I could mess up so badly that I couldn't fix it, and there's no "shelf of doom" in this house, although I'll admit there is a shelf of delayed completion. There are exactly three models on that shelf, and they'll all be completed whenever I become re-interested in those projects again. I'm a modeler. I can fix the problems as they arise, most of the time anyway, and I do this for fun. Yes; I'm serious about accuracy, mostly, and I'm serious about the quality of the things I build, but only if that accuracy and quality result in the project being fun.
I submit to you that my approach isn't a bad one, and that it can actually help you get a little more fun out of your hobby. That part you just broke, or that assembly you just messed up, are opportunities for you to grow as a modeler, and fixing those issues can be fun if you let it be. You'll be happier, the folks you know who have to listen to you whine when you mess something up and pretend they're sympathetic to your largely-incomprehensible-to-them plight will be happier, and your models will end up being better, all as the end result of a little change in your attitude. Nobody starts at the top in this hobby, and that includes the guys and gals who produce those museum-quality models you see in the magazines and at the contests. Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody has had their lunch eaten by a plastic model at one time or another. Anyone who tells you otherwise isn't playing a straight game.
That's my story, etc, etc...
They Weren't All Black or Silver
Nope; a whole bunch of Douglas A-26 Invaders got themselves delivered to the 3rd Bomb Group in nasty old Olive Drab and Neutral Grey, and some of them stayed that way after the war. Thanks to the kindness of Gerry Kersey we can offer a few examples for you to enjoy:
The Ones Who Came Before
Sometimes we stumble on one of those images that just has to be shared, whether there's an essay to place it in or not. This photo is one of those!
As always, many thanks to Gerry, and to Bobby Rocker, and to all the others who care enough to preserve our history and heritage.
Some Early Thunderjets
We all know who George Laven was, right? We all know about that P-38 named "Itsy Bitsy", and we've all seen his outrageously-painted "Huns" and "Zippers", but how many of you have seen his primordial F-84B, way back in the days before his airplanes went wild with color? We're guessing very few of you have seen that airplane, but today's the day that's all going to change thanks to reader and contributor Ed Ellickson!
offering of the plank-wing F-84 in 1/72nd scale did offer the option for conversion. That's a shame, too, because there were some truly colorful early iterations of that airframe flying around in the late 40s and early 50s. Gotta love The Silver Air Force! Ed Ellickson Collection
Finally, Ed's a modeler as well as an historian and he wanted to do a model of one of George Laven's airplanes (see above!) but nobody makes those markings in a commercially-available sheet, so Ed was forced to do his own. What follows are the masters for his artwork, in case any of our readers would like to take their own shot at one of the 49th's more famous Thunderjets:
Thanks very much to Ed, both for sharing this remarkable photography and providing us for the ability to model "Itsy-Bitsy III" ourselves by way of his decal artwork!
But We're Not Done With George Laven Yet
Nope, not yet! Colonel Laven was widely known for his flamboyance and his love of the unusual. The following images are allegedly of a one-off automobile that was once owned by him and subsequently photographed at a contemporary (21st Century) car show. Ed found these on-line and provided them as a footnote to the Laven story:
OK; now we're finished with Col. Laven, for a while anyway. The Relief Tube is awaiting your comments, which you can send to replicainscaleatyahoodotcom !
Not To Be Messed With
That's a phrase that suits the late, lamented F-4 family to a tee! Originally designed as a Fleet defense interceptor for the Navy, it soon found itself in the service of the Marine Corps and Air Force as well, and spent its youth in an unforeseen combat in a relatively unknown part of the world, performing missions largely unrelated to those foreseen in its design parameters, and doing everything it was tasked with in a manner that could only have been described as outstanding. Don Jay was on the ramp at Udorn AB in Thailand on 11 May, 1972, and shot these images that he's sharing with us today:
7482 was less than six years old when Don snapped these photos, but her days were numbered. She was on yet another mission, this time near Haiphong on 25 August, 1972, when she was hit by groundfire and went into the sea. There were no easy days...
Short Films You May Want to Watch
Reader and frequent contributor Norman Camou has been at it again, much to our great pleasure. Get yourself a snack and take a look at these gems he's found for us on YouTube:
The first film is about US Navy carrier operations in Korea during 1951, while the second is a piece on the F2H Banshee shot in 1948. Both are well worth your time!
And, while we're talking about Norman's ongoing contributions to the project, let's take a look at THIS:
Not Your Normal Happy Snap!
The Relief Tube
No; not really, but we, or rather I, do have a request to make of you! I've recently almost, and I'd like to stress that word almost, completed a Tamiya F-51D done up as an aircraft from the 67th TFS ca. 1952, but I'm missing a decal!
Here's the model:
That email address is replicainscaleatyahoodotcom if you can help, or replicainscaleatyahoodotcom if you can't! Either way...
And that's it for today. Yes, Frank, I know it's been a really long time since I've published and I promise I'll try to do better in the future! Sheesh!
Anyway, be good to your neighbors, and I promise I'll try to see you again real soon!