Tuesday, August 17, 2021

A Couple From Bob Rocker, Those Hasegawa P-40s, A Hog or Two, A Big Bird, and A Special Documentary


OOPSIE, and The Consequences Thereof

Let's start at the beginning, or maybe quite a bit before then. I acquired my first airbrush back in 1968, an early-60s Paasche H given to me by the next-door neighbor of a girlfriend. It was and still is a quality piece of work and I still have it, velvet-lined case and all, although it must be admitted it hasn't been used in a very long time. These days it's mostly a treasured keepsake of my early days in "serious" modeling, albeit one that could easily be put back into service if necessary. 

1968 was a watershed year for me in many ways, but the two that matter to this ramble are that Paasche H and the Binks hobby compressor I purchased to feed its requisite air supply. That first Binks compressor was a horse; it always worked and it was seemingly unbreakable. It was in almost daily use for some 20 years before finally giving up the ghost when it became the victim of a ruptured diaphragm in late 1988. Still, it had proven itself, which mandated an easy decision to replace it with an identical unit. That replacement is still chugging along, or at least it was when I retired it in favor of the far quieter Paasche D3000R my wife gave me for Christmas back in 2015. Ah; that Paasche! It was a revelation because it had an air tank, a water trap, and a pressure regulator built into the unit; none of which were present on either Binks as-purchased, plus the Paasche was nearly silent since it ran off the compressed air stored in the tank most of the time, a huge plus in the ongoing game of ensuring domestic tranquility on the home front. (Translation: Mama don't like that compressor noise!)

Nothing lasts forever, though, and that spiffy Paasche compressor gradually began cycling more and more frequently and taking longer to fill the air tank each time it cycled, which should have been a tip-off of some sort if I had been paying any attention at all, but of course I hadn't been. A cursory check and several leak-down tests had proven to me that none of the various air fittings on the unit were compromised even though the holding tank no longer held pressure for very long, so the whole thing was written off as the idiosyncrasies of an aging compressor. Stuff happens, right?

That's been the status quo for several months now, but everything changed a week or so ago. There were warning signs, as there so often are in Life, but like so many of us I chose to ignore them until The Fateful Night which began as I went to bed and was told by my wife that the compressor was running again. That's wasn't unusual so I made some sort of reply that involved ignoring the compressor until the next day, and I went to bed. That was Strike One. Strike Two came at 0330 the next morning when I got up to answer natures' call and noticed the compressor was merrily compressing away, apparently without making any progress at all where filling its modest storage tank was concerned. That's not what's supposed to happen so the continual racket should have been yet another a major flag for me, but the need for sleep overcame any curiosity on my part so I went back to bed. Strike Three came when I got up at 0630 and discovered the darned thing was still running! That finally stirred me from the grasp of Self-Induced Oblivion and I went over to turn the darned thing off, only to discover that it had somehow managed to pee a nasty greyish liquid all over the carpet in the space where it sat beside my modeling desk. Yes; it was, and still is, a Stupid Thing to keep a compressor on a piece of unprotected carpet and I never should have done it, but then I'd never had any personal experience with an oil-less hobby compressor puking assorted nastiness all over the floor either. Who would've thought that could even happen!

Then I noticed the compressor, which had been running until the moment I manually shut it off, wasn't actually compressing anything; it was just merrily humming away and making no productive contribution to the situation whatsoever. A close examination led to the discovery of a hole, maybe a 16th of an inch in more-or-less diameter at the edge of the holding tank, pretty much where you would find the weld that attached the end cap to the unit. A phone call to Paasche seemed in order but that only produced a No-Joy moment for me because their compressors, or mine anyway, are only warranted for one year and I'd had this one for far longer than that. The guys over there were nice enough, you understand, but they weren't any help at all, although they did take the time to section a compressor tank to show me they all would exhibit some degree of rusting over time and there were definite signs of rusting around that hole in my unit (but not on the carpet; go figure).  They also assured me, multiple times and in three-part harmony, that both halves of the problem were mine because the unit was several years out of warranty---an unpleasant reality, if you will---and there I was, hard down with no recourse as far as the manufacturer was concerned. It was time to Work the Problem.

The immediate solution was simple enough. A miraculous cleaning product called Spot Shot took away every vestige of staining from the afflicted carpet. The tank repair was simple too: The rusted-out hole was enlarged with a drill and a sheet-metal screw of a greater diameter than the hole I'd just made was wrenched into place using epoxy as a potting agent to ensure the thing couldn't possibly leak anymore, which it doesn't. The tank holds pressure, I can paint again, the carpet is clean, and everything is probably as good as it can be except that now I think there's some sort of pressure relief valve that's beginning to fail too, which takes us to today's lesson, to wit:

Don't ignore the obvious. If your compressor, airbrush, or any other tool or fixture you use is acting in a peculiar manner it would probably behoove you to investigate the reason it's doing that. Throwing in a little basic preventive action too, such as putting a compressor in a shallow plastic tub or similar before you even turn it on, can help matters considerably and you can save yourself some grief down the road.  

In hindsight, I'm guessing there was a pinhole at that weld in the tank that allowed the rust monster to develop to the point where a penetration was the inevitable result of what I'm thinking was inadequate QC at the manufacturer's level. (I was a certified aircraft welder in my younger days and I've got more than a passing familiarity with such things...) The cause really doesn't matter very much, though, because I could've/should've investigated the situation when the unit very first began to act up and I didn't. I also could've/should've had some sort of containment under the compressor, to keep the rubber pads on its feet from discoloring the floor if nothing else but I didn't do that either. Jeez, Phillip...

My ultimate solution was a new compressor, relegating the Paasche to the status of backup unit. That came with a personal decision to avoid that company's compressors as well, although it must be said that hobby compressors belong to that family of devices that can no longer be economically produced within the United States, thus rendering them all to be somewhat at long-term risk of failure. It's not so much a case that one compressor is Good while others are Bad, but rather a case of paying attention to your tools. That means I discovered once again that there's always something to learn and taking the time to do that would lead to a better outcome at the end of the day. You'd think I'd know that by now...

What We Think and What It Really Was

We live in interesting times. If you're reading this blog it's because you're an aviation enthusiast, and maybe a scale modeler too. You collect resources, you buy books, and you might even scour the deepest reaches of eBay looking for old photographs of airplanes to add to your collection of references. You quite possibly build model airplanes as well, with the substantial investment in kits, paint, decals, and accessories that comes with that hobby. If you're like most of us, your view of such things has been greatly influenced by the documentaries and movies that are out there, but rarely has there any thought to what we're going to call The Truth. We're going to take a minute to share a couple of photos provided to us by Bobby Rocker to illustrate what we mean.

Here's a prime example of what, for the purposes of this conversation, we'll call The Norm; it's an A-20G from the 90th BS/3rd BG over Lake Sentani late in the Pacific War. The airplane's intact and nobody's shooting at it. The crew was probably scared at some point in the mission, or is possibly about to be scared, but everything is calm right now, almost serene. It's what we think of when we think about our modeling subjects at all.   Rocker Collection

There's a whimsical side as well, as illustrated by this 67th FG P-400 participating in a close encounter of the worst kind with a US-marked Tiger Moth on an airfield in New Caledonia. We don't know the circumstances of the mishap but it's not unreasonable to presume that nobody was seriously injured, and the photo depicts the sort of accident we can find humor in. It's superficially funny and we can even make models of the airplanes involved.   Rocker Collection

And then there's this. The airplane is a Coast Guard PBM off Makin Island and it's loading Marines that were wounded in the battle for the island. No; those casualties weren't from an airplane engaged in combat but hurt is hurt, wounded is wounded, and dead is, unfortunately, dead, no matter how it happened. The big difference here is the fact that those guys could be recovered to be placed on that Mariner for transportation to a field hospital. Aviators were rarely so lucky.   Rocker Collection

We study the conflicts and we build the models. We discuss the merits of both the airplanes involved and the campaigns they fought in, and some of us publish books and magazine articles about them. I do those things too, and I enjoy them, but we need to remember the reality of the situation. None of those guys would have been doing what they were doing when they were wounded or killed if they could have done otherwise. A bad situation required them to stand up, as soldiers always do, and it required some to pay a terrible price. That's worth thinking about.

Not As Bad As You Think

That lead-in could apply to many different things, but in this instance it's a way to introduce a simple fix for the 1/48th and 1/32nd scale kits so many people love to hate: The modular Hasegawa P-40 families Curtiss Warhawks. The kits share similar design features in both scales, with separate empennage and cockpit sections as well as a handful of inserts intended to allow the manufacturer to produce different variants of the kit without going to the added expense of tooling different fuselages for each and every one of them. It's a smart and, at least in theory, cost-effective way of dealing with the problem, but there's a catch. Those inserts are no big deal if you've got a little time in the saddle as a modeler, but they can prove tricky indeed for the total novice or the lesser-skilled. With that in mind, let's see what we can do to ease the pain!

This shot, taken directly from one of Hasegawa's instruction sheets, defines the three areas that produce the problems encountered by many modelers. None of the inserts are shown, nor are the halves of the empennage assembly, but the  details that have been circled define what we need to know.

Here's the most important piece of the puzzle regardless of the scale you're building, or even the specific sub-variant of P-40 it might be. First and foremost: Totally ignore the kit's instructions for assembling the fuselage as Front and Rear sub-assemblies. Instead, take the big pieces for each side of your modular Warhawk and clean them up, then assemble them to make two complete fuselage halves. Align from the outside of the parts, where you'll see any mismatches when the model is completed, and CAREFULLY wick liquid cement (Tamiya Extra Thin Quick Setting, for example) into the joints from behind. Align the parts properly and allow them to cure. (A word of warning here: Do NOT put your fingers over a joint when applying your cement because there's a substantial risk of the stuff wicking out of the seams and leaving a fingerprint in the model's plastic. Yes; that's Modeling 101 and yes, I've done it. You have too, or you someday will, so paying attention to this basic construction technique is a thing that will save you from unnecessary frustration and cleanup!) 

This extremely simple modification to the kit's instructions will allow an almost perfect fit to the big pieces which means minimal finishing work for you later on, as well as a better-looking model once you're done.

This shot illustrates how everything goes together in the area of the radiator bathtub. If you attach the  cowling lip to the assembled radiator parts at this time and make sure everything is centered when you look at the thing from the front, you'll end up with perfect alignment of a part that goes wonky all too often. Let it cure and then assemble it to one of the fuselage halves. That one deviation from the instructions will, once again, produce a far better model with a lot less work on your part!

Before you permanently install that radiator lip, drill a couple of holes in the insert bays on the nose, and drill a couple into the the lower wing gun bays as well. This will allow you to adjust them all for a flush fit from behind before you wick in your liquid cement to lock the inserts in place---just poke a toothpick or similar into the proper hole to push a panel that may not be sitting flush into the proper position before the cement can cure.

While we're at this part of the assembly, take notice of that triangular piece that's immediately aft of the rear-most exhaust stack. The P-40D and E don't have those fillers but all the other P-40s do, and careful alignment is once again required, probably to be followed by a tiny amount of filler and some light sanding to obtain a smooth homogeneous surface there. 

This is what you'll have just before joining the fuselage halves together. Since you've already dealt with the area behind the cockpit, the intake lip, and the back end of the fuselage, what you're doing now is just like working with a "normal" model airplane kit. If you've done your part at all during the assembly process, every bit of the nonexistent drama many modelers associate with these kits is now gone. Eliminated. Vanished!

Here's what you'll end up with if you do things the way I've described them. There are a couple of other things here to pay attention to as well:

Those baseball-sized rivets in the cutouts behind the headrest on the P-40D through M are hugely oversized and have got to go, so sand them off. 

The machine gun inserts in the leading edges of the wings are another heartbreaker for many modelers, but you can avoid that particular bit of angst by carefully cleaning them up, then installing them in their cutouts in the upper wing halves prior to attaching said halves to the lower wing. It's the same deal as with all the other inserts; fit them carefully and wick some liquid cement in from behind to lock them in place from inside  the wing where it can't be seen and therefore can't create problems either. Align them on the tops and they'll fit on the bottoms too, but make sure those inserts are fully cured before assembling the wing halves!

You'll probably want to fill in those little ID lights on the fuselage sides too. They were on P-40Ds and very early Es, but very few Warhawks actually had them beyond those early variants. 

Thanks to this picture you now know what the pattern on the carpet in my studio (the one the compressor peed all over) looks like, but you've also got a pretty good idea how the undersurfaces of the nearly completed model should look. In this case it's a P-40M from the RAAF ca. 1944 but the assembly basics are the same regardless of the variant you're building. Once again, there are a couple of minor details you might want to consider as you move towards completion of your model:

First, those white spots you see on the model are MicroScale Krystal Klear that's been employed to replace the lenses that go in those places as given in the kit. That's because I'm clumsy and invariably manage to put a nick in the kit's clear parts where they attach to their sprue, or maybe sand a flat in them when I'm cleaning those parts up. Either way I end up with an out-of-round part, so using Krystal Klear instead of the kit components eliminates that problem before it can occur.

In a similar yet totally unrelated vein, the kit provides a tiny lens that goes into a hole in the front of one of the landing gear knuckles but the real airplane didn't have one there, so fill in the hole, sand it out, and move on.

Study of photographs seems to show that very few wartime P-40s had gun cameras, at least in the Pacific, so building and installing the one provided by the kit (parts A2, A24, A25, and U2) is very much up to the individual modeler unless you have a photo of the real airplane you're replicating that shows one in place.

Here's the way the model under construction for this article ended up immediately prior to finishing. It was an easy date with no drama, and all those modular components so often cursed by a vocal few in the modeling community ended up fitting like a glove, with no significant parts mismatches and little putty or sanding required. 

If you're around the hobby enough you will eventually hear a few modelers decrying these kits because of the way they're designed, although the complaints often come from people who haven't actually built any of them! Ain't that always the way!

In my world single-piece fuselage halves would have been preferable but that's not what comes with the kit, and it really doesn't matter anyway, because those Hasegawa P-40s are great kits that are capable of producing outstanding replicas of the real thing if the modeler does their part. The models build easily, or at least they do for me using the tips mentioned in this article, and they capture the look of Curtiss' pugnacious Warhawks as no other presently existing kit does. To each their own, as the old saying goes, but on a personal level I'm a big fan of Hasegawa's 1/48th and 1/32nd scale P-40s. Your mileage may vary, of course...

 An Overdue Look at Old Hose Nose

Jim Sullivan has been part of the Replica in Scale family since 1973. Aside from being both a superior modeler, photographer, and long-time associate of this project, he's also a highly valued friend. Today we're going to look at a few Corsairs from his remarkable collection of photography. They're fascinating, to our way of thinking anyway, because they show "The Hog" during normal day-to-day operations during both good and bad times. Let's take a look!

There's a general perception among a great many enthusiasts that tired or obsolescent American military airplanes were simply scrapped in place or dumped after they'd passed their usefulness in the Pacific. That was certainly true post-conflict and even during the last days of the War, but some of those older airplanes were still useful in many respects, even though their days as effective combat aircraft were over. These F4U-1As are a prime example of the practice of salvaging combat aircraft that still had life left in them. They once belonged to the legendary VF-17 and were photographed on 7 July, 1944, while being unloaded at Mugu Beach in California. Too worn for further combat, they were perfectly viable as training or utility aircraft. To borrow an old Southernism: Never throw nothin' away!   Jim Sullivan Collection

April of 1944 saw VMF-322 operating out of Kadena Field on Okinawa. These F4U-1Ds belong to that squadron and are armed with napalm as they taxied out for another mission against a highly motivated and determined enemy that wasn't interested in surrendering. 322's combat time while they were stationed on Okinawa was largely spent performing highly dangerous air-to-ground work, with the squadron's aircraft often flying multiple sorties per day in support of the ground troops. It was a tough way to make a living for all concerned.   Jim Sullivan Collection

Winners and losers; an F4U-1D from VMF-322 sits on Kadena prepped for another mission behind the remains of a Ki-36 "Ida" once used by the airfield's former IJAAF occupants. Damaged Japanese airplanes littered may of the airfields captured by US forces during the course of the war, but they rarely remained intact for long. Souvenir hunters would continue the destruction of the airframes created by combat activity and then most remaining aircraft would be scrapped, with a select few being retained for further study or shipment back to the CONUS for serious evaluation. The "Ida" was far from the cutting edge of technology even when it was new, guaranteeing that this example would soon be scrapped.   Jim Sullivan Collection

Whoa, Big Fella! In an event that must have created increased heart-rates in everyone who witnessed it this VMA-312 F4U-4 snags a late wire coming aboard the USS Badoeng Strait off the coast of Korea during September of 1951. The flight deck has always been a scary and dangerous place, even during the course of normal operations. Adding combat to the mix made things that much worse, but this Corsair managed to avoid disaster. We can only imagine what the Marine on the wing root of the "Hog" in the left front was thinking while all this was going on!   Paul Jerominski Collection via Jim Sullivan

Sometimes you got lucky when things went wrong, and this was one of those times. BuNo 97503 was an F4U-4B, also from VMA-312 during their time on the Badoeng Strait, and seen here after a landing accident that took place on the boat in 1952. The airplane is pretty banged up but it's salvageable and, most importantly, the pilot walked away from the accident. That wasn't always the case when things went wrong on the flight deck...   Paul Jerominski Collection via Jim Sullivan

Here's an undamaged F4U-5P from VMJ-1/MW-11 sitting on the ground in Korea during 1953. The Corsair was one of those classic airplanes that looked good in every one of its many variations; a brutish yet somehow elegant warrior from prototype to final production. It was state of the art when it first went into service, truly a cutting-edge sort of airplane, and was still modestly viable when it was finally retired from US service in the mid-1950s. It was truly the stuff of legends.    Clay Jannson Collection via Jim Sullivan

Thanks very much to Jim "Mr Corsair" Sullivan for sharing these photographs with us. They're a fitting salute to that most unique of American naval fighters and we're grateful to be able to run them!

They Used to Be Everywhere

We're talking about Lockheed's once-ubiquitous C-141 Starlifter, of course. Your editor saw his very first hint of the airplane in an early '60s issue of Air Progress, shortly before the type entered service, and than his first real one overflying Misawa Air Base in Japan during 1964. After that it seemed as though the C-141 was everywhere the United States had any sort of presence; it was truly a transport for all times. Norbert Graser, he of ThunderCals fame, sent in a couple of interesting photos of the C-141B a few months ago and we thought we'd share them today.

66-0138, a C-141B of the 63rd AW, was originally built as a C-141A and later stretched, as were most of the A-models. Nor caught her at NAS Glenview on 27 June, 1992. She looked as though she'd just come out of corrosion control but she'd been around since the mid-60s and you can bet the airframe had some stories to tell.    Norris Grazer

Here's 0138 on arrival at Glenview---a picture perfect airplane if ever there was one. We honestly can't remember ever seeing a Starlifter that pristine during our time chasing military airplanes, mostly because the 141 was just too busy to stay pretty for very long, but this one was gorgeous!   Norris Grazer

Here's the icing on the cake; a spiffy bit of nose art. The 63rd Airlift Wing was only two years away from deactivation when Nor took these images, but they definitely went out with a bang!   Norris Grazer

Many thanks to Norris for sharing these with us!

Bloody Buna

Let's finish the day with another YouTube documentary from regular contributor Norman Camou. It's not about airplanes for once but it makes the point about the horrors of the war in the Pacific as few documentaries can. There's a personal connection here too; my dad was at Buna for that particular party, and was present at the Battle of Manila as well, with excursions to a few nasty places thrown in-between for good measure. There was a time when he would talk about his days in the SouthWest Pacific but he never shared very much about his time at Buna, and I'm pretty sure he carried the memory of the place with him to his grave. Thanks to Norm for discovering and sending this along. 

Let's raise a glass to those guys and gals, and all their brothers in arms who came both before and after, who gave so much for us. 

The Relief Tube

We have an entry in our corrections and comments section known around here as The Relief Tube. It comes from Rick Morgan and corrects a misconception or two we had about today's Happy Snaps entry. The actual correction has been appended within that section in boldface.

While we're at it, you can contact us with comments, criticisms, or to share photography, at   replicainscaleatyahoodotcom   which is an all-run-together attempt to deceive those rascally spammers out there. Just put an @ sign and a dot in the appropriate places instead of the words I ran together and you're home! We look forward to hearing from you!

Happy Snaps

Every once in a while we'll come across a photo that defines the magic of flight. This image, which was shared with us by Rick Morgan, is one of those very special pictures.

We think, subject to correction, that "Boom" Powell (who was assigned to VA-36 at the time) was involved in the making of this photo but didn't actually take it since he was a "Scooter" driver by profession and we think the shot was probably made from the right seat of a Grumman "Stoof", either an S-2 or a C-1. That honestly doesn't matter because this photograph is Magic, and expresses the sheer joy of flight as few photographs can. Can you say "WOW"?  And, of course, we got it wrong! Thanks to Rick Morgan we now know that Boom Powell was never in VA-6 at all, although he did drive the mighty "Scooter" in anger during the Late SouthEast Asia War Games. The image did come to Rick via Boom but originated with someone within The Skyhawk Association; here's a link to that outstanding site if you don't already have it saved on your computer.   skyhawk.org  Many thanks to Boom and Rick, and apologies to all for the confusion!  pf

Rick had a couple of other comments regarding this particular A-4:

No idea who the pilot is; 99% chance it’s not Paul Palmer.

NG706 is not listed as being lost on that deployment.  VA-36 lost four jets on that deployment with two pilots made POWs, one recovered and one KIA.

VA-36 Roadrunners (callsign “Gale Force”) were an east coast squadron attached to CVW-9 for Enterprise’s first combat deployment. The Air Wing had a unique four Skyhawk attack complement with VA-36, VA-76, VA-93 and VA-94 attached along with Phantom squadrons VF-92 and VF-96 and the normal “cats and dogs”.

Besides the Shoehorn mods you can also see the under-cockpit antenna for AGM-12 Bullpup guidance.

Thanks very much to Rick for sharing this one---what a photo!

And that's it for today, ya'll. Be kind to your neighbors and we'll meet again soon!


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Dazzle Them With Detail, A Strange Way to Get There, Early Forty-Niners, One From the 318th, Mizzou in the Crisis, and Some Scooters


What Is It We're Trying to Do Here?

There's an old expression that's known to just about everyone that provides us with an interesting take on this hobby of ours: If you can't dazzle them with Brilliance, baffle them with Bovine Defecation, or something to that effect. We find the expression used frequently in the business world and in industry too, and it's one of those constants that, though trite, is also far more often true than not. It's a constant in life that applies to almost anything we can think of, from the person who knows everything even when they don't and trickling down to our scale models and other people's perception of them. 

Think about that for a minute, and allow yourself to drift back to the last contest you visited, or maybe even entered. Remember the model (imaginary in this instance) that incorporated every single thing a modeler could possibly add to it, both aftermarket and scratchbuilt, internally and externally, a killer paint job, and a wowzer set of markings that immediately drew your eye to it? You know the one. Whoever built it must be part necromancer to be able to build something like that! Then you begin to look more closely and The Truth slaps you in the face: Our drop-dead gorgeous model whatever-it-is was built off the very latest brand-spanking new just-released kit, the one that was designed by non-modelers using computer assisted design, and the airframe is significantly inaccurate, or a major detail provided with the kit is glaringly wrong and sitting there in all its uncorrected glory. But the detail! Look at the detail! Look at the markings! Look at the paint! Look at the inaccurate model...

I once knew a guy, back in the late 1970s, who was one of the best scale modelers I've ever known. He was a commercial artist by trade and his models were inevitably well built and beautifully finished, but they were rarely accurate because he didn't care about that at all; he just wanted to build the models. That was his choice and it was a conscious decision on his part. He knew his models were inaccurate and he didn't care. He also didn't try to hide the fact. He didn't fix kit inaccuracies, he didn't care if the scheme he finished the model with was appropriate to the variant he had built, nor did he worry about any of the other things most of us are concerned with. He just built the models, displayed them, and sometimes won contests with them because they were beautiful models. He knew what he was doing and why he was doing it.

Jump forward to today and take a look at some of the builds of recently issued kits. There are some gorgeous models out there, but some of the new kits are significantly less accurate than those we were building back in The Day. They're often easier to construct and highly detailed even without aftermarket, but they're wrong when taken as a true miniature replica of the airplane (or whatever) in question and even the considerable skills of a great many contemporary modelers can't hide a bad starting place. The question is: Did the modeler in question know the kit was inaccurate, and did he or she care? That's really what defines the whole thing.

Let's establish a premise here and presume that we're all building for fun on some level, even if we're beady-eyed Gotta Win That Contest at All Costs maniacs. There's fun in there somewhere, even for the most serious denizens of our scale modeling world, so the question then becomes why are we building.

I'm Old School, through and through. I try to build the most accurate models I'm capable of producing, although I'll admit I'm not as pedantic about that sort of thing as I once was. I try to build with kits that are as accurate as I can obtain, and I correct inaccuracies when I detect them in a "serious" project. When I want to just make things up and build a model I'll do a hot rod or some other model car, or maybe build a dinosaur for one of the grandkids. If it's serious I'll find the most accurate kit I can to start with. That's me.

Some folks, maybe even a lot of folks, don't do things that way because they don't know how to research, or don't know how to figure out which kits are "bad", or just don't care. That's ok too, because at the end of the day those individuals are buying kits and accessories, and are spending money on the hobby which in turn causes manufacturers to release other kits, which makes me happy as a modeler. 

At the end of the day it's your choice, right? In my world, the word "replica" says it all. 

And the beat goes on...

How We Get There Doesn't Matter

Here's a case in point: A great many of the models I attempt to build are of airplanes that flew in the Pacific theater during World War 2, and a couple have been of VLR (that's Very Long Range, for the acronym-challenged) Mustangs. Our friends at Eduard recently issued a VLR version of their whiz-bang semi-new P-51D kit, which provided inspiration, and Rudy over at LionHeart Hobby in Kyle had a kit on its way to me in no time. As it turns out my inspiration was well-founded, because the kit included all the various antennae to properly build a VLR P-51 in either of its iterations, plus both kinds of gas bags and no less that twelve different sets of markings. Woot!

Anyway, the time spent looking at that new kit made me wonder if our friends in the Czech Republic offered anything other than the basic kit as an overtree set, and it turns out they did---those VLR tanks! A quick audit showed I still had a couple of Tamiya P-51Ds in the closet, Rudy sent a set of VLR tanks, and a plan was born!

Here's the result of my epiphany, Mustang-wise, a VLR P-51D from 457th FS/506th FG at Iwo Jima in 1945. There are folks out there who will tell you they don't like the Tamiya P-51D kit, but I'm not one of them. This view shows the only significant issues with that particular model; that goofy cutout at the upper inboard corner of each flap where Tamiya made it easy for the same set of flaps to be installed in either raised or lowered position at the expense of accuracy, and the "bow" inside the canopy, which should have lightening holes in it but does not. Neither one of these things was a deal breaker for me, although it might be for you. You pays your money and you takes your choices.

Here's another view that simultaneously shows the smaller of those two Eduard VLR tanks with their associated sway braces and what happens to an image when you have little or no control over the depth of field when you take a photograph. (Yes, I know better, but I used an iPhone to take these pictures and aperture control wasn't part of that game!) Other note-worthy items include the AN/ARA-8 Uncle Dog fuselage antennae, which were made from Evergreen strip styrene, and the antenna mast under the nose, which is the kit-provided "normal" mast put in a different place. The decals were originally going to come from that Eduard kit but I ended up using one of the markings sets from Kagero's Red Series decals, for VLR Mustangs, instead. The model should also have the tiny AN/APS-13 radio antennae on the sides of the vertical fin but I've never been particularly good at adding tiny repetitive details to a model so I chose the lesser path of ignoring them on the model! 

This model still lacks final weathering and a set of zero-length rocket stubs to be called Done, but it's close enough to prove the point. That Eduard Special Edition VLR Mustang kit will provide you with two sets of tanks, which are the most challenging part of the build because they're so unique. There's only one set of antennae in there but those are super-easy to scratch up, and there are a lot of markings for the VLR birds out there; Eduard, Kagero, Exito, and AeroMaster all do them and I'm sure there are others as well. Your acquisition of one Eduard VLR P-51D, plus a little ingenuity and access to other far less expensive kits such as Tamiya or Airfix or the purchase of several of The Big E's own OverTree kits will allow you to build a whole bunch of colorful Pacific Mustangs if you want to do that. In the Good Old Days we called that "bang for the buck". Whatever you choose to call it, it's an approach that works in the modeler's favor and is absolutely worth looking into!

The Boys From Darwin

The 49th Fighter Group got its start during those terrible days following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. They gained fame, and a measure of immortality, with their operations over New Guinea in the P-40 and, later, the P-38, and they were the figurative birthplace of Dick Bong, among other American aces of the Pacific War, but in the beginning, the very beginning, they operated around Darwin in defense of Australia. There's a fair amount of photography out there of the group in their early days, but some of it has been misunderstood over the years, a phenomenon not helped in any material way by the advent of The Internet Expert. 

 Your editor (that would be me) has long harbored an interest in all things Fifth Air Force, which in term led to making the acquaintance of Bob Livingston and Gordon Birkett. A photograph on one of those modeling boards caused me to contact Bob with a question regarding the markings of a particular 49th FG P-40E. Bob provided a partial answer and a recomendation that I contact Gordon Birkett, an early Pacific War collector and historian of some renown. Gordon was kind enough to lend his expertise to my original markings question on one particular airplane, and to expound upon it. That conversation led to more questions, of course, which in turn takes us to today's discussion. The images you're about to see all came from Gordon's collection and originated with the US Army Air Force and the Australian War Memorial.

This image, which shows the nose of Bill Hennon's Number 36 and Bob "Snakebite" Vaught's famous "Bob's Robin", was taken on the day of an AAF dog and pony show for the press. Hennon's airplane wears a red spinner cap, signifying his days with the 17th Pursuit Squadron (Provisional) in Java, while Vaught's Warhawk bears his well-known sharkmouth. At first glance we aren't covering any new ground here, since this photograph has been reproduced dozens of time in various books, periodicals, and on the internet, but let's take a closer look at "Bob's Robin". Specifically, check out the leading edge of the wings where the fairings covering the muzzles of the P-40's guns should be. Those fairings are missing from "Robin", as they were from several other 49th FG P-40s operation in the Darwin area, because they tended to crack and, in some cases, disintegrate when the guns were fired; Gordon commented that  The USAAF and RAAF always had trouble with these cracking or fracturing after continuous long bursts,..or worse being with a jammed 0.50cal bullet wrecking the leading edge. While we're at it, check out the wheel covers on Vaught's bird as well; see that white "spot"? It's deliberate, it's definitely in the photo, and we don't have a clue as to what it depicts or why it's there. We do suspect the wheel cover isn't the prescribed Light Grey, but we might be wrong on that one.   Gordon Birkett Collection

To add a little more to our knowledge of Vaught's #94, let's consider this color information from Gordon's files: 

#94    P-40E-1 41-24872    Lt. Robert H. Vaught O-382764 
Of particular notice, rarely realized that most have it all O/D which is unusual for a P-40E-1 prior to overhaul in late 1942. In examining the rear it seems its still disruptive RAF Temp B/G Camo around the rear fuselage Cockade, with nose and top cowls in O/D/Black.
Could be a trick of camera light had it not been the top of the cockade being darker. She was a bitser having been nosed over in March 42 down “south” and repaired at Archer Field with parts from P-40Es and P-40E-1s . His original P-40E-1 was 41-24797 which, coincident was also nosed over on her back in slow motion. And the source of the  fable of his second being ex RAAF is that his first became , after repairs, a RAAF aircraft in our first 25 aircraft batch. All mixed up in reverse.

A bird on the butts! This P-40E or E-1 is chocked and raised for gun harmonization but back in the States, at the factory rather than in Australia. The photo isn't the best quality but does a wonderful job of depicting those guns with the muzzle fairings removed. It also provides us with a great view of the color demarcation between the upper and lower surfaces of the wings; modelers take note!  Gordon Birkett Collection

Here's "Texas Longhorn in all her glory, once again defining the lack of gun fairings on the wings. This image is from a newsreel and isn't very good in terms of clarity, but it really illustrates the lack of gun fairings as well as the different color of paint surrounding the guns, yellow Mil-P-8585 Zinc Chromate primer perhaps? We should probably stress that not all of the 49th's aircraft had those fairings removed in service, but enough of them did to warrant further investigation.   Gordon Birkett Collection

Here's our final P-40E of the day, "Bitchin' Ben Irvin's famous "The Rebel". It's another one of those 49th FG airplanes, this time from the 9th FS, that most of us are familiar with, but are we really? This airplane actually did have gun covers on the day of that famous grip and grin session, but the markings were different than those we're most familiar with.  Gordon Birkett Collection

Here's Ben in front of his now-famous Number 75, providing us with much better detail of his winged Pegasus emblem painted on the fuselage behind the cockpit. The photograph is a famous one that clearly defines his aircraft's artwork but wait; there's more!   Gordon Birkett Collection

The side number that's presented on the tail of Irwin's Number 75 is repeated under the nose of his airplane as well. This isn't the only 49th FG Warhawk that duplicated its aircraft number in that position; Preddy's Number 85 "Tarheel" comes to mind that regard, but not every airplane within the group had one displayed there.  Gordon Birkett Collection

Let's end today's 49th FG photo essay with a photograph you may not have seen before. It's Irwin's Number 75 again, but it's the second Number 75 and this time there's a name on the rudder, "Bessie", that has so far eluded us. Several 49th FG pilots had more than one P-40E and marked them similarly; this one is far from being the only example of that practice.  Gordon Birkett Collection

Here's further information from Gordon's files detailing #75:

FY41    CW#    C/N    OZ date    RAF#    Theatre    Serial/Box/Group#    Unit    Oz Del    Date sent\arrived    Loss Date     US Off     Marking    Remarks
41-25164 949    19675        ET488    SUMAC/LEFT    #75    9thPS/49thPG    SS NYC ex Netherlands Contract .    9/03/1942    26/12/1942    27/12/1942    #75 "The Rebel"   (Ex Defence Aid Netherlands (One of 18) Flown in at Batchelor 10/05/42 with #74/#86 & #99) Capt Bill Irvin's 9thFS 49thFG  Winged Pegasus Motif, his till 04/06/42.Eng# 42-33889. Current 9th FS 07/08/42 .Lt John Landers 26/12/42 PNG  #75. s/d that day.

There's more to share from Gordon regarding the 49th in those bad early days but that will have to wait for a bit. In the meantime, thanks very much to Australian friends Gordon and Bob for their help with this fascinating part of our mutual aviation heritage!

Where's Bobby?

Bobby Rocker, that is! It's been a while since we've seen anything from Bobby, but that's mostly because it's been awhile since we've published an issue of the blog. Let's make amends today with this wonderful shot of an Airacobra in the Central Pacific:

"My Gal Sal IV", a P-39Q, was assigned to the 72nd FS/318th FG on Makin Atoll on the island of Butaritari in December of 1943 when she posed for this picture with the squadron mascot. Note the paint treatment of the nose landing gear and lack of yellow warning paint on the propeller tips. Larry Bell's airplane company seem to have been a bunch of free-thinkers where paint and markings were concerned. There are hard and fast rules for such things but Bell seems to have broken them about as often as they paid attention to them!

Something else that's worthy of note in this image: The airplane is relatively clean as are the pilots posing with it, and everyone looks healthy and well-fed. The hardstand, probably rolled coral, is pristine and the background is that of a tropical paradise, which is in harsh contrast to the images we normally display of airplanes serving with Fifth AF in New Guinea. That doesn't mean that things were any safer, because over-water flying is never truly safe, especially in a single-engine aircraft, and there was still a motivated and highly skilled enemy to contend with. The climate, physical plant, and operational conditions were far worse in and around New Guinea but that doesn't mean much. Operation flying in combat is tough regardless of where you do it. Don't misunderstand the photograph because the image it projects isn't necessarily the reality of the situation.   Rocker Collection

Heading for Berlin

The year 1961 saw the Cold War make one of its period excursions to the brink of nuclear war, triggered by a crisis in Berlin. Several Air National Guard units were Federalized as a result of that crisis, one of which was Missouri's  110th TFS:

"Show Me" an F-84F-30-RE (52-6368) sits on a rain-swept ramp in 1961, an evocative symbol of the Cold War at its worst. She was the squadron commander's airplane and ended up on public display after being stricken from service. It's difficult to imagine that she would have fared well against the Bad Guys in Europe during that terrible Fall of 1961; we fortunately never had to find out.    Mark Nankivil

Scooters at Fallon

Reader and scale modeler Fred Drummond spent his time in the Navy flying EA-6B Prowlers and had the opportunity to photograph a great many military aircraft during that time. We're going to share a couple of his A-4E shots with you today. All of them are of aircraft assigned to VF-45 as adversaries and were flying out of NAS Fallon in August of 1987 when they were photographed by Fred.

First up is a grey on grey Echo, BuNo 151064. The "Scooter" was often used by the Navy to simulate the MiG-17; the two aircraft were close in both size and performance, if not in appearance.  Fred Drummond

149973 bore a tiger-striped grey on grey scheme. The staining out of that off-board drain is typical of the Skyhawk regardless of variant. As interesting as the paintwork on this airplane is, it would appear as a medium grey airplane at any sort of distance.   Fred Drummond

152004 wore a fairly colorful blue on grey scheme, which might have proven fairly effective low over the water. It's utility in an air-to-air scenario might have been questionable, but it certainly made for a pretty airplane!   Fred Drummond

Let's close with the other side of 149973. These aircraft are all configured to go play with the big kids and may have provided some of the best flying in the Navy during their period of active service.    Fred Drummond

Many thanks to Fred for sharing these images with us!

The Relief Tube

Well, I'm relieved that we finally managed to publish something after a hiatus of nearly 6 months, but that's nothing to brag about! We'll try to do better in the future---'nuff said!

Happy Snaps

We'd like to share another image from Fred Drummond with you, this time an air-to-air taken during his time in the Prowler:

The Prowler in the photo is with VAQ-130 doing an Operation Deny Flight mission. This would have been during the March 1995 timeframe. We were doing a cruise on the Ike, but our squadron got the call to deploy to Aviano to continue to support operations while the carrier and the rest of our air wing went on port calls.  Fred   Fred Drummond 

Thanks, Fred! 

Do any of you have photography you think might be of interest to our readers? If you do and would like to share them with us, the e-mail address, slightly garbled so I don't have to endure the folks who like to troll such things, is   replicainscaleatyahoodotcom   . Put an @ and a . in the appropriate places and you're home free. 

That's it for today, ya'll, but we're still alive and well over here. Be good to your neighbor and we'll see you again soon!


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Ballast, Some Hun Addendum, A Nifty Mitchell, and Some Long-Nose Voodoos


Weighing In on the Century Series

But not the way we usually do it, with an editorial that might or might not have any relevance to anything you're doing. Nope; this time we're going to expound on something practical for once! 

As you may remember, I've said fairly often that I look in on a select few modeling sites when I first crank up this electronic device every morning, something I've been doing for years now. It's a good idea in many respects because it provides a fresh perspective that just isn't available by sitting here all by myself on the ranch, doing things the way I've always done them without considering there might be another way to accomplish whatever it is I'm interested in accomplishing on that particular day, but there's a flip-side of that coin to be considered as well.

Take, for example, the art of making an airplane with tricycle landing gear actually sit on that gear without rearing back on its haunches, which is like the model saying "Poop on Yoop because you tried and I won anyway"! You know what I'm talking about, right? You figured it all out, did a few mental calculations, measured things, put some ballast in there someplace, and you still ended up with a tail-sitting model airplane! That's something that's happened to us all, although I'm going to say that it hasn't happened to me personally in a very long time because I actually learned something back there in the early Seventies, back when I melted the nose on my brand new Hasegawa A-4E kit trying to use CerroSafe, or more likely Rose's Fusible Metal, as a ballast material (which you actually can do, but not until you've studied and somewhat mastered The Art of the Heat Sink, which we aren't going to get into today). That little misadventure caused me to spend some time studying when and how to ballast a scale model airplane, which in turn ties in with something I've read many times on those boards I mentioned a paragraph or so above. 

It seems as though there's a periodic interest in modeling airplanes from the Century Series which, for our purposes today at least, will be defined as the F-100, F-101, F-102, F-104, F-105, F-106, and maybe the F-110. You'll note that I didn't count the F-107 in that listing; I could have, but it was never operational and in my world isn't a true member of the club. You may disagree with me and it's fine if you do, because it doesn't matter very much once we (I) actually get on-topic!

Here's the deal, and the question that inevitably prompts it, straight off the discussion boards on those modeling sites: "I want to build a (pick the Century Series aircraft of your choice here) and I need to know if I should add ballast to the nose of my model." The question inevitably brings a bunch of answers and you can tell who's had issues in the past, who hasn't, and who's giving advice based on something they've never personally done themselves once you begin reading the replies. It's a valid question, however, and an important one, so an answer is required---fortunately, it's an answer that isn't all that hard to find!

Here's what you do, with a Century bird, or with anything else that sits on tricycle landing gear:

First and foremost, if the kit's manufacturer provides either ballast or, in some instances, information on how and where to put your own ballast in the model, you should follow their lead and do that. There's a reason for what they've done and you'll rue the day if you don't follow that advice!

Ok; that was pretty obvious. What if there's no ballast, no instructions to use ballast but you still aren't sure? That's an easy one too. Just tape all the big pieces of the model together so what you've got is an object that mostly resembles the completed airplane, find out where the main landing gear legs plug into the aircraft structure and, using a couple of the fingers on one of your hands placed at those landing gear mounts, hold the a airplane up (loosely but securely---if you drop it it isn't my fault!), and see how it balances. If it wants to tip towards the nose, you're Golden. If it wants to tip back towards the tail, you need to put ballast in the model, and if it sort of goes back-and-forth between the two, you want to err on the side of caution and use ballast as well. Further, if you end up actually having to add ballast, you'll want to place it as far toward in the nose of the model as you possibly can get it; that's a basic lesson in physics that will result in you needing less weight to do the job, which means less strain on your model's landing gear once the thing is finished and sitting proudly on your display shelf. (Sometimes, like with a P-38 or P-39, you'll still need a lot of ballast but Moment is your friend and placement really does help! Trust me on this one)

And NOW (taa-daa!), let's get to the point of this thing specifically regarding the Century Series. The F-100 is a teeterer and often wants to squat, so ballast is a very good idea for the Super Sabre regardless of variant. The F-105 may need it depending on what you plan on hanging under the wings so it's best to err on the side of caution and stuff a little weight up in the extreme nose. None of the others need it at all! How's that for simple? 

What about if I hang a lot of stuff under the wings, you might well ask yourself? Won't that change things? The answer to that one is mostly no, with the caveats stated above regarding the F-100 and F-105. Voodoos and the Deltas definitely DON'T need ballast, not ever, nor do the Phantoms (F-110s). Any model of an F-107 will.

Here's today's lesson, then: If you aren't sure about how to resolve a modeling problem, and that's any modeling problem, try thinking it through for yourself before you commit to a course of action. Yes; it's far easier just to throw the question out on one of those internet boards and hope you'll get back a useful anwer or two (you probably will!), but that's not going to help you grow as a modeler, so look on it as more of a last-resort kind of thing. Get in the habit of trying to figure things out for yourself first. It may take a while, but your work will begin to improve and you'll grow as a modeler. 

And that's what I have to say about that!

Some More Thoughts and a Few Corrections Regarding the "Hun"

It's true, so very true: Our last issue was devoted in its entirety to the North American F-100D and how to model it as it appeared in The Late SouthEast Asia War Games. Reader response has been great, but it was inevitable that a couple of tiny mistakes would creep into it and a couple of last-minute additions showed up as well, so we're going to address them today, albeit briefly!

Major Stewart and Sgt Eliason stand in front of "Snooper", an F-100D from the 90th TFS at BienHoa in 1968. Note the FS36622 inboard pylons, the M117s hanging off those pylons, and the RHAW gear barely visible under the nose of the airplane. This is a classic late-war "Hun".   Lt Col Stewart via Don Jay

The Wonderful World of the Internet has remained mostly quiet regarding our last issue but Ben Brown took a look at it and offered some comments and a correction or two. Normally we'd put that sort of thing in our Relief Tube section but the changes are significant if you happen to be building a model of the F-100D so they're here instead.


In our last issue we stated that the interiors of the landing gear and speed brake wells were painted silver. While that's true for the doors for those areas, the interiors themselves were generally painted in a medium green color. Ben pointed that out, Doug seconded the motion, and I've corrected it here and will, in theory at least, go back and correct it in the article as well. Maybe.

That Pesky LWNAVS Duct

Photos of that PACAF Lightweight Navigation System duct are few and far between (just watch them start coming out of the woodwork once this gets published, though!) but Ben had a couple of photos in his collection and has provided them to us:

Here's a side view of one iteration of that duct. Keep in mind that the term "standard configuration" doesn't seem to apply to that particular item, but they were all similar to this. Those of you who notice minutia in photographs have probably already seen it; those stripes in front of the serial number ought to be Insignia Red, not black, but the image is of an F-100 that's up a pole in the wilds of Texas and we're probably lucky they got it as close as they did when they painted the airplane!    Ben Brown Collection

And the other side. Compare these photos to the one we ran last issue---the ducts are almost but not quite the same, a condition to be expected when we recall that the mod was done within PACAF and didn't come with the airplanes!    Ben Brown Collection

Here's that photo again, provided so you won't have to go back and forth between issues to see it. Note that it's sortof the same, but not really---no two were alike!    Jack Norris via Don Jay Collection

The RHAW Fairing on the Vertical Stabilizer

Ben and Doug had both noted that it's wider from side-to-side when the RHAW gear is installed, which is how the Monogram kit depicts it. The original fairing is narrow, not much wider than the position lights that live immediately below it. That configuration is provided in the Trumpeter kit. 

Here's the narrow variation of that fairing, as would have been found on pre-war "Huns".    Ben Brown

And a view of the fairing showing the slight additional width after the installation of the RHAW gear.   Bill Spidle via Ben Brown

A Drop Tank Detail Everyone Misses

Yep, everyone but Ben! You may recall that the pylon that attaches those 335-gallon gas bags to the wings of the "Hun" are permanently attached to said tanks and have a fairing on their nose that I don't think anyone other than Ben and, come to think of it, Doug Barbier, had mentioned. I didn't pick up on that detail during editing but, once again, Ben came to the rescue with photos!

This tank is a derelict that Ben photographed at what used to be The Carolinas Aviation Museum. Ignore the vegetation and concentrate on the front of that pylon. None of the available plastic kits of the F-100, and that's any F-100 in any scale, captur this feature at all and you may choose to ignore it as well, but don't say you didn't know it was there!    Ben Brown

That's it for today's additions to the "Hun" project, but don't be surprised if you see more as we go along. Look on it as an ongoing story...

A Special B-25 From Bobby

We didn't run anything from Bobby Rocker last time around because of our special Super Sabre issue, so here's an image to make amends:

"Doodle" was a B-25D from the 399th BS/345th BG and was stationed at Dobodura when this classic shot was taken. Names, artwork, mission markers, sharkmouth, squadron colors on the cowlings; this Mitchell's got it all! Of particular interest are the blast shields just forward of the package guns, and the "eight-ball" placed within the sharkmouth. If ever there was a B-25 that deserved to be modeled...   Rocker Collection

Bobby, thanks VERY MUCH for this one!

Voodoo Child, A Slight Return (with apologies to Jimi)

Rick Morgan sent some interesting RF-101C photos to us a couple of weeks ago, and they seemed to be a good way to end this issue since they're a little bit on the I-didn't-know-they-flew-those side of things; they were operated by the 153rd TRS/186th TRG of the Mississippi ANG. The photos came about as an aside to Rick's first assignment as he drove from Missouri to Pensacola to begin Navy flight training; he'd heard that the 153rd still had Voodoos as they awaited transitioning to the RF-4C and he planned his trip accordingly! These shots were all taken at NAS Meridian during that trip (Not the TraWing One T-2s in the background of the photos); many thanks to Rick for sharing them with us.

56-0229 ended up on public display, a fate that unfortunately eluded most Voodoos. The 101s on this ramp are just about ready to fade off into the sunset due to the 153rd's impending transition to the RF-4C, but they're still in pristine condition. Of interest here is the earlier version of the ANG shield; several varieties could be found on the tails of those Mississippi birds. You can still see this one on display at Robbins AFB, in Georgia.   Rick Morgan

Here's a detail image of that early ANG device. These airplanes were photographed by Rick in 1978 and twelve-year-old tactical airframes often show their age, but the birds of the 153rd don't. It used to be said that the airplanes flown by the Guard were often in better shape than those flown by the regular USAF because everyone in the units was there by choice. We don't know whether that's true or not, but these airplanes indicate that there might be something to it.   Rick Morgan

56-0185 shows off its late-style ANG badge, slime lights, and overall clean appearance. She ended up being a survivor too, and can currently be seen on dispaly at Niagara Falls International Airport in New York, presumably as a tribute to The Boys From Syracuse during their time with the 'Doo.   Rick Morgan

Here's the earlier presentation of the ANG device, which is to say there's no device at all! All three presentations were to be found on the RF-101Cs of the 153rd TRS at the same time, which could provide a valuable lesson to the scale modelers among our readership. Also of note here is the total absence of auxilliary fuel tanks on these aircraft. The Voodoo family were plumbed for external gas bags but it wasn't unusual to see them flown without tanks at all, or with only one, because of the drag and stability issues they created.
   Rick Morgan

Relatively few F-101Fs were built but it was fairly normal to find one or two in the operational Voodoo units regardless of variant flown. The two-seaters were invaluable for ongoing training and check rides. As an interesting and fascinating aside, Rick told us he was informed by his escort on this shoot that the Voodoo tub was faster than the unit's RF-101Cs because it had the B-model's "big" engines.   Rick Morgan

It's been a while since we've shared anything from Rick's camera with you, and we're please to be able to publish these today. Thanks, Morgo!

The Relief Tube

Not really, but we do want to leave you with this:

Here's a fitting way to end this edition of the blog; a super image of a UH-1Y (166768) of HX-21 taken by Mike Wilson at St Mary's Regional Airport on the 22nd of this month. Let's hope that guy wearing the red suit and sitting in the door is going to bring all of us a better 2021! Many thanks to Mike for sharing this one.

Be good to your neighbor, enjoy they holidays, and stay safe during these trying times. We'll meet again soon!