Thursday, March 25, 2010

Something Unexpected, A Little More On Old Shakey, and a Dark Blue Cat

It's a Hormone Thing

Did you ever have one of those days when you just couldn't find something you wanted but found something else that was actually better instead? I had one of those days yesterday. The original object of my search was a battered manila folder entitled "Models". It was something I put together back in the late '80s and it has some pretty neat stuff in it that I wanted to share with you today, but it wasn't where it was supposed to be (in the Dogs & Cats Miscellaneous File). There was another folder that caught my eye, though, and some of its contents are the subject of today's photo essay.

Any of you who ever flew for the military during the Cold War, or are familiar with folks who did, know that there were (and undoubtedly still are) a whole lot of cameras out there in Aviation Land. A great many of them are personal property, although more than a few are provided by the parent organization (USAF, USN, etc) to facilitate the documentation of things that might be a little bit out of the ordinary. What follows would seem to fall into that Little Bit Out of the Ordinary category. All were officially released for publication back in the early '80s but I can't recall seeing them published before now. Enjoy!

Smile for the camera, please! A Soviet aircrewman prepares to do a little photography from the cabin of this Kamov Ka-25 "Hormone" in March of 1972. The photo was taken in the Med and shows what a compact aircraft the Kamov is. I'd love to see a good 1/48th scale kit of this aircraft!  USN K-93750

The bird farm. Here's a view of the fantail of the Kiev shot in 1978  and showing a deckload of Kamovs and Yaks. Note the way the rotors fold for storage on the helos.  USN 1173146

Kiev initiates air ops off the Philippines in 1979. It's not quite the deck full of aircraft that we're used to seeing on American carriers but the ship and her air wing were viable assets for the Soviet navy during that time period. USN 1175141

You never know who you're going to find hanging around the boat. A "Hormone" hovers off the port side of the John F. Kennedy on 17 September, 1972 during her deployment to the Med. Comparison between the Ka-25 and the HC-2 SH-2D being preflighted on the angle provides an excellent size comparison between the two aircraft. The Kamov is being observed from the deck but nobody's particularly concerned about the visitor. This sort of thing was fairly common during the Cold War.  USN 17559

Let's have a little fun! An SH-3A from HS-6 shadows a "Hormone" somewhere over the pacific in May of 1972. This image was taken with a long lens and causes the two aircraft to appear to be similar in size(and very close together!) when in fact the Kamov is considerably the smaller of the two helos. This shot holds our Most Dramatic Photograph of the Day title!  USN  1151607

Me, I Like the C-124

Which is why we're taking another look at it today, but not with photographs. These images are from T.O. 1C-124A-1 and show various details that may be of interest.

This illustration shows the flight deck and various crew ladders, but that's not why we're looking at it. Take a gander at the wing roots, then note the crawlways leading out to the engine nacelles, and the on-board maintenance platforms built into those nacelles. Yep! You could perform minor maintenance operations while in flight on Old Shakey. Those were the days!

You have to get in it before you can fly it. This page from the flight manual shows how the crew (as opposed to passengers, troops, etc) gained entry to the aircraft.

How to Tell When You're Having a Bad Day, Part I.  Those old radials were neat engines, but sometimes they didn't work quite as planned. This page from the flight manual tells the crew how to figure out the cause and relative severity of an in-flight engine fire.

How to Tell When You're Having a Bad Day, Part II. It only goes downhill from there. Note that on this page there are a couple of conditons that call for use of the terms "explosion", "...engine may fall off its mounts.", "abandon aircraft", and "bail out". And you thought that sort of stuff only happened on TV!

Old Shakey wasn't particularly sophisticated, but she did carry a lot of com gear. This illustration shows the variety of antennae present to support her various radios and navigation systems. You don't normally notice that stuff in photographs because the airplane's so darned big!

And finally, this diagram shows what the Globemaster's all about. Besides the ramp that's evident up front, there's a loading platform that drops down from the belly aft of the wing. The auxiliary floor allowed for the transport of both troops and cargo at the same time. This was a huge airplane for its day, and an extremely capable one. In many respects it typifies the Air Force of the 1950s.

In Theory It's a Modeling Pub, So Here's a Model

Hasegawa released a pair of 1/48th scale F6F Hellcat kits back in the mid-90s. Both suffered from soft detail and an undersized cowling, but both were, and to a great extent still are, good representations of the real thing. Eduard issued a superb rendition of the F6F a couple of years ago which immediately became the Gold Standard for models of that aircraft and pushed the Hase offerings into a distant second place. You can still get a pretty fair model out of either of the Hasegawa kits, however, and they're worth building if you have them. Here are a couple of shots to illustrate that point.

Here's a 3/4 nose shot of the port side of the Hasegawa F6F-5. Eduard makes a detail set for the Hasegawa kits that is an essential for building an accurate model; it includes cockpit components, details for the wheel wells, and the aileron hinges that Hasegawa represents with small blobs of plastic on the kit. The cowling on this model is from the now-defunct Cutting Edge and improves things considerably. Obscuro also has a replacement cowl that's supposed to be quite good; either one will enable you to build a far better Hellcat!

And the other side. The national insignia were painted on the model by using stencils made by Eduard. I'm pretty sure those stencils have been discontinued, which is a shame considering how much better the painted markings look than decals. (Montex probably has the same sort of mask for doing the same thing, but I'm not sure about that...) Some folks had a field day trashing this kit back when it was the only game in town. Then they had another one when Eduard released their F6F kits. The offerings of either manufacturer will produce an outstanding model of the Hellcat; it all comes down to what you want to put into it.

And that's what I know. Until then, be good to your neighbor.

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