Sunday, May 30, 2010

Maddog, a Nimrod "Invader", and Some Neat Stickies

Owed to a Maddog

Or ode. Or whatever flight of grammatical fancy you might prefer, because it's That Time again; it's time to pay some dues. This time around the recipient of my highly dubious homage is the guy that got me started in serious aviation photography; John Kerr.

I met John back in the late 1970s, shortly after he'd retired from the Air Force. I think, although I really can't remember, that he showed up at one of the local model club meetings, or maybe he was a friend of someone who showed up at such affairs. Whatever the case, I was introduced, but not to anybody named John. He was introduced as Maddog, which was highly fitting once you got to know him.

Maddog had been shooting military aviation for several years by the time I met him, and was the first serious aviation photographer I had personal access to, which means he was the first photographer to take me on a "real" shoot. John showed me his cameras, and showed me the ropes. I'd begun shooting for Aerophile by then but was very much in a learning phase when Maddog began teaching me some of the tricks of the trade. He suffered my ignorance and my tyro's mistakes, and helped to turn me into a better photographer before it was all said and done. He, and my former Replica in Scale partner Jim Wogstad, taught me far more about photography than I ever dared to think I might know. (They also caused me to invest heavily in Nikon, mostly because they both shot Canon F-1s. I'm like that, doncha know...)

I wasn't the first or only novice John leant advice to, and I'm certain I wasn't the last. You'll see some of his photography in here from time to time, and I'm truly grateful for the chance to run it. Thanks Maddog, for your time and your patience. I only hope I learned from it all.

Maddog back in April of '85 at NAS Corpus Christi. He and I were shooting an airshow ramp together that day, along with my 9-year-old daughter. John had me outnumbered in the camera department; I generally carried only two, a Nikon F2 and an F3. John usually had his Canon F-1 and at least a couple of AE-1s as well. I shot a brick of K-25 that day, and John cranked out half a brick more than that---those were the Good Old Days. Thanks for mentoring me, Maddog!


The Douglas A-26 Invader had a lengthy career in Southeast Asia. It was a favorite of Maddog's (he'd crewed them in SEA during his Air Commando days) so this shot's for him. It's the least I can do!

A B-26 (they got redesignated after WW2, remember?) from the 609th ACS/56th ACW stationed at NKP during the Southeast Asia War Games. This bird's undergoing preflight and is loaded to lay some serious hurt on somebody. Of particular interest is the flight suit of the crewman (the pilot?) at far left---the Air Commandos had an idea of fashion sense that differed somewhat from the "real" Air Force.  Don Jay

Does Anybody Out There Remember Authenticals?

Today's going to be a short one. Since we've already started out on a Tribute kind of thing, let's end the day that way too. Many years ago there was a decal company called Authenticals. They were different than most because they were done by an IPMS chapter rather than by a commercial company. Their work was superb and groundbreaking in many ways. One of their members, a fellow named Don Thorpe (remember Don?) helped out with a sheet of  1/72nd and 1/48th scale hinomarus. I've got a couple of those old sheets and still use them from time to time---they've aged quite well. Here's what David Aiken had to say about them:

Factory fresh meatballs match the US Insigina red it 'faded' the meatballs DARKENED which was matched in 1967 to the attached decal (LONG out of business). Many have tried and none have succeeded to make such "six month combat" decals.
Be wary of the gray instruction sheet as a couple of things are in error...

1) yellow surrounds or yellow wing bandages (which were really WHITE on a cloudy day)...

2) a "RED surround to a white surround"... we finally got a better LOOK at a GREEN surround to a white surround of a meatball on a plane being prepared for an overall upper surface green plane.

The 1967 study may have been early yet very leading edge research by Don Thorpe.

The original research for this sheet was Don Thorpe's and the decals were produced by IPMS NorCal, which later became IPMS San Francisco. I think I liked the old name better, but the decals were, and still are, great. Those NorCal guys did outstanding work, ya'll.

A very old model of the Ki-84 using the 1/48th Tamiya kit, right down to the pilot figure! The hinomarus are all Authenticals, from the sheet I bought when it was new in 1967. I started this model the month it was released in the United States (1973 or 74, I think) and finished it in 2003. There are more mistakes on this one than I care to point out but those decals, which are, after all, the point of all this, were great!

And a closeup of an Authenticals hinomaru under the port wing of that "Frank". Authenticals decals were always thin enough and layed down really well with just a light application of decal solvent as long as you put them on top of a gloss surface. I can't remember if I used SolvaSet or MicroSet on these (my money's on MicroSet) but they layed right down and conformed beautifully to the model. And yes, I know the colors are off on that Ki-84---do you remember the part where I said this was an old model?

Another Day, Albeit a Short One

But we'll be back again before you know it! Be good to your neighbor and we'll see you again real soon.

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