Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mystery Airacobras, The Son of The Son of Neptune Returns, A Texas T-Bird, A Pretty Talon, and Some Nifty 109 Stuff

Stomp, Shout, Work It On Out, Or What A Silly Hobby This Can Be

A year or so ago the increasingly amazing folks over at Airfix announced that they would be releasing a 1/48th scale model of the Curtiss P-40B. That announcement quite literally set the world of plastic scale aircraft modeling on its collective ear, since the type had been horribly served by the industry in terms of kits in that scale and nobody had been able to substantially improve on the by-now primordial kit that Monogram had released way back in 1964. The general point of view within the hobby was that a decent kit in that scale would to all intents and purposes constitute a license to print money for the company smart enough to get it right, and the recently resuscitated Airfix had been on a roll for a while, with each new kit being substantially better in every way than whatever kit had come immediately before. Airfix had even taken the time and effort to measure a surviving and restored Hawk that had gone down in the former Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War. Life was good.

There were, of course, a few hiccups along the way, the most significant of which (at the time) being a misplaced tailwheel well which was subsequently corrected prior to the release of the kit. Then it happened; a modeler on one of the boards began to compare the unreleased and totally unavailable-in-plastic kit's lines against period photographs and discovered an apparent anomaly regarding the lower fuselage lines, specifically in the area of the cooling flaps and that large fairing running along the ventral centerline to just aft of the trailing edge of the wing. That discovery, seemingly based primarily on speculation since there were no actual kits available to anyone at the time, started a poopy storm of discourse within the internet modeling community at large and on one or two web sites in particular. The resulting angst became so seemingly unbearable that a handful of people were actually stating, in print (electrons, actually, but let's not pick nits here), that they would never purchase the kit once it did become available because they were so disappointed that it wasn't going to be perfect.

Then the kit was released---in the UK a few weeks ago and more recently here in the States. That started up an entirely new round of electron-killing as the debate over that horribly flawed belly began all over again, this time in three-part harmony, with a fair number of people soundly lambasting Airfix for their unforgivable error. More reasonable folks offered up the opinion that the real example measured by Airfix had bellied in and not one of the handful of surviving long-nosed P-40s had an accurate-as-manufactured-by-Curtiss ventral area to examine or measure, and that the loft drawings that could provide the definitive answer don't seem to be around anymore, but none of that greatly reduced the general gnashing of teeth regarding the model. Then, as we all might have expected, the usual hue and cry went out for Resin, that miracle of modeling miracles and, indeed, the very salvation of Scale Plastic Modeling itself. To that end, someone is probably working up a fix as I type this (it couldn't hurt anything, I suppose) and the whole problem will inevitably go away just as soon as another manufacturer releases the next kit of the airplane we always wanted to model and, inevitably, pooches some part of it.

Okay; the problem won't really go away, but fewer people will continue to discuss it at the great lengths recently enjoyed because that P-40B will have become Yesterday's Papers soon enough. As an aside, I've got a copy of the kit on my desk as I write this and except for the prop it looks just fine to me, even with the less-than-perfect undersides. I'll agree that there are issues there but I'm going to tell you right here and now that they won't make all that much difference unless you choose to build the model and then display it upside-down, and even then there are only a handful of people on the planet who could look at that underside and specifically (and dimensionally) explain exactly what's wrong with it. Is the problem worth fixing? Of course it is, if that's what you want to do. Will it stop you from building a truly nice replica of an early P-40? I don't think so, because the rest of the kit is so very nice.

We've discussed this sort of thing before, right here on these very pages, but I'm going to repeat myself and provide you with my perspective on the subject, for whatever that perspective may or may not be worth. To wit:

If you absolutely positively have to own something that mimics the original article in each and every respect and detail, then you'll have to go get yourself said Original Article because no model, in any medium or kitted or built by anybody, is going to be 100% accurate. It ain't gonna happen, not today, not tomorrow, and not ever. 35-plus years in aerospace, a great many years of which were spent in the manufacturing of airframes, convinces me beyond a doubt that The Real Thing is rarely, if ever, done entirely to the designer's drawings. If that aforementioned Real Thing deviates from the drawings (and it often does---that's one of the many reasons God invented drawing revisions and change notices), then your model honestly doesn't stand much of a chance, does it?

What, then, should we reasonably expect from a kit? You may well have a differing view of things, but my own personal expectations are as follows: Reasonably accurate scale dimensions and shapes. Reasonably accurate contours. Reasonably accurate details. If those things are present I can take the ball and run with it from there, and can choose whether or not the inevitable issue(s) is/are worth the time and effort to fix. I truly do want to start out with the best and most accurate kit I can obtain of any given subject and, in that same vein, I want the finished model to be as good as it can be given my extraordinarily modest skills, but that Airfix P-40B is probably going to be the next project on my agenda and I'm not going to be overly concerned about the belly. Your own personal mileage may vary, as they say, but at the end of it all this is a hobby. If I think a particular kit is horribly flawed I'll either fix that flaw, ignore it (doubtful but always an option), or simply wait a while for a better kit to come along. Life's just too darned short, ya'll, and I'm not going to taint my favorite hobby by getting all worked up over something that's wrong with a piece of polystyrene. I used to do that and the hobby wasn't very much fun when I did. I don't do it very often anymore and the hobby has once again become, for me at least, all the fun I thought it was when I "built" my very first polystyrene airplane kit way back in 1956.

Your mileage may vary...

P-40-CUs from the 8th PG, Mitchell Field, April 1941.       Rocker Collection

Keeping Us Guessing

One of the things about our hobby that's both fun and extremely frustrating, all at the same time, is the occasional photograph about which we collectively know next to nothing; Mystery Meat, as it were. The next two shots, sent to us by Bobby Rocker, illustrate that frustration but my oh my...

These Airacobras provide us with a tantalizing view into the past, and pose a fair number of questions as well. We originally identified them as P-400s, but now think they were probably P-39D-2s retrofitted with the 12-stack exhausts of the export version (not an uncommon occurence in theater after the start of the war). That's about all we know about them, though, because there's no unit ID, no visible aircraft serial number (radio call number) or even an identification as to where the photo was taken, or when. That said, let's look at some things and take a guess. First up is Location. A couple of thoughts come to mind in that regard; the ZI, Australia, or New Guinea. A Stateside location is certainly possible given the relatively open spaces and the apparent light-colored, dried, dirt in the foreground, but those ground crewmen are dressed pretty casually for any sort of flight ops on American soil and the airplanes aren't carrying any sort of exercise markings, so our Official But Probably Incorrect Guess becomes either Australia (the 8th arrived there in March of 1942) or maybe, if somewhat less likely, Port Moresby in New Guinea in very early April of 1942. The early national insignia is entirely plausible since the official change-over to the corcarde sans red center disc occurred in May and June of 1942. That marking on the door could be of help, of course, but we can't quite make out what it is---a unit marking or one of a personal nature?  It's a fascinating photograph no matter where or when it was taken, but we'd sure like to know a little more about it. If you've got the answer, that e-mail address, provided in a manner that will hopefully defy the spammers, is replicainscaleatyahoodotcom!    Rocker Collection

We're a little better off working with this shot, because the unit and place are available. It was taken outside Port Moresby, at Seven Mile Strip, and it's from the 35th FS of the 8th FG. The airplane is quite possibly a P-400 but could just as easily be a P-39D fitted with P-400 exhaust stacks, a practice that was not unknown in the theater. There's no apparent nose art in view, but it's probable that any that might have been applied to this aircraft was painted on the port side only---if there was any artwork at all.   Rocker Collection

The thing that drew us to these particular photographs, besides the fact that they're of early P-39 variants, is the opportunity they offer the scale modeler for diorama ideas. In the first photo we see a P-400 being refueled, while the second shot depicts maintenance on the nose-mounted guns. Kits of the airplanes are available in all the various scales, while the trucks are available in 1/48th and possibly in 1/72nd. Opportunity knocks, as it were!

Thanks as always to Bobby Rocker for his ongoing help with the project.

Just a Few More P2Vs...

Just a few, that is...

We aren't entirely done with the P2V; not just yet, but we are going to temporarily ring down the curtain on military examples of the type with this edition. Thanks to Jim Sullivan we've got a few somewhat unique Neptunes to share with you today, so let's take a look:

The P2V had a long association with Antarctica. One of the earliest examples of the type optimized for that mission is shown here; a P2V-2N assigned to VX-4 in 1956. This aircraft, BuNo 122466, was lost en route to McMurdo Station over South America shortly after this photograph was taken; fortunately, all eight crew-members survived the crash. That ski gear is noteworthy, as is her International Orange over GSB camouflage scheme. If we only had a kit...   80-G-800333 vial Sullivan Collection

In this shot we see 124289 on the ground at NAS Alameda in 1957. A P2V-3W, she had survived an accident in Alaska in 1952 and soldiered on until shortly after this photograph was taken when she was sent off to the boneyard, the sad but inevitable end that befell most Neptunes.   Sullivan Collection

Did we hear someone say they wanted to see an unusual P2V? Well alrighty, then; how about this one? BuNo 140439 was assigned to VX-6 for service out of Wilkes Station in Antarctica, but check out that Fulton Recovery Device on her forward fuselage! Unfortunately, her service was relatively short-lived; she crashed to destruction during 1961 while supporting Operation Deep Freeze, an accident that killed 5 out of her 9-man crew. It was a sad end for a unique aircraft.   Sullivan Collection

May of 1964 saw 131508, a P2V-5F, operating with the NARTU out of NAS Alameda. Her paintwork is somewhat unusual, which causes us to suspect that those areas that appear to be white in the photo are actually orange DayGlo---that particular type of paint tends to show up as white in black and white photographs. As an aside, check out that ramp! Round engines tend to throw a lot of oil when they're first started and before they warm up to operating temperature, which causes flight lines to be splotched with lubricant as we see in this shot. There are a lot of things we miss about The Good Old Days, but filthy ramps aren't one of them!   Sullivan Collection

Going to work! This SP-2H is outbound from NAS Whidbey Island in 1964. Assigned to VP-17, 148353 was eventually converted to the AP-2H configuration but was a straight-up patrol bomber when this shot was taken. Check out the aircrewman behind that aft fuselage window. In all likelihood he'll spend a great deal of the flight looking at the ocean through that opening---the "normal" mission for the Neptune family was far from glamorous but important nonetheless. Nowadays most of the world's armed forces perform this sort of mission with electronics, but there are times when nothing beats a Mk 1 Eyeball for scanning the seas. It was, after all, a very long time ago!   Sullivan Collection

During the 1960s it wasn't at all unusual for aircraft assigned to the Navy Reserve component to carry a lot of DayGlo on their airframes, and 126525 is a fine example of the application of that sort of paintwork. A P2V-6, 126525 carries a manned tail position rather than a MAD boom, but neither that station or her nose appear to be quite normal. You know the e-mail address by now, right?   Paul Stevens via Sullivan Collection

Ah, for the glamorous life of a patrol bomber crewman serving in the tropics! Yep---that's Diamond Head in the background, but the guys crewing 143178 aren't going to see very much of it. They will, of course see water, and a whole lot of it, beginning the minute they clear the Hawaiian Islands. It's January of 1966 and that SP-2H is from VP-4. The airplane performed yeoman service from the time she was built in in 1957 until she was accepted into the storage facility at Davis Monthan in 1971.   Sullivan Collection

Most of us think of the Neptune as a naval aircraft, and it primarily was, but the United States Air Force found a use for it as an ELINT aircraft and operated small numbers of the type as the RB-69A. This example, 54-4037, was originally a P2V-7U and was one of the few to be lost in combat, shot down by a MiG-17PF near the city of Yantai, People's Republic of China, on 11 June 1964. The P2V's size (plenty of room for the ELINT gear of the day and requisite crew) and unrefuelled range made it a natural for the job, but it was meat on the table for a determined interceptor pilot. We'll probably never know the full story, but those RB-69 ops were definitely not your normal, run-of-the-mill patrol bomber missions!   Sullivan Collection

Remember those early, gun-armed P2Vs that were generated out of the NAV's requirements for an effective patrol bomber, stemming from their experience with that sort of thing during the Second World War? They were in many ways developed to deal with the exact mission the Navy began to encounter in early operations over Southeast Asia during the mid-1960s. Vietnam, both North and South, were maritime nations to an extent and sea control of their coasts called for the exact same attributes that had spawned the Neptune in the first place. The OP-2E, depicted here by 131528, was developed to deal with the mission and was optimized for it. 528 was operated by VO-67 from November of 1967 until July of 1968, operating out of Naked Fanny in Thailand, albeit sowing sonobuoys along the Ho Chi Minh trail rather than over the ocean. This particular photo was taken at NAS North Island in October of 1967, immediately prior to deployment to theater, and shows the aircraft fitted with mini-gun pods. Employing that sort of weaponry over the trail could easily have been a career-terminating activity for a big, lumbering airplane like the P-2, but it certainly looked good on the ramp!   Sullivan Collection

ELINT wasn't a mission reserved exclusively to the Navy or Air Force during the Vietnam fracas; the US Army also operated the Neptune in that role, as the AP-2E. Operated exclusively by the 224th Btn/509th Radio Research Group based out of Cam Rahn Bay, their short time in theater provided valuable information to US forces. This aircraft, 131492, was originally built as a P2V-5, then converted to an RP-2E and later redesignated as an AP-2E, and was damaged at Plieku in South Vietnam during 1968. (You can find a couple of color shots of one of these aircraft by going back to our 18 December, 2010, issue, should you be so inclined.) You just never knew what was going to turn up in that war!   Sullivan Collection

The writing was on the wall for the Neptune by the late 60s, although a fair number of them were still in service. In this shot we see 131510, originally built as a P2V-5 but in service with the NAV's NADC as an NOP-2E when this shot was taken at Johnsville, PA, in 1968. Replacement by the Lockheed P-3 Orion had begun in 1962 and the P-2's days were numbered, but the type provided valuable service right up to the end.   Sullivan Collection

The Navy's utility squadrons operated the P-2 as a drone launch and control platform, as well-illustrated by this photo of 128347 taken while she was operating with VC-3 during February of 1970. Active duty was rapidly nearing the end for the Neptune but the old girl still had plenty of life left in her!   Duane Kasulka via Sullivan Collection

A sad end for a proud bird... The P2V family had served long and hard, flying dull, monotonous patrols over endless expanses of ocean (except for those odd-ball members of the clan, of course), performing her necessary but rarely-exciting mission in all climates, weathers, and regardless of time of day. The Neptune is an easy airplane to overlook because it's not glamorous and certainly not very exciting, but the roll it played was critical to the defense of the nation. She was most assuredly the king, or at least the queen, of the seas during her salad years.   Sullivan Collection

But there's no point in crying over it because she's still out there, and in moderately large numbers, flying a mission that she was never built to perform but has turned out to be ideally suited for; that of fire bomber. You just can't keep a good airplane down!   Mark Nankivil

That's it for the Neptune, at least for now, but don't be unduly surprised if a few of those fire bombers turn up on these pages soon!

T For Texas, T For T-Bird Too!

Ellington Air National Guard Base has been around for a while, its interceptor assets covering the defense of the greater Houston area. Your editor was there for a photo shoot in the winter of 1981 on a visit to photograph the tenant 111th FIS/147th FIG's F-101B Voodoos, when the opportunity arose to shoot one of their T-33s preparing for a proficiency flight. Opportunity knocked, as it were, and these shots were the result:

If you're going to have a squadron hack, this is the way to do it! T-33A-1-LO, 56-1670, is being prepared for launch on an uncharacteristically chilly winter's day at Ellington. Every airplane in the unit's inventory, and we do mean each and every airplane, was spotlessly clean, and every one of them was a showboat. This "T-Bird" was special, though, because it was a surviving T-33A that was still being used almost daily---the T-33 wasn't entirely out of the inventory in the 80s but the breed was becoming increasingly rare, which made this airplane a pleasure to photograph!   Phillip Friddell

Conventional wisdom says you get into American military airplanes from the left side but F-80 and T-33 jocks always seemed to mount from the right, which is how we see it illustrated here. None of the members of the Shooting Star family were particularly large, nor were their cockpits very far off the ground, but the contours of those intakes made access tricky without a ladder, notwithstanding the fact that there was no easy way to get in there without one! The "T-Bird" was definitely a throwback to an earlier time, which may have been the reason the type was always popular within the units who had one as a proficiency trainer or squadron hack. We're glad they did, too!   Phillip Friddell

A Pretty Airplane

Every once in a while we come across a photo of a really pretty airplane, and we just have to share it with you:

65-10390 was a T-38A-60-NO and was assigned to Randolph AFB's 12th FTW when Paul Bigelow photographed her parked at the home drome shortly after the turn of the century. The last time we personally attacked any of the 12th's Talons with a camera was back in the late 1990s, when they were wearing that then-new and especially tasty white over Insignia Blue scheme, but we have to admit we really like the way the airplane looks in this particular paint job. Many thanks to Paul for taking this shot, and to Maddog John Kerr for passing it on to us!    Paul Bigelow via Kerr Collection

The Erla Bird Catches the Worm?

Ok, ok; it's an awful pun and, at the end of the day, an irrelevant one as well, but sometimes that sort of thing is in us and just has to come out so cut us some slack here! The point of this piece is a simple one: Revell of Germany recently released a 1/32nd scale kit of the Erla-built Me109G-10 for our modeling pleasure. The kit itself is one of that strange breed that was apparently designed by committee, a committee where nobody was talking to anyone else assigned to the project---we say that because the kit is, in a great many regards, simply brilliant in certain areas of its design and execution, while being woefully below what's now considered to be the norm in others. It is, in short, a kit that cries out for aftermarket! We recently purchased one (a bargain at $29.95 USD), and then proceeded to rack up another hundred bucks or so in resin and cast bronze to bring it up to snuff. Here's where we are with it today:

This is an extremely general view of the top of the airplane, taken to illustrate the use of Master Barrels set AM-32-062; it includes a pair of MG131 muzzles and a pitot tube, all lovingly machined out of brass and worth every penny of their remarkable inexpensive purchase price. The other aftermarket shown here is the seat, seat bulkhead, and belt/harness assembly---that particular chunk of resin is courtesy BarracudaCast and is also more than worth its price. Also shown is Barracuda's supercharger intake, which is much improved over the kit offering, and that same set also includes a set of exhausts and hollow cooling scoops for the nose, both of which are installed on the model but not visible in this shot. One thing we should point out to you in case you're a fan of the Luftwaffe and are aware of such things: Those wing crosses were done via Montex Mask and will have to be removed from the model and re-done since they represent the type of upper wing cross applied at the Diana factory in Czechoslovakia. This is, remember, an Erla-built aircraft and their cross presentation was entirely different on those airplanes, something I knew but ignored until the semi-finished model was staring me in the face. Big sigh... Oh yeah; and it needs to be said that I didn't fix the location of those cowl guns, adjudging it to be just a little too much trouble to do at the time I made that decision. In hindsight it should have been done, but it's too late to fix things now! I won't tell anybody if you won't...

And here's another shot, this time illustrating Eduard's Brassin' landing gear legs and wheel/tire assemblies, both of which are well worth their investment price. This view also shows us those BarracudaCast scoops (and Yes, Virginia, we know we need to drop the one closest to the spinner down just a hair, but it's only stuck on there with Future and will come right off when we get around to moving it!), their replacement oil cooler, and part of the exhausts. The spinner is from BarracudaCast as well, yet another worthwhile component from that absolutely superior aftermarket supplier.

An overall view after the yellow ID band has been painted around the nose but before any sort of weathering has begun. Those "Diana" upper-wing crosses really show up if you know what they are, but they'll be gone and replaced with proper "Erla" crosses in a day or two, The white stripes at each wingtip simulate the tape that Messerschmitt used to seal the joint between said wingtips and the wings. It's always there on the pointy-nosed 109s but generally over-painted and therefore not visible. The Revell "Erla" G-10 simulates that feature but they do it with overly-wide and extremely thick faux tape that's molded into both upper and lower wingtips. It has to be sanded off for an accurate model---a word to the wise...

This photo illustrates what happens to your depth of field when you use an older point-and-shoot Nikon digital camera to photograph a model, but I'm running it primarily to show you how well Revell captured the "sit" of the real airplane so cut me some slack, ok? There are so many really neat things going on in that kit, but as purchased they're balanced by all the seriously goofy why-did-they-do-that detailing Revell put on the model. As it stands it's a really good starting place for an excellent model of this variant of the Me109. I only wish they'd taken things a little further---this could have been the kit of the year and I would gladly have paid an additional ten or fifteen bucks for the privilege of not having to spend an extra hundred bucks or so on necessary aftermarket. Are you listening, Revell?

There's still a long way to go before this one gets to be called Finished, but for once all that aftermarket is not only worthwhile; it's absolutely essential to the completion of an accurate model!

Hmm---I wonder how this balances against the editorial up there at the top that I wrote for this very same issue... Fickle, aren't we, or maybe just subjective and more inclined to spend money on some airplanes than on others. At any rate there's definitely a contradiction of philosophy here. A little bit of soul-searching may well be in order!

Under the Radar

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there existed an excellent series of aviation enthusiast publications known as Historical Aviation Album, which I believe was an offshoot of the earlier Aero Album series. Those publications were magazines very much in the spirit of the journal published by the American Aviation Historical Society at the time and were edited by Ken Rust and, later on, Paul Matt. Their quality was superb and a great deal of what they published is still valid today.

That said, in 1973 they released what was, at the time, a seminal work on the 5th Air Force, a tome that was everyone's go-to reference and, indeed, the only worth-while publication on the topic, until the advent of Steve Birdsall's Flying Buccaneers several years later. It was a ground-breaking volume in its day and still holds up well, even by 21st-Century standards.

Fifth Air Force Story, Kenn C. Rust, Historical Aviation Album, Temple City CA, 1973, 64pp, softbound, 8-1/2 x 11, illustrated.

This is one of those works that's so modest in appearance as to make today's aviation book collector pass it by were they to find a copy offered for sale in a used book store. That would, in our view, constitute a mistake of considerable proportion. Within its modest 64 pages lies a brief description of every significant unit to fly with the 5th AF, broken down by group. Line drawings are provided to define squadron markings and each section is illustrated with photographs and the text, while relatively minimal, is sufficient for its purpose, especially when judged by the standards of the time in which it was published. There's also an appendix listing 5th AF aces, if you care about that sort of thing, but the book's value when it was originally published, and as it remains today, is its quick over-view approach to the subject---it's an excellent starting place if you know just a little bit, but not a lot, about the 5th and want to learn more.

Nowadays its value is primarily that of a springboard to other references, but it was an astounding work way back there in '73 when most of us were still buying into the notion that all the 5th's records and photography had been consumed in some mysterious fire in Tokyo post-War. It was, in point of fact, the only all-in-one-place reference on the topic for several years, and it's stood the test of time better than you might imagine.

We would be less than truthful if we said this book was a must-have in today's world, but for a great many years it was just that, and it's still pretty useful today. There aren't many other books out there that can make that claim!

The Relief Tube

A couple of our readers have written in with comments, so let's get right to it!

Regarding that pair of Marine-marked P2Vs we ran last issue, Rick Morgan offers this clarification:

Phil- Think I found it. The only Marine P2V that I could find on a quick search of Allowance Lists is a P2V-2 at Aircraft Engineering Squadron-12 (AES-12), MCAF Quantico VA, from mid-1952 through 1958. It’s listed as a “Research and Development” platform throughout. They show two onboard in Mar 1955, which may well have been an airframe swap out. Rick

Thanks, Rick. The appropriate captions in our last issue have been corrected.

And in a similar, if not identical vein, Tommy Thomason saw last issue's piece on the P2V and had this to say:

BuNo 39090 had the original P2V nose avec the "bow turret". See attached.
                                                   Tommy Thomason Collection

My posts on the Turtle:

P2V Modeling Notes

Each dash number of the P2V seemed to have a different propeller, engine, and engine cowling. Not to mention the changes to the canopy, bomb bay, nose wheel well, tip tanks, etc. over time and the eventual addition of jet engines. Or the fact than both the nose and tail could be changed on later aircraft between armed and ASW patrol. Or the unique noses, like the ones on the P2Vs used for Arctic mapping. One of these days I'm going to do a post on the major differences between the dash numbers. T

Thanks as always, Tommy!

Next up is a comment from Bret Wood about a piece we published some time ago:

Saw pictures of "Doc’s Delight," "The Snooper,” and “Rugged Beloved” on This unit saw service in the Pacific, specifically on Tinian. My grandfather was assigned to this unit. Regards, Bret Wood

Thanks, Bret! (I don't suppose you've got any photos...)

Finally, Norman Camou has discovered and sent in another YouTube link for us to enjoy, this time on the 430th FS in action over Germany in 1945 and in living color:

And this one as well, covering B-25 ops to Rabaul. We may have run it once before, but we've also gained quite a few readers of late and the film is too good to miss!

Thanks as always, Norman!

And yet another last-minute, after we published correction, this time from Mark Morgan and regarding that NARTU-assigned P2V shot that's fourth from the time in this issue's Neptune piece:

(Regarding that) P2V-5F 131508 6G-214? NARTU, for Naval Air Reserve Training Unit. Otherwise, outstanding blog as always! MK

Thanks, Mark!

And that's it for this time around and, in all likelihood, for the remainder of this year. Our season's best to everyone and be good to your neighbor. We'll meet again soon!