Saturday, September 28, 2019

An Early Lightning, Part of a SpAD, An Unusual Zipper, A Contrast in SAMs, "Hun" Addendum, A Couple of Fords, and A Recce 'Doo

I'll Bet He Never Built It

He, in this particular case, being the guy who drafted the instructions for the WingNut Wings Halberstadt family of kits (all both of them!). I say this with a sense of considerable regret, because I'm a big, no; make that HUGE, fan of their kits. I've got several in the closet waiting for the inspiration to start them, as well as several (that Junkers J.1 you saw here a couple of issues back and several Albatri) completed and on display in my studio. They're big, as 1/32nd scale kits should be, they're well-detailed, as any decent kit from the 21st Century should be, they look absolutely great on display, and every one of them was a little fussy to build.

You heard me right; they were all fussy to build in some area or another, but not for the reasons that might immediately come to your mind. The pieces fit just fine, for the most part, and the industrial design of the kits leaves nothing to be desired. If you build any of them correctly they'll go together beautifully and without problem, but there's a major qualifier to that statement---you have to read the instructions, and not just for the step you're working on. No indeedy; you can't just follow the instructions and zip right along ala Tamiya or Airfix. You've got to read ahead to the next couple of steps too. Got to. Have to. Absolutely. Positively. You cannot, not ever, just take what you're looking at and accept it at face value because you will inevitably discover that the piece you need to attach in Step Whatever-It-Is could have easily been attached a step or two before but has, thanks to the way the instructions are written, become an exercise in patience and, perhaps, black magic, when incorporated when said instructions say to do it if you do indeed want that part to reside on or within the finished model. If you'd only known!

We're not, however, indulging in Sir Peter Bashing, nor are we particularly unhappy with the individual(s) who write the instructions for his otherwise superb kits. Our world is bigger than that, so let's jump right ahead to the part where we say what we actually mean.

The premise is this: We, which is to say me, are convinced that the instruction writer for some if not all of those outstanding WNW kits doesn't actually build the models he or she pens said instructions for, or at least doesn't assemble any of them the way the instructions that come with the kits say to do it.

Then again, we can remember the time another well-known kit manufacturer defined a new release of theirs as the most accurate of its kind ever released, an edifice right up there with the second coming of the significant religious figure of your choosing, and we can remember the folks who run a couple of prominent electronic modeling magazines announcing that it was indeed so, and even stating that those Kit's of the Second Coming had been measured, which they obviously hadn't been, and were spot-on accurate, which they equally obviously were not. For that matter, and while we're talking about on-line modeling magazines, how about those seemingly endless I'm Right and You're an Idiot disputes about accuracy that people all too frequently become embroiled in on their forums regarding kits that, as of the moment of that particular electronic dispute, only exist as CAD renderings?

OK; ramble, ramble, ramble; there he goes again! Is there a point to this drivel? Why yes; there is! Here's the part we're going to define as The Take-away for today's meandering:

Sometimes the people who write the instructions for our kits don't build actually them and may, in fact, have never even held the sprues of their constituent plastic components in their hands. (No; we're most assuredly not accusing WNW of that particular transgression so put that Orc, or whatever the heck it is, back in its box!). Sometimes the editors of electronic magazines get fooled by the previously impeccable reputation of a given kit manufacturer and don't actually perform their own due diligence on certain kits, and those Internet Flame War Guys couldn't possibly know the truth about a kit that doesn't exist yet. Further, those two seemingly unrelated things actually come from the same container; they're related and, somewhat sadly, becoming increasingly frequent in our polystyrene and resin world. And that, my friends, is the point. If you did it, then you did it. If you didn't do it and in point of fact couldn't do it or wouldn't do it but said or implied that you had, or did it wrong and claimed for all the world to see that you'd done it correctly, then you didn't do it and shame on you.

 On a personal level, I've been involved with this hobby for a very long time and am generally able to figure out an after-the-fact way to deal with that part that should have been installed a step or two previously but wasn't, or measure the pieces of a kit before sticking them together (not that I always do it myself!), or throw the bovine defecation flag when someone who has yet to see the kit he or she is bashing engages in public and highly vocal criticism of it. I can do that, as can most of my modeling friends, but quite often the Brand New Modeler can't. The experience isn't there so that comment you just made, or that review, or that mis-step in the instruction sheet, jumps from being a mere point of humor or a minor annoyance into a really big thing that can actually cause serious problems for said Newby. It can also cause Said Newby to stop buying that particular brand of kit, or stop building a certain type of model, or maybe even leave the hobby altogether if the experience was bad enough.

In my own personal world figuring out what the guy who wrote the instructions actually meant is part of the fun of it, as is fixing the construction mistakes I inevitably make with or without that particular writer's unwitting assistance. It's somewhat less fun to buy a kit that someone gave a glowing review of, given the current asking price of most modern polystyrene kits of recent manufacture, only to find that it's not at all what I expected it to be or was told that it was. Caveat emptor is a very real thing and at the end of the day we're all the captain of our own ship, but it's nice when things are actually what they're made out to be.

Just sayin'...

Jumping On That P-38 Bandwagon

The modeling world is currently all agog at Tamiya's recent announcement of a 1/48th scale kit of the P-38F/G, and we have to admit that we're in there agogging with the best of them. It's a kit whose time has most assuredly come, and one that we can't wait to get our hands on. The early P-38s saw extensive combat useage in the Pacific, from the Solomons to the Aleutian Islands, and thanks to Bobby Rocker we've got a couple of examples of the former to share with you today.

Here we are, an early P-38G Lightning of the 339th FS/347th FG sitting on the ground, most likely on Gualdalcanal. Noteworthy are the early corcardes, post-red center but pre-bars, and the sit of the airplane, which implies that it's fueled and armed. The photo may have been taken immediately prior to engine start since there appears to be a pilot in the cockpit, but we have no way of knowing that, and we're willing to bet there's nose art on the port side of the fuselage as well although, yet once again, we don't know what it might look like. At any rate, it's an interesting photograph from a challenging period in AAF history.   Rocker Collection

You say you want to do some authentic-appearing weathering on your brand new Tamiya P-38G once you get it built? Well, here's a great example of just what that weathering should look like. If you look at the nose you can see where the major panels were taped off for the long ocean voyage to New Caledonia prior to prep and delivery to a combat area, and the paint on the entire airframe is pretty severely and uniformly weathered. There's a nose number but no nose art or kill markings as yet, although there's a fair chance this aircraft is Rex Barber's Yamamoto mission mount from the 339th FS/347th FG. Those ground echelon guys are in pretty high cotton since there's a maintenance stand next to the airplane, but they've still got to contend with the heat, the insects, and the Japanese. There were never any easy days in the Solomons. Not ever.   Rocker Collection

One further note regarding this pair of photographs: Both Bobby Rocker and Jack Fellows think those airplanes were most likely sitting on the strip at Fighter Two on Guadalcanal and I'm in no position to dispute that. Thanks as always to Bobby, and to Jack, for sharing the photos and for their insight.

I Could've, I Should've and I Didn't, But It's Still Useful

By which obtuse title I mean the photograph we're about to view. I made my first attempt at aviation photography in 1972, at a Randolph AFB open house attended by the staff of the original Replica in Scale. It was a wonderful opportunity I totally wasted by shooting details of airplanes without taking more than one or two photos of an entire example of same. Here---See what I mean?

By 1972 the Douglas Skyraider was an endangered species, almost totally gone from the Navy and Marine Corps and quickly disappearing from the Air Force inventory as well, but there were still a few around, one of which showed up at Randolph at a 1972 armed forces day celebration and public display. It's pretty obvious that someone put more than a little TLC into getting the airplane ready for its appearance but it was still a well-used A-1H and the one new thing about it, those shiny wheels, were totally incongruous in consequence. As a record of this particular 1st SOW airframe (52820) it's a fairly useless image but it does provide a fine look at paint chipping and the general wear and tear associated with continuous use in an operational (but not combat) environment.   Phillip Friddell

A Peculiar Zipper

As our readers may or may not remember the AIM-9 Sidewinder family of air-to-air missiles was a child of the Navy, but the birthing of that particular child came with a catch: The NAV was going to use the weapon in conjunction with its jet fighters, both already in service and projected, but there was a catch. It seemed that the Navy didn't have anything in service in the late 1950s that offered the performance it would have once the F8U Crusader and F4H Phantom II became available as production/service aircraft, which left a substantial gap in testing the Sidewinder under operational supersonic conditions. The obvious solution to the problem was to borrow a couple of the Air Force's supersonic Century Series fighters for the job, which in turn led to the loan of 3 F-104As to the Navy from the 83rd FIS' inventory, a task made easier by the type's impending 1960 removal from the Air Defense Command inventory.

A sight you don't see every day; an F-104A assigned to the Navy and wearing contemporary Navy markings, right down to the Air Force serial number being presented on the aft fuselage in the style of a Navy BuNo. 56-0740 was built as an F-104A-5-LO and was in active use at China Lake in March of 1960, when this photo was taken. It's service with the NAV didn't last very long, however, as it crashed to destruction with the loss of its pilot on 22 September 1960.    Navy via Replica in Scale

Here's the reason for the loan of those airplanes: An early AIM-9B sits on its wingtip launcher on 0740 prior to another test flight. It's interesting to note that the F-104 lasted far longer than anyone would ever have thought possible, albeit in foreign rather than US service, and highly improved variations of the Sidewinder are still in service as this is written. A simple airplane with a simple missile---there's something to be said for that combination, at least under the proper circumstances!   Navy via Replica in Scale

Ground to Air Plastic

Norman Camou normally educates us all with those outstanding YouTube videos he discovers and submits for us every issue, but today the contribution is a little different:

Our hobby used to be full of all sorts of neat things, from plastic kits of birds and spaceships to the then-latest (read "largely imaginary") jet fighters and bombers. The IM-98 and 99 Bomarc missiles were an early, and largely flawed, American attempt at a surfact to air missile that could protect the Continental United States and Canada from enemy attacks routed over the north pole, while the Bachem Ba349 Natter was a Second World War German attempt at a similar weapon aimed at stopping the ever-growing fleets of Allied bombers then pulverizing Mr. Hitler's Third Reich. While differing in concept (the Natter was designed to be manned and was of decidedly short range), both were considered to be serious answers to the question of air defense in their respective times. Norman took a comparative approach with the two weapons, to the end illusrated here. We admire that sort of thing and don't think there's nearly enough of it in our hobby!   Norman Camou

While we're talking about such things, let's consider a new section for this effort. The title says we're a modeling publication when we rarely are, so how about submitting pictures of your models for publication every once in a while? The parameters are simple: Well built and reasonably accurate, and having something to do with the sort of thing we write about on these electronic pages, which is to say no dinosaurs, fantasy figures, etc---those guys already have their own sites and we do airplanes here, along with the occasional missile, so let's keep it to that, ok? Ok! If you're interested, please send your submissions to replicainscaleatyahoodotcom, but substituting the approprate @ and . symbols where we used words. (Get thee hence; accursed spammers!) This is strictly an ego thing on your part, by the way, because we can't and don't pay for photographs or anything else around here; it's a BLOG, for cryin' out loud, but we'd really like to see what you've been building!

More On Those MoANG Huns

Reader Joe Vincent, a man who might be familiar to many of you, logged 171 combat missions in the F-100D while serving with the 309th TFS/31st TFW between October of 1969 and September of 1971. He's very nowledgeable regarding North American's F-100 Super Sabre and sent us an addendum to our Missouri ANG F-100 piece when we originally published it, way back in 2017. It's been on our list of things to run ever since then, but it just never happened and it is, by golly, high time we took care of that particular ommission!


 I added some comments about the MO ANG F-100C with practice bombs in your March posting. I think I may have clicked on the wrong thing when adding the comments because after I submitted them my browser had me on the Feb posting. (Actually, Joe, it wasn't anything you did. We've never printed reader comments because of the spammers and rarely ever look at the "comments" feature on the blog in consequence---apologies for that one!) Anyways, here are a few images to support my comments concerning the Bk-37 practice bomb rack. These are on OV-10s, but they are the same racks. A typical flight to the gunnery range would be loaded with a Bk-37 rack with 4 BDU-33 practice “slick” bombs on one outboard pylon, and an LAU-59 (7-shot) 2.75 inch rocket pod with only 3 rockets loaded on the other outboard. Also,the F-100s pictured with TERs on the inboards are carrying only 2 weapons per TER. My friends who flew them at Phan Rang say that they regularly carried three M82 bombs on them, but BLU-27 napalm and Mk117 bombs were physically too large. When they are loaded with fewer than 3 M82s it was because they were maxed out at takeoff weight and couldn’t carry more. One friend will send me photos of a Hun with eight M82s so I can forward it to you. As for the F-100C, I don’t know, but I doubt they were modified with the intervalometer release system and TERs. We brought the Ds back to CONUS to the ANG units to replace a lot of those Cs.

An OV-10 utilizing the Bk-37 Practice Bomb Rack with LAU-59 on the port outboard station and 4 BDU-33 Practice Bombs on the starboard one.   Joe Vincent

A better view of that starboard rack illustrating the Bk-37 Practice Bomb Rack to excellent advantage. Those practice bombs have approximately the same ballistic characteristics as a real low-drag bomb and are therefore highly useful as a training aid.   Joe Vincent

A 615th TFS F-100D in-country and on its way to some mischief carrying four BLU-27 napalm cans on the inboard stations, two per side, and a Mk 82 low-drag bomb on each outboard station. Modelers note: This was a fairly standard load for the 615th while serving in SEA.   Joe Vincent

Here's another "Hun" from the 615th illustrating the two Mk82-per-TER loading on the F-100D while in-country. Modelers in particular will want to re-read Joe's comments regarding the use of TERs on the F-100 while in SEA. This load, and the one illustrated immediately above, were standard loadouts used as appropriate to requirements on the ground.   Joe Vincent

Many thanks to Joe Vincent for this invaluable information regarding the F-100 and its air-to-ground weaponry, as well as apologies for our tardiness!

Inspiration, If You Will

We've already shown you some of Norman Camou's work in this edition of the project but there's more at hand! Norman sent us a Douglas photograph of a lineup of late-50s/early-60s Navy jet fighters that was heavy on the F4D Skyray, and coincidentally also sent a photograph of a pair of 1/72nd scale Tamiya "Fords" in differing squadron markings. We don't know if that's coincidental or not, but it provides an excellent example of how to turn inspiration into hardware, as it were:

Here's that Douglas photo for your perusal. If this doesn't inspire you to go build a model, nothing ever will!   Douglas Aircraft Corporation via Harry Gann via Norman Camou

And here are Norman's models. Pretty cool, huh?   Norman Camou

Who Do That Voo Doo

OK, it's a corny lead-in, but it does pretty much tell you where this is going. Richard Franke was the quality manage at an aviation company I worked for many years ago, a man who had spent part of his career in the Air Force, with part of that time spent assigned to Laon AB in France during 1964. He photographed these 66th TRW RF-101Cs while he was there, and we're glad he did!

56-0210 was a looker, as were all of the 66th's birds. By 1964 a great many of the Air Force's tactical jets had already been painted in silver but the 66th's Voodoos were still largely in natural metal. The markings are plain but effective, and compliment the massive fighter perfectly.   Richard Franke

Here's 56-0125 to prove the point regarding silver paint and USAFE's RF-101s. The Silver Air Force definitely knew how to decorate their airplanes, didn't they? One thing to note; neither of these 'Doos are carrying external gas bags. The entire F-101 family was delicate in that regard, in that the airplanes were barely supersonic with external tanks and overall handling was greatly diminished as well. Those bags have a way of ending up on most scale models of the Voodoo family regardless of the variant being replicated, but it's a really good idea to check available photographs before attaching them because they were rarely there in practice.   Richard Franke

And that's what I know! Be good to your neighbor and we'll meet again soon!


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