Saturday, December 28, 2019

Submitted Plastic, An Antipodian Aarvark, A Famous Hun, A Famous Airplane, A Bobcat, Another Model, and A Texas Voodoo

The Whole Thing's Just SILLY!

We're a silly bunch, you know, not to mention thin-skinned and egotistical, and some of us, not all but some, are experts on anything anyone could possibly have any expertise about. It's true, and all we have to do to prove it is to go someplace where a large group of our kind are congregated, or join one of those Internet scale modeling boards. Do one of those things and look around, maybe even just look at me since I enjoy this hobby too. None of us are exempt from the madness!

Let's begin with that part about being silly, and let's start that discussion by examining what it is we do. We build plastic models. Taken on face value that doesn't sound like much, and it honestly doesn't sound particularly silly either. After all, there's nothing wrong with having a hobby, and there are any number of learned people out there who will tell you a hobby is good for the mind and good for the soul. I can buy into that one, and have quite literally done that very thing if you take into account the unbuilt kits and unopened decals ("gotta get 'em while they're available") residing in the somewhat enormous walk-in closet sitting off my right elbow at this very moment. I don't count my reference library in the Silly category because I've been reading since age 5 (the same age I began modeling!), and doing that somewhat voraciously. That effectively means the references are actually two hobbies for the price of one, so they're ok. It's also what's known in The Real World as justification, but all those kits and stickies are another matter entirely.

Some of us also take ourselves very seriously because of our hobby. Very. Seriously. That's ok when we're with our peers, because a great many of them take themselves very seriously too, but there are a whole bunch of normal people out there ("OK, Friddell; define normal!" says my clinical psychologist friend Frank) who think the whole thing is, well; silly! Plastic model airplanes. Closets full of them, unbuilt or partially built. Shelves full of them too, built or partially built. Silly.

Then there's thin-skinned. We'll get into a disagreement or outright argument with people we've known half our lives, or people we'll never meet in real life because we know them over the Internet, over the finer points of plastic modeling or, perhaps more properly stated, each individual's own perception of same. I'm right. You aren't. It's that simple, but it's also devisive, it's damaging to all concerned, and it's silly.

Finally, there's the part where somebody's an expert and you're not. You don't know anything, but that person does and they'll by gosh let you know it; in person, in print, via electrons, or any other way they can figure to accomplish that task; all they require is an audience of some sort and they're off to the races. They're right, or I am, or you are; therefore nobody else is. Period. End of discussion. Well, it could be the end unless the discussion starts feeding off itself, becoming a sort of polystyrene breeder reactor, and then it goes crazy (and I mean straight-up bat-poop crazy here!). Friendships end. People get thrown out of clubs and organizations, or get banned from internet modeling boards, and it all happens because of a disagreement over something related to plastic scale modeling. If that's not silly, I don't know what is.

Now all that's out of the way, what if we agree to take a different approach to the hobby, and let's keep in mind that word: HOBBY. Our hobby, or any other hobby you might think of, can't possibly be any fun if your blood pressure is jacked up and those little veins on the sides of your forehead are all popping out because somebody disagreed with the kit you started with or didn't care for the way you painted your plastic model.

Please understand the perspective here: I'm not saying I'm right and I'm certainly not saying any of you are wrong in the way you go about enjoying this marvelous hobby of ours. On a strictly personal level I try my best to build accurate scale replicas of real airplanes at some point in their service careers, and I try to use the most accurate kits, decals, paint, and references I can find when I do it. I like to do these things. They're fun, and they soothe my soul, but when I make that jump from my own personal outlook on the hobby to telling somebody else how to do it in theirs the whole thing becomes---get ready for it---SILLY!

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

We Asked For It and We Got It!

Yes indeed; someone other than Norman Camou or myself sent in a photo of a model airplane they built!

Remember last issue when we mentioned that sometimes the folks in our hobby would talk about how they wanted a kit of a particular airplane and then not buy the resulting kit because it wasn't the variant they wanted? Well, boys and girls, this model illustrates one such badly-needed kit that would quite literally constitute a license to print money, a Korean War-vintage slat-winged F-86 Sabre! This particular example began life as a normal Academy kit with their standard in-the-box hard leading edged and fenced 6-3 wing. That's pretty much how all the 1/48th scale kit manufacturers treat the F-86Es and Fs, which means you have to take matters in your own hands if you want to replicate one of the myriad of slat-winged examples that were used in the KW. Cutting Edge did a conversion for us back when they were still a going concern, and it's their aftermarket set that Frank used here. Pretty nice, huh?

SO; if you really and truly want to pester the kit manufacturers about a brand new state-of-the-art kit of the Whatever It Is, why not ask for something the hobby really needs and has in fact needed for decades---a slat-winged F-86E or F? And no, Virginia; the F-40 doesn't count, because that takes us right back into Conversion Land if we're doing a KW bird. Nope; we want an out of the box, slatted Korean War-vintage Sabre so...

What do we want?  A SLAT-WINGED KW SABRE!!!

When do we want it?  NOW!!!

Whew! Anyway, thanks to Frank for the photo of his model. Now it's time for someone who isn't Norm, Frank, or myself to submit a photo or two! That e-mail addy is   replicainscaleatyahoodotcom so get after it, ya'll!

Were They Really Doing That?

A long time ago, back when we were still involved in the photography of military airplanes, we attended RAM 88, an international photo-recon competition held every other year at the late and heavily lamented Bergstrom AFB. As a means of providing inspiration to a certain segment of our readership, here's a photo for those of you who enjoy building dioramas:

That F-111C is from 6 Squadron RAAF and the ground crew in the photo are engaged at turning the airplane around between sorties. They did a seriously good job of that too, but they also inadvertently provided a bit of comic relief because of the number of people involved in that turnaround---one of my friends counted 21 different technicians in the photo! They also provided a legitimate and documented "you'll never believe it happened" modeling opportunity. How about it, ya'll? Can this be a diorama in your modeling future?   Friddell

Who Remembers "Triple Zilch"?

Most of you, probably, or at least most of you old enough to have ever possessed any of the old Profile Publications, because that very airplane, F-100D-69-NA, serial number 56-3000, provided the centerfold artwork for the F-100 edition of that seminal reference 1960s reference source. That artwork showed the airplane in its prime, back when it belonged to the Wing King of the 20th TFW in England. Here's a slightly different view of it taken a few years later:

After its service with the 20th, "Triple Zilch" was transferred to the Air National Guard and ended up with the 182nd TFS/149th TFG at Kelly, where it served until their transition to the F-4C Phantom II several years later. Somewhere during that transition process it was decided to take one of the Super Sabres assigned to the group and "Zilch" was chosen for that honor. She's on display at what used to be Kelly AFB right now this very minute but was still waiting for her trip to Corrosion Control for her Gate Guard Makeover when I shot this image back in November of 1979.   Phillip Friddell

There's an upshot to the story, too. There is, or at least was, an F-100D marked as "Triple Zilch" on display with the 20th, but it isn't the real one and never has been. Nope; that one lives at what's now called Kelly USA, right here in South Texas. We're personally still a little chuffed that Kelly, one of the oldest bases in the US Air Force's history, was killed off in one of the BRAC evolutions of the 1990s to become part of Lackland AFB, which was itself a WW2 offshoot of Kelly, but somebody there thought they ought to save this airplane, which is an Up Side, sortof, or maybe not. So much for heritage, right?

Anyway, you can still see the real "Triple Zilch" if you want to, but you've got to go to San Antonio to do it. We're just glad she was preserved!

Not a Miner

But most assuredly a Forty-Niner! Here's a nose-on image of "Snake Bite" Bob Vaught's 9th FS/49th FG "Bob's Robin" for your consideration:

It's possible we've seen this particular shot before, since "Bob's Robin" was frequently photographed during the 49th's Darwin days, but it's new to me. The image doesn't show us anything we haven't already seen but that airplane, shoved back into the bush for concealment, truly does tell a story.  Gerry Kersey Collection

Those guys from the early, dark days in the Southwest Pacific were really something. They stood up when they were called, and they set the bar for all who followed. Need we say it? Let's raise a glass!

A Bonus From Bobby

There's not a whole lot to say about this next photograph except that it illustrates an exceedingly well-worn P-38. We don't know the unit, the location, the pilot, or even the model variant, but the image is worth running for those of you contemplating building a Tamiya P-38. Don't pay undue attention to the shade of OD exhibited, color shift and real-life fading being what they are, but note the somewhat extreme weathering exhibited. Are you up for a modeling challenge on your new Tamiya P-38?

OK; have at it! The chipping exhibited here appears to go right down to bare metal along the leading edges of the wings---what a mess, eh? Good luck with that model!   Rocker Collection

So You Bought the Kit

And now you're looking for something to do with your Czech Model JRC-1 Bobcat, right? Here's an idea that might have escaped your consideration:

Jim Sullivan's personal photo archives are vast indeed, and you just never know what you'll find in there. Take this, for example; a Cessna JRC-1 Bobcat used by the station flight at NAS Atlantic City in 1946. The airplane is silver dope with a black anti-glare panel, and we're willing to go out on a limb and suggest the backs of the props are black as well. It's a simple scheme and would look great on that recent 1/48th scale Czech Model kit. You don't even need custom decals to do it, either; appropriately-sized black lettering in the font illustrated will get the job done, even though we can't read the BuNo on the vertical.    Ted Stone via Sullivan Collection

Another Way to Do It

There are a lot of folks out there who do what we'll call nostalgia modeling, taking older kits, maybe even from the 1950s, and building them for display, quite often on a stand. Say what you will about that old stuff, but those kits look pretty good when mounted on a stand and sitting on a desk. Take the concept (putting stuff on stands, that is) and bring it up to the present day, but using a near-contemporary kit instead of one of the old-timers, and you can get some amazing results. Take this model, a B-47E by Stan Kurcz, for example:

Holy cow, Martha, would you look at that?! This particular Stratojet is in 1/144th scale, which we presume makes it the MiniCraft offering, and it's a thing of beauty, as well as the perfect airplane for a display piece in that scale. The silver finish is predominately Alclad, with assorted subtle weathering techniques added. Stan hails from IPMS Butch O'Hare in Chicago and we've got a few other models of his to show you in the months ahead.   Stan Kurcz

The Stars at Night

That's the lead-in to a song about Texas, although our final airplane for today only has one star; a great honking big one back on the vertical stab:

Your editor (that's me!) shot this immaculate F-101B-90-MC, 57-0348, during a photo visit with Houston's ANG facility at Ellington way back in December of 1980. We loved the way the 111th FIS/147th FIG painted their brutish interceptors back the and we still love the paint job today. Check out that line mechanic for scale. Yep; the Voodoo was a big airplane!   Phillip Friddell

It Wouldn't Be Replica in Scale

Without a contribution from Norman Camou. Here's an essential piece on the struggle for Guadalcanal for your education and enjoyment:

No; this video isn't the usual WW2 footage with Lowell Thomas or similar doing the narration, but rather a scholarly symposium on the battle. It's well worth a watch---thanks as always to Norman for finding these gems for us!

Happy Snaps

Yep; it's another Happy Snap, the first in a while!

A KC-130T (162311) of VMGR-234 tanks a section of Grumman EA-6B Prowlers from VAQ-141 near Puerto Rico on 17 November 1989. It's a fitting image to close out 2019 with, and a sad reminder that we have to deface our otherwise superior photographic contributions because of those darned Picture Pirates. You guys really ought to be ashamed of yourselves...   Rick Morgan

The Relief Tube

Yes, really! We have a Relief Tube entry for this edition, from our friend Eric Methieu concerning the identify of a Piper YL-21 that we ran way back in September of 2011!


I suppose you already have the answers about two pictures of Piper L-21. 8 years ago!!! I think this aircraft is a Piper YL-21 Super Cub serial 51-6496. Thanks to Joe Baugher's site. 16496 is barely visible on the fin. 

Eric "Badluck" Mathieu from France

Many thanks for the comment, Eric---it's never too late to add to or correct a caption around here! We appreciate your contribution!

And that's it for this issue, and also for the year 2019! You've probably noticed how brief this installment is, but rest assured it's not the beginning of a trend! We haven't published a whole lot of late and it would have run this edition into next year if we'd continued work on it---the simple truth is we want to publish it now, before the year ends.  Please be patient and stay with us, because we've got a ton of really interesting photography to share with you in the months ahead, but until then be good to your neighbor. We'll meet again soon!