Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Magic, A Couple of Sabres, Yet Another One, An Airacobra, and One More Thing


It Makes No Sense

The goofy stuff that goes on with some of the modeling boards to be found on the internet, that is. On the face of it those boards are nothing but a Good Thing, constituting a generally easy to access source of information and provocative thought for the scale modeling community, but there's another side to it as well and I honestly just don't get it. 

My love for this hobby is, or at least should be, pretty much obvious to anyone who pays attention to what goes on here. My first trip to a hobby shop with my cousin Jerry lit the fire back in 1955, and by the time I built my first very own kit in early 1956 I was hooked. There was, and for that matter still is, magic in the hobby if you care to recognize it, and I did. Airplanes, cars, ships, tanks, insects, birds, dinosaurs, buildings, figures, and imaginary things from the world of science fiction; I built them all. I played with them too (I was a little kid then, remember!) but most of those early models survived for quite a while because I was so enamored of them. I enjoyed them and I learned from them because they often led me to books and specialty magazines so I could find out more about them. They were magic then and, at least in my own personal world, they're still magic now. 

The part of the world I live in is blessed with four good brick and mortar hobby shops within easy driving distance of our home; two in the Austin area and two in San Antonio, and I'm equally blessed by being part of a circle of friends who feel the same way about the hobby that I do. The whole thing, the entire hobby and most of the people in it, is magic!

That takes us to those internet boards and the part that makes no sense. There's lots of discussion there and plenty to learn no matter how long you've been involved with the hobby---lots of super people with an equal love for the hobby and a willingness to share it are on those boards, but there's another group too. They're the guys who know more than anybody else does and want to make sure everybody knows it. They're the guys who don't have much use for the new guys and their questions. They're the guys who get into flame wars with other modelers and, unfortunately, they're also the guys who make other folks decide the squeeze isn't worth the juice and sometimes even cause them to leave the hobby. The Hobby; remember that word? HOBBY!

Let's go back to that key word I mentioned at the very beginning of this missive: Magic. The hobby of scale plastic modeling is still magic to me, just like it's been for every day of my life since 1955. It's a joy on a personal level as well as a joy I choose to share whenever I can. It's truly a blessing in my world, as I hope it is in yours, and that makes sense to me. The things that don't further that joy don't make sense to me at all and I try not to do them. 

You don't mess with magic!

Such a Pretty Airplane

Since we're already discussing things that are Magic, let's take a look at one of the prettiest American jet fighters ever built; the North American Aviation F-86E Sabre. These images were taken in Korea during 1952 and came to John Kerr's collection via Jim Mesko. John (aka Maddog) was kind enough to share them with me before he passed but we have to present them to you with somewhat of a caveat. They're duplicates of what I presume were originally duplicates in the first place so the detail is a bit soft, and they were apparently dirty when the initial duplication was made---there's way too much clutter to successfully clean up, unfortunately, so let's enjoy them for what they are!

50-0602 was an F-86E-1-NA assigned to the 16th FIS/51st FIG when this shot was taken at Suwon AB in Korea during early 1952. Note her slatted wings, typical of her breed, and the generally worn appearance of her fiberglass intake and that panel on her vertical stab. She had been accepted by the Air Force in 1951 but several months in Korea had marked her. To add insult to injury she was damaged by a MiG-15 in air to air combat on 02 April 1952, but she survived to lead a full career afterwards.  Mesko Collection via John Kerr

51-2733 was an F-86E-10-NA, another mount from the 16th FIS/51st FIW. Photographed at Suwon during early 1952, she was crashed short of the Suwon runway and destroyed on 05 April, 1952. She's noteworthy for her aluminum intake ring and generally pristine appearance in this shot, which may well have been her final pre-accident portrait. Nobody ever said it was safe!   Mesko Collection via John Kerr

Finally, here's 51-2737, yet another F-86E-10-NA, beginning to taxi out on her way to some mischief, a talent she was apparently good at; she scored a total of three kills against MiG-15s during the course of her deployment to South Korea. She survived that conflict only to be burned out in a ground fire at McClellan AFB on 23 October 1954. She was in her prime here, however!   Mesko Collection via John Kerr

Thanks to Maddog for sharing these photos before he left us. Now, if only we had a kit...

They Also Served

We normally tend to think of the Korean War when we discuss the F-86, but the type was ubiquitous within the United States armed forces and served for many years. Here's an image taken by Rick Morgan to prove the point!

55-3906 and 3948 were both built as F-86F-40-NA airframes and both served with Japan during much of their careers. Returned to the United States during 1989, they were converted to QF-86 status and served with the Navy's Point Mugu Test Center in November (3906) and December (3948) of that year. Rick photographed them on the ground at Roosevelt Roads on 01 November, 1989, shortly before they were stricken.   Rick Morgan

Many thanks to Rick for sharing this with us. It's a great look into an aspect of the F-86's service career that few enthusiasts ever consider.

A Peculiar Iron Dog

My normal interest, at least as far as the aviation combatants of the Second World War is concerned, tends to focus on those aircraft and units used in the SouthWest Pacific. This P-39 apparently saw no service there but the image is unique all the same. Let's take a look.

This Bell P-39F-1-BE, s/n 41-7325, is apparently serving in a training unit somewhere in the ZI, location and date unknown. The back sides of her propeller blades are black and the tips on the front sides of that prop are Insignia Yellow, and she's wearing a black anti-glare panel on her nose, but she's otherwise unadorned by any paintwork other than her radio call and nose numbers. We can't speak for her wings but there isn't even a national insignia on her fuselage! To further deepen the mystery, she doesn't have the lower wheel well covers on her landing gear either---that was a fairly common modification in the muddy SWPAC but this image obviously wasn't taken there! The more normally presented P-39 parked behind her only serves to create more questions than answers. She was reclaimed in Seattle in 1944, and we're guessing she never left the States, although we could be wrong about that. To add yet another puzzle to the mix, the photograph is originally credited to someone with the last name of Spoonts, and Leslie Spoonts was a P-39 pilot with the 57th FS flying out of Adak during the Aleutians Campaign. It's Mystery Meat for sure!   Spoonts via John Kerr Collection

As has been mentioned here many times previously, it's no secret that we have a well-schooled and exceptionally bright readership! If you know more about this enigma of an airplane we'd like to hear from you. As usual we're garbling that address so The Bad People out there in Internet Land don't glom onto it, but you can get in touch with us at    replicainscaleatyahoodotcom   using the appropriate symbols as appropriate. (Where, they asked, does he come up with this stuff!).

One More Thing Before We Sign Off for Today

It's not at all unusual for the people I know fairly well to ask what's going on with the blog, and why it's invariably on a schedule that could only be described as nonexistent. That question has generally been answered in person, face to face, but a couple of days ago I received an email from a regular reader who was asking what had happened and if the project was still alive. Talk about a wake-up call! Here's the answer to what is an extremely valid question.

First and foremost, neither myself nor Replica in Scale are going anywhere. I've been involved with this project since Jim Wogstad and I first began thinking about doing a magazine back in 1971 and I'm not about to throw all those years away. It's a part of my life and neither myself nor the project are going away!

The reasons for all the delays are of little concern to the readership but you're all part of the RIS family and you deserve to know something. Unfortunately, the best I can do for the moment is attribute it to Life and move on from there. There's nothing overly dramatic or tragic going on; it's just been tough to find the time. With any luck and my new-found motivation I'll start doing a little better with publication schedules!

In the meantime, let's all give Stan Kurcz a big thank you for providing the kick in the backside that's gotten me off my hind end and back to trying to provide you with a continuation of the publication we all enjoy so much! Thanks also for the ongoing patience of our little family. I can make no promises but I'll do my best to publish these things a little more frequently from now on!

SO; until the next time, smile every chance you get and be good to your neighbor! We'll meet again soon.


1 comment:

  1. can't think of anything wise or noteworthy to write .. apart from ....Thanks Phil !