Sunday, April 22, 2018


AZ 1/72 AH-1G Cobra for the Museum of Flight’s Vietnam display is starting to emerge.  It needs to be done by May 3, so I better get moving!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

RCAF Earthquakers

The eagle eyed modeler may have noticed in the new Airfix B-25C/D Mitchell that the “Desert Warrior” markings option lists a crew member as Pilot Officer Anthony Arthur Martin (RCAF). Why is there a RCAF crew member in a USAAF Mitchell?

In 1942, after Churchill and FDR’s Second Washington Conference, the 12th Bomb Group was transferred from the U.S. to North Africa and attached to the newly formed 9th Air Force. The 12th BG was tasked with assisting the British Eighth Army in their battle with Rommel's Afrika Korps. As the unit was inexperienced, it was decided to transfer 23 RCAF wireless air gunners to the unit to assist learning British radio procedures and to prevent friendly fire incidents. The Canadians served at two bases - Devesior in the 81st and 82nd Bombardment Squadron and at Ismalia with the 83rd and 434th B.S. Four of the RCAF WAGs were killed during their year with the 12th BG, and two, Alan James Mackie and Anthony Arthur Martin were awarded the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross. F/O Anthony Arthur Martin, from Squamish, British Columbia, was also awarded the American Air Medal and Six Oak Leaf Clusters for his ops with the Earthquakers.

It is assumed that when “Desert Warrior” returned to the United States for a bond tour, that F/O Martin was selected to join the tour due to him being the highest awarded RCAF WAG in the group.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Tamiya 1/72 Mosquito

David Knight has complained that I never posted a photo of the Tamiya Mosquito which I finished in December. I was waiting until I got the model back from the Museum for some glamour shots and a complete article. But to keep Mr. Knights happy, here is a quick iPhone snap of it upon completion before it went into the "Aerial Reconnaissance" display at the Museum of Flight.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

RCAF B-29 Detachment

With the recent announcement of a visit by the Commemorative Air Force’s airworthy Boeing B-29 Superfortress "FiFi" to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in August, it is a good time to remember that the RCAF actually had a "B-29 Detachment" post war. In 1947, the RCAF's B-29 Detachment was created to assist with a joint USAF/USN/RCAF project to study low frequency LORAN (long range navigation) in the arctic.  In cooperation with the 4149th Base Unit, USAF, from Middletown, PA, Canadian and American personal flew over 100 B-29 missions over the north, some lasting almost 17 hours.  Three B-29s were assigned to the unit, which was headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, including B-29Bs s/n 44-84035 (coded BF-035) and a/n 44-84021. In 1948, the Detachment was renamed the RCAF LF LORAN Flight, but the work continued.  On December 29, 1948, B-29 s/n 44-84021 crashed at Fairbanks, Alaska, during a flight for the program.

Modeler's Note:  There are only two options for a B-29 in 1/72; the ancient Airfix kit and the more recent, but still elderly, Academy kit.  It will make a rather large model, so this might be one of those times that considering 1/144 scale is a good idea.  If that is the case, search for the Fujimi kit.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas, eh!

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year. (Did I say that right?)

Snow in Seattle...hope the Navy shows up to clean off my ride.

(Photo courtesy of the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum/VRP993.276.74)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Colour Hawks of Little Norway

For a short time in early 1941, the hottest aircraft in Canada were the Curtiss Hawk H-75A-8s flying out of Little Norway.  Little Norway was the sobriquet for the Norwegian Air Training Establishment, and the Hawks were operated as advanced trainers from Island Airport in Toronto.  (One can only imagine the difficulty moving from a Fairchild Cornell to the much more complex and powerful Hawk.)   One of the long standing debates among modelers is the exterior colour of the aircraft. The following colour photo has been published in a few places over the years, so it was assumed that the aircraft were an pastel green, similar to Testors FS 34227.  This seemed to reinforce the statements of Little Norway personally that the colour was colloquially referred to as apple green.

Here is another photo taken in the same sequence and already the colour has shifted.

I hope these beautiful photos assist modelers in making their own decisions. It sure looks like a variant of U.S. interior green to me. (Testors FS 34151 is a close match to my eye.)  Note in the photo below that the exterior colour and the interior colour around the engine are similar, with the exterior colour just being more matte. An aviation research colleague believes the explanation is quite simple: "...the boss of the Curtiss paint shop did not have the grasp of the Norwegian language that he claimed to have. As a result, he got the painting instructions bass-ackward and used exterior paint for the interior and vice versa resulting in a norse of a truly different colour."  I'm still trying to figure out if he is pulling my leg or not… However, some modelers are of the opinion that the colour is just Curtiss’s version of Olive Drab or possibly Light Olive Drab 35.

Modeler's Note: While there have been quite a few kits of the Twin Wasp powered P-36 from the likes of Revell, Heller and Monogram, the Wright Cyclone Hawks have not faired as well in 1/72. AML did a short run kit of the type which has a reputation as a difficult build. There is also a family of Hawks from MPM/Special Hobby/Azur, but I have not seen one in person.  AZ has just issued a series of Twin Wasp Hawks, so it is hoped they will work their way to the Hawk 75A-8 in the near future.

(Photos courtesy of the Armed Forces Museum of Norway.)