Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mosquito TV959 First Flight

The first North American flight of Mosquito TV959 took place right around 10am on Friday June 23, 2017, at Paine Field near Seattle.  The Mossie went up again Saturday morning; both times with Steve Hinton at the controls. The first "public" display will be on July 22, 2017, during the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum's Skyfair event. (Note: The pictures look better if you click on them.)

Modeler's Note: The FHC Mosquito is a T.III that has been restored as FB. VI NS838 of 605 Squadron flown by Alan Wagner. Decals for "Wag's War Wagon" are included on Eagle Edition's EagleCals #168 decal sheet which has been released in all three scales.

Sunday, April 9, 2017


A few years ago after missing out on seeing Mosquito KA114 in the air, I joked that I'd probably see the Flying Heritage Collection Mosquito flying long before I enjoyed the sight of the ex RCAF Mosquito taking flight. Looks like that wisecrack was pretty close to the truth.

Arriving in Seattle as an early Christmas present, it has been fun to watch Mosquito T.3 TV959 slowly being assembled at the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum. TV959 was built by de Havilland at their Leavesden, England factory, being accepted by the RAF in August 1945.  It spent most of its time with the RAF shuffling between various training units and MUs.  It was featured on the silver screen in the "633 Squadron" movie, before spending most of the 60s, 70s, and 80s on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.  Sadly, the right wing was cut off to better display the Mosquito in the Museum.  TV959 was acquired by Stephen Grey's The Fighter Collection and then traded to Paul Allen.  Allen had the Mosquito transferred to AVspecs Ltd. of New Zealand for restoration.  The original plan was to use as much of the original wood as possible in the restoration, but it was later decided to complete the airplane with a new build fuselage and wing.  Taking to the air in late 2015 in New Zealand, the Mosquito was then disassembled and shipped to Washington.

The Mosquito as it arrived at the Flying Heritage Collection. (Photos taken January 14, 2017.)

That is one large piece of wood!

A couple of attempts at cockpit photos.

The Mosquito as it appeared today.

While the Mosquito was originally built, and then restored, as a training variant, there was no question the aircraft would masquerade as a Mosquito FB.VI in the night intruder scheme.  While I had hoped that the FHC would honor a local Mosquito ace who flew with 418 Squadron RCAF, they instead decided to finish it was "Wag's War Wagon" NS838 UP-J of 605 Squadron.  Wag's War Wagon was flown by Flight Lieutenant Alan Wagner who had downed two Aichi Val dive bombers while flying Hurricane in Ceylon.  Flt. Lt. Wagner had at least one V-1 kill flying the Mosquito, but was killed while chasing a V-1 in a Hawker Tempest in July 1944.

The Mosquito looks stunning in its Intruder scheme, especially the matt Night undersurface, and it is neat to see both German and Japanese kills on the type.   I can't wait to see it in the air.

The mighty Rolls-Royce Merlin.

Modeler's Note: Tamiya has scored a hat trick of the best Mosquito in all three scales. The 1/32 Mosquito FB.VI is one of the best kits ever released in plastic. The 1/72 Mosquito is beautiful but, as can be expected, it is quite a bit simplier than the 1/32 scale beast.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Insanity on the Workbench

It has been a while since I've posted an actually modeling update.  So here is the the disaster that is my workbench  I know it it insane that there are this many models on my bench, but well...

The above two photos illustrate my disaster.  They also show the grey and rain of Seattle and our urban living situation.  It is a nice view...

1.  The Eduard 1/72 Spitfire wings.  The very complicated wheel wells pose no issue if you pay attention, clean up the parts, and take care with the glue.  Fit is just fine other than the tips, and that may just be my hamfistedness.  The detailed photo above shows the slight miss match.  The overall photo shows the other tip slathered in Perfect Plastic Putty.  This putty is a white material of toothpaste like consistency.  The neat thing about the product is you let it dry and then remove it with a q-tip dipped in water.  Usually it leaves a slight panel line like depression, which is what I'm looking for.  The wing is covered in rivets so I'm trying not to sand them away.  Not sure what scheme I'll be using, but RCAF 416 "City of Oshawa" Squadron is an option.

2. The Eduard Hellcat.  A really nice kit with excellent fit.  Painted in Gunze Mr. Color Gloss Sea Blue, I need to add a second coat...I missed a few spots on the wingtip.  Otherwise things are going well.  It will be Fleet Air Arm, of course...a neat Hellcat from the HMS Formidable with a replacement cowl and aileron. The Hellcat is for the Northwest Scale Modeler's September display at the Museum of Flight on "US Aircraft in Foreign Service." This is a weekend boxing I started 2012.  I guess I missed the memo!

3.  Academy Kittyhawk IV (P-40N)  Also for the Foreign US Aircraft display, this one will be RCAF.  I was thinking of doing the Kittyhawk from the "Son of Lassie" movie but I'm tempted by the one in Carl Vincent's AviaDossier -Canadian Aircraft of WWII book as it has the "Overseas" maple leaf badge.  Either way, Olive Drab over Neutral Grey.  This guy needs a tad more sanding and then primer.

4.  The Revell AG F4U-4 Corsiar is a somewhat newer kit.  That being said, it isn't a great kit.  The wing tips are separate, which isn't usually a big deal, other than they put the joint smack dab in the middle of the fabric wing.  So I've been fighting those joints.  (See above before primer and after primer.) The cockpit is a mess of variants....the kit has the lower center instrument panel for a F4U-4 along with a decal to place over it.  The rear bulkhead has the cutouts for the rear vision windows of the birdcage Corsair, the seat looks closer to that of an AU-1 or F4U-5, and the floor part is closer to the foot troughs of the -1 than a correct floor for a -4 Corsair. Probably the biggest issue I have with the kit...outside of the join line for the wingtips...why, Revell, why? that no rocket stubs or pylons are included.  They were pretty ubiquitous on the -4 Corsair.  The cowl parts are pretty crudely molded and the open cowl flaps have the gap tooth look reminiscent of the Revell P-47D. Overall, there are some detail issues, the fuselage is a tad long behind the cockpit break, and there is some asinine engineering which causes some fit issues, but it is probably the best 72 F4U-4 on the market at this point in time.  (Also, to add confusion, it appears that the Revell AG factory got confused and some kits left the factory with the F4U-1A canopy.  My kit does have the correct F4U-4 canopy with the flat windscreen.)

This one is being done with a new Starfighter decal sheet (thanks David!) that features the first African American US Navy pilot to fly combat.  The crux of the story is that Ensign Jesse Brown was was shot down on a raid during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in 1950 and his wingman crashed to save him.  Sadly, the wingman was not successful and Jesse died in the cockpit of his Corsair.  For his actions, the wingman, Tom Hudner was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.  There is a pretty popular, but uneven book, called "Devotion" by Adam Makos about Jesse and Tom.  I'll post a book review of "Devotion" in the near future.

5.  The Revell Hunter for the Northwest Scale Modelers Suez Crisis display in June.  The Revell kit is quite nice.  Mine has been converted with Aeroclub resin from a Hunter F.6 into the earlier Hunter F.5.  An Aeroclub white metal ejection seat has been fitted to help hold down the nose and add some extra cockpit detail seat.  My kit got crushed at some point, so all the Mr. Surfacer on the nose to to fix that problem.  It is time to sand.  The black on the wingtips is a black tinted "guitar" cyanoacrylate glue that I've been experimenting with.

6.  The Hobby Boss Seahawk also for the Suez Crisis display.  I've not done much on this one yet.  I need to get moving!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas, eh!

(Photo courtesy of the Canada. Dept. of National Defence/PL-41096)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Slim and Glenn

One of the great stories that emerged upon the passing of true American hero John Glenn was that he flew in World War Two with Charles Lindbergh. While many aviation fans are aware that Lindbergh flew combat missions during World War Two in the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, he also flew as a "non-combat" consultant on the F4U Corsair. John Glenn was a Marine flying Corsairs with VMF-115 at Emirau Airfield, Papua New Guinea. In late May 1944, Slim flew a few missions (four?) with the squadron. (I guess Lindbergh had a differing view of "non-combat" than mine!) So it is very likely that Glenn flew with Lindbergh during these missions. Lindbergh was involved in helping convert the F4U to a fighter bomber; using the then new technology Brewster bomb rack fitted with 1000 and 2000 pound bombs. By some reports, his input was invaluable.

Joe Foss, Slim, and Marion Carl during Lindbergh's days with
VMF-115 (Photo courtesy of the USMC)

A friend of my father's, Frank Arrufat of El Paso, Texas, purchased a FG-1D Corsair from El Salvador in the 1970s and undertook the long process of restoring the Corsair to flying condition. Just before the airplane was completed, he sold the Corsair to a new owner, but Mr. Arrufat was able to see his beloved Corsair "Kathleen" take to the air and appear at Oshkosh in 2010.  The restoration added "Slim" Lindbergh's name below the cockpit and featured a reproduction Brewster bomb rack under the fuselage. The Corsair won "Grand Champion World War Two" restoration at the show and is a fitting reminder of Lindbergh's contribution to the Corsair story. The header photo shows Frank Arrufat's FG-1D Corsair BuNo. 92489/N209TW at Oshkosh during the 2010 airshow. The Brewster rack, fitted with a Mk. 17 depth bomb, is obvious, but Col. "Slim" Lindbergh's name below the cockpit is just visible. (Al Sauer photo)

What is purported to be Lindbergh in a US Navy Corsair. (Photo
courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

This is a rather interesting photo shows John Glenn flying F4U-4 Corsair
N51. Often captioned as taken in 1943, and occasionally as taken during training
in the United States prior to deployment to the Pacific, this photo must be much
later as the F4U-4 did not enter service until 1945. So it might be very late war,
post war overseas, or training in the U.S. soon after hostilities ended. (Photo
courtesy of the USMC)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

One of the lesser told tales about the morning of December 7, 1941, is that of the civilian pilots who were airborne over Hawaii during the Japanese attack. It is believed that the first U.S. aircraft downed by the Japanese during the raid was a Piper J-3 Cub flown by either Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) graduate Sgt. Henry Blackwell (NC35111) or the Cub piloted by his flying buddy Cpl. Clyde Brown (NC26950).  One of these men also was the first U.S. military casualty suffered during the attack.

Shockingly, on the 75th Anniversary of the raid, one of the civil aircraft that was actually airborne over Pearl Harbor during the attack now calls the skies of Washington state home. Interstate Cadet NC37266, nicknamed "The Pearl" is on display Heritage Flight Museum at the Skagit Regional Airport. How the airplane survived until 2016 is quite the mystery, but during restoration, some bullet holes were found.  On that historic day 75 years ago, an instructor and her student set out to do some touch and goes, but when the attack commenced were able to avoid a near miss with one Japanese attacker and were unsuccessfully strafed by other Japanese aircraft. The instructor,, Corneila Fort, survived the encounter only to lose her life in 1943 in the crash of a Vultee BT-13 while serving as a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot).  A character using her name was featured in the in the 1970 film "Tora! Tora! Tora!."  Oddly, Ms. Fort was depicted flying a Stearman biplane in the movie.

Modeler's Note: Like many civilan types, there has never been a kit of the Interstate Cadet in 1/72 scale.  However, KP recently issued a neat 1/72 scale kit of the Piper J-3 Cub.  One of my future projects is to replicate Sgt. Blackwell's Cub in scale.  Watch this space!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

RCAF Bell 47

Here is an interesting one. I knew the RCAF (and RCN) flew the later Bell HTL, but I had no idea they also had one of the covered versions (H-13B?) on strength. Shown in 444 Squadron markings, the photo of 9608/BV-V was taken at Rockcliffe on March 27, 1950. (Photo courtesy of the Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-066300.)

Modeler's Note: There have been a few kits of the Bell 47G in 1/72, of which the Italeri kit is the best.  To the best of my knowledge the earlier Bell 47s have not been kitted in plastic or resin.