Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all in the U.S. (And to all the Canadians...a little late...) To celebrate Turkey day here are a few turkeys.

Tri-State Warbird Museum's TBM-3E BuNo. 53420/N420GP.

The USS Midway Museum's TBM-3E BuNo. 85957.

Two shots of Charlie Cartledge's TBM-3E restoration project BuNo. 91436/N436GM.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

On the Bench - Hurricane Madness

Well I opened my big mouth and now I'm moderating a Airfix Hawker Hurricane Group build on the Unofficial Airfix Modelers Forum. Since I'm the moderator, I decided I needed to make a good showing and build more then one Hurricane. Being as the group build runs from November 16, 2007 to January 31, 2008, I needed to keep it simple. All the other projects have been shelved for a little while and it is full speed ahead on Hurricanes.

Here are the builds:

A RCAF Hurricane Mk. X in 1/72 from the Airfix Mk. I kit

The Captain of the Clouds Hurrischmitt using the 1/72 Airfix Mk. IIB

The first Canadian built Hurricane in 1/48

Any of you modelers out there, grab an Airfix Hurricane and join in!

Friday, November 16, 2007

This guy is my hero!

This guy is my hero, he built an Academy 1/72 P-39 Airacobra in six minutes. If I could build at that speed I'd have all my model collection built next week. :)

Seriously, it is interesting you see modeling videos on YouTube. Outside of the old TV show Adventures in Scale Modeling and the odd DVD, modeling hasn't really cracked into the video age.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lost Black Sheep - The Search for WWII Ace Chris Magee

When most people think about VMF-214 AKA "The Black Sheep," they remember either Pappy Boyington or the fictional characters from the 1970s TV show. But there is a member of VMF-214 who not only was an ace, but whose life was probably more interesting then the TV show. His name was Chris Magee.

Robert T. Reed's book Black Sheep - The Search of WWII Ace Chris Magee is not only a biography of Mr. Magee but also a search for his roots by Mr. Reed. The first section of the book is pretty much straight biography. Chris Magee grew up in Chicago and as a young man tried a few ways to get to Europe to become a fighter pilot in World War II. He failed at first, but did end up training in Canada with the RCAF. After graduating with his wings from the RCAF he joined the United States Marine Corps and became the second highest scoring ace with the Black Sheep. Mr. Magee was not the typical fighter pilot as seen on TV and in the movies. He was a deeply intellectual man, who was a voracious reader, and a great writer. His letters to various parties included in the book are well written, observant, and quite amusing at times. Post-war Mr. Magee continued flying as a mercenary with Israel, was a bank robber, and spent some time as a guest of the Federal Government. Then he dropped off the face of the earth.

The second section of the book is more personal for Mr. Reed. He discovered that his father was Mr. Magee, and not the man he grew up with as his Dad. He attempted to track Mr. Magee down and establish a relationship. What does an ace, robber, and mercenary do in old age? Apparently, settle down to a life in a small apartment outside of Chicago to continue his intellectual quests in books. The story continues as Mr. Reed becomes acquainted with his father and reintroduces Chris to both his fellow Black Sheep and Mr. Magee's remaining estranged family members.

This is quite and interesting and enjoyable book. Sadly it gives only a little insight into what made Mr. Magee tick, but those insights show he was far from the stereotypical fighter pilot and certainly no two dimensional underscripted TV character.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On the Bench - Hasegawa 1/72 Beaufighter

Subject: Bristol Beaufighter X NV427 operated by 404 RCAF Squadron as EO-L. 404 Squadron was the only RCAF Beaufighter squadron in Costal Command. They specialized in RP (rocket projectile) attacks against surface shipping. Scheme is Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky. My subject is the first in this flight.

Kit: Hasegawa 1/72 Beaufighter VI. Beautiful molding and panel lines. Great engines. Almost no interior detail. Many inserts...hope they fit!

Intent: Marky Mark and his Tamigawaddie Bunch are always telling me to stop building the crappy old kits and build a nice newer kit. Since I'm burned out on WW2 single engine props, I thought the Hasegawa Beaufighter would fit both prongs and be a nice change. I'm going to do this one pretty much out of the box, but I'm going to try my best and not cut any corners. No Anti-AMS in this case. I'm also going to incorporate the new painting and wash techniques that Marky Mark has been instructing me in.

Engines: The kit has two piece engines with separate cylinders banks and crank cases. The crank cases were brush painted Gunze Metallic Black. The cylinders banks were brush painted with Humbrol Metalcoat Polished Steel. After they were dry they were given a quick polish with a Q-Tip. They were then washed with a Naptha lighter fluid/Lamp Black/Burnt Umber oil mix. Engines done!