Monday, October 20, 2008

2008 IPMS Cincinnati Contest and Swap Meet

On Saturday I attended the 2008 edition of the Cincinnati Contest and Swap Meet. Again hosted at Scarlet Oaks in Sharonville, the show was slightly smaller then the 2007 edition, but it was still great fun. Well done Cincinnati guys and I enjoyed the tie-dye "uniforms." I look forward to next year. Here are a few aircraft that caught my eye.

One of my favorites at the show was this 1/72 EF-111:

Two nice 1/72 Mustang racers:

I'm not a -109 fan, but I did like this little two seat Avia:
It is not often you see a built up Azur Cierva autogyro on the table:
A nice 1/72 Westland Whirlwind:
Wow, a vacuform Argosy:
Two nice 1/48 T-28s on the table:

Another nice 1/48 trainer was this Monogram SNJ:
A nice 1/48 scale Spitfire in a unique scheme:
I don't build 1/32, but I'm always tempted by the 1/32 Trumpeter kit:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

RCAF Spitfire pilot Charley Fox passes away

I opened my e-mail this morning to find a message from the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association stating that CHAA member and former RCAF Spitfire pilot Charley Fox passed away yesterday at 88 years young. Charley was involved in a car accident after leaving the CHAA hangar and passed away on the scene.

I'd had the chance to talk to Charlie a few times over the years at Geneseo and had just posted a review of a new book about his life. He will be missed and future Geneseo shows and other Canadian aviation events just won't be the same without him.

UPDATE: A good story about Charley's life in the London Free Press.

Sunday, October 12, 2008 happened again...and a few new kits

Next Saturday is the Cincinnati Contest and Swap Meet. Mark Smith and I attended last year and had a great time. (Somehow I even won an award...) We've been planning to go for months, so you would think I'd have a few things finished for the show, right? Wrong! Once again, I've failed to finish anything over the summer and early fall. I've got tons of models that are almost done, but I'll have nothing to take to the show. I've pissed away most of my modeling time...again... What a loser. (Btw, I'm of the opinion, that while I could care less about contests and winning trophies, I like to enter something at every show I attend. I feel you get more out of these shows if you participate.) I've got the 24 hour tank that just needs a little bit of assembly and I started the new Accurate Miniatures Predator last night and already have the major parts assembled, but usually my modeling time is limited during the week. So there is a slight chance I won't attend empty handed, but I wouldn't bet on me.

I did pick up a few new kits on Friday. Here are a few first thoughts:

Accurate Miniatures Predator UAV: This is the AM rebox of the Platz kit. A nice simple model. The decal sheet has options to do any USAF Predator, but I have other ideas. The molding is nice, it has some surface texture and a little flash. That being said this is the perfect quick build.

Revell Germany Gannet: After the disappointing Trumpeter Gannet we finally have the Revell Gannet. It looks nice in the box. It is more detailed then the Trumpeter kit, and the shape looks better; plus it is cheaper. The clear parts are very thin and very clear. The only bad news is that there is too much flash for a brand new kit and while the bomb bay has some nice detail...there is nothing to put it in. The decals look pretty good with one FAA and one German option. One other odd feature is that it appears Revell AG have hired the son of the old Airfix moving flying surfaces guy...yep this kit issued in 2008 has moving control surfaces...

Trumpeter Lightning F.6: I'm not a big Trumpeter fan. Most of their 1/72 kits I've seen fall into the close but no cigar category. Their kits lack the finesse of the top of the line model makers and they usually have some silly mistakes...not to mention the high price tags. That being said the Lightning looks excellent. Nice molding, and nice detail. In fact it kind of looks like a scaled down version of the 1/48 Airfix Lighting. The decals look normal for Trumpeter...ok I guess. The only bad news is the price. I paid almost $30 for a 1/72 scale jet. Ouch. I look forward to tearing into this one soon.

Trumpeter CH-47D Chinook: This kit falls squarely into the close but no cigar Trumpeter category. It looks like an ok kit, but for the price I expected more. For example the mating surfaces on the fuselage halves are not flat and one or both of them are a little warped. All in all, it is probably a better place to start then the Italeri kit, but it just doesn't inspire me like the plastic in the Lightning box does.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

RCAF B-25 Crash - You've got to be kidding me!

Could this possibly be the best story ever about a crashed B-25? An RCAF Mitchell full of Nazi gold, cash, and the "Spear of Destiny" leaves Saskatchewan and crashes near Pitt Lake, B.C. Wowie. The only problem is that none of it is true. But don't let reality get in the way of a good Indiana Jones/DiVinci Code story. Plus that disembodied computer voice is not only spooky, but laughable.

(Yes RCAF Mitchell # 5246 did take off from Saskatoon on February 16, 1953, and yes it did crash near Pitt Lake, B.C., but all the rest is one of the most implausible and silly conspiracy theories I've ever heard. Like for example why would the "Spear of Destiny be in Saskatoon in the first place? Hey, maybe the Holly Grail is really hidden in Flin Flon, Manitoba. Someone should check that out...)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Day of the Flying Fox

One of the highlights each year of the Geneseo airshow is the chance to hear ex-RCAF Spitfire pilot Charley Fox's "colour commentary." Not only goes Charley talk about the aircraft in the show, and his intake of water during the show, but he tells stories of his service both in Europe and Canada with the RCAF in World War Two. Mr. Fox had a very interesting career first as a Harvard instructor and then as a Spitfire pilot in Europe. Day of the Flying Fox by Steve Pitt is a rather interesting book that gathers many of Charley's stories together in print. I think Mr. Pitt intended this book as a children's or young adult's book as it has many sidebars entitled Wordplay, Fascinating Facts, and the occasional Frightening Fact. If you ignore some of these rather basic sidebars, what you find is a rather breezy but interesting read about Charley's wartime exploits. It includes his mid air with a Hurricane in Canada, an attack on a German staff car that may have contained Rommel, his flight testing of a FW-190, a very bizarre friend fire incident involving a P-51 Mustang, and his participation in the last 126 Wing combat op of World War Two. I also enjoyed the fact that Charley's time as an instructor in Canada was not overlooked. Usually books such as this tend to give the BCATP a short shift and focus on combat operations, but Pitt did a great job weaving in both facets of Mr. Fox's flying career. I did find it rather annoying that the author referred to the North American Yale as a BT-9 a few times. A Yale is a Yale, but if you must try to apply a U.S. designation to it, it is closer to a BT-14 rather then a BT-9. This minor quibble aside, it was an enjoyable read and one that RCAF and Spitfire fans should check out.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Handley Page Hampden in Canada

My guess is that this was shot at Aylmer, Ontario. As usual, Harvards feel the need to hog the spotlight... (And rightfully so...)

It looks like we are due a new 1/72 Hampden from Valom in the very near future. I don't own a Airfix Hampden so I'd like one, but I have a feeling it will be priced out of my league. (I got sticker shock when I saw the prices for the recent Valom early Marauders. I think I'll follow through with my Monogram/Airfix kitbash for an early Marauder.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Wings Over the Rockies Air Museum

While in Denver, Heather and I visited the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum located on the site of the former Lowry Air Force Base. Now mostly a residential and shopping area, the Museum has a few interesting aircraft in their collection.

The star of the collection is James Axtell's FG-1D Corsair N194G BuNo. 92050. It has some rather interesting racing modifications including radically clipped wings and wooden ailerons. I wonder if it ever flew with these modifications?

The other rare gem in the collection is Douglas B-18A Bolo s/n 39-025.

This French Nord 2302 N2254R was a pleasant surprise.

Every Museum needs a Piper J-3 Cub. This is N42427.

Another very rare bird is NC2568, an 1926 Alexander Eaglerock.

Finally we have a Beechcraft AT-11 s/n 42-37496. While it was built as an AT-11, it is on display as a C-45.

Flying Banana anyone? This nice banana is Boeing-Vertol H-21 Shawnee s/n 55-4218.