Friday, September 25, 2009

Canso and U-889

Here is a really cool photo of a Canso of 161 (BR) Squadron RCAF overseeing U-boat U-889's surrender off the coast of Canada in May 1945. (Photo courtesy of the Canada Department of National Defence/Library and Archives of Canada.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

BarracudaCals 1/72 and 1/144 Spitfires

BarracudaCals is the new decal venture from Roy Sutherland. Being Roy is both Canadian and a Spitfire fan, it is no surprise to see a RCAF Spitfire among his first releases. Sheet BC72004 is titled Spitfire Mk. IX Series Part 1, which is a little misleading as two of the options are for Spitfire Mk. VIIs... Options include HF.VII in the attractive High Altitude Fighter Scheme of Medium Sea Grey over PRU Blue, a Operation Starkey HF.VII, a pretty in PRU Pink Spitfire IX, and Spitfire MH883 as flown by Buzz Beurling with 412 Squadron RCAF. VZ-B has been issued at least once before by IPMS/Canada, but this is the only currently available sheet in 1/72. The aircraft is in the standard Day Fighter Scheme and has 30 little swastikas on then nose. (If you wish to build Buzz's other RCAF Spitfire, Eagle Editions have issued his 403 Squadron Spitfire MA585 as sheet number 72114. This aircraft has 29 German crosses as kill markings.) The decals are nicely printed, and include a supplemental sheet as Roy was not happy with the roundel and fin flash colours on the main sheet. A full set of stencils is provided for one aircraft. The instructions are in colour and quite clear about decal placement. Each aircraft has a short historical description and includes the necessary information about which wheels, elevators, and intakes were used on the aircraft. Finally, as a bonus, 1/144 decals are included for each subject. Now if only we had a kit to put them on...come on Sweet...

Friday, September 18, 2009


Title: Shipbuster - Mosquito Mk XVII "Tse-tse" An Operational History
Author: Alex Crawford
Publisher: Mushroom Model Publications

Much like the A-10, the Mosquito Mk.XVIII (aka Tse-tse) was an attempt to put a very large gun in a not much larger airframe. The Molins gun was a tank weapon which was fitted into the Mosquito as a potential replacement for the Hurricane IID. I've always been fascinated by the Mosquito Mk. XVIII ever since building an Airfix Mosquito as a young lad. Of course I built it with the large gun nose, but I really didn't know much about this version of the Mosquito. Well other then it was cool!

Alex Crawford's new book published by Mushroom Model Publications fills in the missing history on the Molins gun, its adaptation to the Mosquito, and its operational use as an anti-shipping weapon with Coastal Command. Quite an interesting tail, and quite well detailed in the book. Turns out it really wasn't that successful, and the RAF preferred rockets for anti-shipping operations. There are many pictures and profiles included, including profiles of some of the baddies (even some subs and boats.) I just wish they had included more photos of the Molins Mosquito. I understand that the photos included could possibly be the only photos of the Mosquito Mk. XVIII extant, but I'm a modeler and I always want more. I was also surprised to learn one of the Tse-tse Mosquitos was sent to the U.S. for tests at Pax River, and ended up being sold to the civilian market for use as a racer.

I had put off purchasing this book because of the apparent high price. The first surprise upon receipt was that it wasn't one of the little booklets that MMP usually publish, but rather a normal sized large paperback. While it appears a little short at 72 pages, it is quite engrossing, covers the topic well, and in my opinion was well worth the money.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Revell Privateer and the RCAF

Revell Germany have recently reissued the old Matchbox Privateer/RY-3 kit and included a decal option they claim is "Consolidated C.IX Liberator (RY-3) of No.168 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force, Rockcliffe, Ontario, Canada, 1947." The serial is JT997. This is rather odd, as the RCAF only flew one Liberator C.IX, JT973 the "Rockcliffe Ice Wagon." (Matchbox included decals for the Ice Wagon in their kit, so I just assumed Revell would do the same when it was announced that RCAF decals were included in the kit.) The description is even more confused, as not only was JT997 never on RCAF strength, 168 (HT) Squadron never operated the C.IX. (They only operated twin tailed Liberators.) In addition, by 1947 JT997 had been returned to the US Navy by the RAF and 168 (HT) Squadron was dispanded. Odd. My guess is Revell found a pic of JT997 serving with 45 Group Ferry Command in Canada and just made up the rest.

Even with the decal confusion it is nice to see the Matchbox RY-3/Privateer back in production, as the kit was commanding really high prices on the secondary market. If you really want to go whole hog and get the best out of the kit, Cobra Company has a very nice resin set available at a price.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What a Battle...

Two shots of BCATP Fairey Battles from No.1 Bombing and Gunnery School RCAF at Jarvis, Ontario. I especially like how nonchalant the crew are being with the practice bombs in the first photo. I can just picture the guy driving the truck, "Bombtruck, get your bombs here...Bombtruck." (Photo courtesy of the Canada Department of National Defence/Library and Archives of Canada.)