Tuesday, May 31, 2016

HWE Hurricane Decals

Last time I mentioned the Home War Establishment Hurricane project for IPMS Canada  What started as a simple article expanded to a four part project and an accompanying decal sheet. It was fun to see a few of the Hurricanes I researched appear on an actual decal sheet. Artwork was done by Bob of Illiad Design and printing was done by Canuck Model Products. The sheet will be included free in the Fall 2016 issue of Random Thoughts (RT) which will also have a full explanation of the four subjects, some tips on how to model RCAF Hurricanes, and finally will complete the story of the Hurricane XII and XIIA.  (The other two portions of the article are mostly photographs and will appear in upcoming issues of  the IPMS Canada e-mail newsletter BeaveRTales.)

The free decal sheet will only available to IPMS Canada members whose memberships are current when the Fall 2016 issue of RT is mailed out, so please visit the link to join the Society or renew your membership.

Monday, May 23, 2016

HWE Hurricane Project

One of the reasons my modeling has been on hiatus for a few weeks was to fallow me additional time to finish the Hurricane project for IPMS Canada.  Like most research and writing projects, this one took longer than expected, so I'm very excited to announce that Part 1 of the RCAF Home War Establishment Hurricane project is included in the Summer 2016 issue of Random Thoughts (RT), which is currently at the printer. This is my humble attempt to correct some of the confusion and misconceptions floating around about RCAF's Hawker Hurricanes.  Part 1 features the UK built Hurricanes, the CCF Battle-Hurricanes and CCF Sea Hurricanes, including a little diversion into the MSFU story.  The article is illustrated with many previously unseen photos, which include such oddities as the RCAF's Airacobra, MSFU Hurricanes refinished in Canada with atypical roundels, and Hurricane 323, the only UK built "rag wing" Hurricane to serve with both the HWE in Canada and fire its guns in anger during the Battle of Britain.

Now, I'll get busy finishing Part 2, which will feature the Hurricane XII and XIIA and a free decal sheet of HWE Hurricanes in 1/72 and 1/48.

RT, and the free decal sheet, are only available to IPMS Canada members, so please visit the link to join the Society.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Negative Ghostrider

Today is the 30th Anniversary of the release of Top Gun, a movie that probably did as much for the legacy of the F-14 Tomcat as the aircraft itself. I remember seeing it for the first time 30 years ago with my Uncle Ron in Ottawa. At the time, I was a pretty precocious youngster and was aghast at all the technical errors and blatant bombast. However, as I've grown older, I've realized the genius of the movie itself. Rock music, aviation porn (the opening scene especially), fighter jets, and naval aviators who spout pithy catch phrases. What's not to love? Pure escapist fun.  (Though I still have a hard time with line "Mayday, mayday, Mav's in trouble! He's in a flat spin, he's heading out to sea..."  Huh, what?)

However, it is not well known that Top Gun was heavily inspired by (aka plagiarized from) the British film High Flight. Both feature young aviators flying the the newest fighter type at the time (Hawker Hunters in High Flight and F-14 Tomcats in Top Gun). Both feature a climax that involves combat with a vague enemy air force. The ending of High Flight is borrowed as the introduction of Top Gun and both High Flight and Top Gun feature a cocky anti-authoritarian pilot with daddy issues. Sadly, High Flight does not contain a line about seeing a MiG-16 do a 1G negative dive and some of the ladies may lament the lack of a volleyball scene. (It does, however, feature a RC model of a UFO.)

All this being said, there are two things about Top Gun that I never really understood: Maverick and the Tomcat. I've never been the cool kid, so it's hard to relate to Mr. Cruise and, sure, Tomcats are cool and all, but I'd much rather be the in-control seasoned professional - like Jester - flying the A-4 Skyhawk. I remember when Testors issued their Italeri rebox movie tie-in models. I bypassed the F-14 and built the A-4 instead. (Sadly, it was an A-4M and not the correct A-4F, but life was much simpler then.) I also lusted after the Airfix Top Gun boxing of their A-4 Skyhawk. Thankfully, it would be years before I would see that kit in person for the first time.  That probably saved me a little childhood trauma.  (Ugh, what a terrible kit.)

With Tamiya announcing a new 1/48 F-14A Tomcat last week - interesting timing, eh? - I'd still rather see a new tool 1/72 A-4 Skyhawk family. But then, that might just be me.

It's been interesting watching the online reaction to the Tamiya F-14 announcement. I remember back in the younger days of the internet when anything released by Tamiya was hailed with reverence by modelers. These days, some have already blasted the new release as "lacking detail" and dubbed it inferior to a vaporware kit that not only hasn't been tooled, but for which CAD drawings haven't even been released. Oh, poor Tamiya, to go from being top of the hill to has-beens and "so out of touch with what serious modelers want." I'm not much a gambler, but I'll bet Tamiya gets the last laugh on this one.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Great YouTube Modeling

This article is entitled "Watch the World's Most Patient Model Maker Build Flawless Airplane Replicas." Clearly with that title the article is not about your author, but it is certainly worthwhile checking out Mr. Damek's YouTube channel.