Last operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force as NZ5776, this de Havilland Vampire FB.5 was built for the RAF as WA375. Once in storage with the Museum of Flight, it is now a future restoration project for Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum. In October, the Museum put some unrestored artifacts on display and these included the Vampire.
Sunday, November 5, 2023
Monday, September 25, 2023
Three of the most historic F-86 airframes are on display in Alberta.
The first is the one and only Sabre 3. The first F-86 built with an Orenda engine, it served with Canadair, the RCAF, and was a movie star ("The Last Chase" (1981)). But its most famous turn was as the aircraft in which Jacqueline Cochran set a world speed record in 1953 and also became the first woman to break the sound barrier. It is currently on display at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskawin.
The second aircraft is Canadair Sabre 1. Basically a F-86A assembled in Canada, it was the first of a long line (1,815) of Canadair built Sabres. 19101 first flew in 1950. A few days after its first flight, it went supersonic as the first Canadian built aircraft to do so. Used by Canadair and the RCAF for many test projects, it now is on display at the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton.
The third aircraft is the most frustrating Pretending to be just another RCAF Sabre is the second production F-86 built as P-86 47-606. The aircraft was assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards, was probably flown by some guy named Yeager (and Pete Everest), and may have participated in the X-1 and D-558 programs. It later flew with the California ANG and then ended up as a parts donor for Ben Hall's F-86A restoration. This aircraft should have the slotted gun ports, rather than more usual gun ports seen on almost every other Sabre. Too bad it hasn't been traded to the USAFM for a real RCAF Sabre. Until someone comes to their senses it is on display at the Hangar Flight Museum in Calgary.
It is interesting to note that all three of these aircraft have been retrofitted with Sabre 5 "hard" wings. No wonder modelers get confused, apparently Museums do as well!
The Air Force Museum of Alberta in Calgary also has a Sabre 5, but this is just a typical RCAF line bird that served with CEPE, 416 Squadron, and 1 (F) OTU/STU. 23338 later was sold to the US and converted into a drone. It was shot at nine times with nine misses and given the name "Black Cat." It was repatriated to Canada in 2015.
Modeler's Note: There have been many 1/72 scale Sabres, but the best way to a Canadian Sabre 5 is the Airfix kit. It isn't perfect...the wing fences are in the wrong place, some of the fuselage scribing is wrong, and the wheels are pretty bad...but it is a nice build, has accurate shapes and is very reasonably priced. Oddly, many online love the Fujimi kit, but its fuselage is fat and bloated, not to mention the speed brakes are square. The Hobbycraft/ Academy kit is "derived" from the Fujimi kit and suffers the same deficiencies. We need a new tool family of F-86s in 1/72!
Saturday, September 16, 2023
Two P-39s are being restored in Edmonton as a joint venture between the Alberta Aviation Museum and the Reynolds Alberta Museum.
But why restore a U.S. type in Canada in which only one was operated by the RCAF?
Most Russian P-39s passed through Canada on their way to Alaska as part of the Northwest Staging Route. Blatchford Field in Edmonton was often a stopping point. While both aircraft were ex-PNG, many parts from P-39M 42-4725 that crashed in Wetaskiwin in December 1942 are included in the restoration. One of the aircraft will be restored in the marking of 42-4725.
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Canada was really late to the tank game. When the war broke out, they had only a handful of ex-British tanks in service. This was somewhat ameliorated in October 1940, when 236 surplus U.S. M1917 tanks (aka the FT-17) were purchased (for scrap value) and delivered to Camp Borden. In addition, it was decided to build the British Valentine tank in Canada under the designation Tank, Infantry Mk.III and a contract was awarded to the Canadian Pacific Railway's Angus Shop in Montreal, Quebec. The first tank rolled out of the production facility in May 1941.
Canada produced 1,420 Valentines during the war, with all but 30 passing to the Soviet Union. The thirty tanks retained in Canada were used for training with the Canadian War Department numbers CT-138916 to CT-148945. These were almost exclusively used at Camp Borden.
Not long after production started, the tanks were renamed as Valentines and the first production model was the Valentine VI based upon the British Valentine IV with a U.S. General Motors 6-cylinder, 2-cycle Diesel Engine. The first 15 tanks were fitted with a 7.92 mm Besa coaxial machine-gun. All other Canadian built Valentines used a 0.30-inch Browning machine-gun. Later modifications included a cast front hull. The Mk. VII was similar with updated radios. The Mk. VIIA had provisions for external fuel tanks.
Two Canadian built Valentines survive in Canada. One was retained at Camp Borden and is now on display at the Base Borden Military Museum. The second, a Mark VIIA, was recovered from a bog 180 kilometers south of Kiev in 1990 and presented to the Canadian War Museum by the Ukrainian government. It is on display as recovered.
(All photos courtesy of the Library Archives Canada and Archives of Toronto.)
Sunday, October 23, 2022
Friday, October 7, 2022
Monday, September 19, 2022
Sunday, September 11, 2022
Sunday, September 4, 2022
Finished up the Bandai 1/2700000 Death Star last night. (Ok, it could just be a hard ball...) As expected the kit is really nice and goes together with no problems. Finish is Tamiya LP37 Light Ghost Grey, some dry brushing of AK Third Gen English Grey, with a wash of Ammo-MiG Starship Filth. So Falcon or Blockade runner next?