Sunday, December 30, 2007

The USS Midway Museum

Back in August, Heather and I visited San Diego. It was mainly to relax and enjoy the sun, sand, and surf, but I did get a chance to visit the USS Midway Museum. Here are a few pictures from the visit:

A few shots of the deck with the skyline in the background:

World War Two Aircraft inside the hangar deck included TBM-3E BuNo. 85957, SNJ- BuNo. 91091, and an A-24B painted up as a SBD Dauntless:

Most of the jets and more modern aircraft are outside on the carrier deck. First off are a couple of Grummans, F9F-5 Panther BuNo. 141136 and F9F-8P Cougar BuNo. 141702:

The Vietnam collection includes F-8K Crusader BuNo. 147030, A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 154977, A-6E Intruder BuNo. 151782, and EKA-3B "Whale" BuNo. 142251:

Finally, F/A-18A BuNo. 162901 represents the USS Midways's swan song during the Gulf War:

Besides the aircraft, the carrier itself is a great museum piece. Thankfully it has been kept in original condition and many areas are open for tour. Defiantly worth a visit if you are in the area.

Monday, December 17, 2007

2008 - A Modeling Plan

I have about 1,000,000 started projects lying around. In 2008 I’m going to clear them out. So here is the plan:

Kits With Deadlines:

Due in January: One 1/48 and two 1/72 Airfix Hurricanes for the UAMF group build.
Due in February: A Hasegawa Buffalo for the Jon, Mike, JV, and Jim Brewster Challenge.
Due in March: Eduard Fokker Dr. 1 and Esci Camel for the DSS WW1 group build.
Due in May/June: Academy 1/72 TBF for the DSS Midway group build (unstarted).

The Almost Dones:

JoHan Zero - Anti-AMS unpainted. Just needs a few decals. Looks terrible.
Airfix Tiger Moth - Anti-AMS unpainted. Just need to add the top wing and the landing gear.
Frog Hunter - Just need to add some decals, flat coat, and add some small parts.
Matchbox Tempest - Just needs a flat coat and some small parts added.
Academy XP-40 - Just need to spray the fabric surfaces dull silver, add the decals and some small parts.
Airfix Spitfire Vc - Needs more decals and I have to make up some serial numbers. Need to add the small parts as well.
Academy Kittyhawk - It is painted, but it probably needs some touch up.

The Assembled But Not Painted Clique:

Airfix Mosquito - Needs filling and sanding. Need to finish the wings and nacelles.
Hobby Boss Tomahawk - Needs filling and sanding
Frog Bearcat - Needs filling and sanding
Academy Mustang I - Needs filling and sanding
Airfix DHC-1 - Needs filling and sanding.
Heller Bf-108 - Needs filling and sanding.

(See a trend here?)

Slightly Started Things I Would Like to Finish:

Hasegawa Beaufighter
Tamiya P-47D
Fujimi Sabre 5
Trumpeter Sea Fury
Italeri Seafire III kitbash
Revell CF-101
Esci CF-5
Airfix B-26 Marauder
Heller Tempest

New Projects I Really Want to Do:

Academy Helldiver
Italeri B-25
Trumpeter Wellington
Revell AG Lancaster
Fujimi Spitfire XIV
Hobby Boss Typhoon
Hobby Boss H-34
Hobby Boss T-6

That would complete 30 models, most of which are stated and in boxes around here. If this plan actually happens, I will retired from modeling upon completion of the 30th finished kit of 2008. I will then spend the rest of my life basking in the glory of actually finishing 30 kits in a year. (That being said, when I finish 2 kits in 2008 this post can be used against me at my trial for breach of fiduciary duty as a modeler.)

Mr. Focus in 2008...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Give Me My Beer Fridge Or Give Me Death!

David Knights posted this blog entry the other day and linked to this Fox News story about Canadians and their beer fridges. Sadly, as is usual with Fox News, this is a hyperbolic and poorly research news piece. If Fox had taken the time to do a little research, they would have found out that the right to a beer fridge has long been a protected Canadian constitutional right. In fact it may be the most sacred of the Canadian Bill of Rights.

The Second Amendment to the Canadian constitution states as follows:

"Beer fridges, being necessary to the well-being of the Federation, the right of the people to keep and cool beer in a second fridge, shall not be infringed."

Canadian Patriot, Prime Minister, and noted alcoholic Sir John A. McDonald was quoted soon after the ratification of the Canadian Constitution as stating: "We didn’t start this country so that the government could take away our beer fridges. We need to keep our beer cold and have adequate provisions to keep our family fed. The only logical option is one fridge for the food and one for the beer."

Sadly, the wording of the Second Amendment has been called into question over the years. Noted Canadian Constitutional scholar Gordy Tremblay of the University of Assiniboia has written that the Second Amendment actually means that only the Canadian government can maintain beer fridges and that it is not a personal right. This position has always been disputed by most Canadians, including Canada’s two other Constitutional scholars, former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, Celine Dion, and actor Rick Moranis. Mr. Moranis, head of the NBFA (National Beer Fridge Association), was once quoted as stating "Give me my Beer Fridge or give me death, eh!"

Some municipalities have gone so far as requiring permits for the beer fridges and a few even attempted to legislate the necessary brands of beer that the fridges must contain. Often, these regulation were met with protests and demonstrations, the most famous being the Chicoutimi Beer Fridge Riot of 1972. Thankfully, most Canadians have protected their rights by using and stocking their beer fridges as they saw fit.

Luckily in 2006, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled and put this matter to rest. In the case of the City of Yorkville v. Moosehead, Labatt, and Molson 7 Can 148 (2006). The Court found that the second amendment shall be read as a right of the people and not a right of the government. Therefore, the City of Yorkville had violated this right when it attempted to ban all beer fridges. Once and for all this important Canadian right has been legally protected and Canadians are safe from the intrusive hand of the government trying to filch an ice cold stubby from their beer fridge.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Buffalo Fever

My friend and fellow DSSers John Vitkus sent me this nice summary of the Buffalo and the 1/72 scale kits. I thought it deserved a wider audience, so John agreed to let me post it here.

Here is a mini-dissertation on Buffaloes. Boy, will you be sorry you asked!

First off, there are three different variants. In USN parlance, they are F2A-1, F2A-2, and F2A-3. For foreign orders, these were designated B.239, B.339, B.439, respectively. The final letter on foreign planes (e.g., B.339D or B.339E) stood for the recipient, in this case "Dutch" or "English," respectively.

Second, these are different variants with different fuselages between the firewall and the cockpit. The F2A-1/B.239 is the shortest and has a unique arrangement of cooling slots; the F2A-2/B.339 was in the middle, with the F2A-3/B.439 being the longest. I believe the latter two shared the same basic cooling slot arrangement, but the longer plane added about 6 to 9 inches between the firewall and the cooling slots.

Third, which variant you make depends on who used it.

a. The Finns used only B.239s, and the Hasegawa kits with Finnish markings are correct for the early (and in Pappy Boyington's opinion, the best) Buffalo. This is the only kit of an F2A-1/B.239 in divine scale. Small spinner is correct for F2A-1/B.239.

b. The Marines at Midway used the long (and heavy) F2A-3. The recent Special Hobby kit of the a Midway Buffalo is the only DS kit that correctly depicts the last (and in most opinions, the worst) Buffalo. I believe the only other user of the F2A-3/B.439 was the RAAF (US surplus).

c. That leaves the middle F2A-2/B.339. These were used prewar on Lexington (and I think briefly on Saratoga), by the Dutch, and by the British. The main differences between the USN F2A-2 and the foreign B.339s were:

1. B.339s had blunter prop spinners (Matchbox is a good size; I'm not sure about the new Special Hobby RAF Buffalo I. I believe the spinners in the Airfix and Hasegawa kits are pointier and correct for the USN F2A-2s.

2. B.339s did not have tail hooks, so they had a different tail cone which was slightly longer. Ditto re: the kits; Matchbox good for B.339; Airfix and Hasegawa correct for F2A-2; don't know about the Special Hobby B.339E.

3. The USN F2A-2s (and all USN F2As, for that matter) had a cylinder-shaped container behind the pilot that contained a life raft. The foreign B.339s did not have this.

4. USN F2A-2s used cuffed props; most foreign ones were not cuffed, but some were. Hasegawa provides both; Matchbox and Airfix provide only the cuffed prop.

5. USN tail wheels were small, solid rubber; land-based Buffaloes (including foreign planes, naturally) used larger, pneumatic tail wheels. Matchbox, provides larger; Airfix and Hasegawa smaller.

6. USN F2A-2s had telescopic gunsights; foreign B.339s had reflector sights (or sometimes just a ring/bead sight.

Can you make the Hasegawa kit into a USN or USMC bird without modifications?

If it comes with Finnish markings, NO. This is an early B.239/ F2A-1. I don't see any pictures of USN F2A-1s in camo, other than the unusual prewar Barclay camo schemes.

If it comes with USN markings, YES. There are plenty of schemes in Blue-grey/light grey and overall light gray for the F2A-2.