Friday, July 25, 2008

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in 1/72

As many of you know I tend to have all these great grandiose plans for my modeling. Few go anywhere. My idea for a great collection is the aircraft of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and OTUs in Canada. Yes it is sick, yes it will probably take my lifetime, but it is a good idea.

Here is the list:

  • Fleet Finch (Planet)
  • Tiger Moth (Pavla)
  • Menasco Moth (Aeroclub)
  • Fleet Cornell (MPM)
  • Stearman (Revell)
  • Harvard II (Academy)
  • Yale (Special Hobby/Azur/Heller kitbash)
  • Anson (Airfix - upgrade to Special Hobby someday?)
  • Crane (Pavla)
  • Oxford (Pavla and Tasman)
  • Battle (MPM and Airfix)
  • Norseman (Matchbox)
  • Stinson 105 (Sword L-5 convered?)
  • Fleet Fort (Airframe vac)
  • Bolingbroke (MPM and Airfix)
  • Lysander (Frog)
  • Northrop Nomad (MPM)
  • Swordfish (Revell/Matchbox)
  • Seamew (Sword)
  • Walrus (Matchbox)
  • Fleet Fawn (Can-Vac vac)
  • Hurricane (Revell)
  • Mosquito (Tamiya)
  • Liberator (I don't think I have a B-24J in the collection)
  • Mitchell (Italeri)
  • Kittyhawk (Hasegawa)
  • Hudson (Italeri)
  • Hampden (I don’t have an Airfix Hampden - shocking!)
  • Beaufort (MPM)
  • Ventura (Academy)
  • Lockheed 10 (Special Hobby)
  • Dakota (Airfix/Italeri)
  • Expeditor (Hobbycraft)
  • 31, 32, and 33 are maybes. I've never been quite clear if the transports were BCATP aircraft, or just regular RCAF aircraft used for base flight runabouts. I'm also not sure if I'm missing some transports like the Dragonfly. I may make a decision to exclude all transports for simplicity and the fact it rounds out at 30 planes. (Unless of course I've overlooked something...) Look for it at the Nationals in 2172.

    Sunday, July 20, 2008

    Favorite Fiction Aviation Books

    About a month ago I posted some of my favorite non-fiction aviation books. Jeff asked about my favorite fiction aviation books. That took some thought. I enjoy aviation books and I enjoy fiction, but quite honestly most of the fiction aviation books I've read are silly. They are either sci-fi military thrillers, or really bad pulp war stories. Most flying scenes convey no sense to flying at all. I find it odd that with all the good fiction out there, very few have been about flying. That being said, I did come up with the following list. (Disclairmer: Outside of Catch 22 and No Highway, I read most of these books in high school.)

    • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller - Not really about flying, this is probably the best aviation fiction book I've read. A classic.
    • Nevil Shute has a few books about aviation. No Highway is a good example. This is the story of the crash of the fictional Rutland Reindeer and an investigation into metal fatigue. Loosely based on the real life story of the Comet airliner.
    • More of a novella, the Shepherd by Fredrick Forsyth is a supernatural story about a lost Vampire jet guided back to home base by a Mosquito. Only problem is the Mosquito that guided him home disappeared in the North Sea many years earlier.
    • You would think that World War Two aviation would be rife for good fiction stories. Sadly very few are of any quality. Though I haven't read it in years, I remember Goodbye Mickey Mouse by Len Deighton being an enjoyable novel about Mustang pilots in England. Again, though I haven't read it since high school, I remember A Piece of Cake by Derek Robinson being an enjoyable book about RAF Hurricane pilots early in World War Two. I wonder if the lack of good WW2 aivation fiction is because the best stories are often true and presented in non-fiction titles.
    • The opened scene of Stephen Coonts's Flight of the Intruder features some good writing about flying.
    • Another good book about the Vietnam air war is Mark Berent's Rolling Thunder. Much like Coonts, Berent's first novel spawned a series which over time diluted the impact of the debut novel.
    • Walter Boyne, is a former director of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum and his book Trophy for Eagles about air racing pilots in the 30s who end up fighting in the Spanish Civil War. This is a pretty good aviation fiction book. He wrote two sequels to the book, but I don't remember enjoying them as much.
    • Finally I'll include Dale Brown's Flight of the Old Dog, but just to keep Matt happy.

    Canadian author Spencer Dunmore has written some aviation novels over the years. Sadly, I have to admit I have only read his non-fiction books. Are his fiction books any good?