Monday, February 27, 2012

F/O Bundy Part 2

Part Two of the Allan Bundy story has been published by Vintage Wings of Canada. Terry Higgins of Aviaeology did an great job of recounting Allan Bundy's ops with 404 Squadron. By coincidence I just got Aviaeology's reissued and improved 404 Squadron Beaufighter decals last week. Look for a review soon.

Buffalo Soldier - The War Patrols of F/O Bundy and 404 Squadron RCAF

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2012 Northwest Scale Modelers Show

On Sunday I attended the 2012 NWSM Show at the Museum of Flight. One refreshing thing about this event is that it is a display, not a contest. 3030 models on display, a make-and-take for the kids, a full size R2-D2, and modelers modeling is what you will find under the Blackbird. Overall a great event and my only complaint is that I didn't take enough pictures.

An Estonian Spitfire?

A Snowbirds CT-133 in 1/72.

A Douglas Skystreak.

This must have started out as a Spitfire.

Who knew there was a Northrop Racer?

A nicely done Boeing Monica.

A 1/48 T-33 done up in Jet Pilot markings.

A Captain of the Clouds Messerhurri.

A Hornet racer.

This is really neat...a Gee Bee U-Bird.

A really nicely done Northrop Gamma, with a small DC-3 sneaking in the shot.

The DeHavilland Canada corner.

Another CT-133.

I liked how this Beaufighter was displayed.

An Airspeed Consul that used to be in storage with the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

They Do Exist!

Stay tuned for an inbox review soon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Legend Flyers Zero Restoration

While in Seattle last week I got a chance to visit Legend Flyers in Everett and check out their Zero restoration project. This Zero is an A6M3 (s/n 3148) recovered from Taroa Island and is being restored to flying condition for the Evergreen Museum in Oregon. It will feature an original Sakae engine rather than the more common American engine seen on the majority of flying Zeros.

The drop tank will probably need to be completely reconstructed, but it does give a good idea of the colour of the red primer used on Zeros.

The instrument panel.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Flying Officer Allan Bundy

I'm really excited, and honored, to see something I wrote published as part of Vintage Wings of Canada's Vintage News. This started out as a small article that was hugely improved by collaboration with three other authors.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

CBC Hurricanes

A friend sent me these two Hurricane photos that are proported to be from a CBC video. Anyone know where they came from or if there is more? They are labeled as being EAC aircraft and I assume they are BW series Sea Hurricanes, but is that the day-fighter scheme, or just really weathered TSS or just bad colour reproduction? I've love to see the whole video...anyone?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

High Flight

A really nice video by Charlie Tyrell of the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association and the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Some New Plastic - Halifax and Swordfish

I gave in and actually got some new plastic last week, the new Airfix Swordfish and the new-tool Revell Halifax. The Swordfish is just about perfect, everything a model should be. Well molded, well detailed, and not too expensive at about $15. A home run. Sadly, the Halifax has some issues. Even with just a glance you can see that the spinners and engine radiators are ginormous, and the props aren't even close. (The four bladed props look very Mustang.) The word on the net is that the nacelles are overall too large. I was also disappointed that Revell did not include the Z Nose as seen in test shots. The fuselage looks good, and their is decent detail, but those engines... (The icing on the cake is that the drawings on the decal placement guide have the correct shaped spinner and props.) I hear Freightdog Models is going to do some new resin props, spinners, and radiators that may just make the thing look decent. Won't make it totally accurate, but might be close enough for me.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Here are a few Hawker Typhoon photos involving Canadian personnel. These are not RCAF Typhoons as the Canadian Squadrons did not operate rocket armed Typhoons. The guys in the colour photo look awfully suspicious of the colour of those rocket rails...are they future IPMS judges? (Photos courtesy of the Canada Department of National Defence/Library and Archives of Canada.)

Modeler's Note: Probably the best option for a 1/72 Typhoon is the Academy kit. Sadly, it isn't perfect and you probably need, at minimum, a new canopy. There is also a decent Typhoon by Hobby Boss whose canopy is even worse.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

RCAF Spitfire Under Repair

Men of an RAF Repair and Salvage Unit working on a damaged Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX of No 403 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, at a forward airstrip in Normandy. © IWM (CL 186)

Ever since seeing the above photo as a young boy in a Spitfire In Action, I've been captivated by this image and wanted to model the scene. Maybe someday I'll even get to it.

Modeler's Note: The two best options for a Spitfire IX in 1/72 are the CMK resin kit or the new Airfix kit. They are a study in contrasts. Everything about the CMK kit is high end and complicated. High priced, resin and photo etched with a vacuform canopy, it covers all the options. Just beautiful. On the other hand the Airfix kit is simple with minimal detail. A great starter kit, it looks good out of the box, but really could use some additional detail in the cockpit and the wheel wells. There is a Hasegawa Spitfire IX that is nicely modeled, but the fuselage is much too short and quite honestly the cockpit detail isn't much better then Airfix's.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In the Better Late Than Never File

Got an e-mail yesterday from Hobby Link Japan that my two Platz T-33s have shipped. Finally! (I pre-ordered them almost two years ago.) For quite a while I thought the announcement was just a taunt to the RCAF modeler, but the plastic is indeed real. All reports so far about the kit have been quite complimentary and I look forward to getting to work on one. Probably go overall green for my first one, though a dayglo and natural metal RCN bird would look good...

Phoenix Squadron

Title: Phoenix Squadron
Author: Rowland White
Publisher: Corgi

It is not often that a book on a historical military subject is as fast paced and page turning as a novel, but Phoenix Squadron surely is. Ostensibly about the Fleet Air Arm's "raid" on British Honduras (now Belize) to deter a Guatemalan invasion, it does an amazing job of illustrating FAA carrier aviation in the 70s and the political process that would put an end to the UK's use of "real" aircraft carriers. Quite honestly it boggles the mind that the politicians didn't see just how successful the operation was, and were unable to foresee how invaluable an aircraft carrier was for future power projection. (Maybe even deterring an invasion of the Falklands?) The book is gripping and covers it all, flying Phantoms, Buccaneers, and Gannets, the political maneuvering both of the crisis itself and the the cost cutting folly that would lead to the end of the Ark Royal. Highly recommended.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Forces of Valor/Unimax U.K Spitfire Mk. IX

It is always an exciting day when a new 1/72 Spitfire hits the shelves. While the world is not exactly in need of another new Spitfire kit, I look forward to viewing the new plastic. Sadly, this was a day I should have stayed in bed.

I'm not exactly sure who Forces of Valor are, but I think they have something to do with wargaming or diecasts; though this plastic kit is one of the start of a new series of 1/72 World War Two fighters. Opening the box finds four bagged sprues of grey plastic, one clear sprue, a decal sheet with one option, and an instruction sheet. One feature that immediately catches the eye is the open engine compartment...but immediately after that things start to go wrong...

It is not often that I find myself looking at a new kit and wondering what the design team was smoking. In this case it must have been some damn good quality hallucinogens, because even on cursory inspection this thing bares only a slight resemblance to a Spitfire. The rear fuselage and rudder are...well not Spitfire like at all. Maybe they look better on mushrooms?

The underwing radiators are huge. The wing is supposed to be a "c" wing with the large cannon blisters, but then they give you bomb racks usually seen on later models. (And those racks are crude and way outboard of where they should be on the wings.) The bombs themselves look more like fishing sinkers.

The scribing is deep with some odd raised areas and rivets. The cockpit detail is a figment of someones imagination, and only includes a seat, floor, and instrument panel. The exposed engine's resemblance to a Merlin depends on how much you squint. Heck, you are probably better off just closing your eyes entirely.

The canopy is thick, misshapen...surprise, eh...and looks huge. Ugh. There are huge locating pins and holes on almost every part and it almost looks like a snap-tite, but the box says glue is necessary. The instruction sheet may be the highlight of the kit, and quite honestly I was so appalled by the plastic I couldn't bring myself to look at the decals.

This kit is bad. Actually beyond bad...aweful, so much so that I can't understand who the market for this kit is. Yes, it was cheap...under $10...but honestly Forces of Valor/Unimax should pay me for the pain and suffering I suffered by opening the box. Stay away!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

400 Squadron Lysanders

Pilots of No. 400 Squadron RCAF run to their Westland Lysander Mark IIIs at Odiham, Hampshire, during an Army cooperation exercise, after having received their flying orders from an Army Liaison Officer. The ALO will monitor the sortie through his wireless operator, working the VHF transmitter/receiver set next to him. © IWM (CH 2414)

Modeler's Note: The Lysander Mk. III has not been well served in 1/72 with only the Frog kit being issued in this version. All other Lysanders, Pavla, Airfix, and Matchbox, were of the Mk. II. One option to get a nice Lysander Mk. III is combine the Aeroclub Mercury engine with the second generation Airfix kit.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Doesn't Look Much Like a Spitfire

The Zvezda MiG-21PFM being done up as a Redhawk. Thanks to Doc for taking the photo.