Monday, April 30, 2012

Canadian Car and Foundry Helldivers

It often seems forgotten that besides Hurricanes and Harvards, Canadian Car and Foundary built over 800 SB2C Helldivers under license as the SBW Helldiver.  Oddly, it was the only major wartime aviation project in which the RCAF did not fly the type.  All of the SBWs went to the US and the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.  Here are a bunch of photos of Helldivers being built by CCF in Thunder Bay, Ontario. (Photos courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada/Library and Archives Canada.)

Modeler's Note: There are currently four Helldiver kits on general release. The old Airfix kit has been ressiued within the last few years and it is a product of its times with rivets and sparse detail. The Academy kit is excellent and has been the standard-bearer for years.  Cyberhobby has just released a new Helldiver which looks well detailed and has folding wings, but is unbelievably expensive for a 1/72 scale kit.  The Matchbox kit, now found in a Revell Germany box, just can't compete with the newer kits but can be helpful to convert the Academy SB2C into a SBW-1 or FAA SBW-1B.

Monday, April 23, 2012

2012 Region IV Convention

The Wright Field Scale Modelers might be the newest club in IPMS Region 4 but their recent Regional in Dayton belied this fact and quite honestly was an excellent show. It was very well run and I really enjoyed myself. (And spent a little too much in the vendor room.) I did have one complaint, but it is a common one with contests in the area. I've heard all the arguments for doing so, but it still makes me crazy that shows close the model room during judging. This is patently unfair to spectators that came to look at the models and then are stuck with huge portions of the day that they are unable to do so... Some shows have got this right and keep the room open during the whole day, but sadly most Ohio shows still operate with this "dark ages" practice. At least WFSM didn't draw out the day by keeping the room closed until the end of a tedious banquet and awards "show." Thankfully!

As expected the quality of the models on display was excellent and here are a few that caught my eye. All are 1/72 unless stated otherwise.

I think this is an AModel An-14. Don't see many of these built!

A nice Westland Whirlwind helo.

Wow, a vac-u-form Vickers Warwick.

A Fujimi Val.

Academy Spitfire XIV.

I'm a huge fan of the Sonia.

A slick Lockheed Sirius as flown by the Lindberghs.

An Airfix Sabre 4.

An Academy P-40E.

A really well done Airfix P-38.

I know the markings are spurious, but I liked this little Otter diorama.

Eric Larson's 1/48 "Best of Show" Nate.

I totally love this North American "Jeep" conversion.

An RCAF Banana.

A MPM Defiant.

This 1/32 Piper J-3 was converted from the Revell Super Cub.

An Airfix Canberra.

The Boeing Submission to the JSF program.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rockynol Model Display

A little while ago, local attorney and modeler Rick Green noticed that Rockynol Retirement Community had a large display case and suggested that a display of World War One and Two model aircraft would look great enshrine in the case. Rick enlisted local designer, trouble maker and "master" modeler Mark Smith to design the display and they enlisted a few other local modelers including Mike Meredith, Jerry Royer, and myself to help fill the case with models. The display was installed in early April and should run until the end of May. It has been really cool to watch the residents talk about the aircraft they flew, worked on, or helped build while looking at the miniatures.

Look they let some hack put his Wildcat in the case. It even looks good next to Smith's Val.

Some 1/48 aircraft. The Kingfisher was done by Mike Meredith.

Some of the 1/72 bay.

A Canadian Mustang and Maplebolt by yours truly.

Smith's 1/72 Flying Circus

More Smith Word War One types.

A Sweet 1/144 Hurricane.

Rick Green's Hellcat and Zero with some other Japanese types by Smith.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

National Museum of the USAF

In late February I took a quick trip to Dayton to visit the National Museum of the USAF. Sadly, I didn't have a chance to cross the field to see the Avro Aerocar, but I did get to tour the main museum. While the collection is stunning, they have decided to display it all in a cave. Actually, that is an insult to caves; they probably have better lighting. Anyway, these are the best pictures I could get...and they are woefully poor.

The ex-RCAF Hurricane XII done up as an Eagle Squadron bird. Most online sources say it was RCAF 5390, but I have no idea if that is correct or not. Many of the surviving RCAF Hurricanes have confused IDs.

The Australian Beaufighter A19-43 has also been restored in US markings. Really nice to see a restored Beaufighter...but why isn't there one in Canada?

This Avro 504K was part of the Imperial Gift to Canada as G-CYEI. It was restored by the RCAF as part of a Centennial Project in 1967 and flew as part of the Old Gold team. Again, now displayed in US markings.

A neat Kellett Autogyro.

The former Confederate Air Force P-82B is now on display in the Korean War Gallery.

Also in the Korean War Gallery is this nice T-6D Mosquito FAC.

An RAF Tornado GR.1 in Gulf War Markings.

Watch out for the bad guys...a MiG-29 in this case.

Another bad guy...a beautifully restored A6M2 Zero.

In need of Rocket Fuel...a German V-2 on its transport trailer.

Finally CF-100 Mk.4A RCAF 18241.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

IPMS Seattle Spring Show Take Two

As mentioned here, I attended the IPMS Seattle Show a couple of Saturday's ago. The show was held at the Renton Community Center and it was a welcome surprise as the room was huge and well lit.
(This being far preferable to most of the Ohio shows where there often isn't even enough room to comfortably move around.) In fact, the room was so big that the number of models on the table looked a little sparse. However, looks can be deceiving as there were over 600 models on the tables. I was a little surprised to see so many cars, and so little armor. Aircraft were the most popular and I was excited to see that 1/72 scale was very well represented and that the qualify was uniformly so high. I didn't spend much in the vendor area, but it looked like there were some bargains to be had. I was also impressed that they did not close the model display area during judging. (I wish the local shows would adopt that feature!) Rather than upload the pictures on the blog, check them out on my Flickr page. My two favorites just happened to be dioramas, one of a Turbo Otter pictured below and the other of a Fairchild 71 as seen above. Both were 1/72, of course.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Last Saturday's Invader

Last Saturday, between the IPMS Seattle Spring show and meeting the girls for lunch, I decided to take a drive by the Renton Airport just to see what was on the ramp. Hit pay-dirt when I saw this Invader taxi out, run-up and take off. What a treat!

This Invader started out as A-26C s/n 44-35562 before being converted post-war into an On Mark Marketeer. Now registered as NL7079G it is named Sexy Sue and based in Renton.