Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas, eh!

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year. (Did I say that right?)

Snow in Seattle...hope the Navy shows up to clean off my ride.

(Photo courtesy of the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum/VRP993.276.74)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Colour Hawks of Little Norway

For a short time in early 1941, the hottest aircraft in Canada were the Curtiss Hawk H-75A-8s flying out of Little Norway.  Little Norway was the sobriquet for the Norwegian Air Training Establishment, and the Hawks were operated as advanced trainers from Island Airport in Toronto.  (One can only imagine the difficulty moving from a Fairchild Cornell to the much more complex and powerful Hawk.)   One of the long standing debates among modelers is the exterior colour of the aircraft. The following colour photo has been published in a few places over the years, so it was assumed that the aircraft were an pastel green, similar to Testors FS 34227.  This seemed to reinforce the statements of Little Norway personally that the colour was colloquially referred to as apple green.

Here is another photo taken in the same sequence and already the colour has shifted.

I hope these beautiful photos assist modelers in making their own decisions. It sure looks like a variant of U.S. interior green to me. (Testors FS 34151 is a close match to my eye.)  Note in the photo below that the exterior colour and the interior colour around the engine are similar, with the exterior colour just being more matte. An aviation research colleague believes the explanation is quite simple: "...the boss of the Curtiss paint shop did not have the grasp of the Norwegian language that he claimed to have. As a result, he got the painting instructions bass-ackward and used exterior paint for the interior and vice versa resulting in a norse of a truly different colour."  I'm still trying to figure out if he is pulling my leg or not… However, some modelers are of the opinion that the colour is just Curtiss’s version of Olive Drab or possibly Light Olive Drab 35.

Modeler's Note: While there have been quite a few kits of the Twin Wasp powered P-36 from the likes of Revell, Heller and Monogram, the Wright Cyclone Hawks have not faired as well in 1/72. AML did a short run kit of the type which has a reputation as a difficult build. There is also a family of Hawks from MPM/Special Hobby/Azur, but I have not seen one in person.  AZ has just issued a series of Twin Wasp Hawks, so it is hoped they will work their way to the Hawk 75A-8 in the near future.

(Photos courtesy of the Armed Forces Museum of Norway.)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Getting there...

Tamiya Mosquito in progress. Under the gun as usual, it has to be done for Thursday.

PRU Blue is Tamiya XF-18 Medium Blue.  Decals are a mix of Eagle Strike, Barracuda, with serials from the kit.

Friday, November 24, 2017

And this is why I never get anything done!

Aka how I get easily distracted...

So there was I was reading Facebook and the above picture showed up in my feed.  Canadian Sherman tanks with green and tan camouflage and the Canadian flag?  Hold on, wasn't the Canadian flag introduced in 1965?  What were Sherman's doing in Canadian service that late?

A little online researched turned up that these Shermans were part of the Ontario Regiment (RCAC) based in my hometown of Oshawa, Ontario.  It also noted that the Regiment operated Shermans until 1972.  Wowie.  Further researched turned up the following picture...

Those gates look familiar, isn't that the Parkwood Estate is Oshawa?  Indeed it is.  These photos were all taken on September 11, 1971, when the regiment paraded in honor of R. Samuel McLaughlin’s 100th birthday.  (McLaughlin was a Canadian industrial titan and honorary Colonel of the Ontario Regiment.)

So now I have to build one of these Shermans.  Looks like I am looking for a M4A3 "Easy 8."  But what scale?  Trumpeter does one in 1/72.  Hobby Boss does one in 1/48.  Tamiya does one in 1/35.

1/72 Pros:  Matches most of the aircraft.  Pretty cheap kit.  Not too many parts.  (And if I want to expand the armor collection Dragon makes a Churchill.  (A tank I'm oddly attracted to.))

1/72 Cons:  Tiny.  It will be hard to see the little maple leaf which is a feature of interest.

1/48 Pros:  Decent size.  Matches a few of the 1/48 fighters.  Not too expensive.

1/48 Cons:  None noted, but it I want to expand the collection I don't think anyone does a Churchill.

1/35 Pros:  It is Tamiya.

1/35 Cons:  Expensive and a totally new scale that doesn't match any of my airplanes.

Oh, man, I don't need this kind of distraction!  I guess check back to see what develops on the armor front.  (And if anyone has any suggestions about the appropriate scale, let me know.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

AScaleCanadian on Twitter

For reasons unknown, AScaleCanadian in now on Twitter.  Why?  I dunno, but follow along at @AScaleCanadian to see if Twitter is of any value.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

SAMI Canadian Wings #1: Maple Leaf Mustang

Pretty excited that my Airfix Mustang 4 article is appearing in December 2017 issue of Scale Aviation Modeller International.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Project Welcome Home

Boeing B-52G s/n 59-2584 "Midnight Express" has been a resident of Paine Field, Everett, Washington, for almost three decades since its retirement from SAC. Delivered to KPAE by the USAF in 1991, it appears it was originally planned as the centerpiece of a branch of the Museum of Flight that was mooted to be built. That never happened and the B-52 has been sitting on the field - occasionally moving locations - with many questioning how long the Stratofortress would survive in one piece. Thankfully, the Museum has unveiled their Project Welcome Home which would see the B-52 moved to Seattle and displayed as part of the outdoor Vietnam Veterans Air War Commemorative Park near the Duwamish River.

Recently, the B-52 was moved to Kilo 6 and repainted in the SIOP scheme it wore when flying as part of Operation Linebacker II over Vietnam. Now the hard part begins...moving the airplane to Seattle.

Modelers Note: You want to build a B-52 in 1/72? Ok, crazy person. Your choices are the Monogram B-52D from the 70s or the newer AMT kits of the B-52H and B-52G; now boxed by Italeri. I've not seen any of these kits...even though I lusted after the Monogram kit as a child...but I hear the AMT/Italeri kits need some work. Modelcollect has announced a new tool B-52H, but no plastic has been displayed.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Kittyhawk - Done!

A quick snap of the Academy P-40N Kittyhawk completed as RCAF 877/T of 132 Squadron.  I'll post up glamour shots and a full article in three months when it returns from display at the Museum of Flight as part of the US Aircraft in Foreign Service display.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Kittyhawk IV progress - Getting There

Decals are on, the engraved detail has been washed with Tamiya panel accent colours, and Vallejo flat has done its job.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Under the Gun!

I'm running up against the clock on the Academy P-40N. It has to be done for a Museum display on September 7, 2017. (Hey, didn't I have like six months to get this thing done last time I posted?) I finally decided to build the aircraft from Carl Vincent's AviaDossier #1. (RCAF 877 from 132 (F) Squadron.) The Neutral Grey is Tamiya AS-7 decanted from the spray can. The Interior Green is Gunze Mr. Color 351. Hope to get the Olive Drab on tomorrow. I do fear that the oversized canopy will ruin the look of the model.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Nebraska Vulcan

While in Omaha for the IPMS Nationals, I got the chance to visit the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Nebraska. The Museum has a neat collection of types in varying states of restoration, but it was through a back door out into the harsh sun that the aircraft I wanted to see resided....Avro Vulcan B.2 XM573. Originally built to carry the Avro Blue Steel nuclear missile, it was modified for conventional bombs in the mid 1960s. XM573 arrived in the U.S. for museum display in 1982. While relegated to the storage/parking yard, the Vulcan has spent some time under cover in recent years. It is hoped it will be in line for restoration in the near future.

Note that the IFR probe is missing from the Vulcan's nose? It was removed by the RAF after delivery for operation use during the Falklands War.

The RAF attempted to be model friendly with their maintenance stenciling.  Notice that they tell us on the main landing gear door about the maker of the paint (Titanine), the type of paint (DTD 5580 which is a Polyurethane), the reflectivity (Matt) and when it was painted but never list the colour!  Ouch. (It is BS 627 Light Aircraft Grey, if you care.)

This part/section must have been painted at a later time as DTD 5580A was a replacement for DTD 5580.

Modelers Note: The only choice for a 1/72 Avro Vulcan B.2 is the Airfix kit from 1983.  (It is not a terrible kit, but it lacks detail, has raised panel lines, and huge joint lines across the wings that take work to completely eradicate.) That is until Airfix unveils its new tool 1/72 Vulcan at Telford...

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Do we need to chip in and buy the RCAF some Micro Set?

We modelers spend lots of time applying a good gloss coat and using decal setting solutions to make our decal film disappear.  But what does the RCAF do? Apparently nothing; just look at all that silvering! The subjects are CU-161 Sperwer RCAF 161007 on display at the National Air Force Museum of Canada at CFB Trenton (above) and CU-161 Sperwer RCAF 161001 sitting on its trolly in Kabul in 2003 (below).  The RCAF operated a fleet of fleet of 30 CU-161s in Afghanistan from October 2003 until April 2009.  Upon retirement, many were placed in Museums across Canada.

(Lower photo courtesy of the Canada. Dept. of National Defence.)

Modeler's Note:  As far as I know, the French designed and built SAGEM Sperwer has not been kitted in 1/72.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

IX Center KC-97

Here is a story about a neat project taking place in my former location. The IX Center in Cleveland has purchased Boeing KC-97G 52-2604 (formerly N97GX) for display in their sprawling building. The connection is that the IX Center was built as Fisher Body Aircraft Plant No. 2 wherein B-29 parts were manufactured during the World War Two. B-29s are rather rare these days, and it is difficult to secure an airframe for display, so it appears management decided that the KC-97 descendant was close enough. (The story states that C-97 parts were built at the "Cleveland Bomber Plant" and that is certainly possible, but I can neither confirm or deny the veracity of that claim.) The KC-97 was trucked from Arizona in May after spending decades, sans tail-fin, in the Dross Metals (DMI) yard outside of AMARC at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Modeler's Note: The Academy kit is the only choice in 1/72 to build a KC-97G unless you want to revisit the past and build a vacuform. Just make sure you have lots of real estate in the display case.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mosquito TV959 First Flight

The first North American flight of Mosquito TV959 took place right around 10am on Friday June 23, 2017, at Paine Field near Seattle.  The Mossie went up again Saturday morning; both times with Steve Hinton at the controls. The first "public" display will be on July 22, 2017, during the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum's Skyfair event. (Note: The pictures look better if you click on them.)

Modeler's Note: The FHC Mosquito is a T.III that has been restored as FB. VI NS838 of 605 Squadron flown by Alan Wagner. Decals for "Wag's War Wagon" are included on Eagle Edition's EagleCals #168 decal sheet which has been released in all three scales.

Sunday, April 9, 2017


A few years ago after missing out on seeing Mosquito KA114 in the air, I joked that I'd probably see the Flying Heritage Collection Mosquito flying long before I enjoyed the sight of the ex RCAF Mosquito taking flight. Looks like that wisecrack was pretty close to the truth.

Arriving in Seattle as an early Christmas present, it has been fun to watch Mosquito T.3 TV959 slowly being assembled at the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum. TV959 was built by de Havilland at their Leavesden, England factory, being accepted by the RAF in August 1945.  It spent most of its time with the RAF shuffling between various training units and MUs.  It was featured on the silver screen in the "633 Squadron" movie, before spending most of the 60s, 70s, and 80s on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.  Sadly, the right wing was cut off to better display the Mosquito in the Museum.  TV959 was acquired by Stephen Grey's The Fighter Collection and then traded to Paul Allen.  Allen had the Mosquito transferred to AVspecs Ltd. of New Zealand for restoration.  The original plan was to use as much of the original wood as possible in the restoration, but it was later decided to complete the airplane with a new build fuselage and wing.  Taking to the air in late 2015 in New Zealand, the Mosquito was then disassembled and shipped to Washington.

The Mosquito as it arrived at the Flying Heritage Collection. (Photos taken January 14, 2017.)

That is one large piece of wood!

A couple of attempts at cockpit photos.

The Mosquito as it appeared today.

While the Mosquito was originally built, and then restored, as a training variant, there was no question the aircraft would masquerade as a Mosquito FB.VI in the night intruder scheme.  While I had hoped that the FHC would honor a local Mosquito ace who flew with 418 Squadron RCAF, they instead decided to finish it was "Wag's War Wagon" NS838 UP-J of 605 Squadron.  Wag's War Wagon was flown by Flight Lieutenant Alan Wagner who had downed two Aichi Val dive bombers while flying Hurricane in Ceylon.  Flt. Lt. Wagner had at least one V-1 kill flying the Mosquito, but was killed while chasing a V-1 in a Hawker Tempest in July 1944.

The Mosquito looks stunning in its Intruder scheme, especially the matt Night undersurface, and it is neat to see both German and Japanese kills on the type.   I can't wait to see it in the air.

The mighty Rolls-Royce Merlin.

Modeler's Note: Tamiya has scored a hat trick of the best Mosquito in all three scales. The 1/32 Mosquito FB.VI is one of the best kits ever released in plastic. The 1/72 Mosquito is beautiful but, as can be expected, it is quite a bit simplier than the 1/32 scale beast.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Insanity on the Workbench

It has been a while since I've posted an actually modeling update.  So here is the the disaster that is my workbench  I know it it insane that there are this many models on my bench, but well...

The above two photos illustrate my disaster.  They also show the grey and rain of Seattle and our urban living situation.  It is a nice view...

1.  The Eduard 1/72 Spitfire wings.  The very complicated wheel wells pose no issue if you pay attention, clean up the parts, and take care with the glue.  Fit is just fine other than the tips, and that may just be my hamfistedness.  The detailed photo above shows the slight miss match.  The overall photo shows the other tip slathered in Perfect Plastic Putty.  This putty is a white material of toothpaste like consistency.  The neat thing about the product is you let it dry and then remove it with a q-tip dipped in water.  Usually it leaves a slight panel line like depression, which is what I'm looking for.  The wing is covered in rivets so I'm trying not to sand them away.  Not sure what scheme I'll be using, but RCAF 416 "City of Oshawa" Squadron is an option.

2. The Eduard Hellcat.  A really nice kit with excellent fit.  Painted in Gunze Mr. Color Gloss Sea Blue, I need to add a second coat...I missed a few spots on the wingtip.  Otherwise things are going well.  It will be Fleet Air Arm, of course...a neat Hellcat from the HMS Formidable with a replacement cowl and aileron. The Hellcat is for the Northwest Scale Modeler's September display at the Museum of Flight on "US Aircraft in Foreign Service." This is a weekend boxing I started 2012.  I guess I missed the memo!

3.  Academy Kittyhawk IV (P-40N)  Also for the Foreign US Aircraft display, this one will be RCAF.  I was thinking of doing the Kittyhawk from the "Son of Lassie" movie but I'm tempted by the one in Carl Vincent's AviaDossier -Canadian Aircraft of WWII book as it has the "Overseas" maple leaf badge.  Either way, Olive Drab over Neutral Grey.  This guy needs a tad more sanding and then primer.

4.  The Revell AG F4U-4 Corsiar is a somewhat newer kit.  That being said, it isn't a great kit.  The wing tips are separate, which isn't usually a big deal, other than they put the joint smack dab in the middle of the fabric wing.  So I've been fighting those joints.  (See above before primer and after primer.) The cockpit is a mess of variants....the kit has the lower center instrument panel for a F4U-4 along with a decal to place over it.  The rear bulkhead has the cutouts for the rear vision windows of the birdcage Corsair, the seat looks closer to that of an AU-1 or F4U-5, and the floor part is closer to the foot troughs of the -1 than a correct floor for a -4 Corsair. Probably the biggest issue I have with the kit...outside of the join line for the wingtips...why, Revell, why? that no rocket stubs or pylons are included.  They were pretty ubiquitous on the -4 Corsair.  The cowl parts are pretty crudely molded and the open cowl flaps have the gap tooth look reminiscent of the Revell P-47D. Overall, there are some detail issues, the fuselage is a tad long behind the cockpit break, and there is some asinine engineering which causes some fit issues, but it is probably the best 72 F4U-4 on the market at this point in time.  (Also, to add confusion, it appears that the Revell AG factory got confused and some kits left the factory with the F4U-1A canopy.  My kit does have the correct F4U-4 canopy with the flat windscreen.)

This one is being done with a new Starfighter decal sheet (thanks David!) that features the first African American US Navy pilot to fly combat.  The crux of the story is that Ensign Jesse Brown was was shot down on a raid during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in 1950 and his wingman crashed to save him.  Sadly, the wingman was not successful and Jesse died in the cockpit of his Corsair.  For his actions, the wingman, Tom Hudner was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.  There is a pretty popular, but uneven book, called "Devotion" by Adam Makos about Jesse and Tom.  I'll post a book review of "Devotion" in the near future.

5.  The Revell Hunter for the Northwest Scale Modelers Suez Crisis display in June.  The Revell kit is quite nice.  Mine has been converted with Aeroclub resin from a Hunter F.6 into the earlier Hunter F.5.  An Aeroclub white metal ejection seat has been fitted to help hold down the nose and add some extra cockpit detail seat.  My kit got crushed at some point, so all the Mr. Surfacer on the nose to to fix that problem.  It is time to sand.  The black on the wingtips is a black tinted "guitar" cyanoacrylate glue that I've been experimenting with.

6.  The Hobby Boss Seahawk also for the Suez Crisis display.  I've not done much on this one yet.  I need to get moving!