Saturday, December 26, 2020

Talk to me, Goose (about some History)

My cousin Emily Lindahl recently joined the Royal Canadian Air Force Public Affairs team and got the opportunity to do an article article on Captain Chris ‘LIME’ Swartz. LIME recently graduated from the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School better known as Top Gun. I'm not sure if he just the most recent Canadian grad or the first RCAF graduate, but Capt. Swartz went through the program flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet.  One of the photos used to illustrate the article is reproduced below (Photo courtesy the RCAF):

This photo is captioned as LIME flying off the USS Abraham Lincoln. It appears he got to fly the CO of VFA-143's aircraft. The first thing I noted was the refueling store under the fuselage, but really what drew my attention was the name "Barbara III" on the nose. I've not seen much nose art on USN aircraft so I was surprised how the CO got authority to put it on the plane.

Then the other shoe dropped...oh wow, isn't their a famous US Navy aircraft with that name? How could I miss that the nose art is a tribute to an Avenger flown by a rather famous USN pilot during the Second World War? Of course Barbara III was a Grumman TBF Avenger of VT-61 flown by then Lt. (JG) George H. W. Bush; later the 41st President of the U.S. It made me smile to see the USN remembering some of their history. (Photo courtesy of the US National Archives.)

I've got a Revell 1/48 Top Gun Super Hornet in stock, but maybe I need to get my hands on the Academy 1/72 Super to build this airplane both as a tribute to LIME and Bush's Avenger.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

EP23 of AScaleCanadianTV

AScaleCanadian Joint. Spooky, spooky, the Drawer of Doom!!! #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk #aviationisolation

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Tamiya 1/72 Mustang Mk. IVa 442 Squadron RCAF

Tamiya P-51D with a QuickBoost Aeroproducts propeller and Xtradecals decals to build the CO of 442 Squadron's personal aircraft on their last op of the war. 442 Squadron was tasked to cover the invasion of the Channel Islands on May 9, 1945. No action was encountered and the Islands were retaken peacefully. The model was built for a display at the Museum of Flight and I ran out time to paint the yellow prop tips and replacement cowl panel. I'll do that when its time in the display is over and it returns to my hands. I know it is nice kit, but I struggled with it. Still not really sure why. Having build the Airfix, Tamiya, and Hasegawa P-51Ds, I'd say that they each have positives and negatives and their is no clear winner. That being said, I'd choose the Airfix for my next P-51D. (Thanks to John Miller of Model Paint Solutions for taking the photos.)

Monday, December 14, 2020

Last Dance with the Boeing Silver Stars

About a week ago, I got a chance to see the last official flight of the Boeing Canadair Silver Stars. For more, including the history of each aircraft, see my article on Warbird News.

Friday, December 11, 2020

EP22 of AScaleCanadianTV

AScaleCanadian Joint. Bigger than Nightshift. Not much modeling, some reading, and the Zvezda Here #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk #aviationisolation

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Granger Taylor "Kittyhawk"

A neat news story about the Granger Taylor's "Kittyhawk." I use Kittyhawk in quotes as this was a kit bash of some P-40 parts, a Bolingbroke rear fuselage sections, a Harvard fan and rudder, and lots of scratch built items out of random metal. Granger rebuilt his P-40 and had it on display for a few years in Duncan, B.C. After Granger went off to space, it was sold to Bob Diemert of Carmen, Manitoba, and "restored" to flying condition with a Merlin engine in the markings of "Old Exterminator." It was registered in the US as N7205A and adopted the ID of RAF AK823/RCAF 1036. On the ferry flight to a new owner North Dakota on March 25, 1997, a landing gear leg collapsed and the aircraft was damaged. It is unclear what happened to the wings (I don't really believe the stories that any major parts from this Kittyhawk were used in the restoration of N4420K.), but the fuselage is now on display at the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot, North Dakota.

I'm not sure anyone knows for the sure which cockpit section Granger started with. (I understand that Mr. Taylor never tried to apply an ID to his project.) The adopted ID is suspect, because RCAF 1036 was ex-RAF AK815 and the RCAF never operated AK823. Some sources say the aircraft has some parts from RCAF 1044 which is also possible. The outer wings were from Kittyhawk AK803/RCAF 1034 now on display, and for sale, in Oregon.  (This aircraft had its wings hacked off and replaced with a set from another aircraft.)

Granger and Diemert are great characters and well worth reading about. (Heck, if their stories were in a movie I'm not sure you would believe them.) The CBC did a documentary on Granger called "Spaceman" and the National Film Board did a great documentary on Diemert called "The Defender." Both are on youtube and worth a watch.  Who says Canadians aren't unusual, eh?

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

EP21 of AScaleCanadianTV

Finished something. Misspoke and said Harriers were in Top Gun...yes, yes, I know, A-4s are Skyhawks #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk #aviationisolation

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Just in Time!

I've been pretty quiet the last few weeks, but, unusually, model progress was happening. These two had to be at the Museum of Flight for our 1945-47 display by 5pm. They were both finished about 4pm!

The Tamiya 1/72 P-51D Mustang done as the CO's aircraft from 442 Squadron RCAF using Xtradecals.

The Airfix 1/72 A6M2 done as a Zero captured and evaluated by the RAF using Max Decals. Unfortunately I didn't have time to add the chipping. I'll do that in a few months when it returns from the Museum.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Plastic Model Mojo #24

Apparently my friends at the Plastic Model Mojo podcast were hard up for a guest and asked me to join the show to talk about Fear and (self) Loathing in Scale Modeling.  As your attorney I advise you listen.  #scalemodelingpodcasts #aviationisolation #plasticmodelmojo

Plastic Model Mojo Episode 24

Friday, October 16, 2020

EP20 of AScaleCanadian TV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. Some experimentation with Metal Stynylrez and Mr Masing clay. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk #aviationisolation

Friday, October 2, 2020

EP19 of AScaleCanadian TV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. More kits, more books, and some modeling podcasts. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk #aviationisolation

Friday, September 25, 2020

Plastic Model Mojo #21

Check out the latest episode of Plastic Model Mojo by the Kentucky Law Pirate David and his cohost Engineer Mike.  In this episode they talk about, don't get excited, not the Mentor...

Plastic Model Mojo Episode 21

(Cartoon by Dave Fletcher of IPMS Canada.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

RCAF Debert

Just some cool Mosquito photos from the OTU at Debert, Nova Scotia, from the collection of Wireless Mechanic Jack Zavitz.  (With some cameos from Harvards, an Avenger, Oxford, Tiger Moth, Grumman amphibians, Lancs, and the Budd RB-1 Conestoga!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

EP18 of AScaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. Starting new models and finishing nothing. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk #aviationisolation


Friday, August 28, 2020

Latest Plastic Model Mojo

Check out the latest episode of Plastic Model Mojo by the Kentucky Law Pirate David and his cohost Engineer Mike.  Their first guest is Chris Wallace of Model Airplane Maker.

Plastic Model Mojo Episode 19

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

EP17 of AScaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. Whining and Sword Avengers. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk #aviationisolation

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Operation Leg

On August 9, 1941, RAF ace Wing Commander Douglas Bader's Spitfire Mk.Va serial number W3185 coded "D-B" was fatally wounded and Bader had no choice but to bail out.  The ace was able to escape from his Spitfire, but one of his prosthetic legs was left behind in the aircraft.  

German General Adolf Galland notified the RAF of Bader's missing right prosthetic leg and permission was granted to drop a care package to Bader.  "Operation Leg" was born with the RAF planning to drop a box by parachute on a Luftwaffe base at St. Omer.  As part of a bombing mission to B├ęthune, France, on August 19, 1941, 18 Squadron Blenheim R3843/WV-F flown by Flight Sergeant John Murray (Jack) Nickleson (R/69892) of Toronto, Canada, diverted to St Omar and dropped the box addressed to the now prisoner of war.  

Rumor has it that upon receipt of the leg, Bader immediately tried to escape.  (As with much of this story, it sounds like something one wouldn't believe if featured in a fictional war movie.)

Unfortunately, Jack Nickleson did not survive the year, being lost on September 20, 1941, when his Blenheim, again R3843, was shot down by anti-aircraft fire off the coast of Holland.  Sadly, all on board were lost.

(Photo courtesy of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Negative No. PL4542.)

Modeler's Note: The best way to build a Blenheim Mk. IV in 1/72 is the newish Airfix kit.  There is a much older Airfix kit from 1968 and one from MPM, but even though the new kit has a few issues, I'd go new Airfix every time.  And the nice thing is it appears R3843 does not have the blister windows fitted to many Blenheims, so you can build it out of the box.

Monday, August 17, 2020

When is a photo not what it appears?

On October 19, 1961, the first Boeing CIM-10B BOMARC B interceptor missile was delivered to the RCAF at RCAF Station North Bay, Ontario (operated as 446 "SAM" Squadron).  A little over a year later, on December 1, 1962, the second RCAF BOMARC site became operational at RCAF Station La Macaza, Quebec (operating as 447 "SAM" Squadron).  It is interesting to note that while the BOMARC was intended as a nuclear armed missile, it wasn't until August 16, 1963, that the USAF and the RCAF announced an agreement to equip Canadian BOMARCs with U.S. nuclear warheads.  (This agreement also allowed the Newfie Air Force (aka the USAF F-102 units based in Newfoundland) to store nukes on their bases at Goose Bay and Stephenville.)  The BOMARCs have always been controversial in Canadian aviation circles, both for the radioactive payload and what some see as their role in killing the Avro Arrow.  

However, this article isn't going to focus on that, but on a rather nice image of a RCAF BOMARC being launched. (Photo courtesy of the RCAF.)

Clearly, this is an RCAF BOMARC...see the RCAF, but that doesn't look like Canada does it?

There is much debate in the historical world if photographs are primary or secondary sources.  I fall on the side of primary, but my faith has been shaken over time by bad captions (clearly a secondary source), colourization, and photoshop.  But if one was to use this photo as an illustration of a RCAF BOMARC launch, they would be propagating a myth.  

No BOMARCs were launched in Canada, but each squadron was allowed to launch a BOMARC a year at Eglin Air Force Base.  (Either at Hurlbert Field or, later, Santa Rosa Island.)  Most photos show US BOMARCs being tested, but two were withdrawn from their RCAF units, sent to Florida, and "tested to destruction" (aka launched.)

So then is this Florida in the photo?  Well it looks more like Florida, than North Bay, but no.  The photo is playing a trick on us.  After the Canadians got out of the BOMARC business in the early 70s, they returned the missiles to the USAF.  So the photo is a US launch of a US BOMARC.  No Canadians involved.  This launch took place on November 17, 1980, at Vandenberg AFB.  It is the Navy launching a former RCAF BOMARC, obviously not repainted, as a target drones to test air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles off Point Mugu.

One more Vandenberg launch, this time in 1972.  (Photo courtesy of the USAF)

P.S.:  Why have I always listed the missile in question as the BOMARC and not Bomarc?  BOMARC is the correct term as the name of the missile was an amalgam of Boeing and Michigan Aeronautical Research Center.

P.P.S.:  Did you know the BOMARC was once designated the F-99?  In order to get their missiles the USAF had to fight it out with the US Army and tried to drum up the idea that their missiles were "unmanned interceptors."  Ok, I guess...whatever...

Modeler's Note: Belcher Bits has a nice resin BOMARC A, BOMARC B, and launcher, available separately.  The BOMARC B comes with RCAF decals.  The old box scale, but I think close to 1/48, Revell BOMARC was first issued in the late 1950s but was reissued a couple of years ago.  I bought one, as it is a kind of fun, if a product of its times, kit.  The reissue from 2016 comes with RCAF decals as well.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

EP16 of AscaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. Workbench tour and whiskey. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk #aviationisolation

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Latest Plastic Model Mojo

I spend way too much time listening to podcasts.  Check out the latest episode of Plastic Model Mojo by the Kentucky Law Pirate David and his cohost Engineer Mike.

Plastic Model Mojo Episode 18

Friday, August 7, 2020

In the Air in a Kittyhawk

Just a cool video by Dave Hadfield flying the Vintage Wings P-40.  Almost like you are in the cockpit.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

EP15 of AScaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. New Spitfire started. New stuff arrived including the Eduard Spitfire Mk.I #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk #aviationisolation

Sunday, August 2, 2020

EP14 of AscaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. Tiny tank is done, progress on the Spitfire and now a big tank to paint. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk #aviationisolation

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Plastic Soldier Company 1/72 M5A1 Stuart

The tiny tank is done. My first tank since I was a kid is the Plastic Soldier Company 1/72 M5A1 Stuart in the markings of Canada's Lord Strathcona Horse Regiment. I'm not sure I weathered it enough...  Article forthcoming in the near future

Monday, July 20, 2020

EP13 of AscaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. Sea Fury and Mustang ready for primer. And I bought an airbrush #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk #aviationisolation

Saturday, July 4, 2020

EP12 of AscaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. More Sea Fury progress and the bad life wing choices. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk #aviationisolation

Friday, June 26, 2020

EP11 of AscaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. Sea Fury progress and new stuff. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk

Saturday, June 20, 2020

EP10 of AScaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. Hey, hey we are back. Since I have no memory, let's talk about yellow again... #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk

Monday, May 25, 2020

EP9 of AScaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. Memorial Day edition in memory of Jennifer Casey and Harry Hardy, RCAF #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk

Thursday, May 21, 2020

War Birds

This week Vintage Wings of Canada posted a great story about the Royal Air Force Pigeon Service, specifically with regard to a 42 Squadron Beaufort op. This reminded me of the new, and much maligned Miniart 1/35 scale pigeons and the new Airfix 1/72 Bristol Beaufort. Wouldn't that make a neat project, Beaufort L9965 with a pigeon on the wing?

Now the problem is do I hope for Miniart to scale down the pigeons to 1/72 or wish for an Airfix 1/32 or 1/35 Beaufort...

Monday, May 4, 2020

May the 4th be with you...

In early January...January 4, be exact, I finished a model. Remember those days, so, so, long ago? I had high hopes for 2020, and even a delusion of finishing 52 models. So, yea, that didn't happen! COVID-19 took over and now it is May... (And don't even ask, why a model finished in January was not posted in January...) But in honor of "Star Wars Day," why not take look at that model?

The Bandai Star Destroyer comes both in its own boxing and a dual combo with a Death Star. (Which is where my kit originates.) Bandai says it is 1/14,500 scale, so a nice break from my usual 1/72.

As with all Bandai Star Wars kits, the molding is beautiful, the fit pretty good, and engineering such that it is an easy build. (They also have a pretty low part count as well.) The Dorito didn't take too long to build or paint and weather.  Paint was a Vallejo Model Air white grey and the Destroyer was weathered with Mig Oilbrusher Starship Filth. (Come one, what else would one use?)

I enjoyed this tiny Star Wars kit, and have a Death Star, Snow Speeder, Blockade Runner, and a Millennium Falcon next time I need a break from big 1/72 airplanes.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

EP8 of AScaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. Chino Depression and some slow progress #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk

Friday, April 24, 2020

EP7 of AScaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. Is this real paint? Is it just fantasy? #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

EP6 of AScaleCanadianTV

Part of the Model Broadcasting Network. Primer and paint! No way, eh. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

EP5 of AScaleCanadianTV

EP5 of AScaleCanadianTV. Nothing really happening. Not much to say. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

EP4 of AScaleCanadianTV

EP4 of AScaleCanadianTV. We talk about some modeling progress, a new project, and rock’n’roll. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk

Thursday, March 26, 2020

EP3 of AScaleCanadianTV

EP3 of AScaleCanadianTV. We talk about airbrushes, podcasts, Hellcats, and Bourbon. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk

Monday, March 23, 2020

EP2 of AScaleCanadianTV

Hey, we got picked up. Episode two of AScaleCanadianTV. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk

Saturday, March 21, 2020


A distraction(?) during these stressful times. The first episode of AScaleCanadianTV. #modellerbroadcastingnetwork #getbroadcasting #modeltalk

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

2020 NWSM February Show

Held each year at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, this year's installment had approximately 2,172 models on the table contributed by 72 modelers.  (The second largest model count in the show's history.)  The event is display only, with only one award presented as judged by the Museum Curators.  This year's winner was Russ Busy with his B-17F gunner vignette.  As is usually the case, I didn't take as many models as I should have, so here is only a small selection of the many amazing models on tables.

Eric Christianson's 1/32 HK Lancaster

The Curator's Choice

Russ's B-18 in 1/72

A nice 1/72 Harvard
Morgan Girling's 1/72 Caribou twin tail design concept

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Zvezda 1/72 British Bofors 40-mm MkI/II AA-Gun

Like many of my boondoggles, I blame this one on David M. Knights, Esq. He had mentioned that fellow modeler Mike Baskette was doing a retro build of the recently reissued Airfix 1/76 Bofors 40mm Gun and Tractor. I remember building the kit…in an MPC high school and the discussion reminded me of the, probable apocryphal, story of the Canadian Forces pillaging museums, CFB Baden–Soellingen, and CFB Lahr for Bofors guns to refit Canadian Navy ships during the Gulf War. As much as the idea of building the Airfix kit again was of some interest, I’ve never warmed to 1/76 scale, so I searched out an actual 1/72 Bofors gun. And said search turned up this kit. Quickly ordered, I was impressed with what was in the box when it arrived. I guess it is part of Zvezda’s series of kits for war gamers, but it also looked like a nice model.

Modeled in a softish tan plastic…nothing like those old Airfix soft plastic figures, the kit is somewhat simplified..for example the gun sights are solid…but still a very nice replica of the Bofors gun. Included are four nice figures, a base…reminiscent of Matchbox 1/76 kits…and a rather thick flag. The gun itself is made up of slightly over 30 parts. Molding is pretty good, but there are some mold parting lines to remove and the fastidious will want to drill out the gun barrel. Otherwise, it looks like a nice simple…dare I fun model.

So, to return to the story of Bofors guns defending Canada’s German air bases during the Cold is indeed true. They were 40mm Bofors guns, but on what is called a Boffin mount removed from RCN ships. So I can’t use this kit for that, but I did find a nice photo of a Bofors on exercise on the West Coast to keep Vancouver safe from Japanese air attack. That will be my subject, if only I could find a 1/72 dog to add to the vignette!

City of Vancouver Archives # CVA 1184-629 captioned "Men firing a
Bofors 40 mm ack-ack anti-aircraft gun at University Point."

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Shapeways 1/72 CU-161 Sperwer

The SAGEM CU-161 Sperwer (Dutch for sparrowhawk) was a small UAV used by the RCAF in Afghanistan. Nicknamed the "flying ski-doo" based upon the resemblance of the sound of the engine to a snowmobile, they entered service with the RCAF in 2003, and were retired in 2009, after flying over 1,300 missions. As the CU-161 was the first Canadian Forces UAV to be used in combat, I wanted to add one to the collection.

Knowing that no plastic or resin kit existed of the type, I was excited to find one listed on Shapeways.  Excitement was dulled upon receipt of the item.  The general shape and size looked good, but the print was poor and not up to the standard of previous pieces I'd ordered by Shapeways.  Ragged edges, and rough surfaces overwhelmed the part.  (Maybe I chose the wrong type of material to have the item printed in?)  I had no idea how to proceed.

I tossed some Mr. Surfacer on the part, and it only looked worse. In the drawer it went.  Near the end of the year, Roy Sutherland posted about a 3D printed sci-fi figure that he was asked to paint for a friend.  His description of the print sort of sounded like my little Sperwer.  His solution was something like 10 coats of primer.  Sure worth a try.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Happy Birthday MiG

Since today is the 70th anniversary of the first flight of the MiG-17 (January 14, 1950), it seemed like a great excuse to start the new Airfix MiG-17. If you want to see what is in the box, check out Dr. Miller's review at Model Paint Solutions.

More as the build progresses...

Monday, January 13, 2020

New Modeling Podcast

Friend of the blog David M. Knights and his fellow Kentucky colleague in crime Mike Baskette have started a new scale modeling podcast. Check it out at