Friday, January 23, 2015

The Canadair Argus

Title: The Canadair Argus:  The Untold Story of Canada’s Cold War Maritime Hunter
Authors: Major Cary Barker and Major Bert Campbell

During the Cold War, the Canadair Argus plied the skies of Canada’s East and West Coast and, outside of a few preserved airframes, is almost forgotten.  Even in books about the RCAF, it only gets mentioned for a few pages in chapters on Maritime Command.  This 190-page hardcover book changes all that.  It tells the story of the Argus from development to retirement and everything is here; weapon’s trials, stories of patrols, crew and maintenance tails, etc.  I was fascinated by the Bullpup missile trials and the references to the Argus's use during the Cuban Missile crisis.  The book is well illustrated with both colour and black-and-white photos and nicely done aircraft paintings.  A must for an RCAF fan of Maritime operations.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Sopwith Dove and William Barker

After World War One, the Sopwith Aviation Company decided to create a twin seat adaptation of its Pup fighter for the expected post-war sport aviation market.  The new type was called the Sopwith Dove.  Unfortunately for Sopwith, a civilian post-war aviation boom did not occur in Britain and only ten Doves were built.

This selection of photos were taken when the prototype Dove G-EACM had a brush with fame.  In the spring of 1919, Canadian World War One ace William Barker gave the Prince of Wales a half hour ride in the Dove over London.  (Note that Barker has one of his arms in a sling; a holdover from his October 27, 1918, battle for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.)

The Dove followed Barker to Canada being registered G-CAAY to the Bishop-Barker Aeroplanes Limited.  In 1921, the Dove was destroyed in a crash at Sault St. Marie, Ontario, while being flown by another pilot.  (Photos courtesy of the Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada.)

Modeler's Note:  To the best of my knowledge, the only Dove kit to be issued in 1/72 was a Dove and Swallow conversion released by Airframe of Canada for the Airfix Pup.  Airframe's kits were crude vacuforms molded on very thin plastic, so it would be probably be easier to modify the Airfix Pup on your own than to use the Airframe conversion.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Battle of the Barristers - There's a Hurricane Coming! Part 1

As Mr. Knights let the cat out of the bag the other day, he and I have entered into a 2015 Battle of the Barristers challenge build with Battle of Britain Hurricanes. Both of us will be building the recently issued Series 1 Airfix Hurricane Mk. I.

This is the second boxing of Airfix's fabric wing Hurricane.  The kit is excellent and clearly the best Hurricane in 1/72 scale.  The price point is a bit friendlier than the Series 2 version which also includes two decal options, the two bladed propellor, and other distinguishing features of the very early Hurricanes. (An extra sprue is included in the Series 2 Hurricane Mk. I to cater to these features.)  Sadly, hopes for a metal wing version in 2015 appear to be dashed.

My plan is to build the kit mostly out of the box with replacement wheels...the Airfix kits have one too few spokes...and with Eduard's new fabric seat belts.  I hope to get started this week and will be building the following aircraft:

L1851 was one of a few fabric wing Hurricanes on strength with 1 (RCAF) Squadron.  On August 18, 1940, the day after the Squadron became operational, Flight Lieutenant V. B.Corbett ran into a fuel browser with YO-U during a scramble at 14:30 hours at RAF Hornchurch.  The results of the collision are illustrated in the photo above.  (Photo courtesy of the Canada Department of National Defence/Library and Archives of Canada.)

As our Battle has a due date of December 31, 2015, not only should both David and I actually finish our Hurricanes, there is plenty of time for other barristers to join in our fun.  Now if only I knew some other plastic-loving lawyers...  (I'm looking at you August and Rick!)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sprue Cutters Union: New Techniques for a New Year?

I’m not the only one to reappear in the blogosphere in 2015; the Sprue Cutters Union has returned as well. This weeks question is: What new products/techniques will you purchase/attempt this year?

Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black 

I’m a big fan of Mr. Surfacer 1200 as a primer, but Mr. Knights has raved about this product. It is supposed to have an even finer grain, and I keep hearing how black is a good base coat for metallic finishes. I guess we’ll see, as I’m using the Mr. Finishing Surfacer as a primer on the Airfix Mustang.

Mr. Color Super Metallics 

I’ve never really gotten along with Alcald, preferring Mr. Color 8 Silver or Tamiya spray cans for my natural metal finishes. However, I’ve seen good results from these paints. I have a few to try and may break them out on the Mustang.

 AK Interactive True Metal 

This is an odd one. It sure looks like Rub’n’Buff with an inflated “modelers” price tag, but the manufacturer claims you can mask over it. Guess I’ll get a tube or two and try it out.

P.S.:  I'm no prude, but WTF is up with the figures on page 6 of the PDF?  Almost makes me want to avoid supporting the manufacturer.  I don't need to be manipulated to try your product.  (This is what happens once you have a daughter.)

Part of being in the Union means you must include links to fellow contributor's posts within your own response. So here are a few posts from some of the other members:

The Combat Workshop takes on Vallejo.
Doog wants to modulate his black.
The Museum Modeling wants to try more armor.
Jeroen is fighting monochromaticity.
Kermit wants to try modulation.
Motorsport Modeller wants to try Extra Thin.
Shutterace is seeing ghosts.
The Eternal Wargamer needs to paint faster.
Scale Model Soup hopes to jig.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Wow, my first blog post in a year.

2014 was a year of ups and downs.  A little over one year ago my father unexpectedly passed away. He and I had discussed my upcoming move many times, so moving without his help last April was bittersweet. I packed up my life and moved from Akron, Ohio to Seattle, Washington driving almost 2,500 miles.  After making another cross country drive (El Paso to Seattle) to pick up my Dad’s car, moving into a much larger apartment, and taking on a new job - as well as finishing up responsibilities with my old firm – modeling and blogging time has been scarce.  It is late December as I write this and life is starting to feel settled, even with a new job search in the cards.  It’s finally the right time to get back to blogging.

The last few days of any year always seem to make one take stock of what was completed and what lies ahead.  In modeling terms, 2014 was a total bust.  Only three projects made any headway: an Airfix “old tool” Spitfire Mk. I was built in Ohio just before I left, I recently started an Airfix Mustang 4 for a Museum display in March 2015, and I spent some time plugging away at a Cyberhobby Vampire.  Each project will get its own post as 2015 proceeds and the projects are finished.

However, the biggest modeling change of the year was a major culling of the unbuilt model collection.  It made no sense to move models I never planned to build across the country, so many were left behind with friends in Ohio.  Even then, as most of the remaining models went into storage, I realized that even a collection half the size it used to be was still ridiculous.  After some additional pruning, I no longer feel weighed down by all the excess.  I’ve got about 30 kits in the apartment and I’m excited to build all of them.  I no longer have kits I’m saving for when “I get good”.  I don’t have kits that I think I’ll need for mythical collections.  I just have some kits I’d like to put together sometime – and that feels great.

So what does all this mean for A Scale Canadian?  Hopefully some posts in 2015.  I doubt I’ll average more than one a week, but look for modeling, book reviews, and maybe even some historical photos and essays.  In some ways, business as usual; in other ways, something entirely new for me. Here’s to finding the real joy in modeling, and in life, in 2015.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 2013 Issue of RCN News Magazine

This issue's modeling column features a 1/72 Sea King round-up.  You can download the magazine and/or buy your print copies here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

2013 Cincinnati Scale Modelers Contest

On October 12, 2013, I had the pleasure of attending the Cincinnati Scale Modelers Contest and Swap Meet, held once again at the Scarlet Oaks Vocational School and Girls’ Reformatory - oops, sorry, that last part may have been fantasy. Total entries were down a little from previous years. There were 260 models on the tables and, as always, the quality was good, though 1/48 outpaced 1/72 this year.

The vendor area was excellent. I held off on the new Starfighter decals F9F Panther sheet, but did succumb to the new Airfix Harrier GR.1.  Somehow I was able to withstand all of the John Vojtech's Czech kits. I spent more time at Cincinnati selling kits and chatting rather than taking photos and happily sold almost everything I brought. Money seemed to be changing hands at a brisk pace in the vendor area.

I always have big fun at this show - good vendors, good models, and lots of conversation with friends both old and new.

Here are a few of the 1/72 aircraft on display, along with a 1/144 interloper.

A nice Ohio Guard A-7D.

A captured Raiden.

Crazy well done camo.

The Airfix Chipmunk.


The new Meng F-102.

A very colourful German Fouga.

Steve Nelson's Airfix Mosi on a stick.

A Tamiya Mosquito.

The Dragon 1/144 U-2.