Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hello My Lovely


The biggest surprise of the 2015 Chino airshow was the first public appearance of Curtiss P-36C Hawk 38-210/NX80FR.  This restoration project had been kept amazingly secret until it was revealed on Facebook on the Thursday before the show.  No question that seeing the P-36 fly was the highlight of my trip and a very pleasant shock.



Hawk 38-210 was the final P-36C built for the USAAC and delivered to the 27 Pursuit Squadron at Selfridge Field, Michigan in May 1939.  The P-36 was among the aircraft flown at the Cleveland Air Races in September 1936 in temporary camouflage.



Apparently, after being struck off strength by the USAAF, the P-36 was acquired by a Pratt and Whitney technical instructor from Canada.  Stored in Canada for many years, it was later sold to a Florida collector.  The Hawk was purchased by the Fighter Collection over a decade ago and held in storage until restoration commenced four years ago.  Beautifully restored by Matt Nightingale in its original 27th PS Squadron markings, the aircraft is headed to Duxford and should appear at Flying Legends.



Modeler's Note: The best 1/72 kit of the P-36 was issued by Monogram sometime in the 1960s. Though lacking in detail, the kit is a little gem.  Detail can be improved by using the Starfighter resin cockpit and wheel well set.  (Starfighter also has two P-36 decals sheets available.) Revell had their own Hawk kit which has been sold as both a Hawk 75A and P-36, but also reboxed the Monogram kit at least once as a Hawk 75.  AML had a series of limited run Hawk 75s which look nice in the box but have a reputation for being difficult builds.  Heller issued a Hawk 75, now reboxed by Smer, but the Monogram kit is a substantially better choice for a 1/72 P-36.  Special Hobby had a series of P-36/Hawk 75s and Aoshima issued a P-36 back in the day, but I've not seen any of these kits in person.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2015 IPMS Seattle Spring Show - Part 2

Some aircraft of other scales that caught my eye.

A really nice 1/48 Fouga Magister.


Kitty Hawk "Harvard" in 1/32 scale.


A neat NACA Hellcat in 1/48.  Not often you get to use white on a F6F.


242 (Canadian) Squadron diorama.


Quite a colourful 1/48 Hurricane.


The paperwork for this Meteor NF. 11 said it was painted gloss white to keep it cool in the desert.  Is this an authentic scheme?


A Planet Models resin NA-50.


Hasegawa's new 1/200 P-8A Polaris.


An RCAF Sabre in 1/48.


A trio of Spitfires in 1/48.  The lower two are RCAF and built using an IPMS Canada decal sheet.




I like firebomber Tigercats.


Nice job on this 1/144 Vulcan.


A beautiful RCAF PV-1 Ventura.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2015 IPMS Seattle Spring Show - Part 1

Last Saturday was the annual IPMS Seattle Spring Show.  Held once again at the Renton Community Center,  there were about 800 or so models entered.  (The large room was packed with modelers and at times it was hard to negotiate the vendor area due to all the people.) Vendors were set up around the contest area and this year there was a small separate overflow room.  (All I bought were two sets of Barracuda wheels and a decal sheet...I'm such a good boy these days.)  Entries were of the usual high quality and it was a fun way to spend a few hours. Here are a few 1/72 selections that caught my eye.

Is this an authentic scheme for the A-10?  It sure looked attractive.


 The MiG-21 Analog testbed for the TU-144 SST wing.


A very nice job on this AZ Breda kit.


A nicely done Matchbox Fury.


The Airfix EE Lightning appears to be a very popular kit with both a silver and green example on display.




An Academy Hurricane Mk. IIc in desert markings.  (This aircraft is often described as Bert Houle's Hurricane, but he only flew it a few times.)


I liked this low-viz Tiger MiG-23.



A very nice PR Mosi.


An wartime RCAF Mustang Mk. IV.


Each year IPMS Seattle hosts a Modelfy where a certain kit is chosen and it must be built as something other than what was intended.  This year the A-10 was chosen.  I especially like the A-10 X-Wing.



A Fire Service P-47N


The Cyberhobby Sea Vixen


A really nice A-1 Skyraider.


You don't often see a Storch in Laos markings.


A really well done CF-101 Voodoo.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Second Canadair Starfighter


Here is a neat set of photos of Canadair CF-104 Starfighter 104702.  Accepted by the RCAF in 1961 as 12702, the airplane spent its whole career flying with CEPE (Central Experimental and Proving Establishment), 448 (Test) Squadron, and their successors AETE (Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment).  It had a brush with fame when it flew as a chase plane for Lockheed built Starfighter 12700 piloted by Wing Commander Robert A. “Bud” White, who set the Canadian altitude record of 100,110 feet on December 14, 1967.


Renumbered as 104702 after unification in 1968, the X on the tail was AETE's "squadron" marking.  The aircraft was slightly bent during arrest hook trails, but the CO of AETE Col. Dave Wightman claimed that that the tail markings made it fly faster.  Looking at these photos, it is hard to disagree!


702 was struck off strength in 1983 and now spends it time sitting on a pole at Joe Hoffner Memorial Park at Grand Centre, Cold Lake, Alberta.


The photo above was adapted into a decorative metal pin.  In a fun twist of fate, my mother found my Dad's copy of this pin and gave it to me last week after I had started preparing this post.  It now has a prized position in my model display case.  I really need to build a CF-104 to park behind it.   (Photos courtesy of the Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada.)

Modeler's Note: There have been many Starfighter kits issued in 1/72 over the years.  Most modelers consider the Hasegawa kits issued in the late 1980s as the best kit of the type, but I would counter that the ESCI kit from the early 1980s (also issued by AMT/ERTL and Italeri) kit is well worth considering.  The Hasegawa kits strike me as overly complex and I enjoy the simple construction of the Italian company's Starfighter.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fleet Model 21


The Fleet Model 21 is one of those minor, but fascinating, Canadian aviation projects of the pre-World War Two era.  I became enamoured by the type after seeing one at a Hamilton Air Show in the early 1980s.  It just oozed 1930s biplane grace and power and in my young mind looked very much like a biplane Harvard.  It turns out that the Fleet 21 was a Canadian built version of the Consolidated Model 21, also known by the USAAC as the PT-11, PT-12 and/or BT-7 depending on the engine.  Eleven aircraft were built in Canada with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engine.  One interesting feature is that the Fleet 21 had a deeper belly than the PT-11, making the aircraft look beefier than the more delicate Consolidated predecessor.  Of the eleven aircraft, designated Fleet Model 21M, ten went to Mexico.  Armed with three .30 guns, you have to wonder what military use these hefty biplanes offered the Mexicans.


The subject of the above photo was the eleventh aircraft built.  (The photo is dated 1938, and the caption says it was taken at Camp Borden.)  Built as a demonstrator by Fleet in order to entice the RCAF to purchase the type as a trainer, it was flown with absolutely no markings; neither a RCAF serial number nor a civil registration was assigned.  Evaluated by the RCAF at Rockcliffe during 1937 and 1938, the aircraft was found to handle well, but the RCAF considered it antiquated.  With the Harvard about to enter service with the RCAF in 1939, the Fleet does look like a leftover from a previous epoch.  The RCAF decided not to purchase the type, which may have had less to do with its antiquity, and more to do with the lack of funds.  (Keep in mind the RCAF did eventually pony up and buy Canadian Car and Foundry Goblin biplane fighter for which the RCAF had minimal want or use.)

However, the Fleet 21 did find some work to assist with the war effort.  Fleet shared their Fort Erie location with the Irvin Air Chute Company who supplied parachutes for the BCATP and the RCAF.  The contracts required that each chute be dropped from an aircraft prior to acceptance by the RCAF.  Therefore, the Fleet was converted into a single seater, a drop bay was opened up under what would have been the rear cockpit, and it was loaned to Irvin during the war.  During that time, thousands of parachutes were dropped from the Fleet.  I have heard in passing that the Fleet carried RCAF roundels at some point in its life.  Not so long ago, I came across the photo below which appears to show the drop test Fleet with roundels, but again, no distinguishing marks.  Sadly, the quality is such that it is hard to draw many conclusions from the photo.


Post war, the Fleet was finally assigned a civil registration, CF-DLC, and was purchased by Fleet test-pilot Tommy Williams, who also had done most of the parachute drop test work in the aircraft for Irvin.  He installed a Jacobs L-6MB engine in place of the Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior, converting in into a Fleet 21K.  Williams owned the airplane for many years and in the mid 80s it was donated to the Canadian Warplane Heritage in Hamilton.  Still flown occasionally and converted back into a two seater, the Fleet looks just as good as it did the day it rolled off the Fleet construction line.  While the CWH Fleet is the last airworthy survivor, the Reynolds Museum has parts of an ex-Mexican Fleet 21M in storage as a future restoration project.  (Black and white photos courtesy of the Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada.)



Modeler's Note: No kit of the Fleet 21M has ever been issued.  It also appears that the Consolidated PT-11 has yet to attract any model manufacture's interest.  One for the resin guys, someday?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spitfire APR


I've been spending most of the morning trying to finish up my Spitfire APR.  The white winter camouflage is turning out to a little more difficult than I hoped...

If you don't know about the RCAF's use of the Spitfire APR visit Vintage Wings for the full story. Once again Evad has done a great job telling the story of this previously unknown piece of RCAF history.  ; )


Monday, March 30, 2015

WWII Modeling Day at the Flying Heritage Collection


On Saturday, my local model club, the Northwest Scale Modelers, hosted the first of what we hope will be quarterly modeling displays at the Flying Heritage Collection.  Each modeler gets a table to build on and to display a few models.  We spend the day BSing with each other and talking to the museum patrons.  It is a nice way to spread the word about scale modeling and I even got some progress made on an Academy P-40N.

My workspace for the day.  Yep, it is a rough life...


The nose of Lancaster Mk. I (FE) TW911 makes a nice display. This Lanc was built for the Tiger Force but carries the more common night bomber scheme.


One of the newest displays at the Museum is a Scud missile on its launcher.




The Spitfire had the engine off for some winter maintenance.