Unfinished Business

Happy Thanksgiving to any and all readers inside or outside the USA. I’m thankful for the opportunity to hold forth like this from time to time,¬† and thank you for listening.

One thing that sitting in on John Daley’s course on military aviation history has done is revive my interest in model aircraft.  You’d never have guessed.  I’ve been doing it since I was a boy, with occasional gaps for College, differing employment, emigration, all the run of the mill reasons.

John wants his students to make a model as part of the course, and give a presentation about the aircraft’s significance. I wanted to make a new model but I didn’t particularly want to do anything that would take up a lot of space.   As a result I’m planning on using a 1/144 scale model of a BAC TSR.2 because I know very well no-one in the class will have heard of it, and it gives me a chance to wax as lyrical as any aviation enthusiast of British origin normally does about the TSR.2, usually after a couple of pints,  but I’ll settle for my classroom mug of coffee. 

Incidentally, if you ever fancy trying it, the Chinese “Great Wall” model of the TSR.2 in 1:144 scale is a little marvel.  Someone on Amazon slagged it off as an “itty bitty toy”  which I feel is pretty unfair. It is seriously lovely, delicate and captures the appearance and feeling of the real aircraft, which is no small achievement (pun!) given its size.  It’s eight inches long from stem to stern.  I wanted to make another model for scale size comparison. The B-24 is useful for that purpose.

Show and Tell. My 1:144 Scale TSR-2 masked up awaiting some paint, and my nearly complete 1:144 scale B-24 Liberator for scale reference. If you’d said to me a while back that the TSR.2 was longer than a Liberator I’d never have believed you. 

I fancied hauling out one or two of my older 1:48 models with a view to seeing them to a state of completion and perhaps showing them too.

I knew a few years back that my Focke-Wulf 190D-9 was in trouble. The JV44 markings and paint scheme so beautifully supplied by Dragon back in the 1990s for one of the aircraft of the Platzschutzschwarm  (airfield protection flight) turned out to be inaccurate, to say the least.  Just plain wrong.   I have amassed enough photographic and published reference in the 20 odd years since the kit came out to know where they erred, and what to do about it.

FW 190D-9,  1/48 Scale.
Dragon FW 190D-9, 1:48 Scale. Shame about those JV44 markings but we’ll be looking at some rectification work in times to come. Hint of red on the undercarriage door.  ūüôā

Never mind.  I have a nice old Fujimi model of a Bf109 which I wanted to make as a late G model. It had a lovely Reichsverteidigung (Defence of the Reich) scheme for “Yellow 9,” an aircraft of 9/JG54 in March 1945, so it said.   Those coloured bands have fascinated me since I was a teenager.

The 1987 Fujimi Bf109 Paint guide.
The 1987 Fujimi Bf109G-K  Paint guide.    Perhaps I should have had a bad feeling.  Excuse the color accuracy of my scan. 

So I went ahead and used that.  I recently applied some matt varnish to the glossy blue band which troubled me for many a year.  I was liking the way it looked.

My 1:48 Fujimi Bf109G-14 model
My 1:48 Scale Fujimi Bf109G-14 model, not exactly complete. I love the way it looks, but now even this has issues with its historical veracity. 
Incidentally that’s not a tropical filter, just a trick of the light in the picture. 

So I wondered, what can I do to finish this thing off?   I thought I’d look up some pictorial reference  for the aircraft. Here came that sinking feeling.  There isn’t any pictorial reference.  I can’t find a pic of any Bf109G-14s serving with 9/JG54, much less this one.  Darn.   The publication date on the painting instructions is 1987.  Shoot. I was really starting to like this.

If anyone out there has any helpful reference suggestions I’d be interested to hear them.   I have seen a similar looking Bf109 G-6/R-6 with additional cannon “gondolas” under the wings, the older style fin and rudder, and RLM 74/75/76 camouflage.  As you may see if you’re that kind of geek, mine has what I think is,  or intended to be RLM 81/82/76.  I’ve lost any underwing armaments  that may have come with the model although that’s not a serious problem. There are quite a lot of aftermarket parts around.   I certainly don’t want to repaint the while thing. I probably do need to wield my trusty 35-year old Paasche VL airbrush on the Fw190,  since JV 44 seemed to spray a lot of green around on their Me262s as well as the four Focke Wulfs. That red underside is not going anywhere, I’ve become much too attached to it.

The things people do when they’re having fun.  ūüôā

A Little Quiet Recently

My fault. ¬† Mostly just getting caught up with the daily life of an adjunct professor and occasionally doing some teaching. ¬† We’re into the 1960s next week, which means about three weeks of the semester remains and then into the long-ish summer break. ¬†I do have a little prep work for the Fall Semester, in which I assume I’m still teaching.

In the meantime. ¬† I want to pause and remember that we have just passed the 20th Anniversary of the crash of ATL-98 Carvair N83FA in Griffin, Georgia on April 4th. On that day I actually did sit back for a moment and took a moment for prayer and reflection. ¬† ¬†I never for a moment imagined that a blog article which was born from reading a John Le Carre novel and thinking “huh?” would generate so much interest. ¬†Looking at the WordPress statistics for the blog, it always seems to get a couple of hits most weeks. I was touched and honored to have received comments from Kris Whittington, son of pilot Larry Whittington who was killed in the crash of N83FA, and recently¬†Vanessa Presley, who as a child in Griffin saw and heard the crash and who suffers from the after effects to this day. ¬†My deepest thanks to everyone who contributed to expand a little piece of aviation history here.

HM Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip board an ANA C-54 (VH-INY) at Western Junction, Tasmania. Feb 20, 1954. This C-54 would seven years later be converted into a Carvair which, with the registration N83FA, would crash on take-off at Griffin, Georgia in April 1997
http://catalogue.statelibrary.tas.gov.au/item/?id=AB713-1-2859

 

My research project, ¬†the history of B-24J-1-FO ¬†42-50535 ¬†“Joplin Jalopy” got a boost this month. ¬†For some reason an article appeared in the Joplin Globe a couple of weeks ago (which I have managed not to read) but which, I am told, listed the correct number of operations the Jalopy flew. ¬†This would then indicate that someone read some of the research material I forked over to the globe in 2006. ¬† ¬† Shortly afterwards I received an email from Ray Foreman from KODE12 ¬†TV in Joplin ¬†(Hi Ray!) ¬†who had seen my January 2016 post commemorating the anniversary of the start of the now defunct “Joplin’s Bomber” ¬†blog. ¬† Apart from being a military aviation history enthusiast Ray has some connection with the Joplin Civil Air Patrol so I hope to have a chat with him, and them in the near future. ¬†This has been a timely prod not to let all that information ¬†go to waste.

B-24 Joplin Jalopy

B24J-1-FO 42-50535 “Joplin Jalopy” – 506BS / 44BG

I was relating all of this to one of my colleagues at Pittsburg State who then said “you ought to write this up for a journal article” ¬†(in one of the local academic journals) , ¬†so given a long enough period of rest ¬†I may actually do that.

In the meantime I will continue to be fascinated by little snippets that float into my field of vision from the world of aviation.