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Smithy last won the day on November 20 2012

Smithy had the most liked content!

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About Smithy

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  1. Smithy

    Good seated pilots in 1/48 or 1/72?

    The problem with a lot of figures in models is quite often the clothing and flying kit can be wrong. Not a biggie if it doesn't concern you but at the same time if you're trying to be super accurate with details of the aircraft by spending enormous effort reshaping and detailing and making sure colours are as close to 100% accurate as possible, then it's possibly worth going the extra mile with any aircrew and knowing what they wore and in what theatre of operations. For example, Tamiya's Spit I and Vb include figures wearing Irvin jackets which for the Vb is completely inaccurate and for the I very unlikely after the Battle of France. After the winter/spring of 1940 and despite what some feature films might like to depict, it became exceedingly rare to see Irvins being worn as operational flying clothing within Fighter Command - they were ungainly in the small confines of cockpits and the collar impaired the view behind the pilot (in fact at least one squadron commander during the Phoney War forbade his pilots from wearing them due to this). They thus became nearly exclusively used by fighter pilots as a warm layer when on the ground waiting at dispersals, etc. They were reissued to some fighter units with the 2TAF during the exceedingly cold winter of 1944/45 but once again only for use on the ground at the poorly equipped airfields on the Continent. The image of the RAF fighter boy in his sheepskin Irvin has become the public idea of him but in reality it's not terribly accurate for most of the war. A Spitfire I pilot in winter 1939/40 could have worn an Irvin but a pilot flying in the Battle of Britain was flying in his Service Dress and sometimes on very hot days in July only his shirt sleeves (sadly one of the reasons some pilots suffered exceedingly serious burns to their arms and upper chest). A Spitfire Vb pilot flying over Europe at this stage of the war would have been been flying in Battle Dress with several under layers depending on the time of year, woollen underwear, jumper or even the awful looking Frock, Aircrew knitted garment. You can see the same with USAAF aircrew. A fighter pilot flying in the ETO over western and northern Europe would almost always be wearing an A-2 jacket over either a flight suit or his regulation upper clothing and "pinks" or M1937 trousers. In 1944 B-10 jackets became frequently seen especially in colder months and in 1945, occasionally the newly introduced B-15 jackets. It was very, very rare for USAAF fighter pilots in this theatre to wear only a flight suit like an A-4 without a jacket despite manufacturers often depicting their pilot figures as such. There's obviously lots more that can be covered, RAF Bomber and Coastal Commands, USAAF over the Med and in the Pacific, USN flyers and aircrew but hopefully that helps get some thinking not just about what colour the oleo legs were on such and such and is this colour as close as possible to the under surfaces, but also if you're using a pilot or aircrew figures, what they would have been wearing in where and when you're depicting your model.
  2. Smithy

    Book recommendations for the 8th Air Force?

    That's the type of place Sweep. I'd never even heard of them before I ordered. Here's the link for the deluxe edition: http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/6384409-adventures-of-the-4th-fighter-group-deluxe-edition It's not cheap for the deluxe version but as the 4th is one of my pet interests I had to have it and I don't regret it in the slightest. Worth every penny. EDIT: I forgot to say if you click on "PREVIEW" there's some sample pages.
  3. Smithy

    Book recommendations for the 8th Air Force?

    I got my copy through Blurb and couldn't be more happy. They have four options IIRC, two paperback and two hardback, and a normal and deluxe version of each. I went for the hardback deluxe and the quality is superb, paper stock is excellent and the book is beautifully bound, much better dare I say than some of the big, established, traditional publishing houses. It was my first experience of Blurb and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.
  4. Smithy

    RAF wings red crown 9 feathers experts

    The red background with the King's Crown on service wings is not normal for RAF wings although you can see it sometimes on wings from some of the Commonwealth air forces: the RCAF and the SAAF where it was normal; and rarely on the others. For example I have a pair of Australian Flying Corps wings from WWI which have it but this is the exception rather than the rule. With the RAF the red background to the crown is a dress/mess uniform thing as I mentioned above, and teamed with gold bullion wings. I hope that I haven't rained on your parade too much but I think it's safe to say that they're most probably neither original nor official.
  5. Smithy

    Book recommendations for the 8th Air Force?

    I haven't got Troy's book on Hofer but have been meaning to buy a copy - I actually emailed Troy late last year about doing so but Christmas got in the way, thanks for reminding me Fightersweep! Talking of Kaplan, I have a soft spot for his "Little Friends" which is about the fighter pilot experience in England and over Europe, and it's very good. I have his "The Few" and "Wolf Pack" (about the U-boat war from the experience of the U-boat crews) and like "Little Friends" they have a tremendous selection of period photos and images of objects and places from the time and how they look now. It's a great format and works, and as you say they are the kind of books that you go back and leaf through again and again. Getting back to Troy, if you haven't got "Adventures of the 4th FG" definitely pick up a copy, it's fantastic and chockablock full of previously unpublished photos.
  6. Smithy

    RAF wings red crown 9 feathers experts

    First off even though they have the King's Crown they are not WWII issue wings for SD or BD use. The use of the red in the crown with RAF wings is normally for dress and mess uniforms but they are bullion brevets. I suspect these are not original nor entirely accurate.
  7. Smithy

    Luftwaffe book pic request

    Slightly off topic but might be of interest to some, The P-51 is an F-6 and belongs to the 10th PRG. IIRC there's also photos of a 190A and 190D taken in the same series.
  8. Smithy

    Book recommendations for the 8th Air Force?

    Procopius, I forgot to add one which does a good job of covering this and then some. Jay Stout's "Fighter Group" is a brilliant study of a fighter group (in this case the 352nd) in England and covers absolutely all aspects, from tactics, organisation, combat, right down to life on and off base and even things like call signs and radio procedure. A really superb book and very readable.
  9. Smithy

    Spitfire Mk IXe - 1/72 Eduard

    Love it KM, you can just say that a Jerry shell blew the mirror off!
  10. Smithy

    Book recommendations for the 8th Air Force?

    I have quite an interest in the 4th Fighter Group and have most of the books published specifically regarding them and memoirs/bios of the pilots and can recommend: Frank Speer's books: "The Debden Eagles"; "Eighty-One Aces of the 4th Fighter Group"; "One Down, One Dead" and "Wingman" Grover Hall, "1,000 Destroyed" Fry and Ethell, "Escort to Berlin" James Goodson, "Tumult in the Clouds" Troy White, "Adventures of the 4th Fighter Group" (don't let the childlike title fool you, enormous amount of research in a very readable format, also includes a lot of never seen before photos) Other 8th AF ones: Ted Fahrenwald's "Bailout over Normandy" and "Wot a Way to Run a War" (brilliantly written and at times laugh out loud funny accounts of this flyboy's time with the 352nd FG) Bud Fortier, "An Ace of the Eighth" Julian and Randall, "Zemke's Wolfpack" (one of the best photo documentaries of an aviation unit ever made. Incredible.) Hope that helps in some small way. Edit: I should add that I've included a couple of memoirs/bios for some added colour.
  11. Smithy

    RAF Interwar types

    Not just the Hawker Graham, it piqued my interest and I was interested in seeing some of your builds as you seem to have a lot of knowledge and contribute a great deal of advice and tips here. I did a quick search via your profile but strangely couldn't find any of your model pictures. Post some links to your builds as It would be great to see this knowledge "in action" as it were. I'm sure I'm not the only member who would enjoy it!
  12. Smithy

    RAF Interwar types

    Post some pictures of your build as that's one solution I've considered myself and I'm interested in seeing how it turned out as I've been a bit loathe to try it. I had a look via your profile but wasn't able to find pics of the build (actually I couldn't find pics of any builds but I might be looking in the wrong place!).
  13. Smithy

    P-51D stars and bars

    I'm still not convinced that on Monroe's T-Wang it has had the insignia painted grey. I have several renditions of that photo as well as several other photos of her. For instance in Speer's "Eighty-One Aces of the 4th Fighter Group" on page 22 it merely appears as if the insignia has dulled through operational usage and grime accumulating in the slipstream on the aircraft's sides. By the time the aircraft was passed onto Davis it had flown quite a hectic period of ops and also at a time when the 4th was flying a lot of ground attack at low levels on targets of opportunity after release from bomber escort on their way home. This obviously added to the grime and wear on the airframes.
  14. Smithy

    P-51D stars and bars

    As I mentioned earlier Michael, my interest with the USAAF is only the 4th FG so I can't speak for other groups, but looking at my books on the 4th the all grey stars and bars don't seem to have been used with them, or at the least they were exceedingly rare - there's a couple of black and white photos which could be construed as such but they're certainly not conclusive and they're in no way definitively grey. Other groups obviously seem to have used the grey insignia but with the 4th I think it's safe to say that it was not used, or at the most optimistically, rare.
  15. Smithy

    P-51D stars and bars

    I don't think you can definitively say that the insignia on Bucholz's Suzy is uniformly grey, rather the bow facing bar is miscoloured. Exactly the same can be seen on several 4th FG aircraft, two examples being: MacFarlane's VF-L (Fry, "The Debden Eagles", 1970, p.56) and Glover's VF-B (Davis, "4th FG in WWII", 2007, p.70). Both these are clearly caused by grime and staining from operational use. Suzy exhibits exactly the same characteristics as the other two and the darker colour is almost certainly due to staining. This is further reinforced by other photos of 4th FG Ds showing the same staining on the forward bar, eg Goodson's, Lines', Higgins' Willruth's, etc.