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Steve N

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  1. Steve N

    Japanese Zero

    I've always liked the old Squadron/Signal "In Action" series for good, basic references, I don't know if the one on the A6M is currently in print, but it should be fairly easy to find second-hand. Steve
  2. Not to mention the fact that this is only a few hundred yards from the salty Gulf of Mexico. And I'm sure by now the inside is full of bird nests, behives, and all kinds of critters. SN
  3. Here's a photo I took of the National Museum of Naval Aviation's PB4Y-2 Privateer in the restoration shop in Pensacola in the summer of 2010. I was excited to see the work they were doing to return her to military configuration. And here are some photos I took in the spring of 2016. The plane was parked outside with no protection from the weather. It looks like the work was abruptly abandoned shortly after I took the first photo. Forgive the crazy angles, I was shooting from the moving sightseeing tram. The latest image on Google Earth shows the Privateer still on the ramp with the wings and tail removed, and now very weathered paint. SN
  4. The Privateer at the Naval Aviation Museum still retains its B-25 engines, although it was being restored with turrets, bomb bay doors, and an original "greenhouse" canopy. I saw "was," because while I saw it being worked on in the shop at Pensacola back in 2010, for some reason the work was halted and it was parked outside on the storage ramp with the wings and vertical tail removed, where it still sits to this day. As for flying Privateers, there's one one right now. And you're correct, it's a former Coast Guard aircraft. It was modified for firefighting by Hawkins and Powers Aviation as a "Super Privateer" with the B-25 engines and "blown" canopy. H&P retired their last four Privateers from firefighting after one broke up in flight in 2002. One is currently flying, one is at the Yanks Air Museum in Chino, California (not to be confused with the Yankee Air Museum in Michigan) and the last two are at the Museum of Aerial Firefighting at Hawkins & Powers former base at Greybull, Wyoming. I'm sure the last three could be made airworthy, but they've all been parked for nearly two decades now so it would require a lot of money and effort. As an aside, the Privateer at the Yankee Air Museum in Michigan is also a former Hawkins & Powers aircraft, but it was written off and abandoned after a landing accident in Canada in the 1970s, and eventually found its way to the museum (which from what I've heard is quite a story in itself.) SN
  5. The Privateer at Pima is currently the only one restored with the original engines and cowls (I took a bunch of closeup pics when I was there in 2018) although I understand there are plans to do the same with the one under restoration at the Yankee Air Museum. Like all surviving PB4Y-2s, the one at Pima was a firefighting tanker that had been stripped of military equipment and refitted with B-25 engines and cowls. It was being restored to flying condition at the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston, Texas, but the storm surge from a hurricane immersed it in salt water in 2008. It was deemed that there was too much possible corrosion damage to make restoration to airworthy status economically viable, so it was sold to Pima and restored as a static display. SN
  6. This photo gives a nice clear view of the engine cowls, which contrary to common belief are not simply "B-24 cowls rotated 90 degrees." The Privateer cowls are very different from the Liberator. The intakes are different sizes, and the cowl flap arrangement it different as well. SN
  7. Exactly. If the framework was raised, sanding it off and painting corrected frames would be a breeze. But sanding the part down enough to eliminate the engraved framework would leave the part significantly undersized. SB
  8. ...And it looks like the answer to the question is "no." As mentioned above, hiding the "kink" on the right side apis do-able, but that leaves the problem of the frames, which can't really be fixed since they're engraved. https://www.kfs-miniatures.com/1-72-angel-of-mercy-b-25j-mitchell-eduard/
  9. Here are some photos I took of the Hasegawa parts when the kit first came out. Not only did they mold the escape hatch on both sides, when it should only be on the left, the also molded it incorrectly. And since the framwork is engraved, it can't simply be sanded off. First, here's the left side. Hasegawa basically just added a double frame around the area where the hatch is supposed to be. And here's the real thing. Considerably different. And to make matters worse, Hasegawa also molded the inaccurate hatch on the right side of the nose. Not only that, but they replicated the "kink" in the lower edge, which should be straight. Here's Hasegawa's rendition. And a photo of a real B-25. As you can see, the lower edge is a straight line, and there is no escape hatch. Falcon includes a semi-corrected version in one of their vacuform sets, but while it rectifies the issue with the escape hatch, it retains the "kink" at the base of the right side of the glass. As for Eduard correcting the issue, I haven't heard. When the released their special edition of Hasegawa's Liberator a couple of years ago they included a set of all-new sprues supplying the correct tail turret for the earlier B-24s as well as all the extra bits for the Coastal Command versions. It would be nice if they did the same with the B-25. Cheers! Steve
  10. "Diamond Lil" is a bit tricky to use as a reference. You'll notice a slight "kink" where the fuselage meets the tailplane. This is because she's a very early model B-24, and the roof of the rear fuselage is slightly lower than the later models, sloping back aft of the wings. I understand the fuselage roof was raised a bit when the power tail turret was added, so it meets the tailplane at the same level. SN
  11. I'm not sure how much help this is, but here's a photo I took many years ago of the dorsal turret in the B-25 at the USAF museum (painted as a Doolittle Raider B-25B, but actually built as a B-25C.) It appears is has a gunsight similar to the one in the Airfix kit, but it's hard to tell much from this angle. I also found this photo, which appears to show the style of gunsight Airfix was trying to replicate. Cheers! Steve
  12. I'm not sure. My guess would be that it slopes down slightly aft of the wing, rather than a straight line back to the horizontal stab as on the later models. SN
  13. Note that "Diamond Lil" is not really a good example of a Liberator I, as she was heavily modified during her working life. As others have mentioned, she was refitted with the late "knife-edge" style windscreen, and the longer nose. In fact, the entire fuselage from the cockpit forward was replaced. Also, the engines nacelles were replaced by those from the PBY Catalina, since at the time it was still in production, meaning replacement parts were widely available. I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned it, but the horizontal stablilizer of the Liberator I is shorter in span than the later model B-24s. The tailplane doesn't actually sit higher, but rather the roof of the aft fuselage is slightly lower. The rear fuselage under the tailplane is also skinnier, as it was widened when the power turret was added. All in all, backdating a B-24D to a Liberator I is a pretty major job if you want to cover everything. SN
  14. The old Revell B-24D does indeed have a combination of raised rivets and engraved lines, although I'm not sure I'd call them particularly fine. Still, a bit of light sanding would knock off the rivets and tone down the lines to an acceptable level. SN
  15. I was building actually an Academy/Minicraft B-24D for the 50th anniversary of the Ploesti Raid, but then my first marriage blew up in my face that summer and the project got lost in the chaos. Like you, I've managed to get ahold of a half-dozen or so Hasegawa B-24s over the years, whenever I happened to find one cheap ("cheap" being relative..they were all between 25 and 50 US Dollars.) I found that the Minicraft B-24M nose will graft onto the Hasegawa kit with minimal difficulty, so at least you can do a decent last Ford B-24. Of course, the problem with the Hasegawa D-model is that it comes with the wrong tail turret..the fully-enclosed A-6B instead of the correct open-sided A-6A. Fortunately Eduard remedied the situation a couple years back when they released their special "Riders In The Sky" edition of the Hasegawa kit with the correct turret, along with several other turret types, narrow-cord propellers, Leigh Light, and rockets. They were then nice enough to sell all the extra bits separately and relatively cheap as "overtrees" (I bought three sets.) I'm not sure if they're still available now, though. SN
  16. I was building actually an Academy/Minicraft B-24D for the 50th anniversary of the Ploesti Raid, but then my first marriage blew up in my face that summer and the project got lost in the chaos. Like you, I've managed to get ahold of a half-dozen or so Hasegawa B-24s over the years, whenever I happened to find one cheap ("cheap" being relative..they were all between 25 and 50 US Dollars.) I found that the Minicraft B-24M nose will graft onto the Hasegawa kit with minimal difficulty, so at least you can do a decent last Ford B-24. Of course, the problem with the Hasegawa D-model is that it comes with the wrong tail turret..the fully-enclosed A-6B instead of the correct open-sided A-6A. Fortunately Eduard remedied the situation a couple years back when they released their special "Riders In The Sky" edition of the Hasegawa kit with the correct turret, along with several other turret types, narrow-cord propellers, Leigh Light, and rockets. They were then nice enough to sell all the extra bits separately and relatively cheap as "overtrees" (I bought three sets.) I'm not sure if they're still available now, though. SN
  17. A quick note about that P-47 at the USAF Museum. The exterior was repainted and polished a few years ago, but it used to be a civilian-owned flying warbird before coming to the museum. I'm sure the cockpit was repainted during a postwar restoration. SN
  18. I've always thought the Italeri B-25s (all variants) looked more like caricatures than actual scale representations (going back to when I first built one around 1980.) Too skinny, glass nose too pointed, engine cowls too tapered, vertical stabs too rounded, and that upper turret...ugh! The molding and surface detail are more refined than the old Airfix H/J, but the shapes are certainly no better. Airfix's new B-25B/C/D however is by far the best Mitchell in 1/72, with the Hasegawa H/J coming in second. I've never owned or built the Matchbox kit so I can't comment. Ironically, until the Hasegawa and new Airfix kits came out, the old Monogram Snap-Tite B-25B was probably the most accurately shaped in 1/72 (unfortunately due to it's nature it was sorely lacking in detail and suffered from major gaps and overly thick transparencies.) SN
  19. Having built a couple of the Academy T-6s I can say this is not the case. The engine is a separate piece. It does benefit from from a bit of extra detailing though. I would say the Heller/Revell and Academy kits are more-or-less equal, except Heller/Revell has raised panel lines and Academy's are engraved. Here are some pics of my Academy T-6s, built as wartime SNJ-5Cs. These are part of a museum display. A master ship modeler scratchbuilt a 1/72 model of the carrier USS Wolverine, a converted side-paddlewheel passenger steamer used to train pilots on Lake Michigan. He asked several of us in the local model club to provide aircraft for the decks. Here's the cockpit. The only things I added were tape seatbelts. The instrument panels are as molded, just painted matte black and dry-brushed with white. The aforementioned engine. This was 15 years ago, but as I recall I added ignition rings, the oil sumps, and the prop governors. And the finished products. I added scrathbuilt arrestor hooks made from wire, and tailwheel guards from aluminum foil. Oh, and on one of them I added scratbhuilt flaps and and open canopy. I custom-printed all the letter and number decals on clear film with a laser printer, and used aftermarket insignias. As has been mentioned above, for modeling purposes the only major modification to backdate the kit from a postwar T-6G to a wartime variant is to leave off the antennas on the aft fuselage and paint on the extra canopy frames. Cheers! Steve
  20. I think the external mass balances on the tops of the ailerons were done away with on the A6M5. The A6M2 definitely had them. I've seen a couple pics of A6M2s with larger external balances on the undersides of the ailerons, but those seem to be fairly rare. SN
  21. A little late to the party, but I just checked my kit an the tail gun parts fit perfectly. I think it's from one of the early production runs..at least one of the first to get over to this side of The Pond. I've also got the later release with the support vehicle set, but I haven't checked that one. The parts are all still sealed in the bags and I don't want to rip them open. SN
  22. Ah, I get it. The ancient Revell B-24D actually had corrugation on the bomb bay doors (molded closed with no interior.) I use my share of aftermarket bits, but I agree it's fun to exercise my scratchbiulding skills. I started building back in the 70s, before there was any such thing as the aftermarket. SN
  23. I'm not sure what you mean by "venetian blind effect." The outer skin of the bomb bay doors is just a flat sheet metal. The inner surface is ribbed, allowing the doors to curve as they open and close. If you don't feel like trying to detail the kit doors, Quickboost makes a set of replacements. Cheers! Steve
  24. I'm pretty sure all the -5s came from the factory in overall Dark Sea Blue. As mentioned above, it's possible a few very early ones might have been in the tri-color scheme, but I've never seen any photos. If the Eduard 1/48 kit is as good as their 1/72 offering, then it's the best of the bunch. I built the Eduard 1/72 F6F-5 some years ago, and it was fantastic. SN
  25. Here are a couple of closeups I took of the wing slots on a Lockheed C-60. Same exact wings as the Hudson. Cheers! Steve
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