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  1. On December 29, 2021, I contacted a friend and fellow model builder Jack Geratic in Ontario, Canada regarding my desire to build a Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina. From experience on previous projects, I knew that Jack was very good at research and knew his way around scale modeling better than I did. At the time we found there were only a few Monogram #5609 and Revell #04520 kits in 1/48 scale on eBay. The kits were introduced in 1995 and had been out of production for some time. Then Revell reintroduced the PBY kit in 2014 but as a PBY-5A which is the amphibious version (with landing gear), otherwise the aircraft was the same as a PBY-5. My thinking at the time was if we use an amphibious version which was readily available it would require major body work to cover the retractable landing gear on the side of the hull. What we found out later in reviews is that both Monogram and Revell kits had a design issue called 'tail bloat', the tail section was not to scale. It was 9.5mm (3/8-inch) too wide at the root of the vertical stabilizer which negatively affected its overall appearance. Jack located a detailed cross-section drawing of the actual aircraft and we found that Monogram had a flatter cross-section which we believe is what caused the tail bloat issue. However, there was a good solution, Belcher Bits in Canada offered a resin tail conversion kit that required removing the entire tail of the model. When you see the finished tail conversion below, I think you will agree it looks right. In my opinion the Belcher Bits solution was a lot of work, but Mike Belcher captured in resin the graceful elegance of the Catalina tail. And by the way the name Catalina was given to the Consolidated PBY by RAF, RCAF and RAAF crews because the early versions were manufactured in California. The name was adopted by Consolidated and used for the remaining production years. Harold Reference Photographs: Modification Phase: Completed Model:
  2. On December 29, 2021, I contacted a friend and fellow model builder Jack Geratic in Ontario, Canada regarding my desire to build a Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina. From experience on previous projects, I knew that Jack was very good at research and knew his way around scale modeling better than I did. At the time we found there were only a few Monogram #5609 and Revell #04520 kits in 1/48 scale on eBay. The kits were introduced in 1996 and had been out of production for some time. The kit was reintroduced by Revell as late as 2014 but in PBY-5A format which is the amphibious version. My thinking was if I use an amphibious version which was readily available it would require major body work to cover the retractable landing gear on the side of the hull. What we found out later in reviews is the Monogram and Revell kits had a design issue called 'tail bloat', the tail section was not to scale. It was 9.5mm (3/8-inch) too wide at the point where the vertical stabilizer begins which negatively affected its overall appearance. However, there was a solution, Belcher Bits in Canada offered a resin tail conversion kit that required removing the entire tail section of the model. With hindsight, we should have gone with a PBY-5A. When you see the finished tail conversion below, I think you will agree it looks right. In my opinion the Belcher Bits solution was a lot of work, but Mike Belcher captured in resin the graceful elegance of the Catalina tail. And by the way the name Catalina was given to the Consolidated PBY by RAF, RCAF and RAAF crews because it was manufactured in California. The name was adopted by Consolidated and used for the remaining production years.
  3. Wolfpack Design is to release in June 2019 a 1/72nd Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina 'Pacific Theater' (Premium Edition Kit) - ref. WP17204 Source: https://www.facebook.com/wolfpackd/posts/2240203902739469 Sprue parts from Academy Plastic models, Total 4 a/c markings, Decal printed by Cartograf, Italy. http://www.wolfpack-d.com/catalog/htm/wp17204.html V.P.
  4. Fresh off the bench Revell 1:72 “new” (2018) Catalina PBY-5A of patrol squadron 61 US Navy Umnak Island Alaska 1943. The kit although called new on the box is a 1993 academy mini craft kit. It looks pretty decent though with good external detail, the cockpit is terrible fortunately the cockpit windows are so small you can’t really see anything inside so not a big deal. If anybody has this in the stash two points of warning. 1- I took up every bit of space in the nose with lead for the required counterweight in odd small sizes due to hill shape and then had to disguise it from view through the nose turret. 2- The wing lift struts could do with being 1-2mm longer. I had to weight and stress rig the wing to get it to meet and glue even then one side popped and needed an insert piece. Hopefully this helps anybody with the build coming up. Now the pics.
  5. Hello everyone … I was able to get over to the Small local airshow today. My first in almost 4 years, it felt good after all the Pandemic lockdown. There wasn't much available as I couldn't get close to the AT-6, she and the Stearman were too busy flying passengers. I waited in line for over an hour but gave up on the B-24 when I realized I might tip the darn thing on its butt. Oddly enough there was no line for “FIFI” the B-29. So walked over and got right in. The Catalina was not open to general visitors just a few selected by the owner. So couldn't get anything up close and personal. The other planes were quite exposed and I was able to get up close and personal with undercarriage and other bits. Warning the colors have been shifted as it was quite overcast early on and all the photo’s were too dark. Going to tag @keefr22 and @John Laidlaw also. Next up is a Piper cub thats from another local airport. I see him fly around quite often. Personally the A&P training in me thinks the prop has seen better days. If it were mine I’d find a new one or a metal prop and paint it to look like wood. “Diamond Lil” B-24A in RAF colors. She was a lend-lease or purchase that was recalled into USAAF service after pearl harbor. Im guessing thats why shes painted up this way. And now “FIFI” One for Mike @72modeler Emergency egress for the crew being used for ventilation. I tried to photograph inside but its as dark as a blackhole. Ive never seen these before in photo’s so asked the pilot what they were. Turns out they a resin blocks around the bolts to prevent corrosion. The bolts hold the inner/outer wings together. Too anyone building a B-29/50 there is only about 3/4” clearance between the main wheel and gear door. That would never pass a model inspector at a show. But it was wrinkled as all heck.same plate on another nacelle. My apologies as I tried to take photo’s of the bomb bay and forward interior but couldn't get them very good. Cockpit Starboard rear sorry but too cramped to get the whole area in the photo. Cockpit port rear same issue sorry. Cockpit forward. There was a crewman in the starboard seat answering questions. He took one look at me and said well you wouldn't be a tail gunner. Im 6’7” and weigh 32 stone. Last up was the Stearman as he was taxiing in for his last time. What you don't see is the ladder at my feet. Straight down with only about 20” inches clearance all around. I hope these are worth your time to visit. If I can answer any questions please feel free to ask, or leave comments. Dennis
  6. I am going to start building a model of the PBY-5A Catalina and I would like the aircraft to be in RAF markings. Based on my research I understand only 14 or so PBY-5As were acquired by the RAF where they were known as the Catalina IIIA. So far I have seen two photos of a Catalina IIIAs in RAF service - both looked like they were in delivery markings of USN intermediate blue and light grey (the roundel was of the pre-July 1942 with the wide yellow ring). However the old Airfix PBY-5A was issued at one point in time with markings for Catalina IIIA FP536 of 131 OTU, the aircraft wearing a scheme of what seems to be dark slate grey (DSG) and extra dark sea grey (EDSG) upper surfaces and sky undersurfaces (with the dividing line running along the lower part of the hull). I rather like the idea of using a DSG/EDSG scheme instead of the USN markings (I can use the DK decal set to build a 333 or 321 Squadron PBY-5A in USN colours). A bit of surfing the internet suggests that a number of Catalina IIIAs were used by 131 OTU but I cannot see any photos of these aircraft wearing a DSG/EDSG scheme. It would make sense of course if the IIIAs were painted in these colours but I am trying to get some sort of confirmation. Does anyone have any evidence i.e. a copy of a photo in a bok, which confirms that Catalina IIIAs were in DSG/EDSG? I am not a rivet counter but its mortifying when you find that you have used completely the wrong colours/markings (I mean not a shade wrong - but completely). The model then feels like a failure.
  7. Evening, Been a while since I last posted on BM however been busy fettling away building this monster, which was a Christams present from my daughter. Revell's 1:48 scale PBY-5 Catalina. the only extras that I have used were replacement propeller blades and gave " problur" a go and very happy with the results. I also used canopy masks on all the glazed sections. Paint scheme isn't 100 % accurate for the aircraft represented however I liked the all white scheme but after spraying it, it looked just too white, so I changed it a bit and chose camouflage for the upper wings and tail. Only issues with the model kit, were the decals, they fell to bits when applying even using micro sol/set etc and they also silvered very easily. Hence the heavily weathered look. Always loved this aircraft and now I have one in my collection... Finding a place to display it might be a problem.. it is HUGE !! Anyway, hope you like it !! Cheers
  8. Hello everyone Here is my first post in the RFI gallery on this forum. It's Academy PBY-5A Catalina in 1/72 scale. A fine model, not too accurate though . Still, It's my favorite of the flying boats, and I always wanted one on the shelf. Now i find that one is not enough The colors are my mix, using the Mk 1. eyeball to determine the right shade from the available pictures, taking into account the scorching pacific sun. It represents one of the early airframes, so I wanted to give the impression that she was in theatre a long time. Thanks for looking
  9. I have been doing some research on the small number of PBY-5A Catalina aircraft that were taken on by the RAF. Only 12 of the amphibian version - called the Catalina IIIA - were acquired. I have obtained the Aircraft Movement Card for Catalina IIIA FP536 - which shows the various units which took this particular aircraft on charge. What is interesting is that in the Aircraft Movement Card the 'A' in 'Catalina IIIA' under the heading 'Type' has been struck out and there is a note which reads "Conversion to flying boat Beaumaris SRoe 14.5.43". I know Saunders Roe had a facility at Beaumaris which modified Catalinas for RAF service. But this sounds as if FP536 was converted to a pure flying boat i.e. the undercarriage was removed. Has anyone every heard of this conversion? Just by way of background it looks like FP536 was written off (Category E) in 1944 when it was with 131 Operational Training Unit.
  10. What is the accurate size of Twin Wasp engine cowl in 1/72? This question came up at IPMS Stockholm... Esci DC-3 18,5 mm Italeri DC-3 19 mm A-model Li-2 19 mm Marivox B 17 19,4 mm Marivox J 22 17 mm Airfix Catalina 19,2 mm Academy Catalina 17 mm Quickboost Catalina 16,2 mm It differs 3.2 mm and makes more than one builder wondering... What's the real diameter on an Catalina? Cheers / André
  11. PBY-5A Catalina 1:72 Revell The Consolidated Catalina was one of the most widely used amphibious aircraft of World War II. First flown in 1935, the Catalina proved to be remarkably long-lived. It was so well suited to its role that it not only served throughout the War, but remained in service with its primary user, the US Navy, until 1957 and with the Brazilian Air Force until 1979. There are many surviving Catalinas around the world, including a significant number of airworthy examples. Powered by two Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasp engines, the Catalina had a range of over 2,500 miles. Eagle eyed readers will no doubt have already spotted that this is not (thankfully) ye olde Revell kit from the late 1960s. Instead, it's the more modern Academy kit, originally released in 1993 and now repackaged in one of Revell's familiar large-but-flimsy boxvelopes. The kit features clean, crisp mouldings, fully engraved surface details and a respectable level of detail. All together there are around 140 parts spread across six frames of grey plastic and a single frame of clear plastic. Two decal options are included. Assembly begins with a series of sub-assemblies that fit inside the fuselage halves. The main landing gear bays are first and these can be built in wheels up or wheels down configuration. Wheels down will require the main landing gear legs to be assembled from four parts, and care will be required in order to ensure that the parts all align correctly. The wheel wells themselves fit into the inside of the fuselage, so make sure they are firmly glued in places just in case they pop out halfway through the build and rattle around inside the fuselage. There waist and nose gunner stations are present but fairly basic, as is the cockpit. Decals are provided for the instrument panel and sear harnesses. Aftermarket parts will definitely be required if you want to build the model to a modern standard of detail. Once the fuselage halves have been joined (remembering to add 40g of nose weight, which seems a lot) the slab-like wing is next. The wing is moulded in separate sections for the port, starboard and centre parts. The centre section holds the engine pods, to which the basic-but-good-enough engines and cowlings can be added. The outer wing sections hold the retractable floats, and as with the landing gear, these can be finished in retracted or deployed positions. The ailerons and elevators are moulded in place, as is the rudder. A number of details, such as exhausts and DF loop, are provided in different forms for both the early and late variants depicted on the decal sheet. Four bombs are provided to hang under the wings, but these could be swapped for aftermarket depth charges if so desired. The clear parts are nicely moulded. Two different options are provides for on the decal sheet. The first is for a PBY-5A Catalina of the US Naval Aviation Reserve, NAS Glenview, Illinois, 1947. The second is a wartime-ara Catalina PBY-5A of Patrol Squadron 61, US Navy, Umnak Island, Alaska, 1943. The decals are fairly basic but appear to be high quality. Conclusion Academy's Catalina is a solid kit, and although it is starting to show its age, it is still capable of being built into a faithful and convincing replica. It's not as detailed as many of the modern kits we are used to today, but it has recessed panel lines and just about enough detail to pass muster where it counts. Overall this should be a straightforward kit to build. Recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  12. Hi all I've began work on a 1/72 Airfix Catalina, inspired by the following photos, and wanted some thoughts about how to interpret it. The same plane has been interpreted in the following colour plate: To my knowledge, this is a 205 Squadron aircraft, JX431, operating in that photo from the flying boat base at Koggala, Ceylon, in 1942. I've actually been past Koggala lagoon on the bus when I visited Sri Lanka, and as I find the scheme with blue SEAC roundels very fetching, I'd love to model it. That photo is a brilliant inspiration. IWM caption it as a Catalina Mk. IVb; AKA a PB2B-1, manufactured in Canada. I feel the colour profile is basically accurate, although the photo shows the engine cowlings are wraparound white. A few things to note for building it from the Airfix kit: - It's not amphibious, so Airfix's wheel wells need filling, and a small window added to the hole. - It has got the de-icer exhausts attached to the engines. An unusual feature! I expect this means the small de-icer scoop on the tail root is present too, although we can't see in this - The wings are heavily weathered, but I don't know how to interpret it. There are several areas with ruler-edge demarcations which clearly show different shades of grey. I'd love to model this. - The photo just shows the fuel jettison pipes protruding from the trailing edge of the wing. So, questions: 1) Can we assume, from the light circles around the wing roundels, that standard blue/red roundels have been overpainted? Why not just overpaint the central circle? I'm planning to paint a circle of lighter-coloured grey around my roundels on the model. 2) What might the dark grey square patch be on the left horizontal stabilizer? I know the ailerons were fabric, so maybe this is a sewn-on patch? 3) What could explain the very square, ruler-edge colour modulation at the centre of the wing? Particularly at the trailing edge, there is a very dark rectangle. 4) Outboard of the roundels, we see some bizarre weathering, where dark streaks appear in a pattern like this: -|-|-|- What might explain this? 5) There are 2 small black rectangles on the upper wing. I've found little information on these and not all Catalinas had them, but I think they're related to the deicing system? I'll throw a WIP up if you guys are interested. I'm doing a bit of interior scratching at the moment. Hopefully this topic is of interest! I love trying to puzzle out the clues that photos like these give us. Thanks for reading!
  13. PBY-5/5A Tail (for Monogram) 1:48 Belcher Bits The Monogram/Revell Monogram kit of the famous Catalina Flying boat has been around for a while, and it's still quite an impressive kit, especially if long wingspans are your thing. There's a bit of a misjudgement hidden within the parts though, that might not look that obvious when you first look at the kit, but once you've seen it, it is glaringly obvious. It has a fat tail! If you don't mind or care, then you might as well stop reading here, as this won't be the correction set you. If you do mind, and want to go the extra mile for accuracy however, and are prepared to do a little surgery, then read on. The kit arrives in a thick gauge ziplok bag with instructions printed on blue A4 paper. The resin included in the bag consists of the two large tail parts, separate rudder, and two tail extensions. The short one is the standard tail, and a longer one with an extension with ventral fin is the MAD Boom equipped option. There is also a small insert that you can fit to the tail to depict the de-icing intake that was fitted to some airframes. You could be forgiven for missing the small strip of rod that has been supplied in the pack to use as the rudder hinge. I missed it entirely, and found a random piece of strip on my desk, which I've since lost. Doh! Fortunately, I'm not short of Evergreen strip, so when the time comes, I'll grab a length of 1.5mm x 2.5mm rod from my supplies. The cut in the fuselage is required just forward of a panel line (conveniently), and cures the excessively bloated tail profile that you can see on the picture above, kindly supplied by forum member Mark Stanton, which can be seen in his excellent build here. Once the tail has been liberated, the new one is glued together and slid into the fuselage, fettling as you go to improve the fit. If you are using the scoop, which was a late war addition, you will need to cut a chunk out of the tail's leading edge just 1.5mm in front of a panel line. This can be done with a file or razor saw, taking care to keep the shape square and level as you do. The kit elevators can be re-used just by cutting off the tabs at their bases and trimming the root square, leaving the resulting holes as the new slot for the moulded in tabs on the new tail. The rudder hinge is cut to shape and installed at the step near the top, and the rudder itself can be added, with a little deflection either way if you desire. Clearly there will be a little clean-up and sanding needed to blend the new tail with the kit fuselage, but this also gives you the opportunity to harmonise the panel lines to the kit while the tools are out. To see exactly what's involved, check out the PDF instructions here. Conclusion A worthy upgrade for any Cat in 1:48, curing a mistake that's easily missed until you really look at the airframe. Whilst not a new update, it's worth mentioning because of the recent re-issue of the kit by Revell in Europe, and the improvement that it offers in the process. You might need to add a little extra nose weight to balance your Cat out, but it's worth the effort. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of Mike Belcher at
  14. I already have one Catalina build ongoing in this GB and that represents a standard PBY-5A Catalina; however, I would like to build another kit but something like this type. Note the redesigned nose and lack of side gun sponsons. As before, I shall be using a Minicraft 1:144 scale kit of the Catalina. I haven't decided on exactly which firebomber markings to complete this in yet, although it will probably be bright colours and so I'll start with a white primer base. I need to find a good profile plan which shows the re-shaped nose contours correctly; then I can start to build the new nose. In the meantime I can start filling the sponson openings. Thanks for looking. Mike
  15. Hi guys. This will be my first ever Group build. I'm very excited as this will be the closest thing to the Gloster Meteor dual build I did with @TheBaron last year. I have some ideas on what I'm going to do but I need to finish of my HP o/400 first. (next few days) I'll pop a pic of the box here as a kind of popping my flag in the sand. Hopefully you can join along with this and help an old dog (or should that be cat? ) out here and there along the way. I'll pop a bit more info and some pics once the old "page turner" is done and dusted. Take care y'all and Happy Modelling. Johnny. ps. this will be my little companion through this build, seems rather apt.
  16. I wish to start painting a model of a PBY-5A Catalina as a Canso of Buffalo Air in this yellow livery but am having difficulty identifying the colour demarcations, especially from above and below. Does anyone here know of the source for the top plan and underside colour areas please. I am building the kit as part of a Group Build but cannot continue until I can ascertain the colour locations. cheers Mike
  17. Finally found the time to clean up my Duxford May Show shots. More here if you want to see them: https://www.hanger51.org/airshows/2017/duxford-may-airshow/ No apologies for the number of Foxy shots. Rapide at rest by tony_inkster, on Flickr P-51 Frankie by tony_inkster, on Flickr Grosvenor House by tony_inkster, on Flickr The Blades by tony_inkster, on Flickr Catalina by tony_inkster, on Flickr AAC Apache Demo by tony_inkster, on Flickr JP & Strikemaster by tony_inkster, on Flickr V-1 Doodle Bug by tony_inkster, on Flickr Winding her up by tony_inkster, on Flickr Foxy dirty pass by tony_inkster, on Flickr Foxy's first pass by tony_inkster, on Flickr Foxy G by tony_inkster, on Flickr Top side pass by tony_inkster, on Flickr
  18. Good day, everybody! Catalina one of the elegant and interest flying boat, IMHO. The old academy kit with some additional part, such as quickboost engine, eduard PE, decal sheet on Argentina color scheme FCM (microscale print). And a little bit of scratchbuilding Any comments are welcome. Thank you for looking.
  19. Just wondering whether the standard USN stencil markings on the fin of the 'Black cat' Catalina (ie, 'NAVY', Bureau number, and aircraft type 'PBY-5A') were present. Studying the photos I've not yet to been able to discern such markings on the black camo. Possibly, if the black was applied at one of the modification centres or maintenance bases (ie, wasn't a factory applied finish) then they mightn't have bothered reapplying the stencils...or maybe I'm just not looking hard enough! So was the 'black' finish done in the factories, or was it applied later? Juanita
  20. Let me present you Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina, B/N unknown, white 30. In this look from December 1943 the plane took part in the evacuation of the australian troops from New Guinea (Sepik river). During few days the Catalinas from VP-11 ferried 219 australian soldiers and 12,5 tons of the material. The planes were widely worn-down. The national insignias on the fuselages under the cockpits of some of the Catalinas were oversprayed.
  21. PB2B-2 Catalina VH-ASA, named Frigate Bird II is suspended from the ceiling of Sydney's excellent Powerhouse Museum. I believe there is a resin conversion set for a PB2B-2 Cat and decals available to model this historic aircraft. Take a look here for the aircraft's story and a walkaround: http://warbirdswalkaround.wixsite.com/warbirds/single-post/2016/11/27/Frigate-Bird-II-A-Wandering-Cat
  22. Hi all! Having recently aquired the Airfix 1/72 Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina (an aircraft I've always liked) I was doing some browsing on the interweb for various military colour schemes that I could knock up from the various decals I have floating around. One article I found was on the crash of a PBY-5 from 11 Squadron RAAF. This aircraft (A24-52) crashed while landing in Cleveland Bay, here in Townsville during 1943. Thirteen of the 19 people on board were killed, either during the crash or when the depth charges on the wings detonated. One of the survivors was Air Commodore Arthur Henry Cobby, Air Officer Commanding North Eastern Area. Thats right, the great Harry Cobby himself! I would like to model this aircraft, if possible. So, here is my question. Can I backdate the PBY-5A to a PBY-5? What are the mojor visual differences beside the undercarriage? I know that Academy do a PBY-5, but for financial reasons (that being that Mrs. TheBear would have my head on a platter) I won't even consider buying it. I also, for the same reason, don't want to buy a myriad of aftermarket products, or attempt major plastic surgery. Adding a bulkhead might be possible, but extensive detailing of the interior that won't be seen is out. I want to do this as close to OOB as possible. Thanks in advance for any advice, and fir your patience and forebearance! DennisTheBear
  23. This is a report of a very personal project I started on about a year ago, and which I recently finished. It is a tribute to my great-uncle, Willem Pieter Adriaan Ditmar, and a gift to his nephew, my father, Eric Willem Roubos. Historical background In the very early morning of 26th of February 1942, Catalina Y-63 was flying over the Banka Strait, north of Sumatra. The PBY had been flying through the night on a recon of the area and its commander, Willem Ditmar, had to decide to turn back to base or continue the patrol and risk an almost certain encounter with Japanese forces. Ditmar chose the latter. The PBY was part of the forces of the MLD (Marine Luchtvaart Dienst) the Air Force of the Royal Dutch East-Indies Navy which had been involved in a struggle with the Japanese for a number of months now, since a Japanese invasion of the Dutch colony was imminent. At 6:40 in the morning, while the plane was flying just under low cloud cover to avoid detection, the PBY was jumped by two groups of three Ki-27 'Nate's' of the JAAFs 12th Air Brigade. A fight ensued, during which the gunners on Y-63 succeeded to shoot down two Ki-27s. However, the numerical superiority of the Japanese proved too much. Co-pilot Noë was hit, the plane went into a dive and was only with great difficulty brought back under control. Severely damaged the plane landed on the water, where Ditmar ordered his crew of 6 into the life boats. Y-63 sinks within seven minutes, raked with bullet holes from continued strafing. The Japanese fighters disappear and Ditmar and his crew, with the injured pilot, manage to reach the Noordelijke Gebroeders Island and eventually, on March 3, Sumatra. From there, with canoes rented from the locals, they reach Anjer on Java on the 6th. To their dismay they learn that the Japanese have landed on Java and control most of Java, including the area they have just arrived at. Ditmar and his men leave the injured pilot with a local official for treatment and continue their journey to Batavia, hoping to avoid the Japanese troops. The remaining six men split into two groups. One group is captured by locals and all three men are murdered. Ditmar's group is spared this fate but is betrayed by locals and handed over to the Japanese. Willem Ditmar was sent to a POW camp in Siam (Thailand) to work on the infamous Burma railroad. He survived the war and rejoined with his wife and his two daughters, who had been detained in Surabaya not knowing for more than three years if Willem was still alive. After the war he became the most decorated Dutch officer in the East-Indies theatre and returned to work for the Royal Dutch Navy and later for the Dutch government in South East Asia in various capacities. He died in Bangkok in a traffic accident in 1982, remaining a legend in our family. This story is based on several post-WWII publications, especially the report by mariner Gerard A. van Schooten, crew member of the Y-63, and on personal communications from family members. The Kit Academy’s PBY-5 has been around for quite some time. I think it’s still a fine kit and the only serious option if you want a PBY-5 (Revell has an antique molding which is out of production). The lines of the PBY-5 are captured well, the fit is generally excellent and the recessed detail is quite good, if a bit soft in places. The fuselage is covered in rivets, but they are quite restrained and look good under a coat of paint. The kit does disappoint when it comes to the finer details, a general issue with Academy kits of this vintage: Interior detail is minimal, the engines are very basic and the propellers are nothing like the real thing. As this was to be a special project I decided to shell out the extra cash on some aftermarket parts to correct these areas. I acquired the QuickBoost replacement engines, props and cowlings, Eduard’s photo-etch (for PBY-5A, but many items are of use) and MiniWorld brass .50 machine guns for the blisters. Construction Yes, it starts with the cockpit! Eduard’s photo-etch really improves this area as it really is quite bland. The cockpit floor requires carving up to make the parts fit and the I substituted the horizontal bar on which the yokes sit by an n-shaped piece of wire that more accurately represents the real thing. There is a gap behind the bulkhead which allows you to see into the void of the fuselage, but nothing can be seen with the cockpit window in place so I left it. The observer position has a few PE parts to spruce up the machine gun supports. After installing the six small side windows I closed up the fuselage. Fit is pretty good with the exception of the area behind the cockpit. I had to use some Mr. Surfacer 500 here and rescribe the lost detail in the area. The wing assembly consists of six pieces which form a middle segment containing the engine nacelles and two outer segments. They go together very well with just a hint of Mr Surfacer 500 required to remove the seams between the segments. I taped off the area to avoid losing the fabric detail while sanding the seams. The nacelles require a bit of filler as well and a few swipes with a sanding stick. The triangular pieces that form part of the float areas on the wing tips were another matter: They left huge gaps with the wing tips and needed quite a bit of filler to get a smooth result. At this point I had to start considering the build sequence. I usually put as much of the model together before I start painting, but the floats and wing supports were rather fragile pieces and I estimated their chance of snapping off at some point during later construction work was 100%. They also got in the way of masking, so I decided to paint the wings and fuselage separately and put them together only after decaling. I drilled some holes for the antennas and aerial wires ( I always forget to do this and end up having to do it after painting – the pine vice will slip and…), then added the PE corrugated ‘shield’ in the nose. After some fettling I pushed it in a it just stuck – no glue required. To the paint shop! Painting First step was to do the preshading. I have only used this technique a few times and I find it a very easy way to add some interest to a model. On a big kit like the Catalina it is a great way to break the large surfaces, so I set to work and an hour later I had a rather patchy and fearsome looking amphibious creature (I know, the PBY-5 is not amphibious…)! On towards the real painting then. All my references on the Catalina indicated that the MLD planes had ‘milky white’ undersurfaces. Unfortunately, this is not a color any brand carries in their range, so I made my own by taking a fresh bottle of Gunze flat white and adding a few drops of yellow to it (my thanks to FlevoDecals for suggesting this). My milky white needed about three thin layers to cover the preshading just enough to shine through (I’m afraid it doesn't show up very well in the photos). This was followed by masking off the white, and it was at this point that my references started to fail me. Although there are many photographs available of MLD PBY-5s, I have been unable to find a picture of my subject, Y-63. This wouldn't be such a problem if the MLD had been consistent in painting its Catalinas, but my references showed they were anything but. Among the differences are the demarcation between white and grey, the color used to overpaint the orange triangles, the color of the prop hubs, the exhausts, the antennas and the painting demarcations on the floats and surrounding areas. Almost no MLD Catalina is exactly the same, and without photographs it is impossible to know which combination of options Y-63 featured. However, it also meant nobody could prove me wrong if I were to guess, so that’s what I did. Undoubtedly someone will sent me a photograph of Y-63 after reading this and prove me wrong on all counts! After making my choices, it was on to painting the upper surfaces. My references told me to use ‘Dark blue-grey’, the MLD description of the color. I hit the internet and the consensus was that Dark Blue-grey was actually identical to the well-known Dark Sea Gray, so that’s what I used. On removing the masking I was unhappy with the demarcations on the fuselage to I spent quite a bit of time remasking and respraying, but the end result was very satisfying. I left the finish slightly patchy to allow for the fact that these planes were used in tough conditions. Next up was masking the overpainted orange triangles on the upper wing surfaces and the orange rudder. I sprayed these with Dark Sea Gray with some black in it (yes, I’m aware this is cheating – I should have used lightened DSG on the whole plane and ‘fresh’ DSG on the triangles…). The little V-shapes on the fabric area of the wing were masked and sprayed yellow. On Revell’s PBY-5 kit these are supplied as decals in red but on a number of my photographs they very clearly have a light color that really contrasts with the dark color of the wing, so I decided on yellow. I think it looks goods, it adds some color to the plane but at the same time blends in pretty well. I polished the surface with a 6000 grit micro mesh cloth, then applied a few light coats of Future on the areas that would receive decals, which are few. Both Dutch Decal and FlevoDecals have sets that include the PBY-5, but FlevoDecals very importantly adds a full set of serial numbers, so it was easy to go beyond the included versions and create Y-63. These are some of the best decals I have worked with; there is virtually no carrier film around them. I only used some MicroSol and they settled beautifully into the panel lines and rivets. The horizontal stabilizers were also painted in this stage. Test fitting had shown they fit very well, and as they are large I decided to leave them off until the end of the build so they would not get in the way. I neglected to attach the cowlings before painting the wing assembly. Silly, as I had to respray the demarcation a few times to get it to line up exactly with the nacelle that is attached to the wing. While I had acquired QuickBoost’s cowlings, I ended up not using them as their diameter is about 2mm smaller than the nacelle! Photographs clearly show they are the same width. I don’t know how an aftermarket part can get it so wrong. I ended up using the kit parts, rescribing the very soft detail on them and they ended up looking perfectly fine. In future I will do a bit more research before buying what is supposedly a ‘direct replacement’ upgrade part… Construction continued With the main assemblies completed I returned to the smaller parts. Still lots to do! The floats required a lot of clean up: The idea is that you insert the thin supports before you glue them together, catching them between the float halves. This I felt was a recipe for disaster, and in addition would make cleaning up the very obvious seam a major pain. However, my solution was far from perfect! I cut off the vertical main support from the floats themselves. This allowed me to clean up the seam on the floats, as well as the sink marks on the supports. So far so good, but it did leave me with a nasty butt joint to attach the two together again. They would break a number of times throughout masking and attaching them to the wing in the days ahead… On studying a movie I found of the PBY-5s in use with the MLD I noticed that they carried not the rather standard single .50 cal in each blister (which I had acquired already) but a dual .303 Browning setup. The .50 cals went in to the spares box. It was an opportunity to reuse some of the PE Eduard had kindly provided to spruce up the kit parts (in combination with plastic card), and I got some Master brass .303 barrels to make the dual setup more convincing. I used a similar combination of Eduard PE, card and Master brass for the front gun. The Eduard PE for the blisters is really meant to represent .50 cals but no one will know. Right? Right. Ok – there is no way around it – you are gonna have to attach that wing to that fuselage! I’ve never been lucky with models that feature spindly supports, and this kit would be no exception. It started off fairly well – the fuselage fits perfectly into the central recess in the wing. Pleased with myself, I forgot to do the obvious (can you guess what it is?) and went on towards the part I dreaded most: The supports. I started on the starboard side. Not a problem – perfect fit! Port side then, and that’s where it all went wrong: Both supports were too short by over 2mm. I slapped myself for not checking alignment after gluing the wing on top of the fuselage. I checked, corrected, checked, corrected, checked, measured, corrected, in the process breaking off all four of the supports again. After finally getting the right alignment I decided that it would be a good idea to let the glue set for a night before continuing. The next day I attached the supports again. Starboard, again, not a problem. Port? Would you believe it? Still a 2mm gap! I checked alignment again, and, satisfied that that was not the problem, proceeded to flood the gap between the supports and wings with a mix of superglue, Mr Surfacer and Tamiya liquid cement. My concoction created a permanent bond (probably the strongest on the entire model!), and after two days of sanding, cleaning, respraying, and more sanding, cleaning and respraying, I was very proud and happy with my now winged Catalina! Final Construction Quite a lot of this really. Main challenge were the cowlings – the use of the resin engine means you can’t use the mating surface on the nacelles as they are too deep and I had to rely on gluing the circumference of the cowlings instead. This, it turned out, was a lousy idea as the weight of the resin engines meant the thin mating surface did not provide enough strength to glue them properly to the nacelles. I decided to create a new mating surface using the back of the resin engine blocks. For this I had to remove the half-circle shaped areas on the nacelles, and by building up the layers using thin plastic sheet I finally got a nice, big, smooth mating surface. All my efforts had resulted in some spilled glue so some more respraying was required. A final piece of aftermarket I used were Red Roo’s fishtail exhausts. These are cast in resin and look quite good, although they are not as crisp as some Czech items of this kind. I had to sand the attachment points quite a bit to get a good fit to the engine nacelle. The fishtails are a bit of conjecture from my side again; I know from photos that some MLD PBYs had them, and they make the plane look a bit different, so there we go. Other bits and bobs went on quite easily; stabilizers, antennas, wires, machine guns, blisters, turret, fuel ejection pipes. I sprayed the entire kit with a mixture of 80/20 Vallejo matt and Future, and removed the Montex masking (great item, no-brainer on a kit like this) on the clear parts. The final items on the to do list were the PE wind shield wipers (attached with Future) and some Little Cars lights to represent the landing lights. They were taped over with clear cellotape to represent the glass. After some touch up I had a completed PBY! Conclusion Academy’s PBY-5 is still an excellent kit. With a bit of aftermarket it can be turned into a great kit, and it really has no significant vices to speak of. I really enjoyed this build from start to finish. After a long car and boat journey from Norfolk to The Netherlands, the revived Y-63 made it to my parents' house where it currently has a place of honor in the living room. I'm very happy with the result and so is my dad! References Bosscher, P.M. (1990) De koninklijke mariene in de tweede wereldoorlog. Part 3. Van Wijnen, Franeker, 490 pp. Geneste, W.J. J. (1992) MLD-er met twee bronzen kruizen. Mars et Historia 26(3): 57-61 Meijer, H. (2008) Voor dapperheid onderscheiden. Nieuwsbrief Vrienden Legermuseum 16(1): 12-13 Postma, T, Visser, G., Van Schooten, G.A. (????) De Catalina Y 63 door de Jappen neergeschoten. http://www.visser-maritiem.nl/Catalina%20Y%2063%20%20(1).html Womack, T. (2006) The Dutch naval air force against Japan: the defense of the Netherlands East Indies, 1941-1942. McFarland & Company, Jefferson, NC, 207 pp.
  24. OK so here is A model I just pulled out of the stash...An Airfix Catalina from 1963.........with a ton of missing parts,a couple of missing sprues and an entire wing lost to the stars But anyway I'm having a go at it and might make a scrapyard dio for it.. sprues:
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