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Monogram 1/48 PBY-5 Catalina with a new tail


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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.

 

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Edited by Sergeant
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Gidday Sergeant, you've done a very good job of the cut and reattach. In fact I originally thought the seam line was the join. And I didn't know of the two types of Catalina - amphibious (with undercarriage?) and flying boat (without?). Looking forward to seeing more progress. Regards, Jeff.

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  • Sergeant changed the title to 1/48 Monogram PBY-5 Catalina with a new Tail
Posted (edited)

The 1996 Monogram kit was very basic compared to today's models and did not have any photo-etched parts. I tried to hand paint the molded seat belts and shoulder harness, but they did not look realistic. Fortunately, Jack found an Eduard Consolidated B-24 Liberator photo-etched set that really made a difference in the appearance as you can see below.

 

Another upgrade we made was the .50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns. The Monogram guns did not have much detail, so we replaced them with Eduard resin machine guns and Master-Model brass aircraft barrels. We also added Eduard photo-etched upgrade parts to the hull exterior.

 

Hand painted seat belts and shoulder harness.

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Eduard photo-etched seat belts and shoulder harness that replaced the molded ones above.

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Waist machine gun compartment with hand painted conveyor ammunition magazine.

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Eduard resin .50 caliber M2 machine gun with Master-Model brass aircraft barrel.

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Eduard photo-etched exterior hull detail.

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Edited by Sergeant
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Posted (edited)

Today I applied the second coat of Vallejo #73.601 Grey Surface Primer.  I will give it 24-hours to dry and harden before finish sanding with a 3000-grit sanding sponge. The next step is to mask off the lower hull area. The decals and paint scheme will be 1942 Royal Australian Air Force which is blue gray upper surface and black lower surface like the paint chart below. The blue gray used by the RAAF and US Navy during the Second World War was Federal Standard #FS35189 which is the same as British Standard #BS636. Vallejo Model Air #71.109 Faded P.R.U. Blue and #71.057 Black are the colours we have chosen to represent this paint scheme.

 

2022-04-10_104615c

 

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Tunnel hatch for remotely operated .30 caliber M2 Browning machine gun.

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Beaching gear attached to the hull when the flying boat is removed from water for maintenance.

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Edited by Sergeant
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Posted (edited)

The aircraft we decided to represent is serial number A24-17 because it had an interesting and relatively active service life. However, Jack Geratic and I have determined the DK Decals and paint scheme for serial number A24-17 shown in my previous post is not accurate. We learned the aircraft arrived in Rathmines, New South Wales, Australia on 22/10/41. It was diverted from a production contract between the RAF and Consolidate Aircraft in San Diego, California that specified Temperate Sea Scheme (TSS) paint and RAF markings not the US Navy blue gray scheme.

 

A24-17 was assigned to 20 Squadron 03/01/42, then transferred to 11 Squadron 09/07/42 still in TSS paint. Then sometime between January and March 1943 was repainted in RAAF Dark Ocean Blue (DOB) scheme and transferred to No. 3 Operational Training Unit (OTU) on 29/03/43. Our intent was to represent this aircraft while in active service rather than a training aircraft and as far as we can tell A24-17 was never painted US Navy blue gray with a black hull bottom. The following information describes the TSS and DOB pint schemes in more detail.

 

RAF Temperate Sea Scheme:

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RAAF Dark Ocean Blue Scheme:

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Edited by Sergeant
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Great work on the tail , did this one come with raised panel lines and rivets, if it did, you've gone an amazing job on the rescribing etc .This is going to look very impressive when done.  I do like the TSS scheme, mind you everything looks good in that scheme!

Great work 

Chris

 

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I never had the pleasure to build a Catalina but from those that I've seen in various exhibitions over the years in 1/48 the kit is massive!!!

 

Looking forward to see the next stage of your build lad.

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Posted (edited)

This 1/48 scale PBY Catalina has a hull length of 16-inches (406.4mm) and wingspan of 26-inches (660.4mm) including the floats. Fortunately, the wing and hull can be assembled and painted separately. The floor of my paint booth is 32-inches wide and 14-inches deep which gives me just enough room to work.

 

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Edited by Sergeant
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Posted (edited)

The RAF Temperate Sea Scheme paint I ordered arrived today so tomorrow I can give the hull its first coat of dark slate grey. I also finished assembly of the wing and it did not require extra support as you can see in the photographs below it is as straight and strong as could be without any struts or spars. The next step on the wing assembly is the Eduard floats which are Monogram plastic with Eduard photo-etched cladding over the plastic. I will start that process after I get a coat of paint on the hull. As I mentioned before the hull and wing can be assembled and painted separately and joined together later for display purposes.

 

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Edited by Sergeant
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I have the first coat of Vallejo Dark Slate Grey on the hull which is grayish green. Tomorrow it should be dry enough to do a finish sanding with a 3000-grit sanding sponge then I will apply a second coat of Dark Slate Grey. In between coats I keep the painted model in a heated room around 72-degrees (22-C) for 24-hours, so the acrylic paint is thoroughly dry before I do any sanding or more painting. The next step is to apply AK Camouflage Elastic Putty for airbrushing.

 

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Posted (edited)

I completed the first phase of camouflage painting this morning with a final coat of dark slate grey. The next colour is extra dark sea grey which will be applied as close as possible in a pattern like the Temperate Sea Scheme camouflage shown in my April 15th post. What you see in the photographs below is five light coats of paint (two primer and three finish coats) applied with an Iwata Mini Spray Gun RG-3L-3 (1mm nozzle). Using Vallejo Model Air paint applied at 20psi, from a distance of 8-inches (20-cm). I keep the freshly painted model in a warm room at 72-drgees (22-C) and between coats lightly sand with a dry 3000-grit sanding sponge.

 

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Edited by Sergeant
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Posted (edited)

I completed assembly of the photo-etched cladding on each end of the wing. This area is where the floats are retracted into the wing to reduce drag while in flight. There is also photo-etched cladding on the floats; however, that will need to wait. I have the material now to apply the extra dark sea grey camouflage to the hull, so using AK Camouflage Elastic Putty for airbrushing and Vallejo #71.110 Dark Gray I will attempt to reproduce the pattern shown on  Catalina A24-7 in the picture below.

 

Photo-etched cladding at each end of the wing.

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Temperate Sea Scheme camouflage pattern on A24-7 Catalina. This aircraft was part of the original 18 PBY-5 manufactured at Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego, California for an RAF contract and diverted to RAAF service. Photograph taken 21/07/41.

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Edited by Sergeant
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Posted (edited)

The black and white photograph above of A24-7 is typical of the Temperate Sea Scheme pattern used on the first 18 aircraft manufactured for an RAF contract of which A24-7 and A24-17 were among those diverted to RAAF service in 1941. The photograph below of A24-17 is difficult to see the camouflage pattern, but it is believed to be like the pattern on A24-7 since the two aircraft were manufactured in the same plant at about the same time.

 

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Edited by Sergeant
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Posted (edited)

Nearly completed the Temperate Sea Scheme camouflage on the hull, there are a few places that need touch-up. The next colour is Sky Type S on the hull bottom and underneath the wings.

 

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Edited by Sergeant
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Posted (edited)

A mate and fellow modeler in Australia mentioned that my Extra Dark Sea Grey (EDSG) in the above post is not right. He is correct, the EDSG is purple and by coincidence is like the illustration of fading EDSG in my previous post.

 

In my case, however, the EDSG colour on the model was affected by LED lighting in my paint booth where I usually take photographs. The picture below was taken in the paint booth with only an incandescent light on and then I placed the model on my kitchen table which has an incandescent light above and adjusted the image on my computer with Photoshop to get close to what I see with my eyes.

 

Jack Geratic provided the illustration of an RAF Temperate Sea Scheme below which confirms what I did with Photoshop was correct although the EDSG could be a little darker in my photograph. I will wait until we have a sunny day and take a better photograph.

 

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Edited by Sergeant
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Posted (edited)

I completed the Temperate Sea Scheme camouflage painting. The photographs below were taken in a new Travor photo shooting tent with colour adjusted LED lighting. The LED lighting in my paint booth is not colour adjusted making it difficult to get the actual colour in my previous photographs. Tomorrow I will be ready to apply the Sky Type S paint on the bottom of hull and underneath horizontal stabilizers.

 

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Edited by Sergeant
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Posted (edited)

Colours look good, but it would be improper compare them to the illustrations from the models instructions.  Those I had given you were also digitally altered (darkened and contrast dialed up) to better see the camou shapes.  Also would have kept the hard edge to the camouflage, as it seems to be the style in the period photos. 

 

 

regards,

Jack

Edited by JackG
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Wow, what an interesting build. I've only ever seen one Cataline and that was a Danish ship at RAF Ballykelly NI. It was resplendent in it's dark blue. I've never build one and maybe never will.

The images you are posting are exceptional in clarity, do you have some tips for getting these, settings etc? Those blister gun positions look exquisite.

I'll follow your build with interest.

 

Colin

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, JackG said:

Colours look good, but it would be improper compare them to the illustrations from the models instructions.  Those I had given you were also digitally altered (darkened and contrast dialed up) to better see the camou shapes.  Also would have kept the hard edge to the camouflage, as it seems to be the style in the period photos. 

 

 

regards,

Jack

You are correct Jack. Looking at the colorized photograph of A24-17 below taken in early 1943 before this aircraft was repainted, I can see a hard edge of the camouflage pattern. I think there is a way to fix the soft edge on my camouflage painting, so it will be more defined.

 

Regarding the illustration colours, I knew you did not intend for me to match the colours on the illustration you sent me; however, the wording in my post would lead you to think otherwise. I have not tried to match any specific colour chips on this project, but simply gone with Vallejo Model Air colour description. I have the Iliad Design colour chips for Extra Dark Sea Grey and Sky, but I would need to order the Iliad Fleet Air Arm (WWII Royal Navy Aircraft) to get a colour chip for Dark Slate Gray, and I decided not to do that.

 

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Below is a set of colour chips provided in ADF Serials Telegraph, Volume 10 Issue 1: Autumn 2020 (Australian Military Aircraft History) which used after the fact appear to be very close to the Vallejo Model Air colours on the model. However, we know these digital colours cannot be taken as absolute correct colour chips.

 

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Edited by Sergeant
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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, heloman1 said:

Wow, what an interesting build. I've only ever seen one Cataline and that was a Danish ship at RAF Ballykelly NI. It was resplendent in it's dark blue. I've never build one and maybe never will.

The images you are posting are exceptional in clarity, do you have some tips for getting these, settings etc? Those blister gun positions look exquisite.

I'll follow your build with interest.

 

Colin

Thank you, Colin. In the past I was using a Canon OES 60D Digital SLR camera with my paint booth as a photo shooting tent. The result was less than satisfactory so beginning this year I upgraded my mobile to an Apple iPhone 13 Pro that has in my opinion a very good camera. However, even with a new camera my paint booth LED lighting was not providing true colour images, so I started adjusting the colour with Adobe Photoshop on my computer, but that still requires good lighting for comparison. So last night I set up a Travor Photo Background Shooting Tent with colour adjusted LED lighting. The combination of a profession style photo shooting tent and a high-quality camera in my mobile is what gave me the clear photographs you see above.

 

https://www.amazon.com/stores/page/A3091444-0F4A-4D35-9598-918F76E5FD2D/feed?ingress=2&visitId=0ef247c6-697e-4033-88cd-b63685ae882b&ref_=ast_bln

Edited by Sergeant
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On 4/17/2022 at 6:47 AM, Sergeant said:

The floor of my paint booth is 32-inches wide and 14-inches deep which gives me just enough room to work.

Seriously thinking about buying a second booth so I can do exactly what you've done with yours - very nice!

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9 hours ago, Sergeant said:

Thank you, Colin. In the past I was using a Canon OES 60D Digital SLR camera with my paint booth as a photo shooting tent. The result was less than satisfactory so beginning this year I upgraded my mobile to an Apple iPhone 13 Pro that has in my opinion a very good camera. However, even with a new camera my paint booth LED lighting was not providing true colour images, so I started adjusting the colour with Adobe Photoshop on my computer, but that still requires good lighting for comparison. So last night I set up a Travor Photo Background Shooting Tent with colour adjusted LED lighting. The combination of a profession style photo shooting tent and a high-quality camera in my mobile is what gave me the clear photographs you see above.

 

https://www.amazon.com/stores/page/A3091444-0F4A-4D35-9598-918F76E5FD2D/feed?ingress=2&visitId=0ef247c6-697e-4033-88cd-b63685ae882b&ref_=ast_bln

Thanks for the info.

 

Colin

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  • Sergeant changed the title to Monogram 1/48 PBY-5 Catalina with a new tail

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