Saturday, August 30, 2014

An Irish Seafire

Seafire L.III, 146, 1 (Fighter) Squadron, Irish Air Corps, 1948

Back in 2009 the club decided to have a theme that was anything Irish. Since I try to align Spitfires and Seafires to the themes, when possible (admittedly it can be tough sometimes) this was a bonus for me.

The Subject

Ireland acquired 12 Seafire III's that were de-navalised. I understand that to mean the tail hook and catapult spools were removed and replaced with sheet, and the wing fold was disabled. The resulting removal of all that weight made for a rather sporting machine, given the Merlin used for the Seafire III was optimized for this airframe.

While Ireland used them primarily only from 1947 to 1949, at least one was used until 1954.

The Model

This is the High Planes Models kit, number 72076. I acquired this via online auction, but occasionally see them on their website. This is a limited run kit and it truly is limited run. This is not a kit for the light hearted, but I must say it was a good "first try" at limited run for me. I had made attempts at other kits that were also limited run, but always gave up or if I finished, was never happy with the results. This time I decided to stick with it. It paid off!

The kit has very thick sprue gates, in some places it's almost impossible to tell where the gate ends and the kit begins. Lots of care is required getting it all apart. I used a razor saw and lots of patience removing all the bits. Additionally, the plastic is very hard. That's a good thing when it comes to keeping the detail during all the sanding that's needed.

At the time of building, this was the best cockpit I'd seen in a Spitfire kit, in terms of accuracy. I hadn't yet built a CMR kit nor used any aftermarket, so this was a nice touch. Lots of filing and sanding to get it to fit into the cockpit, but it looked right once done.

Because this was an expensive kit, I took extra care to ensure that everything fit very well. I sanded, shimmed and tried to minimize filler as much as possible. Eventually I reached a point that I was ready to paint the exterior. That hard plastic really made it easy to ensure it was cleaned properly, as very little detail was lost in all that sanding.

The exterior is painted Brunswick Green, an enamel railroad color by Floquil. I chose that because 1) I had it, and 2) it was just different enough from RAF Interior Grey-Green to look 'right'. But I have to say, all I can find are descriptions of the color, not a true color callout or standard for IAC aircraft.

After a coat of Future (Kleer) I put the decals on. They were a bit thin, but covered well. The thinness also meant they were a bit fiddly to work with. They didn't fall apart but they sure had that 'feel' of being very fragile. Ultimately all was well and I sealed it up with another coat of Future, then made an attempt at weathering. This one is a bit better than most, but I'm still not happy with it.


After tackling this kit I built the CMR Seafire III. A world of difference! While I do have another of this kit, in the form of High Planes' Spitfire Mk Vc kit, I'm avoiding it because of the work involved. That's not to say it's not enjoyable, because it is. It just requires modeling skills. Right now I'm building easy and quick kits, trying to keep myself to no more than 1 challenge kit a year.

Thanks for looking...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Korean War Blue Bolt Banshee

McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee, 124969/210R, VF-172 Blue Bolts, USS ESSEX, Korea, October 1951

This is a kit purchased back in the 1980's when I was under the mistaken impression that the Fighting Redcocks, VF-63, flew the Banshee during the Korean War. At the time, the Redcocks were designated VA-22, and VF-22 did operate the Banshee during the Korean War, so I can see the confusion; however the two squadrons were not the same. The Redcocks never operated the Banshee, but this is still a subject I want on my shelf.

This is another of those, "why no decals?" models that sat otherwise complete on my shelf for at least 17 years...finally finished it up this Summer.

The Subject

In August 1945, VBF-82 (originally called the "Checkmates") was established; in 1948 it was redesignated to VF-172 after briefly being designated VF-18A. The Blue Bolts flew the Banshee throughout the Korean War flying from USS ESSEX (CV-9); following the war it was redesignated an Attack Squadron: VA-172. Generally this meant the squadron had a nuclear capability.

The Banshee is of course most famous for its role in "The Bridges at Toko Ri".

The Model

This is the Airfix kit, first released in 1980. My kit is kit number 9-04023 which was released in 1983 with a slightly different box art (the photo era). It can be built either as the standard F2H-2 fighter or the F2H-2P photo-recce version.

I remember this was a very easy build. I didn't lose any detail cleaning up the seams but the model is heavy...I obviously put some weight up front to ensure it wasn't a tail sitter. Cockpit and wheel well detail are nonexistent but generally that isn't as critical to me and certainly was not then.

Paint is Aeromaster Glossy Sea Blue overall, an enamel. I didn't put a coat of Future on when first built because the glossy surface would make decals a snap, however after sitting in a box of styrofoam peanuts during one of my moves the foam reacted to the paint. Essentially it marred the paint, sticking to it such that when I removed the foam blemishes were all over the model. I gently wet sanded with an 800 grit pad and was able to take out all the marring. The paint was actually thick enough that I didn't have to respray anywhere!

I then put a coat of Future (Kleer) on to get a really gloss surface for decals. The decals when on great with just the Microscale system of Sol then Set. After they had dried for a day I put a coat of Future on to seal it all in.


This is actually a nice kit, it captures the lines well and frankly with good decals and a nice cockpit would hold up well against modern kits like Sword's. But after you spend that kind of cash you might as well get the Sword kit...

I'm not 100% sure the bolt color is correct at yellow; the Sword kit shows it as blue. However, at that time squadron colors were such that the second squadron in the air wing (Air Wing 17, Squadron 2 = VF-172) was yellow. So just like VF-63 being light blue when they were called the Redcocks, it would seem to me that yellow is probably correct.

I purchased the Sword kit simply because at the time I figured this Airfix kit was a loss. Obviously it's not, but now that I've got both, I will of course build the Sword kit, but it will be a different squadron possibly USMC. And since it has bombs, on they'll go!

Thanks for looking...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

East Indies Seafire

Seafire LF.IIc, LR792/K, 834 Squadron, HMS Battler, East Indies Fleet, 1944

This was an easy conversion, one of the first I did using a resin plug that represents the retracted a-frame hook of the Seafire. The rest of the conversion is just some plastic sheet. This is another 2010 completion.

The Subject

Seafires began showing up in the East Indies in 1944, but mainly were Seafire III. This is one of the few LF.IIc aircraft, which is essentially a Seafire III but without the folding wings, that made it to the East Indies Fleet. Most were used in the Mediterranean with a few in the Indian Ocean against Madagascar.

I chose this scheme solely because it was a bit different with the different India blue markings.

The Model

Essentially I took a stock Airfix Vc kit, including the awful wing, and added the Airwaves resin fuselage plug that goes along the lower rear fuselage and represents the a-frame hook. Also using the Airwaves PE fret that comes with it, I fashioned some of the thinnest sheet plastic I could find (0.005 inch) to represent the strengthening strips that are prominant on the Merlin Seafires.

The prop is a 4 blade prop from my spares box, I think it originated as a Mk IX prop, but at any rate it made it to this kit. Otherwise it's a stock Airfix Vc, coming from the Vc boxing that is a Vb with a c wing added in.

The wing is atrociously thick, and I didn't sand it enough, but it worked. The paints are an experiment with Humbrol enamels; being a callout I read on another websight somewhere so decided to see how they looked. I don't quite think they capture the look, but that could just be my tastes.

The decals are from the CMR kit, and are quite nice. They went down beautifully on a coat of Future (Kleer) and of course I used the Microscale system to get them to lay down. I attempted some weathering, but this was another poor attempt.


Overall I'm quite happy with this attempt at converting a kit to the Seafire. Before CMR and now Sword offered the Merlin Seafires, this was the only way to get one, and it was much easier than I had expected. Basic modelling skills are all that are required.

I have the CMR kit and will get my hands on a Sword IIc as well. I like the look.

Thanks for looking...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

US Navy Night Ace in Korea

F4U-5N NP-21, VC-3, K6 Korea, July 1953, Lt Guy Boredelon

When this kit was first released I grabbed it and quickly started the build. Thoroughly enjoyed it and I finally had a -5N. It was much later that I found out it was "not quite right" in the aft fuselage, and until then I was quite happy with it. Okay, I'm still quite happy with this kit.

This is another 17 year kit that just needed decals. This one actually had the most damage from the styrofoam, requiring I sand and touch up the paint. Luckily, only the black needed new paint as the Glossy Sea Blue was thick enough that a very light sanding was all that was necessary. Of course, none of the dangly bits were on, so that needed adding as well.

The Subject

F4U-5N, NP-21 from VC-3 was assigned to the USS PRINCETON; Lieutenant Guy Boredelon was operating from K6 in July 1953 when he completed his 5 kill at night, becoming the only US Navy ace of the war. Since it's an "only" I had to do it.

The Model

Construction was easy and straightforward. I remember at the time thinking I had to pick up another for the other set of decals in the box (red markings on a black machine) instead of the light blue on dark blue I chose.

I understand this kit is a bit of an anomoly, in that the wing represents a mix between the older F4U-4 and earlier wing and the later AU-1/F4U-7 wing. I'm not sure what's right but it looks like photos I've seen for the pylon and gun configurations. On my next -5N I'll study it more and see if there is something to it.

To my eye the worst part of this kit is the prop. It just doesn't look right but at the time there really wasn't a replacement available. I may be able to find something that's right, even replacing with a P-47 prop would be better. The wheels are also on the skinny side so I replaced those with True Details wheels. They made a huge difference.

Paint is the same as the other Corsairs -- overall Glossy Sea Blue, by Aeromaster (enamel). The anti-glare panel is simply a flat black, probably Tamiya. Sealed with Future (Kleer) before I put the decals on.

The canopy had been masked oh those many years ago and the paint and masking had essentially merged into one. Plus some paint had gotten underneath the masking (obviously not a very good masking effort). I lightly sanded the areas where I didn't want paint and remarkably was able to clean and buff out the clear areas without having to repaint. A couple of coats of Future (Kleer) and it looked perfect!

I didn't use the kit decals because they looked undersized. Instead I used the decals from Superscale sheet 72-244, Korean War Aces #2. While the decals look quite nice, I have to say even using the Microscale system these decals were delicate and a couple of them fell apart on me. Luckily I was able to nudge them about a bit using a wet paintbrush and get them aligned. It's obvious in a couple of locations to myself.


All in all I like this kit, however the Italeri Corsairs need improvements in order for them to look right. This one only has the wheels redone and needs a new prop, although I'll save a good prop for a repeat of this kit as another subject in the future. I did enjoy building this one and it's obviously a Corsair!

Thanks for looking...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Spitfire from Down Under

Spitfire Mk Vc Trop, BS219/ZP-X, 457 Squadron, RAAF, 1943, F/O Frank "Bush" Hamilton, Camden NSW

Until the Sword Vc arrived the only real option was to use the Airfix kit. Since the Revell Vb wing is poor on a good day, I decided to graft a spare Vc wing from an Airfix kit (using the kit to make a Vb) and the fuselage of the Revell kit. I could have done a much better job with it, and I hope to replace this particular subject someday. This was built back in 2010.

The Subject

BS219 was part of the first group of Spitfires sent to Australia. Bush Hamilton enlisted in the RAF in 1940, earned his wings in July 1941 and was posted back to Australia in May 1942. He and BS219 were joined together in November 1942 and remained together until June 1943 when he was listed as missing in action whilst flying another aircraft. He had 3 kills to his credit when he was lost. BS219 remained with 457 Squadron until November 1943.

The aircraft was probably delivered in Dark Earth, Middle Stone over Azure Blue as it was originally intended for operations in the Middle East. The desert scheme was not appropriate to Australia so the Middle Stone was overpainted with Foliage Green. Additionally, the red centers to the national markings were removed as well as the red from the fin flash. The fuselage band and spinner were probably RAAF Sky Blue, which is slightly different than RAF Sky Blue.

The Model

My first attempt at making a Vc turned out pretty good. With that one I married a spare CMR Seafire wing to a Revell Vb fuselage and I liked the result. This time around I chose to use a spare Airfix wing from a Vc kit. I don't think it came out very well, but that's because I chose not to thin the Airfix wing. To be fair, it fit well at the leading edge of the wing root and in my haste to do this subject I had glued the wing halves together before I realized the trailing edge was so thick.

Construction was very straight forward, really not any different than any other Spitfire kit. I did have to fiddle with the Vokes filter to make it all fit, but that came out pretty well.

For paint I used Humbrol 29 for Dark Earth, Aeromaster Medium Green (the USAAF color) for Foliage Green and an early recipe of Testors Azure Blue with 6 drops of Testors Red to make it just a bit more purple. The Sky Blue trim is the only acrylic, it was Pollyscale RAF Sky Blue.

It was sealed with Future (Kleer) before decals. The decals are from Aeromaster sheet 72-141 and went on perfectly using the Microscale system of Set first, then Sol. I sealed with a coat of Future with a drop of Testors clear Flat in the paint cup; this tones down the glossiness of the Future but leaves a smooth finish.

I was a bit heavy handed on the weathering, too much wash and "up close" it looks like I missed some areas. I also realized, too late, that the wing walk way stripe should be under the national marking, not over it.


This was an easy conversion, but as mentioned above, I could do better. I've got a Sword Vc in the works and it is much much nicer, both as a basic kit for building and the finesse of the details. I like the subject, but don't have those markings anymore; I've got similar markings so will probably use those on a future Vc from "down under".

Thanks for looking...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hasegawa F4U-1A Corsair

Vought Corsair, F4U-1D, VF-17, Lt Ira Kepford, Solomons, 1944

This is one of those subjects in my "must do" category. Ira Kepford racked up 16 kills in 5 months, 4 in one day protecting a local carrier task group. When he left the combat zone he was the highest ace with the US Navy. This is also another model I started over 17 years ago and just recently finished. Again, it seemed to have all the decals on but the right side!

The Subject

VF-17 was one of the highest scoring US Navy squadrons and produced more aces than any other squadron during 3 combat tours. It was the first US Navy Corsair squadron, but due to problems qualifying the aircraft for carrier duty, VF-17 deployed to land strips in the Solomons, operating alongside USMC squadrons at the same time. VF-17 arrived in the Solomons in October, 1943.

Ira Kepford was one of the original squadron members, completing his flight training and transition to the Corsair at Norfolk, Virginia. This aircraft was the second "29" flown by Kepford. Kepford quickly racked up his kills, and within 5 months had attained all 16 he would get during the war. He finished the war in a number of staff positions, retiring from the US Navy in 1956.

The Model

This is Hasegawa's F4U-1A/D kit, albeit none of the bits are included to build a -1D. I remember this being an easy and quick build, with no vices whatsoever. It's not as well detailed nor as accurate as the Tamiya kit, but it's also significantly cheaper. Shape wise it looks right. As with most Hasegawa kits of the era, the cockpit is not very accurate at all.

Paint is likely a mix of Aeromaster and Testors enamels. I originally put down a coat of Aeromaster gloss before starting the decals, and unfortunately it yellowed over time. The good news is that while I was cleaning up the flaws created by the styrofoam peanuts, the overcoat of Future (Kleer) seemed to minimize the yellowing. Don't ask me how...

Decals are from the Superscale sheet number 72-314 "Corsair Aces". The national insignia is a bit out of register, but at the time I didn't have anything else, so I used them. Again I used the Microscale system of Micro-Sol and Micro-Set and the decals laid down perfectly. It was sealed with multiple mists of Future (Kleer).


Close scrutiny of the photos show that I made some mistakes. The antenna and pitot are not painted properly and it looks like I found an old landing gear cover that is from the starboard side and put on the port. Yikes! Unfortunately the model is about 4,000 miles from my current location, so corrections and new photos are not possible. So...

This is another subject I'll do over. I've recently acquired the new Revell F4U-1A/D kit which looks much better, and it's certainly better than the HobbyBoss kit, which will be the subject of another post. I've got Kepford's markings in my stash and I'll also do Tommy Blackburn's, the CO of VF-17. He was a pretty phenomenal leader.

Thanks for looking...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Seafire Ib, MB345/K, 885 Squadron

Seafire Ib, MB345/K, 885 Squadron, HMS Formidable, May 1943

This was my first Spitfire conversion, built way back in 2006 or 2007 (I'm not sure when).

The Subject

MB345 was originally delivered as a Mk Vb, serial AR445, and converted to Seafire Ib standard in 1942. In January 1943 it was assigned to 885 Squadron.

This is a well photographed aircraft, typically on the deck FORMIDABLE and during the Sicily and Italy campaigns of 1943. I chose this subject for a simple reason: it was dead easy!

The Model

Just like the real aircraft this model started out as the Airfix Vb. The tooling is showing its age, but shape wise is still very accurate. Modifications were easy: I used a resin Seafire hook conversion (forgotten who made it) and added the strengthening panels to the sides using think plastic card. All done with the conversion.

Decals were sourced from my spares, using standard 8 inch black numerals and cutting out a white K from decal film.  The decals were of course applied over Future (Kleer) and then sealed under another coat of Future.

Paints were enamels, I used Humbrol paints that were listed as Tropical Sea Scheme colors for Dark Slate Grey, Extra Dark Sea Grey and Sky. I won't list the colors because today I don't think they look right; at the time I had no idea what was righ or wrong for the TSS and when done this one didn't "look" right and still doesn't.


This was an easy conversion and I learned much about working with resin as this was also one of my first attempts at using resin extras other than simple wheels or props. I enjoyed the build and while it isn't as nice as the CMR kit (I have that one) it does fill a place on my shelf.

Thanks for looking...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Matchbox F4U-4B Corsair

Vought Corsair, F4U-4B, VF-63 Fighting Redcocks, USS Midway (CVB-41), Korean War

This was actually a rebuild of this model. It was originally completed back in 1984 as part of a collection of "Fighting Redcock" squadron aircraft. This is the only one that still survives from all the moves since then. It was originally an in-flight model and I happened to have the landing gear in my spares box.

The Subject

VF-63 was originally commissioned in 1948 flying the F8F-2 Bearcat. Within a year it reverted to the F4U-4B Corsair and was redesignated VF-63. At the time, the US Navy was designating squadrons based on mission (VF), Air Wing (CAG-6) and then number of squadron in the CAG (3rd). Harking back to the colorful 1930's, the squadron colors were generally retained; the 3rd squadron having a light blue trim color.

VF-63 was assigned to USS Midway at the start of the Korean War and made two combat deployments flying the F4U-4B.

I chose this subject, and the other subjects (at the time) from this squadron because I was a member of the squadron. The squadron flew a number of aircraft types and was designated originally a Fighter squadron albeit focused on the light bombing / close air support mission. Eventually it transitioned to an Attack role and today has reverted back to its roots, flying the fighter / attack multi-role fighter in the form of the F/A-18F.

The Model

This is the old Matchbox kit, with no details on the inside, heavy panel lines on the outside and no real detail on the outside either. There are no exhausts and some of the heavy lines appear to be in the wrong place. At the time it was the only choice for an F4U-4B and given I was to make it in-flight, a pilot in the cockpit would hide most of the emptyness.

30 years ago I wasn't keeping any records of my builds, so I've no idea what paint manufacturers or paints were used. I'm pretty confident it was probably a glossy dark blue enamel from whatever range was available at my local hobby shop near Lemoore California. Possibly even the old small jars from Testors...

The kit went together quite easily, but then again my standards were quite low at the time. Seams were still not critical and getting it done was quite more important. But it was also my first foray into actually showing my work off, so I spent quite a bit more time getting it right in terms of the paint scheme. After all, my squadron mates were going to see these!

I had to pry open the landing gear doors and the glue was brittle enough after 30 years to readily allow that. The pilot looked comical, so I pried open the canopy (it was discolored anyway) and pulled the pilot out. After stripping and repainting the canopy with Model Master acryl Glossy Sea Blue (it matched the rest of the kit perfectly) I reattached the canopy and shot the entire model with Future (Kleer) to protect the decals.

The decals came from Superscale, long out of print and I don't remember the sheet number. It was one of the "colorful CAGs" sheets that had a couple of Redcock subjects as well as other squadrons. This was my first attempt at the (new to me) aftermarket decal world, including using the Microscale system of Micro-Set and Micro-Sol. I was immediately sold on the "system" and have used it ever since except then the decals were stubborn and required much stronger chemicals.

The decals were not sealed originally, simply because I didn't know that was important at the time. Luckily the decals were never damaged in all the moves it made. I've no idea why other than I was just lucky!


This is another subject I'd like to replace with a modern tooling of the F4U-4B. The Italeri kit is not it, simply because it isn't appreciably better, albeit some details are better. Plus I need to find the decals again, and hopefully they'll be reissued.

Thanks for looking...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

US Navy Spitfires

Spitfire LF Vb, 4Q, VCS-7, 6 June 1944

This is one of those impulse builds that resulted when I was searching the web for Spitfire info and came across a site that summarized the use of Spitfires by a US Navy squadron. I had to do it! I built this model back in 2009 as part of an anniversary build for D-Day.

The Subject

When the US battleships and cruisers got to the European theater for Operation Neptune (the actual landings part of Overlord) everyone quickly noticed the aircraft used for spotting were obsolete biplanes, SOC-3 Seagull floatplanes. These would be no match for any fighters the Luftwaffe would put up against them. So the squadrons traded in their biplanes (albeit temporarily) for Spitfires.

The Spitfires were older Vb aircraft, retrofitted with cropped superchargers and clipped wings as they were primarily used for low level work by this time of the war. Because of their age they were referred to as "clipped, cropped, and clapped out". The Naval Spotting Pool of Spitfires and Seafires was formed to provide spotting to the supporting battleships and cruisers during the landings. Both FAA and USN aircraft were used.

After about a month VCS-7 returned their Spitfires to the RAF; the land forces had moved far enough inland that sea bombardment no longer was effective. From what I can find on the internet (I know, not the best source of research!) there was only a couple of close encounters with the Luftwaffe, neither side actually shot down the other.

The Model

I decided to do this one as a quick build from an Airfix kit. I chose not to clip the wings as I found one photo that showed the wingtips in place, and at the time I wasn't keen on trying to clip wings. I also wanted to brush paint the entire model, instead of my typical air brushing. I did, however, airbrush the base color of Medium Sea Grey.

The paints are a mix of Humbrol and Testors enamels. Standard colors for Dark Green, Ocean Grey and Medium Sea Grey; any old black and white. I used a mask for the code letters so that they'd match the Sky band and spinner.

Decals were from the spares box. The serial number is not visible in the only photo of 4Q I've found, so I decided not to include it.


This was an easy build, and very enjoyable. It felt "old school" and the stripes are just rough enough to look quickly put on as they were on 5 June.

Thanks for looking...

Friday, August 8, 2014

Matchbox F4U-4 Corsair

This is another oldie that didn't get "finished" until last week.  It was complete with the exception of the starboard side decals.  How could that be the last bits and why did it take 17+ years to finish?  Ah well, it's in the "done" column now.

The Subject

This is Kenneth Walsh's other Corsair from World War II.  He preferred to have his aircraft numbered "13" and so this one was.  He flew this F4U-4 with VMF-222 from Okinawa in 1945, scoring only 1 kill, and also his last one.

I chose this subject simply because I had the decals and wanted a late war F4U-4 on my shelf.

The Model

This is the old Matchbox kit.  Deep trenches for panel lines and big empty holes where the landing gear bays and cockpit are.  Other details are sparse, the engine doesn't look right and there are no exhausts.

But when I built this model there were no other 1/72 F4U-4 choices.  I now have the Italeri F4U-4, but it has it's vices in terms of accuracy, and it's a -4B variant (cannon armed).

The overall glossy Sea Blue scheme is painted using Aeromaster enamel Sea Blue, which is a matte finish.  After it had cured I put a coat of Aeromaster gloss to give the decals something smooth to lay on.  I've learned that after a few years Aeromaster gloss tends to yellow, so I don't use it anymore.

The decals are from Superscale sheet 72-314, USMC Corsair Aces.  I used the Microscale system of blue label first, then after the decal was almost dry, applying a thin coat of red label to ensure the decals settle right down.  Finally, a coat of Future (Kleer) was applied to seal it all in.


It looks okay next to my other Corsairs but definitely stands alone in terms of quality.  Any close look and it's obviously not much more than toy-like.  I hope to find a much better F4U-4 kit in the future and replace the two (maybe a third with the Italeri) currently on my shelf.

Thanks for looking...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hasegawa F4U-1 Corsair

This is part of a Corsair batch build -- I didn't call it that at the time -- and it's my first batch build, which I define as building multiples of the same kit or subject at the same time, typically 4-6.  Since this one I've completed Hurricane and Spitfire batch builds and I've got another of each "in work".  

This is Hasegawa's venerable kit, it has no vices and goes together quite easily.  I'm not an expert on the Corsair but it looks the part even if the cockpit is a bit sparse and the wheel wells are shallow.  

The Subject

Ken Walsh's mount from VMF-124 on Guadalcanal.  His was a unique career and he did so well I decided long ago I wanted to do both of his Corsairs.  VMF-124 was the first USMC Corsair squadron, arriving at Guadalcanal in 1943 via the aircraft transport ship (a "jeep" carrier) USS Kitty Hawk in January 1943.  Lt Walsh quickly ran his tally up before his tour ended in September, his tally standing at 20 kills -- he was the first USMC Corsair ace and received the Medal of Honor as a result of two missions.  One in which he took on 50 Japanese aircraft, downing 4!

Lt Walsh later returned to the Pacific Theatre flying from Okinawa, where he downed his last kill; for a final tally of 21.  That is the subject of another Corsair model.

The Model

As noted above, Hasegawa F4U-1 Birdcage boxing.  It went together with no difficulty, I remember completing construction over a weekend.  Painting, however took a bit longer...

I didn't record the paint as it was nearly 20 years ago that I painted this kit.  Given the timeframe, it's probably Gunze acrylics, Intermediate Blue and Light Gull Gray.  Today I realize these are the wrong colors and when I redo this subject I'll use Non-Specular Light Gray for the undersides and a M-485 Blue-Gray for the uppers.  Plus, I can paint the interior the correct colors (salmon for one).

The decals are from Superscale, sheet number 72-314 "USMC Corsair Aces".  I had zero difficulty with them using the Microscale system of blue bottle to get the decal initially down, then red bottle to finish.  All of this is on a base gloss coat of Aeromaster gloss (I don't use that anymore) and sealed with Future (Kleer).


I've two more of these in my stash: an F4U-2 boxing with the radome for night fighting, and an FAA Corsair I boxing.  As the recent Revell F4U-1A kit appears to be engineered for a future F4U-1 birdcage variant, I may wait for it, but if I get antsy, I'll just get another and do an early VF-17 subject.

Some may ask why I'm not getting the Tamiya F4U-1?  Price for one matter, and this kit meets my needs nicely.

Thanks for looking...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Shelf of doom

Actually, I don't really have a shelf of doom per se.  Because of my former career (USN) I moved around quite a bit and over the years I'd have to pause my model making to pack, move, then unpack. Invariably many were broken in the move and I'd spend the first few weeks making repairs to models, not new models.  Sometimes that even meant putting half done kits on hold until I'd caught up.

After not moving for over 10 years and starting my second career, I'm able to finally truly get caught up.  Just prior to my current assignment I found a box I'd thought was simply full of styrofoam peanuts; turned out to have nearly a dozen models inside and none were completed!  They'd been in there for at least 17 years...

Okay, so why so long?  Well, the only time I used styrofoam peanuts for a move was from Virginia to San Diego and that was 17 years ago.  It turns out glossy enamel paint doesn't interact well with styrofoam; where the paint wasn't fully, and I mean fully, cured AND the styrofoam touched the paint (actually a small percentage of the models) bits of styrofoam would adhere to the paint and sort of fuse with it.  Some sort of chemistry was going on and effectively it ruined the kits I'd pull out.  Probably why I decided not to open that last box.

Most of those kits went into the trash while I was in San Diego.  They were hopelessly damaged, the decals coming off, paint coming off and lots of sanding required to clean them up.  After one attempt on a Hasegawa F9F-6 Cougar, I just started chucking them.

Back to the present: These kits were all USN Glossy Sea Blue; Tigercat, Corsairs (x4), Banshee, Bearcat plus two Corsairs in earlier paint schemes.  Interestingly, only the GSB was affected by the styrofoam.  Hmm, maybe it's that formulation?  If memory serves me, the GSB I used was Aeromaster's.  I'd opened the box and put them on the shelf somewhere around 2 years ago, intending to do something with them.

At any rate, while on home leave from the UK I decided to do a bit of modeling and instead of starting a new kit (or 3) I looked at the shelf and remembered these models.  My skills are much better than they were two decades ago, so did what I could to clean them up and get them completed. None were "done" before they went into the box, some had some decals, most had nothing.

I'll blog each one; seven in total!

Thanks for looking...