ESCI Jagdpanther in 1/72 Scale

This is the ESCI Jagdpanther.  Not a bad kit given it’s age.  I’ve added towing shackles from Dragon spares and handles from wire.  It comes with side skirts but they’re too thick and best replaced.  The spare tracks on the rear hull are poorly defined and should also be replaced (as here) or left off.  Tracks here are link and length.  I struggle with these and am hoping that practice improves my efforts.




Subchaser in the South Pacific Book Review


Subchaser in the South Pacific: A Saga of the USS SC-761 During World War II

By J. Henry Doscher, Jr.

Paperback, illustrated, 110 pages, indexed

Published by Ibooks, Inc. April 2006

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1596873329

ISBN-13: 978-1596873322

Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches

During the Second World War the U.S. Navy operated a large assortment of small combatants.  One of the most numerous were the SC-497 class submarine chasers.  A total of 438 were built.  These were of wooden construction, 110 feet long, and displaced about 100 tons.  Propulsion was provided by two Diesel engines.  Armament varied, but mainly consisted of light guns and anti-submarine weapons as the name implies.  Crew was twenty seven.

Written by one of her Officers this is the story of one such vessel, the USS SC-761 (most smaller vessels were not named, but commissioned only with their type designations and hull numbers).  Much of her war was spent on escort and patrol duties in the Solomons.  These boats were also used for liaison duties, SC-497 picked up Australian coastwatchers from submarines on two occasions.  Her journeys took her from construction at Ipswich Massachusetts across the Pacific as far south as New Zealand and back.

Having served on a large ship, I find life on the smaller ships interesting.  Even though they are small, they are still U.S. Navy warships and are expected to maintain the same core proficiencies as their larger compatriots.  When one factors in that the crew was almost exclusively comprised of Reservists who were only very recently untrained civilians, the fact that they sailed halfway around the world and went to war in small wooden ships is all the more impressive.

A short book, but a fun read.


Ki-27 “Nate” Build in 1/72 Scale, Mania and ICM Kits Part II

I don’t like sanding, so I’ll skip showing that part of the work in progress.  Suffice it to say there was sanding and it was not exciting.  As expected, the landing gear of the ICM kits was a disappointment.  Fit was bad and required filling, three of the legs broke off while smoothing out the seams.  All of this is an easily avoidable self-inflicted wound on ICM’s part.  Mania’s gear is much more solid and looks better.  True, the one-piece moldings had sink holes on one side, but those were easily filled before the gear was attached.  The picture shows one of the ICM kits under a coat of Mr. Surfacer primer, ready for paint.
This kit will represent an 11th Sentai machine which had red trim at the nose.  I decided to also paint the Hinomaru while I was at it, this results in a smooth finish and ensures the tone of the reds match.  I use kabuki tape masks from Maketar and have always been pleased with their performance in the past.
During my last build of the MiG-15s I experienced multiple problems with the Testors Model Master paints I was using.  Some jars had congealed into a rubber-like substance, some jars had glued themselves shut (resisting even channel locks), others exhibited a variety of spraying problems through the airbrush.  I have experienced all these failure modalities with TMM paints in the past, but had finally had enough.  At the start of this WiP I ordered a dozen jars of Mr. Color lacquer paints from Sprue Brothers to give them a try.  So far, I have been very impressed.  The Mr. Color paints do not separate like the TMM, they thin with regular lacquer thinner, and have demonstrated no problems going through the airbrush.  They dry quickly, and lay very flat and smooth.  I will not completely exhaust my supply of Testors paints any time soon, but I am now planning on buying Mr. Color when new paints are needed.
Here is the 11 Sentai machine with the masks removed.  No bleed under any of the tape so she’s ready to begin the decaling process.  The other two kits have additional camouflage colors to apply so they will be ready soon.

Special Hobby Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet in 1/72 Scale

This is the Special Hobby kit of the second prototype of the Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet.  The design proved to be unstable and was not ordered into production. I found this one on sale and it was just too unusual to pass up.  The kit is what you’d expect from a limited run, but nicely done.  The cockpit components are cast in resin and there is a PE fret with added details.  Two injection molded canopies are also included, which is much appreciated as that’s one thing I have a habit of screwing up!XP56_011XP56_010DSC_2385DSC_2384DSC_2383DSC_2382XP56_009

Seversky P-35 Color Photographs

The Seversky P-35 is one of the “forgotten fighters” of the U.S. Army Air Corps.  It was descended from the record-setting Seversky  SEV-3 amphibian, and the evolution of the design eventually lead to the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.  This is the NMUSAF example, restored in the markings of Lt. Boyd “Buzz” Wagner, famous for being the first American ace of WWII.
Both Curtiss and Seversky were awarded production contracts as a result of the 1936 design competition.  200 P-36 were ordered from Curtiss, Seversky produced 77 P-35s.  Performance of both types was comparable, but the Curtiss design was less expensive.  The first P-35s entered service in 1937 at Selfridge Field.  This one is assigned to the 27th Pursuit Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group.
Several P-35s were finished as air racers.  This is the SEV-2S piloted by Frank Fuller, who used it to win the Bendix trophy in 1939.  Colors are Metallic Green with Yellow trim.
Seversky built a two seat “convoy fighter” for the Royal Swedish Air Force under the designation SEV 2PA-204A.  Two were delivered to the Swedes, fifty were taken over by the USAAC as the AT-12 Guardsman and used for training.  The Planes of Fame Museum has restored one of these to flying status.
The Royal Swedish Air Force purchased a total of 60 of the Seversky fighter with an additional .50 cal machine gun in a fairing under each wing, designated as the J-9.  A second order of 60 was taken over by the USAAC and entered service as  the P-35A.  In 1943 the Swedish fighters were camouflaged in the Sand and Green mottle seen here.
The Swedes operated their J-9s as fighters until 1946, and in the reconnaissance role until 1951.  One survives in the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) museum in Linköping.
An interesting photo of a USAAC P-35 in temporary camouflage for the 1940 Louisiana war games.  The camouflage was water-based and applied by brush, no two aircraft carried the same pattern.  The temporary nature of the paint is apparent.
This P-35 in the O.D. over Neutral Gray scheme is immaculate, save for the collision damage.
45 P-35As were assigned to the 24th Pursuit Group in the Philippines.  The intention was to re-equip the 24th with new P-40Bs and P-40Es and pass the P-35As on to the Philippine Air Force, but this had only been partially accomplished when the Japanese attacked on 08DEC41.
This P-35A has nosed over on a Philippine airfield, giving us a look at the underside markings.
An interesting shot of the maintenance area at Clark Field showing several damaged P-35As, with a P-26 Peashooter in the background.  All the P-35As in the Philippines were destroyed or captured by the Japanese.  They were credited (perhaps optimistically) with 60 Japanese aircraft and one minesweeper destroyed.
Two photographs from LIFE magazine showing AT-12s at Barksdale Field, Louisiana.  (Dmitri Kessel)